10 Tips for Buying Commercial Property

Whenever you think of purchasing commercial property, you should make sure that it suits your requirements, and is well within your budget. Ensure that the current market trends are in your favor, fetching you good returns on investment. Here are some useful tips that can put you out of your misery the next time you consider buying a commercial property.

Location Research

Make sure that the property you are purchasing is at a convenient location, boasting of good proximity and connectivity. This is a very important factor that will help you seal the deal.

Law Abiding Workplace

Whatever might be the nature of your business, ensure that you use your workspace in a legal manner. Make sure you have all the necessary documents with you beforehand, as you never know when they may come in handy.

Environmental Issues

Purchasing property not only guarantees you ownership, it also makes you responsible for the problems that come with it. Tackling environmental issues can be costly. For this reason, it is best to get an environmental report from environment evaluation companies. Although this can cost you a bit, it will enable you to save a lot more in the long run.

Early Finance Planning

Planning well in advance will help you in more ways than one. Before you engage in a property hunt, have a thorough knowledge of the costs involved, as this can prevent you from over-spending.

Property and Rent Analysis

It is absolutely necessary to be aware of the current rental market trends, along with the past few years’ records containing information about the property. This will help you understand the origins and use of the property, thus allowing for a clearer understanding of the rent scenario.

Expansion/Leasing Options

Property buyers are usually very optimistic about the returns on their investment. So, if you cannot expand your space as much as you’d have liked to, give the idea of leasing out the extra space a thought.

Protect Yourself and Your Resources

Always remember that you should do everything you can to protect yourself. Talk to your lawyer well in advance to make sure you and your personal property are well protected lest you get sued.

Time Span of Properties

One of the biggest blunders you can make while purchasing a property is to be oblivious to the fact that within a few years you would have to shell out extra money in order to maintain the place. So make sure you have enough cash kept aside for upkeep.

One Investment at a Time

If you are just starting out as a potential buyer, it is very important to give your undivided attention strictly to one investment rather than purchasing multiple properties at once. You may invest in more than one property after you have gained some experience and once your finances are in order.

Invest for Returns

The whole point of investing in properties is to get profitable returns on it. However, if you happen to purchase property that bears no fruit, then you have just invested a sizeable portion of your savings for no reason. Make wise choices.

Lake Design, Building, Construction, and Lining

Some lake management companies do more than simply manage a previously built lake. They also custom design and create the lake according to the owner’s wishes and specifications. It all starts with the wishes of the homeowner, rancher, homeowner’s association, or corporate headquarters. Lakes are used on golf courses, summer resorts, cabin/fishing retreats, as well as private residences and summer estates.

The lakes are created with specific goals in mind. While many are created as fishing havens, some also have areas for swimming and recreational boating. Depending on the usage, the shape and depth of the lake is very important. Fishing structures may be added, as well as floating docks and field and boat ramps. Additionally, there may be water features such as aerators and fountains.

Heavy earth moving equipment is needed to construct a lake. The permeability of the soil is an important consideration. Liners are laid to prevent seepage of water. The integrity of the shoreline is another consideration when developing a lake. Will the shoreline erode? Does there need to be a sandy beach area for swimming? What are the stocking expectations? The kinds of fish the lake will be stocked with determines the kinds of fish structures needed. These types of considerations come into play when developing the lake.

It is far better to have a professional work with the homeowner or managing party from the beginning of the lake development to its final fruition. Do-it-yourself jobs usually have to be fixed due to poor planning, and like most things, it takes more money to fix a poor job, than to do it correctly the first time. Many ponds and lakes have to be fixed after the fact. This is a waste of time and resources. It is better to find a lake management company that can do it right from the start.

Every detail must be taken into consideration before building. A lake is similar to building a mansion… you don’t guess as you go. You figure every detail out ahead of time. By attention to detail, and using proper construction methods, lakes can add beauty and value to properties of all kind. By finding a full service lake management company, which is able to take a lake from the planning state, to construction, to stocking, to maintaining, you have an integrated full service company that will be able to manage the lake properly. This is because they were able to offer the professional recommendations throughout the process of building it.

Negotiating Your Commercial Office Space

Commercial office space lease terms can be lengthy, especially when compared with their residential counterparts. However, there always comes a time when a lease term is up and it’s time to either renew or look for a new office space in which to relocate. Landlords are often in a better place at this time since they know that it’s no easy task to get up and relocate your entire business. Therefore, negotiating terms is often on the side of the landlord. With that said, this doesn’t have to be the case, especially if you show signs of interest in moving to a new location.

Look Around at Other Office Space Leases in the Area

When the time comes to renew your lease, you don’t want to be scrambling trying to find possible alternatives to your current location. You should know what other options are out there in case you and your landlord cannot agree on favorable lease terms with a new lease. Also, by checking out the other alternatives, you are letting your landlord know that you are not 100% set on renewing the current lease, which may make the landlord more likely to offer new lease terms which are more favorable to the tenant in the leasing contract.

Discuss Future Lease Arrangements with Current Landlord Well in Advance

Another easy way to show your current landlord that you may, or may not, be renewing your lease with them is to sit down with your landlord and discuss the future lease terms. Before you commit to a new lease with your current landlord, you want to be sure that this will be the best move for you and your company. If your landlord feels as if you have no other option but to stay in your current location, they will be less generous with the lease terms which they offer. You don’t want to be put in that position so be sure to get a feel for what your landlord will be offering if you decide to renew your commercial office space lease.

Utilize the Services of a Tenant Representative

An additional way to let your landlord know that you are searching for other accommodations is to hire a tenant representative. When you utilize the services of a tenant representative, your landlord knows that you are not just going to settle for any and all terms which the landlord offers to you and you will be fighting for the best tenant-oriented lease terms possible. Your tenant representative can help out, no matter whether you decide to renew your current lease or venture out to find a new location in which to set up your company.

As a tenant, you still have flexibility when it comes to getting the best possible lease terms in a renewed lease. Just be sure to explore all options and don’t let your landlord believe that you will automatically renew your lease for lack of any other options as this will not help you to obtain the best lease terms should you choose to renew.

Common Flat Roofing Problems

Why, despite the knowledge, decades of experience in the design and construction of flat roofs and the use of increasingly sophisticated materials, do flat roofs still bring doubts and worries to many property owner’s minds? The answer to this question lies in these three factors: Design, Construction and Operation.

Very common flat roof problems stem from poor maintenance or a complete lack thereof. Regular maintenance requires flat roofs to be periodically inspected for damage, repaired, cleaned and checked for the functionality of its insulation and waterproofing properties


Design Errors – The cycling through hot and cold seasons deteriorates flat roofs across the Greater Toronto Area year after year. On the surface of a roof temperatures can range from -30 to +80 ° C. They are also exposed to UV (ultraviolet) radiation and several cycles of freezing and thawing. Therefore, the nature and properties of the materials from which the flat roof will be made and insulated with should ensure functionality under these conditions for at least 15-20 years.

Leaks, roof moisture and fungus are the most visible consequences of improper maintenance. Poor insulation promotes heat from escaping through the layers of roofs leading to leaks and flooding from melting ice and snow. This process becomes detrimental to the flat roof and leads to the deterioration and destruction of the membrane, flashings, gutters, downsputs, and melting or falling icicles that add danger your workplace.


Thermal Insulation

Each type of roof should have carried out calculations of temperature and moisture. The aim is to not only select the correct thickness of thermal insulation, but also eliminate the possibility of condensation between the layers of the roof and eliminate conditions conducive to the growth of mold on the ceiling and walls on the inside. These calculations take into account the space around windows, skylights, roof hatchways, etc. These are the places where freezing frequently occurs and are favorable conditions for mold growth. With inadequate ventilation, steam and moisture within the layers cause separation and can be seen visually on the ceiling and wall in the form of streaks and peeling paint coating, which are tell all signs of weakness in the roof’s waterproof seal.


This layer on every flat roof, regardless of its function is crucial. The most common cause of leaks is due to errors by the contractors: lack of knowledge of the technologies used and the lack of a qualified team of employees.

Approaching the problem from the exterior (the “positive side”) seems to make the most sense to many people. It takes a considerable amount of labor to dig down to the base of your foundation wall. Once excavated, any areas in the roof decking or concrete foundation or walls that have been compromised can be repaired with a new waterproofing membrane.

Substitution of Materials

A common mistake is to use “just as good but cheaper” alternatives or materials other than those provided by the manufacturer or chosen and described in the project documentation. The resulting “savings” for the difference in price of material is usually superficial and disproportionate to the cost of any subsequent repairs.

Equipment Technology

Proper execution of waterproofing usually depends on the use of special equipment. The waterproofing layers can can be mechanically fastened and connected to factories, glued or welded with hot air, fumes, flame or heat-sealed and require the use of different types of equipment. Overheating of the burner flame can cause weight loss in the asphalt’s insulating properties and can be made “stale”. This risk is virtually removed with the use of insulating materials welded by hot gases or hot air. Welding temperatures in this case are too low to permanently damaged the roof waterproofing material.


Rooftop Equipment

Some property owners believe that the purpose of the roof, due to the fact that it is flat can be freely changed. Ventilation, HVAC units, television antennas and other rooftop equipment are connected via an internal installation carried out through the ceiling or attic, through which the lead wires are often randomly located. Each of these elements can have a negative impact on the stability of the roof, insulation and can increase the load.

Green Roof Problems

Roofs with a layer of grass need an appropriate thickness of the substrate (at least 20cm). The growing grass requires regular mowing and watering daily. Roofs with vegetation (shrubs and low trees) need to be cautious – it is unacceptable to hammer into a roof (such as wood or metal supports for trees) without the knowledge and consent of the manufacturer or professional contractor. Waterproofing layers can easily be damaged by this process leading to a re-roof or replacement, and this is an expensive venture.

Flipping Commercial Real Estate

Home-themed TV shows make it sound easy: buy a house, update it, quickly resell it, and bank the profit. But look behind the scenes of flipping commercial real estate and you may discover that this simple process requires (some) money, careful budgeting, strategic planning, and a certain amount of luck and skill.

Flipping basics

Flipping commercial real estate means investing in a residential or commercial property, updating that property (somewhat), and selling it. You should aim to make a net profit of 10% – that is, selling it for a price 10% to 25% higher than the original purchase price, including all related expenses. Flip + Sell + Reinvest.

Where and how to start

The process of flipping a house can seem pretty basic but there are important steps to take at each point of that process:

  • Education: Education is your first property flipping step. Use the Internet, library, community college and seminars to learn all you can about property flipping and buying properties with little-to-no money down.
  • Target property: Determine what type of first property you want to flip. Are you interested in homes that are new construction, fixer-uppers,or commercial properties? Focus your studies to that property choice.
  • Credit: Check your credit score through the three free services. You need to know where you stand credit-wise before you begin applying for mortgage loans.
  • Not having a budget may be your first step toward failure. Your property choice will influence the amount of loan you may qualify for. How much of a cash down payment will you make?

How much will it take to get the house up to code, habitable, and sufficiently presentable? Budget for repairs and materials, contractor services, permits and inspections. One blogger suggests planning to add 20% to your estimate for the final cost of a fixer-upper.

Your budget should also include the property price and the closing costs, any HOA fees, realtor and legal fees, inspection fees, mortgage, insurance, taxes, etc.

What to fix?

A new construction flip should require very little in repairs or updates. Fixer-uppers are different. You are not selling the fixer-upper “as is”; you are planning to rehabilitate it for better value.

  • Structural: Budget for issues such as plumbing, electrical updates, and structural restoration.
  • Best updates: Buyers want decent bathrooms and kitchens free of plumbing and mold problems. Don’t kit your fixer-upper with a chef’s kitchen and master suite spa. Do the important basics and make both areas look fresh and clean – and safe!
  • Curb appeal: The exterior may require some refreshing to both the structure and the landscape. Again, do the important safety and refresh basics.

Continue your education

Lear with each step and each property flip. With a solid knowledge base and flip plan, you may find yourself becoming an experienced and skillful commercial real estate flipper sooner than you think. Remember – your success is in flipping that first property for a profit, reinvesting, and repeating the process. Best wishes for your success.

5 Reasons to Build a Green Commercial Building

Being Earth-friendly has become more than just a fad, it’s an actual movement. More and more people are realizing how important it is to be kinder to the planet. This movement has even gone so far as to include commercial and office buildings. Green construction utilizes modern architect designs as well as green and/or recycled materials. Your return on investment is almost 10 points higher than a standard building, and who wouldn’t want that? Let’s look at some of the reasons it’s good to go green.

1. Helping the local economy by creating jobs. If you decide to go green, you certainly won’t be alone. An increasing number of businesses are asking for green buildings and that means there are more architects and construction firms ready to serve. It also means giving people great jobs with a technical skill set – something that in some areas is lacking still, namely those areas that have not yet come out of the recession.

2. Better energy efficiency. Your energy efficiency will surely be improved by working towards LEED certification over what’s found in an older building. When you build green, you can use better heating and air conditioning systems thanks to newer models that are much more energy efficient (and more cost-effective) than older versions.

Modern insulation and windows can help keep your employees comfortable without the cold air blasting from an air conditioner. That keeps air quality better, too. Studies have shown a significant reduction in allergies and lost work time in green buildings. Other natural resources are conserved better as well, like water.

3. Not just for new buildings either. You might want to consider renovating a current building. Sometimes, a renovation can improve your building’s workflow efficiency, as much as 16%. A building laid out in the 1960s that featured wide desks and space for typewriters no longer works in our laptop-laden environment. When you renovate and incorporate cool recycled materials, you not only help keep items out of the landfill but you also give your office a unique look. It’s a lesser expensive option than building new.

4. Great for drawing in customers. Going green can help take your office building into the 21st century and save you money at the same time. This is especially true if you plan to keep the building for a while. You can also use your remodeling as an advertising tool. People who are interested in helping the Earth will be intrigued by your efforts. Advertising a green building regardless of whether it is new construction or a remodel is a positive thing.

5. Green is not just for the building construction. Did you know there are also tax benefits for going green? You can get deductions for a variety of green building items. Some federal incentives are available for things like solar panels and other energy options. Because a green building costs you less to operate, you can give your shareholders a higher dividend each quarter, thanks to improved profits.

For the Love of the Land

Sometimes a person owns some acreage that they may have either purchased or inherited. This acreage is really special, as it is beautiful, natural or untouched. If you are that person, you may want to preserve its beauty and make sure that it does not just become another subdivision. What step can you take now that will help you to preserve that land and its purpose?

One of the things that you can do is to give a conservation easement to a not for profit, such as The Nature Conservancy, who will make sure that the property is maintained in its current state. Sometimes the easement is located along the perimeter of the property where the potential development might occur. If the property is ever sold, it is sold subject to that easement so the next owner would not be able to develop that property where the easement is located. This does diminish the value of the overall property, but the owner of the property who granted the easement can get an income tax deduction for the difference between what the property was worth before the easement and what it is worth after the easement.

Sometimes the easement is more extensive. For instance, a Libertyville man had visited an area in the northern part of Wisconsin for years. His family spent many of their summer vacations near this land. He had watched for the day that he could buy the land and make sure that it was preserved. Eventually, he bought over 3,000 acres. He negotiated a conservation easement with the Gathering Waters Conservancy and Northwoods Land Trust to limit its use, which means that while the property may have cottages located on the property, it will not have a large scale development on it. Instead, the handful of cottages on it will allow skiers and nature lovers to have access to the property. In the conservation easement, he created the Winter Park Pines Nature Preserve that will be overseen by the Northwoods Land Trust. The easement also allowed for the management of the forest on the property, but no clearcutting of the trees on the property. If this is of further interest to you, feel free to read the rest of the story in the December 30, 2011 issue of the Chicago Tribune.

Buying Land: The First Step for the New Home Builder

We may be living in a free world, where we are largely able to do as we please, but when it comes to building that new home of our dreams, we cannot put it just anywhere. You need a good, solid plot of land to stand as the foundation for your future, and that is going to cost you. In this economy, it is hard to get financing for building a new home unless you already have your land secured and paid for, so for the new home builder, getting that land should be the first step in the long yet worthwhile process of creating your dream home.

First, it is important to understand that not all land is created equal. Two identical plots of flat, lush greenery may differ greatly once you look under the turf. Loose rocks, sand deposits, and other irregularities in the soil consistency can cause headaches for the new home builder, sending your plans for that dream home tumbling down as quickly as the actual house would if it were built on such unsuitable land. Research is your most important tool when purchasing land for your new home, so leave no stone unturned. Literally.

Next, understand that not all land is zoned equally either. While researching your prospective plots, make sure you see if the parcel of land is even legal to build on. It is funny to think about, but there are some tracts of land that a new home builder cannot do anything to. These might be protected habitats for endangered species, for example, or lands with shared ownership that cannot be improved upon. Even when looking at plots that are buildable, be sure that your prospective piece of land is residentially zoned, and that the surrounding land is similarly zoned. Not only does this keep you from having to halt construction once the city finds out what you are up to, but it also stops commercial and industrial building near your new home.

Once those big concerns are out of the way, it is time for the new home builder to start looking at the important yet often overlooked minutia of that seemingly ideal piece of land. Is there a sewer system nearby, or will you need to install a septic tank? Is there public road access, or are you expected to levitate your vehicle to your new home? Are there fun and interesting smells nearby, such as those caused by a local farm or a high skunk population, which might impact your living experience? This list is not exhaustive, but it is a place to start. You can never ask too many questions when purchasing land.

This piece of land, wherever it happens to be, may be the place you spend the rest of your life. When making such a long-term investment decision, it is important to research thoroughly before you decide to take the plunge. No new home builder can build without land, but no home builder should purchase land without information. Spend a day or two, at the very least, researching the details of your chosen parcel of land with a real estate researcher or other qualified professional before you make an offer.

Go over your new home design with your builder to make sure everything works within the property dimensions. With a decision this big, time is the cheapest thing you can afford to spend on making sure your investment is worth it.

Steps to Follow While Selling a Piece of Land

In the current economy, selling a land can be quite a challenge. Investors and potential buyers look for properties that are attractive and priced correctly. Listed below are a few steps, by following which you can convert your land into an appealing option that would make the potential buyers fall in love with it and make an offer right away.

* Prepare the land – A clean and great looking land is undoubtedly easy and quick to sell. Thus, before putting your property in the market for sale, it is best to work on this aspect. So, it is advisable to pick up the junk or garbage and plant some shrubs and wildflowers. Put gravel on the road that leads to your property. The potential buyers or investors would not like to travel on a road having potholes, to reach your property; so do not forget to fix these. It is also important to mark boundaries or corners of the land, to make sure that buyers are able to clearly notice what they would be getting. For those, who do not really have time to perform this task themselves, can hire a professional surveyor.

* Pricing the land correctly – This is one of the most crucial factors that decide how fast your land would be sold. To set a correct asking price, compare the rates of properties that are similar to yours and are available for sale in the local market. This would present you with a good idea of what would be the most appropriate selling price for your land. Remember, buyers always look for a good deal. So, if you can offer them what the others do not, then they are likely to respond more quickly to your advertisement.

* Offer financing – Considering the present economic scenario, prospective buyers are definitely having a hard time obtaining finance from banks. In order to attract maximum potential buyers, you can choose to proffer financing for the part of sales price. Doing so would present you with a better overall profit.

* Know your land – Most probably the buyers would bombard you with loads of questions while viewing your land. So, it is important that you know you land well. Some of the common questions you should have quick answers to include, location of the nearest utilities like power, grocery store, hospital, schools etc.

* Get professional help – Most property sales are still made through realtors. With their extensive knowledge about the current real estate market, ways to successfully advertise a property and excellent negotiation skills, they can significantly speed up the whole land selling process. However, it is important to note that not all estate agents offer similar services. Depending on their area of expertise, they may deal in home sales, commercial sales or land sales. So, before hiring a professional realtor, see to it that the one you choose is proficient in handling land sales.

Staging Ideas to Increase Your Home’s Value

Prior to entering into an agreement to sell your house, it is in your best interest to maximize the value of your home through staging. The following inexpensive tips will help you sell your home faster and for a higher amount. If you intend to sell your house in the next 12 months, your first step should be to contact a respected real estate agent and ask them to tour your house. They can give you advice on what staging ideas you can employ to increase the value of your house. The advice you receive from the real estate agent will help you decide, which projects you want to complete before selling your house. Below is a list of the staging ideas, which will normally increase a home’s value. Although, each house and neighborhood is different, the realtor’s advice on home improvements is critical to maximizing your home’s value.

• Inviting and Appealing – Focus on the entry area of the house. Make sure it’s clean, uncluttered, and freshly painted. You may only have one chance at a first impression for potential homebuyers.

• Bathroom(s) – The number of bathrooms in a house is one of the most important factors homebuyers consider before even looking at a house. A basic update of the bathroom, such as: new paint, new hardware (toilet paper holder and towel rack), new shower curtain and towels, and new flooring will likely add considerable value.

• Paint – Depending on the condition and color of the paint inside and outside of the house, a new coat of paint may increase the appeal of your house to potential buyers. Some homebuyers cannot see potential; they may eliminate your property from consideration simply based on the condition and color of the paint in the house. Neutral colors are more acceptable to a larger audience of homebuyers.

• Minor Changes – Thoroughly inspect your house for glaring issues. These may be as minor as: electrical outlet covers, lighting fixtures, register covers, and floor coverings. Adding an alarm system should also be considered. These updates may be very minor, but may change the appearance and allure of your house to potential buyers.

• Outside Maintenance – Increasing the curb appeal of your house will attract more homebuyers. Look at the siding, gutters, and down-spouts. Address any glaring issues.

• Remove Personal Items – Make your home personal for potential buyers. Let them imagine themselves in your home. The easiest way to do this is to remove your personal photos and keepsakes. Pack up as much as you can in each room. This will make each room seem larger. If you need to, consider renting a storage unit to remove clutter from your house.

• Professional Cleaning – Just before you officially list your property, it would be in your best interest to have your house professionally and thoroughly cleaned.

• Carpeting and Flooring – Depending on the condition of the carpeting and flooring of your house, you may consider purchasing moderately priced floor coverings. Avoid spending top dollar to replace these items, if their new and of average quality they should pass the eye test for homebuyers.

• Brighten Up Each Room – Open the drapes and add higher wattage light bulbs. This will make the rooms look bigger and brighter. Thoroughly clean all fixtures including the lights and ceiling fans.

• Remove Unpleasant Smells – If you have pets, such as: dogs and cats, sometimes odors are hard to cover up. You can use pet cleaning products or baking soda to try to mask smells in your carpeting and furniture. Be careful what you cook, because some odors, such as fish may linger in the house for days.

It is helpful to potential buyers to provide information regarding restaurants, attractions, shopping, and local school. Documenting how convenient the location of your property is to what they deem as important may sway their opinion on your house. The above mentioned improvements coupled with the advice from an experienced real estate agent should help you maximize the value of your house. Increasing the appearance and value of your house will not only result in a higher sales price, but most likely a quicker sale. After you make your home improvements and list your house with an experienced real estate agent, always make sure before accepting any offer that the buyer is pre-approved. The last thing you will want to do after fixing up your house is to take it off the market for a potential buyer who may not qualify for a loan. Always ask to see a copy of their pre-approval letter to verify their ability to obtain a mortgage.