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Landlord

EXPECTATIONS WHEN HIRING A REAL ESTATE BROKER

Expectations When Hiring A Real Estate Broker Photo

EXPECTATIONS YOU SHOULD HAVE WHEN
HIRING A REAL ESTATE BROKER
When a firm engages the services of a licensed real estate broker, what should be the expectation in terms of service and performance? There are many areas to note, but I will mention three that I believe are most important.

Experience.
Enthusiasm and hard work can make up for many deficiencies. There is no question that those two qualities are critical to any successful real estate assignment. However, people just beginning their careers in the brokerage business don’t start by tackling the most difficult deals. Standard practice in the industry is for a young person to be partnered with, and mentored by, a more seasoned veteran. There is much at stake in any real estate deal. Understanding how to structure the proper deal, familiarity with existing market conditions, editing lease language, and negotiating with area landlords generally is earned by riding the coat tails of a more experienced broker and on-the-job experience. Most of what I have learned over the years has come through time spent with experienced and competent landlords, attorneys and contractors . . . and making plenty of mistakes!!!

Honesty.
Absolutely essential! When any firm, large or small, places its trust in an individual broker, particularly with what’s at stake in a real estate deal, the broker must present an “open book” of himself and the deals he presents to the client. If a landlord is offering a special broker trip or bonus for concluding a deal, the client needs to know. If the broker represents a building they are recommending to the client, the client needs to know. A perceived conflict is sometimes worse than an actual conflict. In every instance, without exception, the broker must do what is best for the client.  There should be total transparency from start to finish.

Value.
The broker must provide value in every step of the process. If there is no value, what benefit is there to the client? Value comes in many forms and weighted differently by various firms. However, successful firms are focused firms, and taking the time required to complete a real estate deal can easily eat up lots of time . . . and money!!! Expecting a full-time employee with no experience or knowledge to represent the firm’s best interests in the marketplace is foolish. Landlords know their business, and you know yours; and someone needs to be an advocate for the client.

Looking For A Great Real Estate Broker? Look No Further!!!
Industrial Brokers:
Fred Hedberg, CCIM, SIOR, Principal
Phil Simonet, Principal
John Young, CCIM, Vice President
Joseph Schultz, Associate
Jack Buttenhoff, Associate

Office Brokers:
Nancy Powell, Vice President
 
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Questions Tenants often Ask Regarding Their Occupancy

Questions Tenants often Ask

Q & A
Questions Tenants often Ask Regarding Their Occupancy
Written by Bob Johnston | Vice President Sales & Leasing

QUESTION #1:  What if the Landlord isn’t finished building out my space by the time I want to move in?
ANSWER:  If the Landlord is actually responsible for the completed work, much depends on how the lease is written and the commencement date defined.  For example, a commencement date can tie to the substantial completion of the space, so the lease will not commence until the Landlord completes the work.  Sometimes, the date is even contingent upon occupancy and the commencement of business in the space.  On the other hand, the lease might define a specific commencement date.  If the Landlord is late, the lease language will generally state that there is no culpability on the Landlord’s part, but the commencement date becomes the date on which the space is completed and the initial term extended from that date.  In short, these issues are negotiable and dependent on each tenant’s situation.

QUESTION #2:  Toward the end of each calendar year, the Landlord sends us a note informing us of the new Common Area Maintenance (CAM) & Real Estate Tax estimate for the following year.  However, we never get a breakdown of the actual expenses.  Is that available?
ANSWER:  Most landlords will provide that information if requested.  It always helps to have language in the lease that allows for a tenant’s review of the costs; and with larger tenants, audit rights are always helpful.

QUESTION #3:  What do I need to do to get the tenant improvement allowance provided by the Landlord?
ANSWER:  Typically, smaller tenants with smaller budgets, the only requirement is a formal letter requesting Landlord reimbursement of the allowance and proof of completion accompanied by all subcontractor lien waivers.  Larger jobs can have a title company involved to administer “construction draws” and monitor the construction progress.

QUESTION #4:  Do I need to hire a disinterested third party architect to confirm the size of my space?
ANSWER:  Typically not, but each situation is different.  The buildings architect can pre-measure individual spaces or bays.  From the measurements, floor plans can be drawn.  Therefore, the space computation is generally accurate.  RU factors can vary by building, and are often much higher in smaller buildings.  It helps to check the accuracy of the actual useable space and clarify the respective RU factor to calculate the rentable area (the number that determines the annual rent).

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Successful Commercial Leasing = Understanding Your Rent

Successful Commercial Leasing=Understanding Your Rent

Successful Commercial Leasing = Understanding Your Rent
by Bob Johnston | Vice President Sales & Leasing

THE TERMINOLOGY OF RENT

Successful commercial leasing is all about understanding your rent.  Most commercial leasing today are “net leases.”  Meaning that the tenant pays a “base rent” which is “net rent”, or separate from, the operating costs and real estate taxes for the property.  The operating costs are then passed on to the tenant as a separate cost.  Equaling a total rent cost and what many then refer to as “gross rent.”
Even this varies, however, from property to property. For example, often times in retail and industrial properties, tenants pay for their use of electricity and gas as well as janitorial services.  In addition, sometimes the tenant, at its expense, must contract for local trash pick-up.  These separately contracted costs are not part of the ordinary operating expenses.  On the other hand, office leases typically are “full service” leases.  In other words, there are generally no extra charges.  Other than perhaps charges for extraordinary use of services such as air conditioning or cleaning, etc.
It is critical that a tenant understand the complete picture and know what the total rent will be. Also, it is critical that the tenant understand what expenses make up operating costs.  Then understand what costs are reasonable and legitimate.  It is obviously to the landlord’s advantage to get the tenant to pay as much of the total operating budget as possible.  This is even more critical in mixed-use projects.  Mixed use is where landlords tend to shift maintenance costs for the residences to the office component.  Thus, the office tenant contribution is actually more than what it should be.  I once audited the landlord of a very large mixed-use project in Chicago.  I found over $100,000 wrongfully allocated to the tenant even though the lease prohibited their doing so.

WHAT SHOULD NOT BE INCLUDED IN RENT?
Here are some suggestions as to what to eliminate from the landlord’s menu.  The list is obviously not exhaustive, but rather illustrative of some of the costs landlords attempt to pass on to tenants:

Leasing commissions, space planning expenses with architects/interior designers, or even attorney costs associated with a lease negotiation or existing tenant dispute.
Costs associated with the construction of tenant improvements, either with new tenant relocations or existing tenant renovations and remodeling.
Costs associated with the entity of landlord, particularly as it relates to partnership/ownership issues or the selling or refinancing the property.
Many large landlords have affiliates or interests in affiliate companies, so it is important to ensure that the contracted vendor costs are no more than what an unrelated third party vendor might charge.
Be careful about the expenses for salaries, benefits, etc. that go into “management fees.”  Executive salaries, or any allocation of those salaries, should not be part of the operating costs for the building.
Capital improvements are not, by accounting standards, expense items.  Although, landlords can routinely pass on the amortized cost of the improvement as an operating expense.
Make certain that in a retail environment, the tenant’s pro-rata share of operating expenses is calculated over the entire leasable area of the property.  Rather than only on the space currently leased and occupied.

Proper due diligence and understanding of the components of a building’s operating budget are critical to a tenant’s successful occupancy, financial stability and long-term enjoyment of the space.

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