Commercial Real Estate Closing Checklist

One of the main reasons that a commercial property transaction might fall through when it is near to closing is because one of the parties has forgotten an important aspect of the transaction that needs to be considered before the relevant documents can be signed.

With that in mind we have created a small checklist of things that you need to keep in mind when closing on a commercial real estate property, to make sure that you cover all of the bases.

Acquisition Documents

You need to ensure that all of the documents relating to the purchase are in place and ready. This includes all of the following:

• A signed letter of intent

• Any and all drafts of the purchase contract

• Any information relating to your legal counsel

• Access agreements

• Any client or portfolio manager authorisation that is required

• A fully completed purchase contract, that will be delivered into escrow

• Documentation for the initial cash deposits for the purchase

• Arranging for any bank accounts required to be set up

Title Matters

Title and zoning issues are also a high priority, so make sure you have the following:

• You have selected a title company whom you can send the seller’s title commitment to

• Have an ALTA survey carried out and ensure you have the right documentation

• Verify that all relevant leases and assets are in the seller’s name

Tenant Issues

If you are buying an apartment building or any form of commercial property where other businesses may become tenants and lease out space, you need to have all of the following:

• A current certified rent roll

• A review of all current leases and the related documentation for each.

• Your legal counsel should look over these leases and compare to the current review

• You need to look over all current tenant files

• Resolve any outstanding issues regarding lease

• Receive all reports relating to the tenants, including sales and receivables reports

• Transfer all tenant security deposits

• Review the tenant credit and payment history

• Prepare and sign the tenant Estoppel Certificates

• Final check on all documentation

Financial

The transfer of all relevant financial information is extremely important as well. This includes:

• Copies of any historical or proforma financial information

• Copies of utility bills

• Most recent tax statements

• An expense list for all expenses currently operating under the property

Litigation

You will need to consider the possibility that there is any current action against the property or the existing owners and take that into consideration.

Insurance

Getting insurance for the building is crucial, so it is important to get a quote as early into the proceedings as possible. Some of this may be covered by the Property Management Agreement.

Physical Property Inspection

Before any transaction is completed a physical property inspection must be carried out by the buyer to ensure that they are getting everything that they expect from the property.

Final Closing Documentation

To complete the transaction all of the relevant financial and legal documentation must be completed and handed in on time and be completely accurate.

Book Review: The Book Of Business Etiquette by Nella Braddy Henney

When I downloaded the (free) e-book The Book of Business Etiquette by Nella Braddy Henney I was fully anticipating reading a not-so-enthusiastic rendition of how to act while in business meetings, how to handle difficult clients/customers, how to put together a proper meeting for clients, etc. Because, after all, books like this aren’t usually enthusiastic or enthralling in the least, right? Well, I didn’t happen to look at the year this book was written before jumping right in. It was written in 1922, by the way.

At first I was taken aback a bit as it described what I consider the ‘olden days’ where meetings were made by writing letters – not emails, regular, old fashioned, pen-to-paper letters that were actually mailed using the postal service, where salesmen got around on foot and by train, where there were switchboards people called into to contact a person or business, etc. Yes, I’ve heard about these times, but I really thought the author was referring to these days as when etiquette was something worthwhile. After all, it only occasionally occurs these days when a man holds a door open for a woman or where courtesy and polite manners are used outside of attempting to get something a person wants.

I truly enjoyed how this book was written because of several aspects:

  1. It was written with etiquette from the days where courtesy was still extremely important in business.
  2. Many, many examples are provided from (what seem to be) real-life scenarios that people experienced and how they were handled.
  3. Several options were given for how to handle different circumstances, but the correct option of how to handle the situation in a professional and courteous manner was pointed out.
  4. Even though the examples were from a different day and age, they still very much apply to today’s business world (with a few minor modifications).
  5. The author described in detail the proper dress and professionalism a salesman should adhere to when calling on customers.
  6. Several situations from different parts of business are described, such as in a department store (how to handle customers) and for the traveling salesman (how to handle tough new clients).

This book also goes into detail about the value of courtesy, table manners, how to act on the phone and at front doors, and morals and manners. In addition, the author describes how to learn what to do in unfamiliar circumstances, such as when there are more forks or spoons at a table setting than you are used to.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and recommend it for anyone in a business or traveling environment because even though the situations described and advice given for those situations is from the early 1900s, it can be, and is, still very applicable in today’s business environment.

Real Estate Leads – How To Get Free Real Estate Agent Leads

Real estate leads are vital to any agent or brokers business. Home sale and home buyer leads have always been an important part of keeping a real estate business moving forward. With the advent of the internet and more than 80-percent of home buyers going on-line to look for their next home, internet leads are one of the most important marketing avenues realtors and brokers need to be using to increase their listings and income.

What many real estate agents don’t know is that there are a handful of real estate lead generation companies that generate the majority of leads on the internet. In fact they generate so many leads that they don’t have enough real estate professionals to sell them to. In order to help the home buyer or seller who went to the businesses website the lead generation companies have been giving the leads away for free, at least no up-front cost.

To get the free leads the real estate agent has to agree to pay a referral for any closed translation. The reason many agents don’t know about these leads is because only one or two of the large on-line lead generation companies offer this free referral service because it requires them to have a licensed broker within the company.

These business leads are very helpful for a realtor starting in the business or a broker who has multiple agents under them. Also, agents who want to increase their marketing and number of closings each month can use these leads to increase their business. Typically the lead generation company wants 1 to 2 years of experience representing home buyers or home sellers but if they don’t have any agents in your area then they will most likely take any agent. For home seller leads it is helpful if the agents have a network of investors who can buy houses fast. Many home sellers who go on-line and complete home seller forms need to sell a home quickly for many reasons. Some have large amounts of equity which allows them to sell price their home for a quick sale. Others are behind on their mortgage and would love to have an investor buy their home so they don’t lose it to foreclosure.

If you are a broker or realtor and looking to increase your business I suggest signing up with one of the lead generation companies who offers a no cost real estate referral program. Typically these companies do not charge you any sign-up fee, monthly fees or cancellation fees, just a fee for closed transactions.

Commercial Real Estate Tenant Screening Checklist

The length of a commercial lease is more than a residential one. Generally, a commercial unit is rented for 3-5 years. Since it involves a great deal of money, it’s important to screen tenants before renting. Read on to know the essential commercial real estate listings before renting out an office space.

Have an established process for screening tenants

One must have an established process for screening inhabitants. Prospective renters must fill in an application form. In the form, one must seek permission to do a credit check. The method makes sure that there is no discrimination by the landlord while leasing out his property.

Review credit report

There are many online services which run credit checks on inhabitants on the behalf of landlords. After receiving the credit report, owners must review it carefully and ask for an explanation if there is any delinquency. The report will make it clear whether the tenant has a history of paying bills late or has suffered bankruptcy.

Get personal information

While leasing out a commercial real estate for rent, owners must ask for personal information of the lessee. Often during such a deal, tenants use the company’s credit, information, and not their own personal information. If the inhabitant is new in the business, it’s the right of owners to know whether he/she can pay the rent incase the business shuts down. Personal information will also help proprietors to know if the renter has a criminal background or not.

Contact previous landlords

Most applications ask tenants to fill name and contact information of their earlier landlords. However, owners tend to overlook it and don’t call up past proprietors for references. It’s a huge mistake as a past owner can give valuable information, which is not available otherwise. Therefore, before renting it’s imperative to contact previous owners of the prospective occupant.

Get help from tenant screening firms

It’s not always possible for an owner to do all the checks on his own. In such a scenario, they must seek help from tenant screening firms who do credit checks, reference check, etc. Landlords can make a decision based on the report of such firms.

Interaction in person

The last part of the screening process should include a face-to-face interaction with the renter. There are several things that can’t be communicated in an application or telephonic discussions. During such interactions, owners must study the body language of the lessee. This is a great indicator to know whether the occupant is reliable or not.

Proper screening doesn’t cost owners much, but reaps huge benefits for them in the long run.

Real Estate Agent Assistant Agreement

Using an assistant agreement is vital when hiring a real estate assistant. It should describe the working relationship between you and the assistant. The first thing you should consider is whether he or she is an employee or working as an independent contractor. If you choose to have an employee you have to deduct taxes, social security and unemployment insurance from their pay. This involves a lot of record keeping on your part plus the added expenses you incur by having an employee…

So after consideration most agents that hire assistants choose the independent contractor status. You do not have to do any of the withholding. You just have to provide a 1099 form. There is no salary only a commission or fee as payment or services rendered payment. This fee will also be deductible on your taxes as an expense.. It would be wise to check with your accountant to see how to handle the payment schedule.

You should hire an assistant that has an active real estate license because if they don’t have one it will limit them to doing only what an unlicensed person can do. This will make a very big difference because there are many tasks that need a licensed agent to perform. Some of the requirements you should consider when interviewing an assistant would be having computer skills in programs such as Microsoft word, excel or comparable programs. If they don’t have a laptop computer you may have to provide one. Although it’s an expense the investment will prove well worth it.

Let’s talk about what else an agreement should do.

  • Define the work hours
  • Define commission or payment services
  • Explain what duties you expect from an assistant
  • Assist with showings
  • Assist with market value reports
  • Go on market value report appointments with you
  • Set Appointments
  • Do open houses
  • Record keeping
  • Mailings
  • Hand out flyers
  • Place signs for open houses
  • Make phone calls on your behalf
  • Prospecting for new business
  • Review the daily updates on the MLS
  • Preview new listings
  • Meet all of your clients and customers
  • A team player attitude

You must determine a payment schedule of how much, when and how often the assistant should expect payment. Your business growth should have a direct effect on commission increases for the assistant. A confidentially clause is important to have in your agreement. The assistant must know that what goes on between both of you stays confidential. Having this all on paper will set the guidelines. Your assistant will know their job description and their duties.. A real estate assistant agreement should protect both parties.