commercial real estate

Commercial Real Estate Investment Strategies

Commercial Real Estate Investment Strategies: Do-it-yourself Market Research Pays

One of the strategies commercial real estate investors like to employ is hiring consultants or market research companies to analyse a specific market a commercial real estate investor wants to pursue.

To a beginning investor, the overall strategy seems logical and well-intended.  Who better to know a market than the analysts who spend their days and nights collecting, analysing and reporting on such data?

I’ll tell you:  YOU—the commercial real estate investor.

There is no substitute for doing your own research.  There is no substitute for keeping your own counsel.  There is no substitute for doing your own homework.

Why?

Because it’s YOUR MONEY that will ultimately be spent.  It’s YOUR bank account that will ultimately reflect the success or failure of a commercial real estate endeavour.

Too many well meaning beginning real estate investors think they don’t have what it takes to do the homework required on a market.  Too many well meaning investors yield to their analysis people who supposedly know more about the subject than they do.

This is a costly strategic mistake.

I have nothing against market research people or consultants.  I have no axe to grind with them.  They are extremely competent, thorough people who provide a valuable service.

My issue is with HOW they are used by the commercial real estate investor.

The challenge is when an investor trusts their judgment–more than his or her own.  Many times an investor will be in awe of their command of the information, specifically statistics.

The reason I say this is because I have seen many a real estate investor unwittingly fall victim to this process.  It’s very easy to find yourself yielding to a “professionals” opinion based upon research which you have paid handsomely for.

Don’t.  It is a mistake that will cost you later on.

So what is the proper way to use these market research professionals?  There are three common ways which these professionals are valuable to the commercial real estate investor:

  1. One is as a way to flush out new ideas and do homework and research “heavy lifting” which needs doing that the investor doesn’t have time to accomplish on his or her own.  The investor knows exactly the information he is after.
  1. The second strategy is as a way to confirm the findings which the investor already believes are accurate. In other words, the investor is looking for a second opinion before he commits more resources to the project.
  1. The third strategy is very interesting: Some investor will use professional resources to poke holes in their strategy.  To find the fatal flaw.  To find “the fly in the ointment”.  The investor will never admit this to the professionals, yet he wants to know all the reasons the deal won’t work.

You’ll notice one thing in common with these three strategies:  The investor will always do his own research.  It’s a critical aspect of success—one that should never be delegated.

 

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Flipping Real Estate – Calculating Costs

I know, I know – how obnoxiously American a term – ‘flipping’ real estate! However it works – and whatever we chose to call it Down Under – we still do it (and probably better than the Yanks anyway 😉 )

If you’ve been in the real estate investing business, or more specifically been flipping real estate, for more than a few days, you’ve inevitably gotten an email that reads something like this:

“Investor’s Dream. This property will go QUICK.

– Property Address: 1234 Main Street

– Asking Price: $400,000 (Add or subtract zeros!)

– After Repair Value: $500,000

– Repairs: $25,000

– Profit: $75,000

– Details: Needs paint, carpet, tile, new kitchen, update bathroom, some roof damage.

STOP! Before you read on… Take a guess at what you think the “real” profit’s going to be on this real estate investment…

If you haven’t ever gotten an email or fax broadcast like this, then rest assured, you will! I’m about to probably tick off all of the late night infomercials and pitchmen out there! Sure, I understand that when you’ve got 30 minutes (or 90 minutes, for that matter), that you’ve got to sell what’s sexy… not what’s real!

Now it’s my turn to expose the real deal on real estate investing! This goes for flipping real estate itself (i.e. properties) or simply flipping the contract (also known as assigning the contract). When you’re flipping real estate, you need to be able to calculate the “real” bottom line and if your assigning the contract, you need to know your numbers so you don’t get blacklisted by investors! This one piece of information will keep you from getting into trouble because of any “real estate bubble”!

Purchase Costs

Here goes… Have you EVER purchased and sold a piece of real estate for FREE? If you’re not sure what the answer is… It’s an emphatic NO… You are going to have costs to buy, costs to hold and costs to sell. This holds true even if you are buying a property for all cash. (Think stamp duty, titles office fees, conveyancing  fees, etc.)

If you’re not getting a mortgage, your purchase costs are obviously much lower, but nonetheless, there are costs associated with any real estate transaction. Plus, more than likely, if you’re relatively new, you’re probably not paying all cash for property anyway. You’re probably going to be using a home loan/mortgage for your initial real estate investing financing! (As a general rule I expect you would be using loans and mortgages for most if not all of your investments in real estate).

For a quick calculation, you can estimate anywhere between 3% – 5% for settlement costs to just acquire the property. That’s 3%-5% of the purchase price.

Holding Costs

How much is it going to cost you each and every day to own this piece of real estate? See, if you’re making money in real estate, you’d better believe that there are a lot of other people that are going to expect to get paid and they get paid in the form of mortgage interest, council rates, utilities (unless it is rented), property insurance, etc. Each of these is an expense each and every day that you own the property. Here’s an example… A home loan on a bread and butter type piece of real estate might run you 5%. Let’s say you got the property for $400,000. Every month, you are paying $1,666 in interest alone. Let’s say that taxes and insurance are another $200/month and then utilities at $200. Right there, the property is costing you $2066/month – or roughly $68/day. See, why it’s important to know not only your holding costs on a real estate investment, but also how long it’s going to be on the market before you can flip the property.

Selling Costs

Here’s the third part of the real estate investing puzzle. When you want to turn around and sell this piece of real estate, it’s going to cost you yet again! Are you going to use a real estate agent and pay a commission or 1.5-3.5% or even more? On $500,000, that’s anywhere from $7,500 to $17,500 chopped of the top.

If you can remember this… and apply what you’ve just learned to each and every real estate deal that you do, you’ll be safe flipping real estate in any market. You see, if it’s a hot market, you can calculate less time for holding cost. But, in a slower market, make your offer based on 6 months or 9 months of holding costs. It’s really simple mathematics! And real estate really is a numbers game…

5 House Flipping Do’s

1) Do put everything to pen and paper and plan it out carefully before you begin.

2) Do establish a budget for the entire project.

3) Do have an inspection.

4) Do know the neighbourhood and plan your flip according to the needs of the area rather than your personal tastes and needs in a home.

5) Do remember that you are in the market to make money not waste money when it comes to establishing an asking price for the property.

5 House Flipping Don’ts

1) Don’t forget to check out the neighbourhood before you buy.

2) Don’t blow your budget without just cause. Your budget is what you used to determine whether or not the house would be a profitable venture.

3) Don’t forget to set daily goals and hold yourself accountable to those goals.

4) Don’t neglect the exterior. Curbside appeal is what brings buyers into the property.

5) Don’t spend money you don’t need to spend. While it would be great to put in granite countertops and gourmet kitchens into every home it isn’t always practical.

commercial loan

10 Tips for getting a Commercial Loan

Beginners look at commercial loans as a means of realising a dream. They long to own their own restaurant, pub or bed-and-breakfast, and look to their friendly local bank manager for help. Cue frustration and disappointment. These days, commercial loans are decided by back-room underwriters, who use cold calculation to decide your credit worthiness. To the seasoned pro, it’s just another day at the office; a handy way of adding to their portfolio. To get the best deal, you need to prepare in advance. Here are a few tips to help you on your way to securing a commercial loan:

  1. Have your business plan, forecasts and projections, financial records and statements, history of the property’s income, and the appraisal when you approach lenders. Make sure these are accurate and up to date. This lets the bank know that you mean business. If you make them think about your application and make their own assumptions, they are more likely to decline the application.
  1. Put your own money down. You’ll need at least a deposit and settlement costs. Lenders want to share the risk, not own it entirely. They will usually not finance more than 75% of the appraised value of the property. Personal guaranties of the principal owners may be necessary for a commercial loan.
  1. Get your own appraisal of the property. This will provide you with an unbiased estimate of what the property is really worth. You’ll then know whether it’s worth the financial risk.
  1. Apply for your commercial loan as soon as you can. Commercial lenders exaggerate their speed. They’ll quote you forty-five days when it’s more likely to be three months!
  1. Never rely on just one commercial lender. Commercial lending is very subjective.
  1. Lenders near the property generally offer better terms. With those farther away, it’s a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’.
  1. Have a lawyer who specialises in property investment go over everything. You need someone who knows the business and who can be an advocate on your behalf.
  1. Be certain that you can afford to keep your business going and still meet your payments. Properties must show sufficient debt-repayment ability. If the property is to be occupied by a sole tenant, the lender may want to appraise that tenant’s finances.
  1. Check with your local small business administration for any potential grants or low interest commercial loans you might be able to wangle.
  1. Negotiate. You do not have to take the first offer you get. Getting a commercial loan is like buying any other goods. People are sometimes too in awe of banks to haggle. There’s no need to be afraid; they can only say no!

 

Beginners look at commercial loans as a means of realising a dream. They long to own their own restaurant, pub or bed-and-breakfast, and look to their friendly local bank manager for help. Cue frustration and disappointment. These days, commercial loans are decided by back-room underwriters, who use cold calculation to decide your credit worthiness. To…

Fine Tune Your Commercial Real Estate Crystal Ball

Don’t you wish you had a crystal ball that showed you what is to come in the future? A simple wave over the crystal ball, the mutter of a magic word, and your entire future is there, revealed in front of you. Now that you know what is to come, you can prepare and move accordingly so you can be ready for what the now identified future holds.

Unfortunately, this crystal ball does not literally exist, but in commercial real estate there are many tools that you can use that act like a crystal ball. They can show you the future in an indirect way so you, too, may pla
n and move accordingly in order to take advantage of the market place.

Fining tuning your commercial real estate crystal ball is really a matter of paying attention, doing some basic research, and being on top and aware of all elements in your comfort zone, or concentrated area of focus and influence. It does take vision and an element of creativity to really fine tune your crystal ball, and, for some, it is the best aspect of commercial real estate! Being able to predict, envision, and then create something that at one time did not even exist, not even in an idea, and then search out the resources to create and put the plan in motion is a commercial real estate insider’s dream.  When done effectively, it can be very satisfying and lucrative!

You should already be doing many things that assist you in predicting and planning for the future, which is extremely important in commercial real estate. If you can see an opportunity coming before it actually presents itself, then you are able to prepare for that opportunity before anyone else, and reap the benefits. These things may include driving the streets of your community to see what land and buildings are for sale, what centres are vacant for leasing, attending planning and zoning meetings, reading the local newspaper for economic and real estate changes or trends, as well as researching other cities and how their market may affect yours in any way, shape or form.

As a real estate insider, it is pertinent that you are up to par, and even an expert in your comfort zone. These things listed above are how you are constantly informed and a step ahead of other real estate people, as well as your own market.

Besides doing these things religiously, and always analysing the data that you collect, there are a few other specific tools that will allow you to see into your commercial real estate future and identify opportunities that others will miss.

The first is a city’s or town’s future land use plan or map that shows the future zoning and use for all the land within a city or town’s limits. Some cities may not have one if they are too small and not looking for growth. However, most cities do have master use plans that are used to dictate the entire future of a city’s economic make-up.  The reports that go along with these offer a wealth of demographic information as well which provides great insight into the future development of an area.  For example, here is the link to the Melbourne Growth Plan documents http://www.planmelbourne.vic.gov.au/Plan-Melbourne . In addition, check out the actual planning websites for your specific state, city or region. Here is Victoria’s http://planningschemes.dpcd.vic.gov.au .

These maps and report are used to plan for growth so that all elements of a city or town are controlled. Zoning and use may change for operating properties; others may remain the same. There is the possibility of raw land to be annexed into the city, having a specific use, offering huge opportunities to the commercial real estate investor. There may be a need to tear down or renovate old properties, and develop them for a different use.

The possibilities of what a future land use map holds is gold in the eyes of an investor, and extremely important to all those working in commercial real estate. Refer to this map, and actually visit the locations of where there is change to identify opportunities. As every area is different, you will be amazed as to what opportunities will unveil themselves when you bring to it a little vision, creativity, and insider information regarding the zoning and use of a property.

Another tool to see into the future is the economic forecast for your area. By looking at both the past and future per capita income, population growth rates, housing costs and other such data that can be found via the Bureau of Statistics, you can see the overall economic environment of your city or town and how it is performing.

Perhaps a continuing decrease in population means people are moving out of the area, telling you not to invest in new home or unit development in that area. Or, the growth has been so extreme that the area is in desperate need of commercial property in order to support the influx of people. You can definitely plan on how you are going to move in the market with this information by your side.

The final tool I urge you to utilise when predicting your commercial real estate future is already approved infrastructural changes within your city. This will require you to attend city and town meetings regarding zoning, planning, development, etc. There could be discussion of a new development a year or more before it actually occurs, and once you hear about it, you can start putting your own ideas into place.

As I am sure you already know, large, influential, infrastructural changes can greatly increase the land values of properties that surround them. For example, a large shopping centre being developed will increase the value of all the land surrounding it, as well as possibly call for a greater demand of residential units, and an increase in the rental prices that can be charged according to the new market.

Let’s say that you hear two years in advance about a shopping centre that will begin development after it is approved. You are then going to get a jump on all competition, look at the site, the land surrounding it, and the opportunities it may offer. Can you purchase the now extremely cheap land adjacent to this site, or perhaps the poor performing units nearby in anticipation of this new development so that you may benefit from the price increase this major infrastructural change is going to cause?

Absolutely!

These things happen all the time, and I urge you to be a visionary and look to the future. After all, this is where a majority of commercial real estate profits are made- by creating something that either wasn’t there, or improving upon what is there.

As you can see, you may not have a crystal ball that does all the work for you, but I promise that if you use these tools and follow these guidelines, you will be preparing yourself for great opportunities that others, quite simply, will overlook. It will take some effort and constant dedication. However, the results that you yield will be worth it. Actually, it is much easier to be the first mover, rather than suffering the increased land prices and changes after a development is already in place or even underway.

Realise your power to predict the future and plan your goals accordingly! You will be successful with these tools, so implement them today.

Author: Melanie Burns

To discuss this article or anything else to do with your finances, please call our office today on 0434 087 735 or email us and we will be happy to assist you.

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Don’t you wish you had a crystal ball that showed you what is to come in the future? A simple wave over the crystal ball, the mutter of a magic word, and your entire future is there, revealed in front of you. Now that you know what is to come, you can prepare and move…

Commercial Real Estate Misconceptions: You Mean Location, Location, Location Was a Lie?

Commercial real estate is a wonderful, exciting business that can offer a wealth of opportunity for those who look for it! Many people are often hesitant to enter the market of commercial real estate for many different reasons. In fact, there are some major misconceptions about commercial real estate which I am going to address here.Many people who hear about commercial real estate, but aren’t necessarily in the business, often use the expression “location, location, location!” Many people associate this expression as the truth, that the three most important attributes about a property are “location, location, location!”

I am here to tell you – this is absolutely not the case! Now, I am not going to say location is not important, but what if you have a beautiful location for a Bushland retreat, complete with hills, a perfect location for a hotel, and beautiful mountain views? What you want to do to the property is improve it as a weekend getaway for romantic couples with a beautiful hotel, resort, luxury type housing, and perhaps some individual cottages overlooking the bushland. Sounds great, right?

The perfect location- you can’t beat it! But, you learn that the zoning for this property is residential. The use is only one single family residence per acre, and no commercial property allowed. What happened to your “location, location, location?” It flew out the window!

The most important aspect of a property is the use. What is it intended for by designation of the council? It does not matter where the property is, if you cannot get the zoning that is in the realm of your intended use.

It is possible to get properties rezoned, especially as cities and towns change and grow. Be sure to consult with the council to determine if these changes are even possible, because you do not want to buy a property that you cannot rezone, and be left with an unprofitable property on your hands.

Most people believe that commercial real estate is complicated and you need a special education or know how to succeed in the business. Many think that commercial real estate is filled with international finance, heavy and complicated math, complicated tax rules, and forms and applications that are just too complicated to understand correctly.

I am happy to tell you this misconception is the worst, because it puts a road block in front of many people’s aspirations to become a commercial real estate insider. Let me put this misconception to rest. There is math involved, and most of it is not at all complicated: simple ratios, adding, subtracting and multiplying. What is even better is you don’t have to do the math. There are others who can do that for you. The same is true with property management, inspecting the property, and doing the end of year taxes. In fact, commercial real estate is less complicated than residential real estate because you can focus your energies on a single deal that will be worth perhaps 10, 20, even 50 residential deals!

Let me put it into perspective for you. If you owned a business (many of you may), would you create strategies, keep the books, manage the many locations, sell on the front floor, and take out the trash after the day was over? I think not! Commercial real estate is made up of many people whom are there to help you with whatever you need. You must position yourself as a real estate insider, which is a leader in the business.

Another misconception is commercial real estate is management intensive, that you must manage every property you own. Let me tell you when you end up owning 10 or more properties, this is almost impossible to do! You do not have to actually manage your properties yourself, so you can concentrate on creating more deals. Hire a company or agent or set a team in place to take care of this “day-to-day” business.

As you can see, what is passed around in dialogue about commercial real estate is not always true. Before you take everything to heart, be sure to get your facts straight. In fact, many people in this profession speak about commercial real estate as a business in which only the savvy and sophisticated can succeed. They often act this way because they want to keep people out of the market by differentiating themselves. If you were in this position, you would too!

Author: Melanie Burns

To discuss this article or anything else to do with your finances, please call our office today on 0434 087 735 or email us and we will be happy to assist you.

 

Commercial real estate is a wonderful, exciting business that can offer a wealth of opportunity for those who look for it! Many people are often hesitant to enter the market of commercial real estate for many different reasons. In fact, there are some major misconceptions about commercial real estate which I am going to address here.Many…

Three Character Attributes Every Successful Commercial Real Estate Investor Must Have

Known for his tremendous wealth, ability to put together the largest, most profitable commercial real estate deals, and famous reputation, and whether you love him or loathe him, there is no denying that Donald Trump is the commercial real estate investor icon of our times.

Although we know he has extremely creative financial and investment strategies, and expert legal advice from people such as George Ross, he has more than just the average investor. There are other investors who probably know as much as Donald does, or more. However, they do not have the successful qualities that allow them to create such wealth from commercial real estate and accomplish the goals Donald has.

Donald has three successful qualities that you need to possess to truly create the quality of deals and wealth he is known for. These qualities are his ability to build relationships with everyone he works with, his ability to sell the big picture, and strong, overpowering charisma that takes a room by storm.

Almost any deal can work to your advantage if you work on and develop these skills. You may have strength for one or another. However, in order to have this industry at your fingertips, you must master each one. Success is delivered through the relationship between these characteristics, as one is not as good without the other or by itself.

Being able to build relationships with everyone that you work with is absolutely critical in the commercial real estate industry. You want to rub elbows with the decision makers in your city; those who are in charge of council zoning and planning committees at every level of the city. Get past the gate keepers and speak to the core people asking for their advice and become close acquaintances on a first name basis. These relationships can be implemented before you even think about doing a deal where their influence may be necessary. Relationships will not only get you insider information, but will give way for special favours and a good word to others who may influence your accomplishments.

Charisma is the ability to ignite passion and motivation among all those who are in an ear’s reach of the person. Charisma allows everyone to breakthrough barriers that otherwise would remain standing. Those who are charismatic can make even opposing forces agree on a common goal and move forward ambivalently. Donald can do just this – igniting passion and excitement that lines people up to follow in his direction. He becomes a true leader that others happily follow because they believe in him and his message. This characteristic will let you bring people on board that otherwise wouldn’t even think about working in your favour. It is a very helpful and powerful characteristic to possess.

The final characteristic is selling everyone on the big picture – everyone who is influenced by the value created in the deal. The community, the city, builders, developers, banks and even businesses around the location in which the project is growing all need to understand what is not there currently. As you know, these projects that were once old, dilapidated buildings that did absolutely nothing but bring the city or suburb down, can be turned into multi-million dollar establishments that can change the value of the entire city.

Do you have these qualities? Do you see yourself having the same effect on others as Donald Trump has had on the many people he has worked for? Everyone can master these abilities with a little focus and practice. Study others who are successful and possess these qualities. And remember that they are most effective when working together, not standing alone.

Author: Melanie Burns

To discuss this article or anything else to do with your finances, please call our office today on 0434 087 735 or email us and we will be happy to assist you.

Known for his tremendous wealth, ability to put together the largest, most profitable commercial real estate deals, and famous reputation, and whether you love him or loathe him, there is no denying that Donald Trump is the commercial real estate investor icon of our times. Although we know he has extremely creative financial and investment…