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…

How NOT to get a Commercial mortgage loans!

Commercial mortgage loans : Here are a few tips on how not to get a mortgage, and underneath each one, the smart thing to do instead.

1. Don’t haggle.

A mortgage or a house is just another consumer product. A few clever words can get you a sweeter deal.  So haggle!

2. Don’t look at the small print.

Companies may offer very low rates upfront, but hide additional costs in the small print. Beware of additional costs not immediately apparent.

3. Go for a long term.

Try to keep the term of the mortgage as short as possible. The shorter the term the less you pay in interest. Consider a twenty or twenty five year term instead of thirty years if you can afford it.

4. Buy the most expensive property you can (barely) afford.

Resist the urge to splurge. Some lenders will offer up to six times your salary. They’re not doing you a favour. Get the minimum the missus will be happy with. Divorces can be triggered by loan defaults.

5. Ignore your credit rating.

Improve your credit rating as much as you can. Pay off old loans, and once they’re paid off, check your credit report. Ensure you pay all your bills on time (or before time); never later than the due date. Pay off credit cards and keep their balances low. Close unnecessary credit card accounts.  Open a savings account at your bank if you don’t already have one.

6. Focus on the interest rate.

Don’t get too caught up in comparing interest rates and various special offers; they may not reflect what you will get if you apply. Everything depends on your own financial circumstances and the types of features of a loan that are important to you.

7. Ignore your outgoings.

Write up a budget of your monthly expenses; factor in daily, weekly, monthly and yearly outgoings. See how much you can truly afford to put towards repayments.

And …

8. Rush to take the time-limited-one-time-only-discount-special-offer.

The deal that seems too good to be true probably is. Avoid jumping straight into what could be the biggest purchase of your life. Check it out first.

To discuss this article or anything 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 mortgage loans

Commercial mortgage loans : Here are a few tips on how not to get a mortgage, and underneath each one, the smart thing to do instead. 1. Don’t haggle. A mortgage or a house is just another consumer product. A few clever words can get you a sweeter deal.  So haggle! 2. Don’t look at the small…

Timing the market: how the cycles affect your portfolio

Having a thorough understanding of the real estate cycle enables you to time your move accurately and maximize your returns.

Most real estate investors face many challenges in building a profitable real estate portfolio. Determining whether to purchase or liquidate, raise or lower rents, or deciding which sector of real estate to participate in can be determined more easily and profitably by understanding the real estate cycle and the important attributes of its behavior.

It is tough to be at the beginning of a trend. People tend to follow the crowd (or the media) and consequently buy yesterday’s deals. It is much easier to profit when you are buying at the beginning or even in the middle of a cycle. If you can accurately time a rising market, you can benefit from higher rental income due to higher occupancy which results in upward pressure on property values and conversely liquidate when the opposite is evident.

Fortunately for real estate investors, the movements of real estate prices are slower and more predictable than the stock market due to the slow response to promising or discouraging economic movement.  The real estate cycle displays different characteristics based on whether the property is a free-standing house, a high density unit or a commercial property. Property values in office buildings are generally more susceptible to swings in a cycle than industrial buildings, retail buildings, apartment buildings and residential.

Demand drives each of these sectors. In the case of office buildings, the demand for office space is tied in directly to employment and the financial sector. Demand for industrial space is powered by manufacturing, transportation and the need for warehouse space.  Demand for retail space and apartment units is stimulated by population and growth of income.

All cycles are local

The real estate cycle can vary significantly from city to city and even down to suburb, compared to aggregate national statistics. A local real estate cycle can react differently based on economic demand for housing and can have longer or shorter peaks or troughs than the national cycle and nationally reported statistics.

It is important to understand the local real estate cycle wherever you decide to invest in order to make decisions that will be profitable. Being able to predict what will be happening in your local market based on specific key indicators will allow you to analyze expected returns, forecast property income and potential value increases or decreases. This can also aid in buy or sell triggers in your portfolio based on over or undersupply in the market.

Stages of the real estate cycle

There are typically four stages to each real estate cycle. In order to properly analyse, you need local data describing historic appreciation or depreciation which ultimately boils down to supply and demand.  For instance, demand for office space increases as a result of higher employment which in turn stimulates retail and residential demand. Conversely, demand for office space decreases as the value of market rents goes up. This factor spills over to retail and residential.

One must be aware of other indicators that are prevalent in each of the four stages of “top”, “down”, “bottom” and “up” of the cycle, specifically pertaining to residential properties.

1. Top of the market

Many Australian metropolitan cities today have been touted as being at the bottom of their market whereas others are on their way back up, some are booming and yet others remain stagnant. Historically cycles last from seven to 10 years, which allows us to learn from the past and better prepare for what and when our next move should be.

There are key indicators that are indicative of any real estate cycle. At the top of a market, prices are high. This sounds like an obvious statement, but what contributes to factors driving prices up?

Typically when there is high demand, the price goes up. This is usually triggered by employment opportunities, an enticing lifestyle or a retirement destination.

To properly analyse a residential market, you need to know the if the number of sales are increasing month to month, the number of days on the market it takes for a property to sell, if multiple offers on properties are becoming common – this drives property prices up even higher.

Other indicators can be observed just by driving around observing the construction industry. If stock is low and demand is high, people are generally very optimistic.

Vacancy rates will be lower so there will be less “For Rent” signs evident.

Your game plan

  1. If you can raise your rents, now is definitely the time.  Renew leases. With low vacancy and high migration to the area, there is high demand for properties. However, if interest rates are low, renters may be jumping into new homes.
  2. Once over-building is evident, you may consider liquidating one or more of your properties, particularly any underperforming properties, which may sell for a great price.
  3. Buy-reno-sell strategies can work well at the beginning of this phase provided the property is acquired under fair market value.
  4. You may consider selling later in this cycle.

2. A down market

A downward trending market happens after the top of a cycle. This move can be subtle at first. Many inexperienced investors can “get caught” during this shift, resulting in potential losses.

This can result from maintaining a selling price higher than the market will bear rather than anticipating the downward trend and unloading the property with good pricing or speculating in preconstruction.

A downward trending market occurs when new construction exceeds demand and/or prices hit maximum affordability. Once this happens, prices begin leveling off, demand slows down, and public optimism becomes uncertain.

When a market has too much inventory, sales decrease, ultimately triggering the amount of listings to increase.  This causes the average “days on the market” (DOM) of each property to increase, naturally triggering a downward pressure in prices. The market ultimately dictates when the decline will stop and what prices are reasonable.

Vacancy rates begin increasing as tenants have more choice of units and landlords begin offering discounted rents or move in specials.

Your game plan

  1. If you missed selling at the top of the market, sell fast and don’t hold out for top dollar.
  2. You may need to decrease rents or offer incentives to attract or keep tenants.
  3. Many landlords will have higher vacancies and may be highly negotiable on price (wait until later in the cycle).
  4. If you don’t sell now, hold your existing properties until the market corrects.

3. The bottom

At the bottom of a market, general public perception of the economic outlook is negative. Higher unemployment prevails and the banks’ lending criteria becomes more stringent. Prices tend to decline and it is not until prices ultimately begin to increase and vacancies begin to decrease that you will know where the bottom is (or was). Foreclosures or power of sales become more frequent and economic pessimism prevails as demand continues to slow.

New construction during this time drops. However, new builds already underway still come on line. Many contractors either become renovators or get out of the business.

Your game plan

  1. Take buying slowly but start buying distressed properties later in the cycle.
  2. Holding and waiting for the “up market” indicators if you are looking to ultimately sell.
  3. Provide furnished rentals to keep your unit rents up.
  4. Approach builders who have unsold inventory and purchase one, several or all of their unsold inventory at a discount or with a purchase option.

4. The Up Market

During this time falling housing prices have bottomed out and are stabilizing and demand is slow. New inventory is down as new construction is almost at a standstill. However, as the cycle continues and demand becomes more evident, new construction begins as does pre- construction speculation.

In an “up” market prices will begin to increase based on stimulation of the local economy, thus increasing demand. With less property available, there are less listings, the days on market decrease and multiple offers on property become prevalent.

From a rental perspective, this creates a diminishing supply of units, which triggers lower vacancy and higher rents.

Your game plan

  1. Buy for bargain prices from other investors who still haven’t realised a new cycle has begun.
  2. Increase rents.
  3. Buy, reno and sell.
  4. Refinance existing properties to buy more.
  5. Sell if you can move the equity into a more valuable property.

The public is usually driven by the media who are usually trailing the middle or even the end of a wave. This gives those who are studying the key market indicators a distinct advantage. However, acting when no one else has acted takes knowledge, courage and sometimes trusting your gut.

To discuss this article or anything to do with your finances, please call our office today or contact us via email and we will be happy to assist you.

Having a thorough understanding of the real estate cycle enables you to time your move accurately and maximize your returns. Most real estate investors face many challenges in building a profitable real estate portfolio. Determining whether to purchase or liquidate, raise or lower rents, or deciding which sector of real estate to participate in can…

Things to look for from your mortgage broker

Buying or refinancing a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. It’s not easy and there are a multitude of hurdles to overcome. As such, it is important to feel like you’re working with someone who has your best interests, both personal and financial at the forefront of their mind.

Here are the most important factors to take into account when deciding to use a mortgage broker to assist you with your finance needs.

Not just interest rates

While it seems logical to look for the best interest rate, and the media, big banks and most of your friends and family all will prioritise interest rate to you, a lot of borrowers are surprised to learn that most lenders will offer the same rates. And any differences will likely be quite minimal. It is the features of the loan, and the loans ability to service your individual specific requirements that should be a priority.  Rate is important, however the other aspects of the loan need to be considered in order to provide you with an overall finance solution. A good mortgage broker will not only tell you this, but provide you with that solution.

Good signs:

When you’re looking for mortgage broker, here are a few indicators to watch for:

  • Availability
    Does someone answer the phone when you call? Or at least return your call within a reasonable time frame? Have you been assigned to a specific lending manager who you can call directly and who will call you back and knowledgeably answer your questions?
  • Information
    When you have questions do you feel like you can talk to your mortgage broker and get an informed and knowledgeable answer? You’ll be surprised in your hunt for a broker how many  have bad or outdated information. After some Internet research you will know when someone is behind the times. Make sure you’re talking to someone you trust and who knows what they’re talking about.
  • Reliability
    You should be able to completely trust your mortgage broker to follow through. If the person you’re working with says they are going to do something or call you back, you need to know you can count on them to do it. If you have to pester your broker for a call back or follow up on every detail to make sure it’s been handled, find someone else.

The mortgage experts at Sherlock Holmes Lending Solutions have helped thousands of borrowers through the loan process. We are knowledgeable and responsive. Call or email us to get up-to-date and current information about the mortgage and home buying/refinancing process.

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Buying or refinancing a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. It’s not easy and there are a multitude of hurdles to overcome. As such, it is important to feel like you’re working with someone who has your best interests, both personal and financial at the forefront of their mind. Here are…