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CRE – Here’s What to Expect when Leasing

If you’ve never leased Commercial Real Estate before it can be a bit of a surprise when you see the different standards in the industry compared to how Residential Real Estate generally runs.

The timeline for leasing differs, the break down of expenses varies and the responsibilities that come with leasing CRE can be a little stricter.

Here are the 5 things to keep in mind before leasing Commercial Real Estate.

1.) Your Credit Score Will Be Checked.
The first thing that you should be prepared for is a credit check. Almost any Real Estate company is going to look into your credit score to see the order of your finances. If you have a poor credit score don’t get discouraged – it’s not the end of the line in Commercial Real Estate. If your credit score is below a >700 you’ll likely have a bigger security deposit or required to have a longer lease but if you take good care of your suite you’ll get your security deposit back at the end of your term.

2.) You’ll likely have a longer lease. 
Unlike residential leasing – where you can have a 6 month or year long lease – in Commercial Real Estate it’s very rare to have a short term lease or anything under two years. You should expect to sign a lease anywhere from 2-5 years depending on market conditions and the type of space you’re leasing into.

3.) You Are Responsible for Inside Maintenance.
With Residential Real Estate you’re generally not held liable if something in your suite breaks; if your HVAC goes out or your dishwasher breaks normally you’re covered under the terms of your lease. In CRE this differs. Generally in CRE your HVAC is covered for the 1st year or guaranteed in working condition with the signing of your lease. This is also how the inside of your suite works; it is guaranteed in working order on the signing of the lease, and from there on out it is your responsibility.

4.) There’s Definitely CAM.
With Residential Real Estate you aren’t always going to have a HOA fee or any sort of maintenance. With CRE it’s almost guaranteed that their will be a CAM fee for your unit. If you’re unsure of what CAM fee’s are see the article we have written about it here.

5.) You’ll Need Liability Insurance
With CRE you’ll need to have very specific liability insurance (outlined in your lease) and it’s not something to mess around with. The company that collects your rent with need a current copy of your insurance with the Landlord additionally insured. Make sure you have liability insurance, and that you’ve calculated this extra cost into your budget.


See anything we’ve left out? Leave a comment below with what YOU think people should know before leasing CRE!

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9 Social Media Posts to Increase Online Presence

If you own a business you likely already have some sort of online presence with social media. If you don’t have an Instagram, Facebook, twitter or Yelp you’re really missing out on valuable FREE advertising (see why you should use them here.)

 

Even if you do have all of the above, it can be easy to fall into a posting slump – it’s hard to stay motivated, inspired and come up with new content everyday! To inspire and get you motivated to upkeep your social media here are a few free ideas for your next post!

 

1.) Team Photo!
Post a photo of your team – show off your amazing employees and give a quick recap of what they do for your business! You can see an example of our post here! Posting your team is great for them (moral) but it’s also great for clients looking to put a face to the day to day operations.

2.) Show Off Your Amazing Customers/Clients!
We love to talk about our tenants and their businesses! They do amazing things day in and day out! See an example of this post here!

3.) Share Something Relevant!
Back to School, Christmas, Great Sale at ___ store, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day Etc. Post something relevant and hashtag it well!

4.) Show Off Your Knowledge
Give insider tips about the market you’re working in – creating content that can’t be found anywhere else is key to have interaction on your posts!


Here are an additional 5 post ideas

1.) Share to Your Story (Facebook/Instagram)

2.) Link a coupon code

3.) Showcase an event coming up

4.) Show off your office space & Location

5.) Thank your customers for their support!

 

I hope you enjoyed this blog – we’d appreciate your share! If you want to see more of us check out our Facebook, Instagram & Twitter!

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What to Consider Before Starting A Business

Owning and starting  a business is a lot of work and it takes time, money, and patience. Unfortunately working in property management & leasing we’ve seen businesses fail due to a variety of reasons, but there are always a few similarities in every business we’ve seen. Here are the most common reasons why businesses fail and a few things to consider before staring one yourself!


WHY THEY FAILED:

1.)They didn’t have a clear blueprint.
If you don’t have a clear blueprint for your business you’re already starting off on the wrong foot. Starting a business is not the time to “wing it” or “see how it goes.” If your business isn’t making money in the first few months – then it’s losing money and this is very obviously not good.
It’s wise to have a clear written plan describing;
– How many employees you’ll need to run your store.
– What each employees job responsibility is.
– What is the main product your store will make income off of.
– How will you advertise your business.
– How much does it cost to keep your business open each day.
– How much in sales do you have to do to break even?
These are key factors in a successful business and planning makes all the difference. Have a clear outlined plan also makes you more desirable to a Landlord who is looking to let you lease their space.

2.) They didn’t know what they wanted from their business.
Although it can be stressful to look ahead in 10+ years time – it’s important to know why you want to start a business and what you’re expecting to come from it. Are you looking to start a business because you’re hoping to become a millionaire – maybe you’re looking to have a second location open by 5 years time. Define what you want for you business and where you see it going over the years. Having a clear “big picture” allows you to make logical decisions that support that plan – problems will come up in your business and you want to know how you’ll plan them.


TWO EXTRA POINTS TO CONSIDER
Have You Done A Strength, Weakness, Opportunity & Threat Analyse?
You might need outside assistance with this area of analysis – why – because you have to be brutally honest about what you’re looking to do. Before leasing your space & starting up your business it’s important to know where the strong and weak points of your business exist. Don’t start a smoothie business in a parking lot that already has a Jamba Juice – unless you KNOW for a fact you can offer clients something Jamba Juice can’t (even then this isn’t really a great idea ;). Another point to consider is sales; if you’re a clothing boutique that does 75% of your sales online then leasing out a HUGE, EXPENSIVE retail space isn’t the smartest choice; you’d be better off saving money on rent and instead investing it into more online advertising. Look at everything that will make your business fail and then figure out everything that will allow it to be successful – is it still a good business after you do this?

Have You Set Small Specific & Obtainable Goals
There are a few reasons why this is important;

One; it keeps you on track towards your set “big picture” and two; it keeps your employee’s motivated and allows for celebration and team building. Setting small and obtainable goals keeps your business moving forward; goals like “lets do ___ amount in sales today” or “lets get __ amount of positive YELP reviews” are real goals you can reach – and they keep you motivated! You want these goals to work towards your big picture because you can see visible and traceable success in your business and it helps keep your employees working hard towards real goals.

 

If this article was helpful to you we’d love if you’d share it! And if you’re looking for more business advice see here.

What To Know About Common Area Maintenance (CAM)

If you’ve spent time looking up spaces for lease you’ve likely noticed a common three letter abbreviation on every.single.listing. CAM. What is Common Area Maintenance -what does it cover, how is the price determined and is there anyway of getting out of paying for it when leasing commercial real estate?

Q. What is CAM
– CAM stands for ‘Common Area Maintenance’ and describes the net charge that gets billed to a tenant in a commercial triple net lease (NNN.) In simple terms; it’s comparable to an HOA fee that residential tenants pay.

Q. Why Do We “Need” CAM.
– CAM fee’s cover the general maintenance of the center, this includes paying for the republic services (trash), the landscaping, the water required for the landscaping, general repairs to the building like the roof, signage repairs etc and a variety of other center maintenance, and services.

Q. How do you determine how much I pay for CAM
– CAM is payed for by the tenants of the center and the estimated CAM expenses are determined yearly based off of the previous year(s) expenses. After the overall CAM cost is estimated it is divided by the square feet percentage each tenant leases.
For example; If it costs $1,000 to maintain the center for a whole year and you occupy 25% of the centers square feet you can be expected to pay $25/CAM per year.

Q. Will CAM prices ever decrease/increase?
– It depends – at Cambridge we do our very best to keep expenses to a minimum because we want our tenants to thrive – occasionally things happen within a center that cause CAM fee’s to go up year-by-year to cover an unpreventable expenses. As for CAM decreasing; generally CAM fee’s are calculated very accurately – but if expenses are over-budgeted the tenant does receive their percentage of CAM fee’s back. The specifics of this can be found in your lease – sometimes CAM is returned in the form prepaying rent, covering next years CAM fee’s etc.

Q. What’s An Average CAM Fee PSF?
– This also depends. CAM covers the cost of maintaining the center, and some center are more expensive to maintain than others. In Las Vegas we try to stick to desert landscaping to keep water/landscaping fee’s down, so it can be assumed that a center with a water fountain, tons of thirsty trees and grass, would have a higher CAM cost. Other factors can also go into the cost of CAM. The cost of CAM at a center full of offices is likely cheaper than one filled with a lot of retail – why? Consider the extra amount of trash a retail center makes (boxes, packing peanuts, high customer trash creation, ect) versus an office space with a few people working in it. A lot of calculation goes into the price per square foot of CAM – if you’re looking to lease a space, ask the property management team of that center for a breakdown of CAM fee’s, it can provide a lot of clarification!

 

I hope this helped to clarify any questions you might have had regarding Common Area Maintenance Fee’s. If you have questions I didn’t answer please feel free to contact us.

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Why Should You Hire A Property Manager?

Does the thought of having a property management team handle your commercial investment bring about cold sweats, and a slightly rational fear of letting go? If you’re on the edge about hiring a property manager for your commercial property, here are 3 things to help you let go and start the Property Management hunt.

 

1.) You Can Stop Being the ‘Bad Guy”
As a landlord you must protect your investment and handle each and every tenant issue fairly – and this means you have to be the bad guy a huge majority of the time. Tenants pay their rent late; you must charge a late fee – maybe they want a full HVAC replacement but you know that is not in their lease contract, maybe they’ve placed business signs that look awful. With a Property Management team handling all tenant relations it removes the guilt of having to be the ‘bad guy.’ Your PM can now enforce the policies you support – and take a load of the stress off your shoulders – this can allow you to focus on further investments or just enjoy your time off!

2.) It Allows You to Easily Invest In Different States
Maybe you’re looking to invest in the hot Las Vegas market, but you live in Tennessee? Having a property management company you trust allows you to branch out with your investments and not limit yourself to one local region where the market might be stagnant. It also gives you the flexibility of travel and vacation while knowing your property is under control. Here at Cambridge we have online portals for all of our Landlords – this means you can access your property’s, check on finances and see an overall picture of your center from where-ever you’re located!

3.) You Won’t Have to Stress About Leasing Anymore
Vacancy is likely the biggest hindrance to your property being as successful as possible. With a Property Management company handling your center the anxiety of posting your vacancy to multiple sites is relieved as well as the process of weeding out unqualified tenants. Without a thriving and full center of successful and strong tenants; your property loses value year by year – don’t let the pain of leasing hinder your centers success!

 


If you looking for more information on our Property Management Services see here.

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Red Flags To Look Out for in a Property Management Company

Red Flags To Look Out for in a Property Management Company

If you’ve read our previous post (see it here) you understand that finding the perfect property management company can be something of a struggle – there’s a lot of trust involved in giving someone the rights to your property. We’ve seen past owners of ours get burned by other property management companies and with each company there’s been a similar trail of clues. Keep reading to see the four red flags we recommend looking out for when hiring a property management company.


#1.) You’re Unable to Contact Them.
Your property manager should be easy to contact and there should be a direct, reliable pathway for you to reach. If you’ve called your property manager 4-5 times with no call back, desperately emailed them and even gone to their office with no success – you should be concerned. Of course property managers get busy and there needs to be certain expected grace period for a response – but if you get no response and you don’t know who to go to… this is a major red flag.

 

#2.) Your property manager has no defined marketing plan to get your vacant spaces leased. Typically in property management the PM Company collects a certain portion of rent as their management fee; which means it’s in their best interest to lease as many spaces in your center. Of course it’s also in your best interest to have the least amount of vacancies in your center; after all vacancies are lost income. It’s a red flag if your PM Company has no plan, website, and listing evidence for your property or your vacancies.

 

#3.) Other Properties they manage are poorly upkept.
If other centers they manage are dirty, messy, poorly upkept and have high vacancies with no reason you should be wary of them treating your property the same way. Why would they treat your property any better if they’re unable to take care of the properties they currently have?

 

#4.) You can’t find anything about their company online.
Do a quick google search of Cambridge Group LTD – guess what comes up FIRST link – our website, and then our Facebook Page, and then our Angie’s List Posting, and finally we have a gorgeous side bar display of where we are located, our address and our hours and phone number. We exist on the internet. If you can’t find anything about a company online you should be very concerned. Here’s why this is a red flag; they’re probably trying to avoid bad reviews. Think about it like this… if you have +20 bad YELP reviews do you really want YELP showing up when you google the business, probably not.

 

Hopefully this helps you out in your property management hunt! You can reach us at 702-795-7900 Cambridge Group LTD.

 


 

5 Questions to Ask Your Property Manager

Hiring a property management team can be an extremely stressful experience – after all, as an investor you’ve put a lot of time and money into your property and because of that you want it to be successful – your name is attached to your property.

Hiring a property manager takes a lot of trust and it can be changeling to “let go” and let the property management team do their best work. You have to give up bank account information, social security numbers and other sensitive information to let your property management team do their best work. This isn’t easy to do, and it takes a lot of faith.

Before you hire a property management team and give them access to your property you should ask these 5 questions.


1.) What Services do you offer your clients?

As an owner you need to find out if you are responsible for marketing, leasing, renting and/or selling your property. Is your property management team full service – can they take your property from beginning to end and have everything flow smoothly? It’s important to analyze the services provided and if they make your ownership of this property stress free or full of stress.

2.) Do you have other properties similar to mine?

You want to understand how many units and what other properties your property management team has – it’s also a good idea to tour these other properties and see if they’re up to your standards. Let’s say the property manager handles a 40 unit commercial center that relies heavily on boutique stores … now if you have a property that’s similar to this you can assume that your management team  is capable of handling the task of collecting rent for such a similar center as well as keeping everything in prime condition.

3.)How long have you managed your current properties?

You want to ask this question for two reasons; one to see how long they’ve been in the property management business, and  two to see what their relationship is like with their owners. If they’ve been in property management for 20+ years but all of their centers have been under their management for less than 6 months it could be cause for concern. Have they recently sold properties for their owners (good) or have their owners left their property management team due to poor service (bad). Time a is a valuable tool – maturity and expertise come with longevity and this is an excellent indicator of the relationship your manager has with their property owners.

4.) How does the Rent Collection Process Work for Tenants?

You want a property management company that is up-to-date with technology. Tenants should be able to pay for rent in convenient, fast, and easily tractable ways. This is a bonus for both you and tenants; it means that tenants are more likely to pay on time due to the convenience factor, and it also means deposits get to your account faster due to cutting down on unneeded bank trips. Paying rent online also makes your property more appealing to tenants looking to rent out spaces; they hear “pay your rent online, have your own tenant portal, see pending fee’s” and it’s appealing to them!

5.) How Do I know the Status of My Property/Portfolio?

Is your property management team transparent with the status of your investment? Are you given a detailed monthly report showing exactly where and how money is being spent? Are you able to call your property management team and talk to a real person without a lot of hassle? There’s nothing more frustrating than an unresponsive or unhelpful team – this is your property and your investment and you should be able to ask questions.

If you looking for a property management team you know who to call – 702-795-7900 Cambridge Group LTD

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Your Clients SHOULD be Tagging you on Facebook & Instagram

FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM

 

Remember when you used to use a phone book to look up a business or maybe you relied on word of mouth alone to find your next retail destination? Not anymore – it’s more important than ever to have a strong online presence. Physical stores are closing and online shopping becoming the dominant shopping experience, it’s time to get your business posted where it’ll be seen! Social Media is 100% free and if you’re smart about it you can get your clients to do the hard work of creating engaging content. Keep reading to see why Facebook & Instagram are important for your business!


FACEBOOK

If your business doesn’t have a Facebook page you’re missing out on 100% FREE advertising. It’s extremely important to have a visible Facebook profile with up-to-date content and correct information. One the initial things I do when researching a business is look up their Facebook and Instagram profile – it’s an easy way for me to understand what their location vibes & clientele are like in under 10 seconds. When clients are shopping at your business you can incentivise them to post reviews on your Facebook page or tag their location to reach more people. Think of clever ways to have your clients talk about your business on Facebook.

Here are two ideas that take NO work whatsoever on your part and up your social media presence;

  • If your client posts a review on Facebook they get 10% of their next purchase.  Why does this work; Offering 10% off their next purchase is an incentive for them to come back to YOUR location verses someone else’s business. It’s also is in your business’s favor; if they never come back and use their coupon it doesn’t matter because you still got free social media exposure.
  • Consider offering a free {drink, food, side, discount, etc} for 5 Facebook location tags.          Maybe you already have a punch card set up for your clients; after 5 purchases they get a free drink. But here’s the thing; you shouldn’t be using punch cards. Here’s why.

The biggest reason why you shouldn’t use a punch card is that…  
1.) People lose them and forget about your business
2.) They cost money & time to print and make
3.) You’re missing out of free advertising

So lets set the scenario for you. Johnny comes into your coffee shop to get his Large Vanilla Ice coffee – Johnny gets a punch card and as soon as Johnny gets in his car he drops it into that crack between the seat and the center console (you know that Bermuda triangle of a crack) and guess what. He never tries to find it and forgets all about your coffee shop and that’s it. End of Story. You just spent $.50 on a business card that lasted all of 5 second. 

Scenario Two:  Johnny comes into your coffee shop to get his Large Vanilla Ice coffee. Johnny tags your business on Facebook because after 5 tags Johnny gets a free drink. All of Johnny’s 800 ‘friends’ on Facebook now see his post and learn about YOUR coffee shop. It was FREE for you to use this form of advertising and guess what – it’s the gift that keeps on giving because now all of Johnny’s friends know where your shop is located, that it is a great coffee chain and that Johnny recommends it. 


INSTAGRAM

 

Why should your clients tag you on Instagram – because it’s EASY! One of the biggest pit falls of social media is the time it takes to create engaging content! It’s a lot of work to create content and it’s hard to be creative and stand out. If you don’t have an instagram account you NEED one and here’s my advice that will help you with creating engaging content.

1.) Offer discounts to Get the Ball Rolling
2.) Make your business “Instagram Friendly”
3.) Re-post Photos Your Business is Tagged In
4.) Pick a theme & posting schedule and stick with it

  • One great business example of “getting the ball rolling” is Zaba’s.. This sounds weird, but Zaba’s Restaurant offers a free brownie if you take a selfie and post/tag them on Instagram. They’re getting social media presence and growing their Instagram page and it’s EASY.
  • Next step – create an “Instagram Friendly” space. There’s a new coffee shop that’s just opened in Las Vegas Called Cafe Lola; their WHOLE coffee shop is Instagram-able and it shows in the thousands of photos they’re tagged in (see it here) they’ve made it easy to create engaging content – after all they don’t have to “do the work” all of their patrons do the work for them & they don’t have to chase new clients either because reposting photos does it for them.
  • Finally, pick a theme and find the posting schedule that works for you. On the Cambridge Group Insta page we post Monday, Wednesday, Friday and have a very simple, yet steady theme (here) and that’s what works for us.

 

I hope you enjoyed this post and it helps you with your social media adventure. If you have any suggestions for what worked for your business let us know! We love to hear new ideas all the time!

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Get Ready To Celebrate the Fourth of July – Dessert, Dinner & Drinks

FOURTH OF JULY – EVERY KIDS FAVORITE HOLIDAY. Also every adults favorite too. You celebrate the US, enjoy the summer sun, watch gorgeous fireworks while floating around in your pool. What could be better? Keep reading to see a great list of food, drinks and desserts to take your Fourth of July to the next level…ALSO – all the recipes below are tested and amazing!
PS. At the bottom of this email there’s a discount for TNT fireworks!!

Classic angel food cake, filled with homemade coconut whipped cream and studded with berries for a pretty 4th of July look! A light and airy angel food cake with that distinct sugar crust, served with fresh whipped cream and an assortment of summer’s juicy berries does not only scream SUMMER evening dessert but it also says American classic!! It’s a 4th of July perfect combination. And that is exactly what this cake is.

Nothing says “HBD, America!” like firecracker Jell-O shots.

Baked/Grilled Greek Beef Kabobs can be your alternative dish on this summer season. You can cook the Greek Beef Kabobs not only by grilling it, but you can also bake it!
Sweet and Tangy BBQ sauce drenched chicken, topped with Cole Slaw and served in a delicious Sweet Hawaiian Bun. Who wouldn’t be in a celebratory mood with a meal like that?!

 

(Click on photo)

  • If fireworks are being used near your home, put your pet in a safe, interior room to avoid exposure to the sound.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
  • FAA regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.

As usual; if you enjoyed this article we’d love to hear your feedback! Share this post and check out our Facebook page for even more interesting content!

 

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6 Steps To Fix A Bad Day At Work

We’ve all had a bad day before. It happens. Maybe you wake up late or you’re stuck in traffic – maybe you even work with a bunch of jerks. I get it. Sometimes things go wrong and you want to be in a bad mood. After all it’s easier to be in a bad mood versus trying to make your bad mood better. So – in honor of the bad day we’ve all had at one point; here are 6 ways to make a bad day better.

 

Step 1. Take a 5 minute walk outside and enjoy the weather (even if it’s 90° outside.) While you’re on your 5 minute break just enjoy being outside and enjoy being up and moving. Even though it’s hot outside, Vegas is beautiful and maybe clarity is what you need.
Once your back from your walk move onto step 2.

Step 2. So you’re back from your walk.. Guzzle a bottle of water. You’ll feel better instantly. Promise. Water works wonders and I’d be willing to bet you’re secretly dehydrated anyways. You CAN’T move onto step 3 until you finish that bottle of water.

Step 3. So you’ve made it to step 4. I’m wiling to bet you’re feeling just a bit better at this point so I think you’re ready for step four, right?Do something nice for someone. It could be complicated or something totally simple. Making someone else feel good makes you feel good. Compliment their shirt or text your friend something you appreciate about them, just do something nice. You’ll make someone else feel amazing and you’ll feel better too. Did you do something nice for someone – you can’t move onto step 4 until you do.

Step 4. Do something nice for yourself.
Little things make me happy. A Cherry Limeaid from sonic equals instant happiness in my world. So – do something nice for yourself. Get that expensive coffee from Starbucks you’ve been dyyyingg to try. Or maybe you really just want a piece of cake. Do it – and have a little moment of simple happiness.

Step 5. Plan Something You’re Excited For.
Sometimes your day at work might be just soo miserable that you need to go big or – quiet literally – go home.
So what to do? Plan something you’re excited for. Like “when I get home I’m going to make myself popcorn and watch that Netflix movie I’ve be dying to see.” Or plan a day with friends; “Just gotta make it through this week and then I can eat all the food on Saturday with ___.”

Step 6. Recognize ALL the Amazing things in Your Life.
A bad day doesn’t equal a bad life. So, think about all the amazing things you have to be thankful for and proud of. You have great friends, or your coffee this morning was perfectly made, maybe you have the cutest dog out of everyone you’ve ever met #blessed.

 


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