Commercial Real Estate Management Continuing Ed Opportunities

Clarity Commercial is a proud and active member of the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Minnesota. In the next few months, IREM Minnesota is offering commercial real estate management professionals a full slate of professional and personal development opportunities. Here’s a look at what’s coming up in the second quarter of 2021.

Online – Asphalt and Concrete Maintenance | April 28

Starting a concrete or asphalt project this year? Don’t miss Asphalt and Concrete Maintenance on April 28 with two experts from Asphalt and Concrete Solutions. You’ll learn about the basics of asphalt and concrete and learn what to consider when planning, installing, and maintaining asphalt and concrete surfaces at your property. Eligible for 1 hour of continuing real estate education credit.

Enroll in the virtual training on the IREM Website.

Online – The Case of Rotting Roofs | May 11

This training takes a close look at a curious case of a non-leaky but rotting roof as a way to understand moisture build-up, vapor drive, vapor and air barriers, and other roof moisture issues. Learn how to assess moisture in your roof. Eligible for 1 hour of continuing real estate education credit pending Minnesota Department of Commerce approval.

Enroll in the session on the IREM website.

Online – How Property Managers Can Emerge Stronger and Healthier from Adversity | May 18

It’s been a tough year for commercial property managers. In this hour-long session, work with executive coach Matt Norman to increase your awareness of how you relate to your team, your tenants, and yourself and your work. Learn how to make choices in difficult circumstances and avoid anxiety and dysfunction. Eligible for 1 hour of continuing real estate education credit pending Minnesota Department of Commerce approval.

Register on the IREM website.

Clarity Commercial owner Mel Schultz, CPM®, CCIM, CCAM, is an active member of IREM and is passionate about continuing education in the commercial real estate industry. For more information about IREM and how our participation in the organization helps you, contact Clarity Commercial today

Subcontractors You Want on Your Team

One of the primary responsibilities of a commercial property management company is the hiring and management of onsite workers. Hiring subcontractors rather than part-time or full-time employees saves money, is easier on HR, and ensures you get the best quality and timely work possible.

Here are a few of the types of subcontractors Clarity Commercial finds, vets, hires, and manages as part of our property management services. These are the professionals you need on your team to help you maintain and manage your properties.

Building Maintenance Crew

Your building maintenance crew is onsite regularly to ensure your property remains in good working order. Your crew makes sure common areas are clean and functional and addresses tenant maintenance and repair requests. Depending on the needs of your building and your tenants, you may require a single crewmember or an entire team to keep up with maintenance and repair demands.

Mechanical Professionals

Periodically, your property’s mechanical systems require maintenance and repair. For most property owners, subcontractors are the right choice for HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and other mechanical work. Clarity Commercial works with only the best mechanical pros in the Twin Cities to ensure our customers’ mechanical systems are properly maintained.

Landscaping and Snow Removal Crew

All Minnesota property owners need great landscaping and snow removal crews on their list of subcontractors. Your property’s landscaping plays a role in attracting and retaining tenants, so hiring a competent landscaping crew is important. In the winter months, working with a reliable snow removal team ensures your driveway, parking lot, walkways, and entryways are clear and safe.

Window Washing Professionals

Your property’s large windows are a selling feature. Regular window washing keeps them clean and clear. Most commercial property windows are too large for someone to do on their own without the proper safety equipment. A window washing crew that comes out a few times a year can make sure your building looks great.

Finding, hiring, and managing subcontractors is a job all its own. Trust commercial property manager Clarity Commercial to find, vet, and manage the subcontractors you need to keep your property working and looking its best. Contact us today to get started.

Tips for Building Strong Tenant Relationships

Every commercial landlord wants to have happy, long-term, paying commercial real estate tenants. Just like anything worth having, building strong relationships with your tenants takes work. Here are Clarity Commercial’s top tips to strengthen the relationships you have with your tenants to ensure they stay happy, long-term tenants who pay the rent on time.

Communicate Regularly

Open and honest communication is the foundation of a strong tenant-landlord or tenant-management relationship. During lease negotiations, be clear about the expectations tenants can have for you regarding when, how, and how often you’ll communicate with them and vice versa.

Tenants are busy people just like you, so use a variety of methods to reach out to them. Letters in the mailbox or under the door, phone calls, emails, and texts are all effective ways to keep in touch with your tenants. You may also consider using a property management app to manage your communication with tenants.

Be Firm Yet Fair

Your property is a business, and your tenants have all signed agreements with you to pay rent every month for a certain length of time. As last year taught us, life happens. When dealing with tenants on any issue, but especially on issues regarding payment, it helps to be firm yet fair and empathetic. You and your tenants are not adversaries. If an issue arises, work together to find a solution.

Maintain and Repair Tenant Spaces

You expect your tenants to pay on time and be considerate to their neighbors and to you. In return, they should trust that you will answer their questions and address their requests and concerns directly, quickly, and professionally. Take maintenance and repair requests seriously and solve them the right way the first time. Implement a property improvement plan that includes property updates and upgrades to anticipate and prevent future tenant complaints.

Be Interested in Your Tenants’ Success

Your tenants are business owners, just like you. Be interested and invested in their success. The more successful they are, the more likely they are to continue to rent space from you, and possibly even expand their footprint. Your interest in their success will also make it easier for them to recommend you to the other business owners in their networks.

Building strong tenant relationships takes work, but pays off in timely rent payments and happy, long-term tenants. For help building and maintaining strong relationships with your tenants, partner with commercial property management company Clarity Commercial.

Start 2021 Off Strong with These Professional Development Events

Clarity Commercial is a proud and active member of the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Minnesota. This year, IREM Minnesota offers commercial real estate management professionals a full slate of professional and personal development opportunities. Here’s a look at what’s coming up in the first quarter of 2021.

Online – Cultivating Diversity and Inclusion | February 4

As commercial real estate managers, we build community, and creating a community that secures equal opportunities and protections for all is absolutely necessary. In this hour-long training, learn how to cultivate a diverse workforce to ensure your company’s long-term success.

Enroll in the virtual training on the IREM Website.

Online – Marijuana in Commercial and Residential Properties | February 16

As the effort to nationally legalize medical and recreational marijuana gains momentum, it’s important to understand its possible effects on the commercial real estate market and the industry more generally. Learn about the challenges facing commercial real estate managers in regard to legalized weed and the potential opportunities legalization presents.

Enroll in the session on the IREM website.

Online – Student Connect Trivia & Networking | February 25

Do you have what it takes to become a trivia master? IREM student members can test their knowledge on February 25 at the Student Connect Trivia & Networking virtual event. Don’t miss your chance to show off your trivia chops and win prizes!

Register on the IREM website.

Clarity Commercial owner Mel Schultz, CPM, CCIM, CCAM, is an active member of IREM and is passionate about continuing education in the commercial real estate industry. For more information about IREM and how our participation in the organization helps you, contact Clarity Commercial today.

2021 Commercial Property Management Predictions

It is finally time to put 2020 behind us and take a look ahead to 2021. While the pandemic will have an impact on the commercial property management industry in 2021, experts predict COVID-19 will have several positive effects on property management next year.

The Property Management Experience Will become More Digitized

After surveying commercial real estate professionals across the country, the experts at Deloitte believe the rapid transformation from in-person to digital property management will continue into 2021. Management companies will continue to increasingly offer prospective tenants property tours online and provide an online leasing experience. Online communication with current tenants is likely here to stay, too, as rent collection and tenant requests are all managed via email and web applications.

Property Management Companies Will Rely More on Tenant Data

As the tenant experience moves online, property management companies will have more opportunities to collect and use tenant data to improve the tenant experience and increase portfolio revenue. Tenant data can give property managers a clear and accurate look at the books and provide crucial insights into what the future holds. Tracking data related to tenant requests and building use can help you better understand your tenants and meet their needs.

Tenant Footprints May Shrink . . . or Expand

According to the experts at PWC, the rapid transition to a remote workforce has caused many tenants to rethink their space needs. So too has the adoption of curbside service for many retail, restaurant, and medical tenants. In some cases, tenants may cut back on their square footage, eliminating office space or public areas. But others may do the opposite, expanding their footprints to accommodate social distanced collaboration. Property managers should be prepared to be flexible negotiating space in 2021.

Safety Upgrades Will Remain a Top Concern

The personal safety of tenants and guests will remain a top concern in 2021. Property managers will continue to improve building safety and hygiene with robust disinfection processes and updates to high-touch services. Others will upgrade HVAC systems to improve air circulation or install touchless technologies, such as automated lighting, doors, and AV controls.

Clarity Commercial looks forward to serving property owners in 2021 and beyond. To work with a professional property management team based in the Twin Cities, contact Clarity Commercial today.

Choosing an Onsite Property Manager

Selecting an onsite manager for your commercial property is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a property owner. Your onsite manager is your boots on the ground, point of contact for your tenants, and record keeper for your property’s agreements, insurance policies, and accounting records.

Your onsite manager should work well with you and your commercial property management company. Often, Clarity Commercial will find, hire, and manage onsite managers for the property owners we partner with. Here is what we expect our onsite managers to do and what we look for in an onsite manager.

Your Boots on the Ground at Your Property

Your onsite manager is responsible for the daily upkeep of your property. They should walk your property to make sure public areas are clean and safe. Things they should take note of include overflowing garbage cans, slick walkways, burnt-out lightbulbs, and sticky key mechanisms in doors.  While they may not perform maintenance and repairs themselves, the onsite manager should work with your landscaping service, cleaning company, and maintenance crew to ensure jobs are completed quickly and thoroughly. An effective onsite manager has an eye for detail and is able to coordinate one or more maintenance crews.

Tenants’ First Point of Contact

In addition to serving the physical property, your onsite manager is the first point of contact for your tenants. They answer the phones at the management office and are the first point of contact for tenant requests. Your onsite manager may also be responsible for keeping tenants current with rent and enforcing property policies. An effective onsite manager is approachable, friendly, and comfortable asking tenants to pay rent or comply with your property’s rules.

Review and Maintain Property Records

Lastly, your onsite manager must be organized and familiar with your property’s records. At the management office, they will maintain accounting records, tenant files, and your property management agreement as well as your property’s insurance policy. While they may not have all of these documents committed to memory, they should be knowledgeable about your property’s policies and know where to look for an answer when asked a question about a lease agreement, rental payment, or insurance claim. An effective onsite manager is well-organized and knowledgeable.

These are just a few of the things Clarity Commercial looks for when hiring an onsite manager. We can help you find and manage your next manager so you can focus on growing your property portfolio. Contact the Clarity team to get started on your onsite manager search

2021 Renovations & Improvements to Consider

As the economy and Twin Cities real estate market continue to be affected by the prolonged effects of the pandemic, many property owners are thinking of creative ways to attract tenants to their buildings. While some have put 2021 building renovations on hold, there are several improvements property owners can make to help them retain current tenants and attract new ones.

COVID-19 Health and Safety Renovations

The smartest improvements you can make to your commercial properties are those that assure tenants your building is safe to occupy during the pandemic. A very affordable option is to simply advise tenants on how to configure their spaces to accommodate social distancing. Help them rearrange desk space or use your buying power with your vendors to offer low-cost sanitizing and personal protective equipment to your tenants.

You may also make long-term improvements to your building’s HVAC system and communal areas. Consider updating your air distribution system to improve indoor air quality and remove contaminants. In common areas, consider replacing soft furniture with hard surfaces that can be wiped down and disinfected frequently. You may wish to replace your current countertops with antimicrobial options now on the market. Motion-sensor lighting, automatic doors, and cloud-based controls for the AV in shared conference rooms can also keep your tenants safe. All of these improvements are selling points for potential new tenants.

Sustainability Improvements

While health and safety improvements meet an urgent demand, renovating your commercial buildings to be more sustainable will help you attract tenants and save money in the long run. Improving the energy efficiency of your building lowers your heating and cooling costs, keeps building occupants more comfortable, and is a major selling point for green-minded tenants.

Upgrading your building’s HVAC system not only improves air quality, it can save you money in the long-run. Efficient systems are more cost-effective to run and reduce your heating and cooling bill. So can energy-efficient windows and doors that help stabilize your building’s temperature, keeping it cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Updating your lighting to efficient LED bulbs can save you money in maintenance and electricity bills. Plus, the costs of upgrading lighting can be spread out over several years if you tackle one area of your building at a time.

It’s more important than ever to attract and maintain good tenants. Building renovations and improvements are a solid strategy for keeping your building competitive in the leasing market. For more tips on how to attract tenants, contact the Clarity Commercial team today.

Commercial Real Estate Marketing Tips to End 2020 Strong

There’s no sugar-coating it—many commercial property owners have taken a hit this year. The hospitality, retail, and office markets have all experienced losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s more important than ever for commercial real estate owners to market their available space. Tenants are still out there, they just may be more difficult to find. That’s what it often pays off to work with a trusted management partner like Clarity Commercial.

Here are few tips for marketing your commercial property to prospective tenants.

1. Do Your Research

Before you put your commercial space up for lease, do your research. Even if you’re a veteran property owner, the leasing landscape has changed dramatically since the start of the year. Take some time to look at what’s currently on the market, how long these properties have been available, and the types of spaces that are attracting tenants. Know the average vacancy rate for your area. Use all of this data to set realistic expectations for your own space.

2. Know Your Target Market

Once you understand your area’s commercial real estate market, it’s time to think about who your prospective tenants are. What are they looking for in their new space? Location, parking availability, broadband or fiber optic internet, utility hookups, and current build-out may all be factors in their leasing decision. So are the leasing terms, such as monthly rent and length of the lease. By understanding your target market, you can tailor your listing specifically to their needs and reduce the time your space is available for lease.

3. Create an Outstanding Listing

With your market research complete, you’re ready to create an outstanding listing for your leasable space. Your knowledge of your local area will help you set competitive lease terms, and understanding your prospective tenants will help you create a listing that speaks to their needs.

We suggest you use photos and video to allow the property to sell itself. Keep your description engaging, short, and focused on the property’s features. Use bullet points to share important information. Don’t forget to ask people to schedule a showing or contact you to learn more.

4. Spread the Word

There are many different ways to promote your property. Traditional methods such as flyers, mailings, signage, and cold calling are all viable ways to reach potential tenants. So are online listings on your website, social media posts, and online advertising. You’ll want to employ several different methods to reach prospective tenants.

5. Get Help When You Need It

Effectively marketing your leasable spaces plays an important role in the fiscal health of your commercial real estate portfolio. If you don’t have the time or the expertise to market your spaces, consider getting some help from a commercial property management company.

The Clarity Commercial team helps commercial property owners market, fill, and manage their commercial spaces. For help marketing your leasable space, contact Clarity Commercial today.


IREM Events Can Help Commercial Property Managers Find Success in Their New Normal

The last few months have been challenging for commercial property professionals and businesspeople across Minnesota. Everyone is struggling to define how they will conduct business in their new normal. The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) offers networking and educational opportunities for commercial property managers to help them expand their connections and keep their skills current.

IREM 2020 Golf Tournament | August 3

Blow off some steam and make connections at the IREM 2020 Golf Tournament. Join fellow golfers at the Mendakota Country Club for a day on the course. The tournament will follow the COVID-19 tournament guidelines from the Minnesota Golf Association to ensure everyone stays safe. It will be a great opportunity to meet other commercial property professionals and vendors, so register yourself or an entire team today.

Register for the IREM Golf Tournament on the IREM website.

Online – Virtual CPM Capstone | September 14

The pandemic shouldn’t put a stop on your career development. The IREM CPM Capstone course will prepare you for the MPSA and CPM exams (scheduled separately). Review key commercial property management concepts and management plan skills and learn tips for completing the MSPA and CPM exams. Participants will earn IREM certification credits.

Enroll on the IREM website.

Online – Marketing and Leasing Strategies for Office Buildings | September 23

This day-long course will help you secure new tenants, maximize your available space, and make more money for your property owners. Learn all about lease types, market analyses, and how to attract and retain good tenants. Participants will also learn how to create a leasing plan for the office buildings in their portfolios. Course meets CPM and ACoM requirements.

Enroll on the IREM website.

Online – Budgeting, Cash Flow, and Reporting for Investment Real Estate | November 10

This day-long course will use several real-life case studies to illustrate budgeting, cash flow, and reporting for commercial properties. Participants will learn all of the accounting and budgeting skills they need to meet property owners’ goals for their portfolios. This course meets the requirements for CPM, ARM, and ACoM.

Enroll on the IREM website.

Clarity Commercial owner Mel Schultz, CPM, CCIM, CCAM, is an active member of IREM and is passionate about continuing education in the commercial real estate industry. For more information about IREM and how our participation in the organization helps you, contact Clarity Commercial today.


Audit Your Property’s Security Features

The security and safety of your commercial property is an ongoing concern. Not only do you want to ensure your physical building is protected, you also need to make sure its occupants are safe. An audit of your property’s security features can give you a clearer understanding of how well your building is protected and identify areas where you can make improvements.

Review Your Access Control System

Your property’s access control system serves several functions. It allows authorized people to enter and exit your building. It limits occupant access to the parts of your building their job or visit requires. Access control also prevents unauthorized visitors from gaining access to your building and alerts you when someone has entered your building by force.

Some access control systems are as simple as a master key system. But the most effective ones use cutting-edge technologies to keep properties safe. It is common for buildings to use passcodes, keycards and fobs, and even biometrics to manage access and monitor building occupants. Some use Bluetooth technology to allow visitors to open doors from their smart phones.

How does your access control system measure up? Are you still handing out physical keys, or have you upgraded to a more secure system? If you have multiple tenants, a mix of common spaces and private offices, or high occupant turnover, investing in a smarter access control system may pay off for you. Clarity Commercial can help you find the solution that’s right for you.

Take Another Look at Your Video Security and Surveillance

Security cameras and video surveillance technology has improved leaps and bounds over the last decade or so. If you are using an outdated system with fixed cameras and grainy, black-and-white video that’s accessible only on physical tapes, it’s time to upgrade.

Today’s video security systems use state-of-the-art technology to monitor your property. Cameras can rotate and provide crystal-clear HD video with color and night vision. Systems now store videos on the cloud so you can monitor them anytime, anywhere. Cameras are smaller and less conspicuous, so you can install more to cover more area. If you haven’t updated your video surveillance in a few years, it’s time to take another look.

Review Your Building Systems Monitoring and Alerts

While intruders, thieves, and vandals are the top targets of most security systems, your building’s systems can also do some major damage if a failure goes unnoticed. Many fire suppression, HVAC, water, and electrical systems now include monitoring systems that alert you immediately if a failure or outage has occurred. This allows you to take immediate action to remedy the situation and keep your building safe.

Building security and safety is a concern all year long. This summer, take some time to audit your property’s security features to uncover ways you can keep your building and its occupants safer. For help finding the right security solutions, contact the Clarity Commercial team today.