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.

Ways Property Managers Can Help Their Tenants Open Safely during COVID-19

A Note on COVID-19

The Clarity Commercial team is watching the COVID-19 pandemic closely and is following all guidelines from the CDC and the State of Minnesota. Our team is stepping up hand hygiene and practicing social distancing to help slow down the spread of the virus and ensure we are healthy and able to serve you and your properties through the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike any public health crisis we have faced in our lifetimes. Over the last three months, many businesses in Minnesota moved to remote work or were forced to shut down to prevent the spread of the virus. Now, Governor Walz is slowly reopening the state, and many businesses are back to work.

But back to work does not mean back to normal. Businesses are required to work at 50 percent occupancy and take precautions to ensure the health and safety of their staff and patrons. This can be an enormous task for small businesses. Property managers are in an excellent position to lend a hand and be an advisor for their tenants. Here is how a property manager can help tenants open safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Understand Who Is Allowed to Reopen When

On May 18, Governor Walz’s Stay Safe order went into effect, allowing many businesses to reopen under strict circumstances. Businesses that were allowed to reopen included retail stores, malls, and businesses that sell, rent, maintain, or repair goods.

Bars and restaurants could continue to be open for delivery and takeout service only. Hair salons, spas, tattoo parlors, and nail salons are not allowed to reopen until June 1. Additionally, companies whose staffs were working remotely must continue to do so.

Help Tenants Enforce Social Distancing Rules

Enforcing social distancing within a business requires some planning. Offer to help your tenants reconfigure their break rooms, shop floors, office space, and retail floors to ensure staff and patrons can maintain at least six feet of distance. Some businesses will need to limit the number of people in their space at one time, which may include staggering work schedules and asking patrons to wait in their cars until it is safe to enter.

Temporary signage is a helpful tool for enforcing social distancing. Wayfinding signs and floor decals can help keep people six feet apart and inform people of a tenant’s social distancing policies. Offer to help source these items for your tenants using your own professional network.

Support Tenants’ Efforts to Sanitize Their Spaces

Maintaining a healthy and sanitary space will be another top priority for your tenants. They will need to frequently clean high-touch surfaces such as door handles and point-of-sale devices and provide hand sanitizer for staff and patrons. Many will require staff members to wear masks and wash their hands frequently.

Property managers can support their tenants’ efforts to maintain clean and safe spaces. Ensure your team is cleaning and sanitizing common areas frequently, including lobbies, meeting rooms, and bathrooms. Consider how you can make it easier for your tenants to purchase hand sanitizer, cleaning products, and masks.

Keeping our community healthy and safe is everyone’s responsibility. Property managers can play their part by supporting their tenants as they reopen safely. For more information about how Clarity Commercial can support you and your business during this time, contact us today.

 

Building a Realistic Budget Projection for Your Commercial Properties

A Note on COVID-19

The Clarity Commercial team is watching the COVID-19 pandemic closely and is following all guidelines from the CDC and the State of Minnesota. Our team is stepping up hand hygiene and practicing social distancing to help slow down the spread of the virus and ensure we are healthy and able to serve you and your properties through the pandemic.

You have a portfolio of properties, but do you have a sense of the income you generate from these properties over the course of a month or a year? How about your expenses? If an unforeseen expense pops up at your property, can your budget handle it? A budget projection answers all of these questions and helps you maintain a healthy and successful commercial property portfolio.

How Budget Projections Help You Manage Your Commercial Properties

Creating a budget projection for your portfolio of properties will help you work toward your financial goals. Most property owners have a sense of the revenue their properties bring in as well as the monthly cost to manage those properties. A budget projection puts concrete numbers to every income stream and expense over a 12-month period. Not only does this give you a more accurate understanding of the health of your portfolio, it provides milestones for you to hit as you work toward your financial goals.

Budget projections help you anticipate and mitigate problems that may arise later in the year. You can use the data from current and past months to manage loss of income or extra expenses down the road. Your budget projection may help you identify the best time to complete a building improvement or step up your marketing.

Use a Current Year or Rolling 12-Month Budget Projection

Budget projections should cover a 12-month period. Some property owners choose to project over a calendar or fiscal year (January to December or July to June, for example), while others choose to use a rolling 12-month model. Use your leasing calendar to decide which model will work best for you. Whatever model you choose, update the data monthly so you have a clear idea of the health of your portfolio and your projections stay accurate and realistic.

Include a Cash Forecast

A cash forecast is one element of a budget projection. Rather than income, a cash forecast projects your portfolio’s cash flow. Cash forecasts are extremely helpful in budgeting for maintenance, improvements, and unforeseen expenses. Some property owners break down cash forecasts weekly rather than monthly for an accurate look at cash flow for a particular month.

Consider Adding a 3- to 5-Year Outlook

While budget projections are most useful if they look at 12-month period, it can be helpful to use your budget projections to forecast a three- to five-year outlook. While you can’t predict the future, you can take an educated guess at your portfolio’s outlook based on past performance, market trends, and the strength of the economy. Thinking three to five years ahead can help you plan strategically and develop long-term financial goals for your portfolio.

Budget projections are an essential part of managing a successful commercial property portfolio. Clarity Commercial can help you put together a projection that helps you understand your revenue streams, expenses, and make a plan for future growth.

For help creating a budget projection for your portfolio, contact Clarity Commercial today.

 

5 Tips for Negotiating Commercial Lease Renewals

Much can be found online to help tenants negotiate favorable leases. But fewer resources exist for landlords when it is time for them to negotiate a commercial lease renewal. Clarity Commercial works with property owners to help them secure lease renewals from their tenants. Here are a few of our team’s tips for making sure your interests are protected in the process.

1. Standardize Your Lease Forms

Standardizing your lease forms has several benefits. First, it saves you a lot of time that you might otherwise spend recreating lease agreements. Work with your attorney to create one or two lease agreements with standardized language and terms. Then, when it is time for a tenant to renew their lease, you can simply provide them your standardized form and trust that you have the details and contingencies covered.

2. Offer Long Lease Terms

Longer lease terms can save you time and money. They guarantee that you will have steady monthly income coming in from your properties over three to ten years without having to continually fill space with new tenants, which can be costly. Longer lease terms also benefit tenants who wish to maximize their investment in renovations and other tenant improvements.

3. Consider Relocation Rights

If you own a commercial property with multiple suites, a relocation rights clause can help you make sure you are managing that property in the most efficient way possible. Sometimes, it is necessary to ask a tenant to move spaces to accommodate another tenant who wishes to expand or downsize their space. Adding a relocation rights clause to your lease agreements can give you the right as a landlord to ask tenants to relocate to another suite in your property.

4. Offer a Triple Net Lease to Cover Common Area Maintenance

Determining maintenance costs should not cause headaches when it is time for you to renew a lease. We encourage many property owners to offer triple net leases to tenants, which offers a better return to landlords than the flat fees included in modified gross leases. However, calculating maintenance costs for a triple net lease can be difficult, so work with an experienced property management company like Clarity Commercial to maximize your ROI.

5. Protect Your Interests When Offering Tenant Improvement Allowances

It is common for landlords to negotiate improvement allowances with tenants to help them cover the costs of renovations. Offering allowances for tenant improvements can help you attract and retain long-term tenants. To protect your investment in tenant improvements, you can choose to stipulate that you will own any permanent fixtures and improvements your tenants make if and when they move out of their space. Or, you can ask tenants to use contractors you trust to perform the work.

Commercial lease renewals do not have to be time-consuming or cumbersome. Let Clarity Commercial take care of the legwork for you. For help managing your commercial leasing, contact our team today

Join Us for These IREM Minnesota Events This Winter

The winter season is an excellent time to brush up on professional development. For commercial property managers, the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) is the best place to pursue continuing education. IREM Minnesota hosts events throughout the year for managers to hone their skills, pursue certification, and give back to their communities.

Here’s a look at the events coming up this winter at IREM Minnesota.

Ethics for the Real Estate Manager Course – January 29

IREM Minnesota starts the year off on a high gear with Ethics for the Real Estate Manager (ETH800), a course required for the ACoM, CPM, ARM, and AMO certifications. It’s taught by our very own Mel Schultz.

The day-long course will cover IREM’s code of ethics and give participants a chance to study real-world ethics cases and the implications they have on commercial property managers and their clients. The course will also cover strategies for overcoming ethical dilemmas and avoiding conflicts of interest.

Ethics for the Real Estate Manager also qualifies for 4 hours of continuing education for property managers. To register, visit iremmn.org.

Volunteering at People Serving People – February 10

IREM Minnesota members volunteer at People Serving People the second Monday of every month. People Serving People is a family-focused shelter that helps break the cycle of homelessness for families. The volunteers serve meals to the shelter’s residents.

This event is open to members and their colleagues, friends, and family members. To register, visit iremmn.org.

Northland Mechanical and IREM Minnesota Present Celebrate IREM! – February 21

Celebrate IREM! is the organization’s opportunity to reflect on the past year and celebrate successes. Attendees will enjoy cocktails, a plated dinner, awards presentation, volunteer recognition, gaming tables, and live music.

IREM members, partners, plus ones, and non-IREM property managers are all welcome. To register or sponsor a gaming table, visit iremmn.org.

Roundtable: Fenestration Field Testing – March 18

Terracon Consultants representatives Allen Witt and Ryan Nierengarten will hold a roundtable discussion on fenestration field testing this March. The discussion will cover ASTM methods for field testing and the differences between ASTM standards and AAMA standards.

By the end of the roundtable, participants will be able to identify different fenestration testing standards and determine when each are appropriate to use. To register, visit iremmn.org.

Virtual CPM Capstone – March 23–March 27

This virtual event allows participants to complete their CPM capstone projects without spending time in a physical classroom. The course is designed for CPM candidates who still need to complete their management plans and the CPM Certification Exams. It offers participants the chance to take the Management Plan Skills Assessment as an alternative to submitting an independent management plan. On the last day, CPM candidates take the CPM Certification Exam.

To register for the virtual CPM capstone, visit iremmn.org.

Clarity Commercial a proud, active member of IREM Minnesota. Our founder Mel Schultz serves as a senior vice president of the Minnesota IREM chapter. For more information on IREM or commercial property management, contact the Clarity team.

Commercial Property Snow and Ice Care

The holiday season is here, and Mother Nature has already provided the perfect snowy backdrop for our holiday gatherings. And while we may appreciate the lovely look of fresh snow, its arrival can cause headaches at our commercial properties. Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing your property for winter weather.

Contract with a Dependable Snow Removal Company

If you are a customer of Clarity Commercial, then your snow removal is already covered. We partner with the best snow removal companies in the area to keep our customers’ parking lots and walkways clear and safe.

Whomever you decide to work with for your snow removal needs, here’s what to expect. Your snow removal crew may stop by before a storm hits to pretreat your driveway, parking lot, and walkways. Then, they will clear your parking lots and walkways as soon as the snow stops falling. A follow-up crew will stop by to treat your surfaces with deicer to prevent your employees and visitors from slipping and sliding as they come and go from your building.

Keep Icy Surfaces Clear and Safe

Winter storms can leave icy messes behind. So can fluctuating temperatures that cause snow to melt and then refreeze. Staying on top of ice ensures that you keep your parking lots and walkways safe throughout the winter.

Clarity Commercial’s trusted partners have the equipment and trained staff to pretreat and remove ice buildup from your parking lot and walkways all season long. You may see your crew out before a forecasted storm to pretreat your outdoor surfaces. They will likely stop by afterwards to treat any lingering icy areas, too. Expect to see them back after a January thaw to make sure melting snow hasn’t created unsafe conditions at your property.

Snow and ice are part of a Minnesota winter, but they don’t have to put your visitors and employees at risk of slipping and falling. Clarity Commercial can help you keep your property safe this winter. Contact us today to get started on your snow removal and maintenance plan.

 

Don’t Miss These IREM Minnesota Events This Fall

Clarity Commercial is an active member of IREM Minnesota. Our local chapter of the Institute of Real Estate Management hosts events throughout the year to help real estate managers hone their skills. Mark your calendars for these informative fall events.

October 9: YRU Here? A Search for Positivity in Property Management at the Golden Valley Country Club

Property managers are in the problem-solving business. Sometimes, the problems you encounter every day can be overwhelming, which can put even the most positive of people in a foul mood. The October 9 YRU Here? event will give you tips, tricks, and the inspiration to bring your positive attitude to every problem so you can find creative ways to solve it.

October 15: Roundtable on Customer Lighting Control & Building Interface at The Harrington Company

With the days getting shorter, energy-efficient lighting is a priority for Minnesota property owners. Kurt Johnson from the Egan Company will lead the October 15 roundtable on innovative lighting and lighting control options that help facilities save energy and improve building amenities.

November 5: Roundtable on the IREM Certified Sustainable Property (CSP) Program at The Harrington Company

Sustainability is more than a buzzword—it’s an integral part of commercial property management. At the November 5 Roundtable, join Stephen Todd of the Energy Guy to learn about IREM’s CSP program and get ideas from your peers on how to help your properties waste less and save more.

November 11–15: Asset Management Track Course at Atria Corporate Center

In mid-November, IREM Minnesota will host the Asset Management Track courses on financing and loan analysis (ASM603), performance and valuation (ASM604), and asset analysis (ASM605) for CPM certified property managers. Register for this valuable training on the IREM website.

December 10: Roundtable on Fenestration Field Testing at The Harrington Company

The last IREM roundtable of the year will cover field testing of fenestration products with Allan Witt of Terracon Consultants. December 10 is your chance to learn all about the ASTM and AAMA standards and methods that govern field testing.

End 2019 on a strong, positive note. Register for an upcoming IREM event today to make the most of the rest of 2019 and 2020. Clarity Commercial is looking forward to seeing you at the next IREM event!

 

3 Ways to Keep Your Commercial Tenants Happy (and Paying Their Rent On-Time)

Property owners, especially those who manage their properties themselves, often struggle with tenant turnover. Managing and maintaining one or more commercial properties is a full-time job that leaves little time for doing the things that keep current tenants happy and attract new ones. Here are three ways you can keep your current tenants happy so they’re more likely to renew their lease with you.

  1. Build a Professional Relationship with Your Tenants

If your tenants only see you when their rent is due, it’s difficult to build a positive relationship with them. Take the time to learn about their business and their needs for their space within your building. Take their calls and give them a heads up when you need to access their location for maintenance and repairs.

Simply listening to what they love about your property and what could work better for them goes a long way toward building a good relationship with your tenants. Better yet, make some of the improvements they suggest. Investing a little in them makes it more likely that they’ll be loyal tenants for years to come.

  1. Maintain and Improve Your Property

Maintenance and improvements should be part of your annual budget for every one of your properties. All buildings require ongoing care to operate efficiently and reliably. Show tenants that you’re dedicated to keeping your property safe, functional, and attractive for them and their visitors.

If it’s been a few years since you’ve updated the common spaces in your office building or if the landscaping around your property is looking a little rundown or overgrown, invest in some upgrades. Not only will this help your tenants attract new business, you’ll likely attract a few new tenants yourself.

  1. Hire a Professional Property Management Company

If you’re a busy property owner managing multiple locations and dozens of tenants, partnering with a professional property management company is a necessity. A property management company such as Clarity Commercial can help you build and manage your tenant relationships, from finding new tenants and responding to their maintenance requests to lease renewals.

When it comes down to it, a happy tenant is a lease-paying tenant. Clarity Commercial can help you find great tenants, build professional relationships, and maintain your property to keep your tenants happy for years to come. Contact us today to discover if partnering with us would be a good fit for your property.

 

Upcoming IREM Minnesota Events to Fill Your 2019 Calendar

Clarity Commercial is an active member of IREM Minnesota. Our local chapter of the Institute of Real Estate Management hosts events throughout the year to help real estate managers hone their skills (and have a little fun). Mark your calendars for these upcoming IREM events.

June 7: Property Management Summit at Golden Valley Country Club

On June 7, IREM Minnesota will host the Property Management Summit at Golden Valley Country Club. Real estate managers can earn four hours of CE credit for participating in the summit. The event will give an overview of the state of the real estate management industry, then offer four one-hour sessions that will cover business development, asset management, marketing, leasing, maintenance, and tenant improvements.

June 10: IREM 2019 Golf Tournament at Minnesota Valley Country Club

IREM members work hard, and they play hard, too! Register today for the IREM 2019 Golf Tournament in Minnesota Valley Country Club in Bloomington. Put together a foursome, win the beanbag tournament and best-dressed (and worst-dressed!) competition, and take a shot at $5,000 in the long putt contest. Look forward to seeing you on the course!

September 24: Roundtable on Construction Management & Tenant Improvement at The Harrington Company

The next IREM roundtable will cover construction management and tenant improvements. The members-only event will be held at the IREM Minnesota chapter office in Minneapolis on September 24. Participants will learn how to oversee tenant improvement and construction projects on smaller residential buildings and earn one hour of CE.

November 11–15: Asset Management Track Courses at Atria Corporate Center

IREM Minnesota will offer the Asset Management Track of courses November 11–15. Participants will complete three courses: Financing and Loan Analysis for Investment Real Estate, Performance and Valuation of Investment Real Estate, and Asset Analysis of Investment Real Estate. The Asset Management Track meets CPM program requirements.

This track of courses will build participants’ knowledge of financing as well as the valuation of real estate assets. IREM recommends that participants complete Budgeting, Cash Flow, and Reporting for Investment Real Estate before embarking on the Asset Management Track.

Clarity Commercial never takes time off from professional development. IREM events help us stay on top of changes in the real estate management industry so we can provide you with the best property management service possible. To learn more about how we can serve you, contact the Clarity Commercial team today.