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.

Spring Cleanup and Maintenance for Commercial Properties

The snow is melting rapidly and potholes are cropping up across the metro area—it’s early spring in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It may not quite be time to put up the ice melt and gas up the lawn mower, but it is time to put together your spring-cleaning checklist. Commercial properties require seasonal maintenance just like homes do. Here are five of the items Clarity Commercial will be taking care of for our clients in the next 60 days.

  1. Patching Up Parking Lot Potholes

The snow is on the way out and leaving massive potholes in its wake. It seems like new craters appear every hour. For commercial property managers, March is the season of cold-patch asphalt and power sweepers. While your parking lot snow mountain may persist through May, March is when you need to fill potholes and sweep your parking lot to remove salt and sand. We partner with reputable asphalt and paving companies to keep our clients’ parking lots clear and safe.

  1. Inspecting Roofs for Damage

Several roof collapses made the news this February after nearly 40 inches fell across the state. All that snow strains the integrity of commercial roofs. If you were lucky enough to avoid a cave-in, it still pays to have your roof inspected now that the snow’s melted. Clarity Commercial hires professional commercial roofing companies to perform roof inspections at the properties we manage. If we uncover damage, we work with our clients to have it repaired to keep tenants safe.

  1. Cleaning Out the Gutters

Gutters on commercial buildings can become blocked with leaves and other debris over the winter. A commercial roofer can inspect your gutters while they’re looking at your roof. Or, you can hire a gutter specialist to give your gutters a thorough cleanout. We have resources for both.

  1. Scheduling Window Cleaning for March

The busy season for window cleaners runs April through September. We like to stay ahead of the curve and have the windows of our properties cleaned in March after most of the snow has melted. That way, our buildings look their best while their neighbors are waiting for their spring refresh. Clean windows also let the warm spring sunlight to brighten offices and atriums.

  1. Maintaining HVAC Systems

While the heat will be on in most commercial buildings for another month or so, it’s a good time to schedule your HVAC maintenance appointment to clean your ducts and get your air conditioning ready for the warmer months.

Patio weather is right around the corner. Get your commercial property ready for sunny days with a little spring cleaning. Clarity Commercial is here to help. Contact us today for help with regular commercial property maintenance.

Should You Upgrade to a Cloud-Based Security System?

Everyone on the Clarity Commercial team hopes to become a trusted partner and resource for our clients. We’ve helped property owners with all sorts of questions, from how to grow a profitable commercial real estate portfolio to how to supervise on-site workers. One question we’re often asked is how to best secure a commercial property.

There are as many ways to secure a property as there are properties themselves. A warehouse in Burnsville, Minnesota, has very different security and safety needs from an apartment building in downtown Minneapolis. This month, we wanted to focus on one of the newer technologies in commercial security: cloud-based security systems.

Cloud-Based Security Is a Hot Trend

Cloud-based security systems have become very popular options for commercial properties. Cloud-based systems can integrate several different layers of security, from alarm and access control systems to security cameras and CCTV. It’s easy and affordable to add sensors and other security equipment to a cloud-based system, which makes them a great option for a growing business or for landlords with average to high tenant turnover.

In a cloud-based system, property managers and owners manage who has access to their buildings through an online dashboard. They can assign and revoke access to all or parts of their property and review who’s entered and exited the building. Cloud-based storage of video makes it easy and affordable to keep and review footage from security cameras anytime, anywhere.

Cloud-Based Access Control for Tenants

For a property with multiple tenants, a cloud-based security system is a great option. Many newer systems are operated via a smartphone app, which means owners do not have to invest in hundreds of key cards that can get lost or stolen. Instead, tenants download the app, the property owner or manager authorizes them as users, and the app automatically unlocks doors for them via the phone’s Bluetooth capability. Since it’s cloud-based, access can be assigned or revoked instantly, and records of who is entering and leaving the building are immediately available.

If you’re considering adding or upgrading a security system on your commercial property, Clarity Commercial is here to help. Our property managers have years of experience advising property owners on how to find the security system that keeps their property secure without breaking the bank. Contact us today for help.

 

 

Winter Maintenance Tips from Clarity Commercial

So far, January has been a relatively mild month in Minnesota. We haven’t had a run of frigid temperatures or a major snowstorm. But anyone who’s lived through a winter here knows there is a high likelihood that the other shoe will drop. Are you prepared to keep your parking lot and walkways safe and clear for your guests and employees?

Keeping Parking Lots and Walkways Clear of Snow

Mild temperatures in early January melted away most of the snow in Twin Cities, but chances are we’ll get a few more snowstorms before winter’s done with us. Have you contracted with a snow removal company yet?

If not, Clarity Commercial can help. We partner with the best snow removal companies in the area to help our customers keep their parking lots and walkways clear and safe. If snow’s in the forecast, the crew will stop by before the storm hits to pretreat your surfaces. Then, they will clear your parking lots and walkways as soon as the snow stops falling. Once they’ve cleared the snow away, they can treat your lot and walkways with deicer to keep them safe for your guests and employees.

Keeping Parking Lots and Walkways Clear of Ice

Remember the slop storm we got around Christmas? The rain/ice/snow mix left quite the icy mess. If our winter continues to be mild, we may get another one of these messy storms before spring. Keeping parking lots and walkways safe after an ice storm is a tough job.

Clarity Commercial’s trusted partners have the equipment and trained staff to pretreat and remove ice buildup from your parking lot and walkways. They’ll lay down deicer before the storm hits, so the ice cannot build up on your property. After the storm moves through, they’ll come back to plow and shovel, if needed, and retreat any slick areas.

Snow and ice are part of a Minnesota winter, but they don’t have to put your guests 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.

 

A Sneak Peek at Upcoming Events at IREM Minnesota

The end of December is a time of reflection for the Clarity crew. It’s a little quieter in Minnesota, and we have some time to think about how the past year went and what we hope to accomplish in the new one.

Clarity Commercial invests in the professional development of our team so we can serve our clients and community better. That’s why our leadership is heavily involved in the Minnesota chapter of the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), as well as the national organization that is around the globe in 42 countries.

IREM provides ongoing education and support to real estate management companies across the state and around the country. The Minnesota chapter is hosting two valuable events in January 2019 that should be on every management company and property owner’s calendar.

January 9: SPACE-TIME-MONEY: Optimizing Business and Life

IREM’s 2019 event series kicks off with economist Toby Madden at the Golden Valley Country Club. Madden will explain his Space-Time-Money Continuum Theorem and how you can harness it to build your business and your personal wealth by working smarter and more simply. Attend to start your year off on the right foot. Register for this January 9 lunchtime event on IREM’s website.

January 29: Roof Preservation: A Sustainable Option

While IREM’s January 9 event inspires you to consider the bigger picture, you’ll leave the event on January 29 armed with practical roof knowledge (and an hour of CE credit). John Breidenbach, AIA, CSI, LEED® AP, CDT, will lead this roundtable discussion on how to trim your roofing budget while extending the life of an existing roof. Discover the economics and environmental benefits of restoring your roof. Register for this January 29 lunchtime event on IREM’s website.

The Clarity Commercial team hopes to see you at one of these January IREM events. We look forward to sharing the knowledge we gain with our property owner customers and fellow real estate management professionals. To learn more about IREM or Clarity’s role in the organization, or to plan your property management needs in 2019, contact the Clarity Commercial team today.

Keep Guests and Employees Safe This Winter with These Snow & Ice Tips for Commercial Properties

Last month, Clarity Commercial shared three common winter challenges commercial property owners face and how to solve them. This month, we’re taking a closer look at the first challenge: snow and ice removal.

Tips for Clear and Safe Parking Lots 

In Minnesota, mountains appear seasonally. They tend to show up around the end of January in parking lots across the Twin Cities, then disappear sometime in May. Snow mountains are a fact of life for commercial property owners with parking lots. Not only do these piles of snow take up parking spaces, they can make it hazardous for your employees and visitors to navigate your lot.

Regular plowing and deicing will keep your parking lot surface clear and safe. But all that snow needs to go somewhere. In winters with below-average snowfall, you might be able to get away with allowing your snow mountain to accumulate. But in average or above-average snowfall, you will want to contract with a company to haul away some of your snow. Clarity Commercial has the resources to help you plow your snow, deice your lot, and reduce your snow mountain to Minnesota prairie.

The Best Way to Keep Outdoor Walkways Safe

Slip-and-fall accidents increase in the wintertime, which means out-of-work employees and even lawsuits if injuries are serious. What’s the best way to prevent slip-and-falls? Staying on top of the snow and ice on your walkways.

Most municipalities require owners to clear the walkways around their properties. Clarity can help you understand your city’s requirements. Our snow removal crews use snow blowers and shovels to clear snow from our clients’ walkways. We follow up snow removal with deicing, including salt and sand, if necessary. If snow is in the forecast, you may see our crews out before the weather hits to throw down a layer of salt, too.

Don’t Forget to Keep Interior Flooring Dry

Snow and ice removal doesn’t end once employees and visitors walk through your front door. Snow and salt on boots can muck up your floors and cause people to slip. Clarity recommends placing a few heavy-duty mats in your vestibule and lobby areas to catch water and salt. Our vendors also stop by at least once a week to replace wet and dirty mats.

Keep an eye on hardwood and tile flooring, both of which can get slick from melted snow. Mop up wet floors regularly and consider using an industrial blower fan to dry floors on stormy days. Carpets can get gummy with melted snow and salt. Schedule one or two carpet cleaning appointments throughout the winter to keep your floors looking nice.

Don’t let Old Man Winter get you down this year. Keep employees and visitors safe and dry as they come and go from your building. Clarity Commercial can help you stay on top of the snow this season. Contact us today to get started.

3 Ways to Keep Building Tenants and Guests Safe during Winter

Property owners in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, face a unique challenge for up to six months of the year: winter. Whether you own a strip mall in the suburbs or office space downtown, winter cold, ice, and snow make it difficult to keep your building safe and comfortable. Here are three challenges property owners face in winter and how to solve them.

  1. Snowy and Icy Walkways, Driveways, and Parking Lots

Challenge

Snow can make it difficult or impossible for tenants and guests to reach your building. In late winter, mountains of plowed snow can shrink your parking lot and make it difficult to see pedestrians. Ice makes walkways and driveways treacherous, too. Some cities require you to clear and de-ice public walkways around your building within 12 to 24 hours, which is difficult if you own more than one property.

Solution

If you own just one building, you may feel comfortable clearing your walkways, driveway, and parking lot yourself. Maybe you own a plow or don’t mind getting to your building early so walkways are clear once your tenants and their guests arrive or staying through the day to ensure walkways remain clear.

If this sounds like a lot of work, or if you have more profitable things to do with your time than clear snow, consider hiring a snow removal company. A snow removal company will plow snow, shovel walkways, and de-ice all paved surfaces to ensure they’re safe and easy to navigate. If you already work with a property management company, such as Clarity Commercial, ask if you can add snow removal to your list of services.

  1. Broken Boiler or Offline HVAC System

Challenge

It gets brutally cold in Minnesota. No one wants to work in or visit a building where the heat is broken. But if you own an older building, discovering a broken boiler or furnace is a real possibility. Without proper maintenance and regular repairs, you may have to shut down your building for a day or more due to frigid indoor temperatures.

Solution

Head any boiler or HVAC issues off at the pass with regular maintenance and repairs. Routine boiler and furnace checks can uncover issues before they occur. Not an HVAC professional? Then it’s time to call your property management company. Clarity Commercial can take the headache out of boiler and HVAC maintenance so you keep your tenants warm all winter long.

  1. Power Outages

Challenge

Minnesota is home to some epic blizzards (remember when the Metrodome roof collapsed?). High winds and accumulating snow can bring down power lines. This means all your tenants’ electronic equipment—including office computers or a restaurant’s freezers—will be down until the power comes back on. Power outages are a headache at best and a disaster at worst, especially when refrigeration is involved.

Solution

A generator is one of the best investments you can make. The generator kicks in to support your building until the power comes back on. It’s not a long-term fix, but it is a lifesaver for you and your tenants. Clarity Commercial can recommend generators that are good solutions for your building.

Don’t let winter make property ownership a headache this year. Partner with a commercial property management company that can take the challenges of winter property management off your plate. Contact us today to get started.

3 Maintenance Tasks a Commercial Property Manager Can Take Off Your To-Do List

It’s the fourth quarter of 2018—are your commercial properties hitting their revenue targets this year? If not, it’s time to make a change so you can meet your goals in next few months. Partnering with Clarity Commercial can free up your time so you can be out finding tenants and filling space rather than repairing leaky toilets or winterizing your lawn irrigation.

Here are three maintenance tasks a commercial property management company can take off your to-do list so you can finish 2018 strong.

  1. Emergency or Scheduled Repairs

Emergency maintenance calls can completely derail your day. Don’t cancel your appointment with a potential tenant to fix a broken office cabinet or replace the busted fridge in the common-area kitchen. Call on your commercial property management company to help.

A property manager can handle all scheduled and emergency repairs for you, often without even involving you in process. Your property manager can keep a scheduled maintenance calendar to stay ahead of wear-and-tear repairs and notify you when repairs are completed. For emergencies, your tenants can call your property manager, who resolves the issue and lets you know when the repair’s been made.

  1. Fall Clean-Up and Winter Maintenance

Many commercial properties have outdoor space that requires clean-up in the fall before winter arrives. Raking leaves, winterizing sprinklers, and putting out salt for sidewalks can take a day or two out of your busy schedule.

Instead, let a property management company take care of your fall clean-up and other winter outdoor maintenance tasks. Your property manager can tackle any outdoor project, from switching out summer garden beds with fall mums to snow removal for your parking lot. Use the time you save from outsourcing these tasks to meet with potential tenants or building your relationship with current ones.

  1. Mechanicals Maintenance

Commercial properties have complex HVAC and plumbing systems. Maintaining these systems properly yourself is time-consuming and even dangerous if you do not have the appropriate expertise. Fortunately, your property management company has the experience and resources to keep your building warm and safe throughout the winter.

Thinking about hiring a commercial property management company to take some of your maintenance tasks off your plate? You’ll be surprised at the time you’ll save by outsourcing repairs and other to-dos. To learn more, contact Clarity Commercial today.