Your Commercial Building’s Sustainability Analysis

A sustainability analysis for your commercial building or property portfolio can help you identify areas of improvement in energy efficiency, occupant comfort, and energy costs. Clarity Commercial can perform this analysis for you and create a plan for making any recommended improvements. Here’s a look at what a sustainability analysis assesses and how you can use one to improve your properties.

Benefits of a Sustainability Analysis

Nearly 40 percent of global carbon emissions are attributed to commercial buildings, and nearly half of all energy use in the United States is associated with buildings and construction. These figures include the energy and materials used to construct buildings as well as their ongoing energy needs to maintain a comfortable and safe environment.

According to Deloitte, green buildings use up to 50 percent less energy than non-green buildings. They also use 40 percent less water and produce approximately 70 percent less solid waste. What’s more, green buildings dominate the market in some areas, making it more difficult for non-green buildings to compete, resulting in lower-than-average rent rates.

A sustainability analysis of your commercial properties identifies your buildings’ environmental footprint and identifies areas where you can improve efficiency and performance to cut back on energy use and costs. These improvements not only help you save money and energy over time, they can help you attract and retain tenants who are environmentally conscious or require spaces with cleaner indoor air.

What We Look at in Our Sustainability Analysis

If you’re not building a new property from the ground up, it is possible to make sustainable improvements to your existing non-green building. A sustainability analysis from Clarity Commercial will review your property’s energy usage and sources, heating and cooling system, ventilation system, windows, landscaping, and other factors that contribute to the efficiency and sustainability of your property.

From there, we will make recommendations for improvements that you can incorporate into your budget projections for future projects. For example, you may know that your building is due for an HVAC update in the next five years. Our sustainability analysis may recommend you consider energy-efficient upgrades for this project that will lower your energy costs over the next fifteen years. Or, we may recommend upgrading your building’s air ventilation system to improve indoor air quality to create a safer, more comfortable property.

Sustainability analysis is just one service we offer at Clarity Commercial. To learn more about our other property management services, contact the Clarity team today.

Marketing Your Commercial Property to Attract the Right Tenants

Attracting the right tenants to your commercial property can help you grow your commercial portfolio without investing in additional properties. Understanding your local market, building a list of target tenants, and employing the right marketing strategies can help you find the perfect, long-term tenants for your portfolio.

Understand Your Local Market

Your local market plays a large role in your success finding tenants. Let’s say you own a medical building. Are you the only medical building in your area, or are you close to other clinics or a hospital? What are the vacancy rates in the buildings around you? What amenities do these buildings offer, and how do they compare to yours?

Answering these questions in regard to your neighbors and neighborhood can help you understand your local market and the types of tenants who may be attracted to your area. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to craft sales and marketing materials that speak to the benefits of leasing in your building.

Understand Your Ideal Tenant

Once you understand your local market, it’s time to do some research on your ideal tenant. There’s more to understanding your ideal tenant than simply wanting them to pay rent on time. You’ll want to decide how long your ideal lease is, the tenant improvements you’re willing and unwilling to make, and the types of businesses that would fit well with your current mix of tenants.

Invest in Photography

Professional photography is one of the best investments you can make in the marketing of your property. Many tenants look for space online, and having lots of beautiful photos of your property can separate it from other available spaces. You can take your listing to the next level with video or interactive walkthroughs of your building and tenant suites.

Blend Traditional and Digital Marketing Strategies

With your professional photography and videography in hand, it’s time to create your property’s listing. You will have a greater chance of finding the ideal tenant if you blend traditional and digital marketing strategies. Develop a one-pager for your property that you can send digitally as a pdf or hand out to potential tenants. Be sure to create an online listing for your available space and promote it on social media, too.

Property owners who partner with Clarity Commercial can take advantage of our online listings as well as our full suite of done-for-you marketing services. We maintain and up-to-date list of available properties for lease on our website. Our property managers work tirelessly to market your property to your ideal tenants, including digital marketing, print marketing, and flexing their professional networks.

For expert help marketing your commercial property, get in touch with the Clarity Commercial team today.

Upcoming IREM Property Manager Professional Development Events

Clarity Commercial is a proud, active member of the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Minnesota. IREM Minnesota offers continuing education for property managers who work in commercial real estate. Here’s a look at what’s coming up in the third quarter of 2022. Be sure to check the IREM website for additional opportunities as they are scheduled.

Hearts and Hammers Volunteer Event | September 15

Join fellow IREM members for the Hearts and Hammers volunteer event on September 15. The all-day event will be a great chance to do some good in your community while networking with other commercial property managers.

Learn more on the IREM website.

ASMTRK Asset Management Track (ASM603, ASM604, ASM605) | September 19–23

IREM’s asset management track builds your knowledge of financing and valuation of real estate assets. Join instructor Tom Elmer, CPM®, CPA, and IREM Minnesota for a week of intensive training. On September 19 and 20, complete ASM603: Financing and Loan Analysis for Investment Real Estate. On September 21 and 22, complete ASM604: Performance and Valuation of Investment Real Estate. Finish the asset management track on September 23 with ASM605: Asset Analysis of Investment Real Estate. These courses meet the program requirements for CPM certification.

Register today on the IREM website.

CAPTRK CPM Capstone Track (MPSAXM, CPMEXM) | November 14

Tom Elmer, CPM®, CPA leads a two-day intensive prep followed by the MPSA exam and CPM certification exam. The two-day intensive prep takes place November 14–15 online or in-person at the IREM Minnesota chapter office. Participants have seven days after the prep session to complete the MPSA exam. Participants have 30 days after the prep session to complete the CPM certification exam. The prep course and two exams comprise the CPM capstone track. These courses meet the program requirements for CPM certification.

Register today on the IREM website.

Clarity Commercial owner Mel Schultz, CPM, CCIM, CCAM, is an active IREM member. He 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.

Understanding Tenant Operating Expense Reconciliation

Operating expense reconciliation is a common practice between tenants and landlords. Performing this type of reconciliation can help property owners better understand their tenant income and expenses so they can create more accurate annual budgets and better anticipate future costs.

Here’s a look at how Clarity Commercial helps our property owners with operating expense reconciliation.

Explaining Operating Expense Reconciliation

The first step in helping property owners with operating expense reconciliation is to explain just what it is and how it helps them. Operating expenses include utilities, property insurance, real estate taxes, maintenance, repairs, cleaning services, and other expenses. These expenses are passed on to tenants every year. The amount tenants pay is based on an estimate of what the property owner anticipates these expenses will be, based on past data.

Sometimes, the property owner’s estimate is spot-on. Other times expenses exceed the estimate. And happily, there are times when expenses come in lower than anticipated. Once the final numbers are in, property owners have the responsibility to share the results with tenants. Generally, if tenants underpaid, the property owner bills tenants for their share of the overage. If tenants overpaid, the landlord cuts them a check for the difference or issues a rent credit. How reconciliation is performed should be stipulated in the tenants’ lease agreements.

Why Reconciling Operating Expenses Is Important

Without going through the process of reconciliation, property owners would not have an accurate picture of their expenses or whether their current rent rates or lease agreements adequately cover expenses. Over time, the reconciliation process should provide an increasingly accurate picture of expenses (other than large, unforeseen costs). This can help a property owner better manage income and cash flow. If property owners habitually undercharge tenants for expenses, they may not have enough cash to cover expenses throughout the year. If they overcharge tenants, they may face cash flow issues in the next year after rent credits or checks have gone out.

Operating expense reconciliation is an important step in the property management process. The Clarity Commercial team performs reconciliations for our clients. For help with your own operating expenses or other tenant management challenges, get in touch with our team today

How Regular Site Inspections Can Help You Manage Expenses

We’ve all heard the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is especially true for commercial property management. Not only do regular site inspections help property owners avoid expensive emergency repairs, they can help property owners plan for capital improvements and other big-ticket investments. At Clarity Commercial, we perform regular site inspections of all of our clients’ properties to help them plan expenses and save money.

Regular Exterior Site Inspections

Exterior site inspections help property owners quickly address any emergent issues with the exteriors of their buildings, their parking lots, and their grounds. Clarity Commercial performs regular exterior site inspections. We understand that drive-by inspections are rarely effective, so our managers always get out of the car and walk around the building and parking lots to look for potential repairs or maintenance issues.
An exterior site inspection should include a close look at the building’s windows and siding to look for damaged or weathered trim, missing bricks, clogged gutters, and other issues. Managers should check the building’s doors and locks to ensure they are working properly. They should also pay attention to the condition of the walkways and driveway to make sure there are no trip and fall hazards. Lighting should be on and in good working order, too.

A quick look at the landscaping will identify whether the grass and flower beds are being maintained on an appropriate schedule. Long grass, weeds, or dead plants may prompt a call to the landscape company.

Regular Interior Site Inspections

Regular and frequent interior site inspections can keep surprises at bay. On our regular interior site inspections, the Clarity Commercial team will check the interior lighting to ensure hallways and tenant spaces are adequately lit. We will check doors to make sure they are working properly and inspect walls for dents, scrapes, and other damage.

An interior site inspection should also check the building’s heating, cooling, and air ventilation systems to ensure they are working properly. In many cases, we ask our HVAC partners to perform this specialized inspection. During our interior site inspection, we may also meet with tenants to ensure any maintenance and repair requests get handled promptly.

Regular site inspections are an integral part of the commercial property management process. The Clarity Commercial team learns a lot from the site inspections we perform. Sometimes, there are maintenance and repairs we can perform immediately, while other inspections uncover future maintenance and upgrade costs. Anticipating these costs help property owners plan for future investments and avoid paying for emergency repairs.

If you haven’t had your commercial property inspected in a while, get in touch with the Clarity Commercial team. We can work with you to ensure your buildings are in good working order and help you manage your maintenance and repair expenses.


Upcoming IREM Property Manager Professional Development Events

Clarity Commercial AMO® is a proud, active member of the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Minnesota. This year, IREM Minnesota offers commercial property managers a full slate of professional and personal development opportunities. Here’s a look at what’s coming up in the second quarter of 2022.

FIN 402 Budgeting, Cash Flow and Reporting for Investment Real Estate | April 4

Managing a portfolio of investment properties requires some financial know-how. In this IREM course, instructor Tom Elmer, CFO of Oakwood Partners, LLC, goes over basic accounting practices and budgeting for investment portfolios. Then, he’ll do a deep dive on cash flow analysis and how to use data for forecasting and modeling. You won’t want to miss it!

Enroll in the training on the IREM website.

The Development of Malcolm Yards—Tour | April 12

Join IREM MN for a happy hour and tour of the brand-new multiuse neighborhood in Prospect Park called Malcolm Yards. Formerly the Harris Machinery Building, Malcolm Yards features a food gallery, historic grain elevators, and Surly Brewing.

RSVP today on the IREM website.

ALM Barrel House Building Tour & Happy Hour | April 14

Why limit yourself to one happy hour a week? Join IREM MN for a tour and happy hour at the Barrel House, hosted by the Advancing Leaders of Minnesota committee. The event is free to attend, but you do have to register first.

RSVP today on the IREM website.

Save the Date for the 2022 Golf Tournament | June 6

IREM’s annual golf tournament is back and better than ever! Register yourself and your team for a day on the links at Mendakota Country Club. More information coming soon!

Get the details on the IREM website.

Clarity Commercial AMO® owner Mel Schultz, CPM, CCIM, CCAM, is an active IREM member. He 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 AMO® today.

All About Cloud-Based Access Control

Commercial properties have experienced a lot of change these last few years. Tenants have moved out and new ones have moved in. Other tenants have dramatically changed how, when, and where their employees work. Visitors to retail shops, medical clinics, and other businesses have ebbed and flowed.

All of these changes have challenged landlords and tenants alike to find new access control solutions. It may seem like a minor concern, but having the right access control system can make your life as a landlord or tenant much easier. Conversely, using a system that no longer serves you and how you work can interrupt productivity and create frustration. Clarity Commercial is here to help you find the cloud-based access control system that fits your current needs.

What is access control?

Access control is the term for the systems, processes, and policies that physically secure your commercial space. Access control systems can be as simple as a lock and key. But increasingly, access control systems include much, much more.

In the wake of remote work and high tenant turnover, many companies are choosing to upgrade their access control from master key systems or electronic fobs to systems that can be monitored and managed remotely. These systems offer landlords flexibility in authorizing and revoking access as tenants come and go, and offer tenants the same flexibility when deciding whom to allow to access their space.

What is cloud-based access control?

Cloud-based access control systems allow landlords and tenants to monitor and manage access to their spaces remotely from an online dashboard. Many cloud-based systems have swapped physical keycards for Bluetooth-powered access provided by a cellphone app. For landlords, this a huge timesaver, as they no longer have to spend hours coordinating keycards with tenants or tracking down lost or stolen fobs. For tenants, these systems make access to their spaces a breeze.

Cloud-based access control systems also make it easy to manage authorized visitors. Access can be given or revoked instantly through the online dashboard. Many systems offer temporary passes for visitors, too, which makes it easy to grant access to maintenance and repair crews and other contractors.

How can Clarity Commercial help?

Clarity Commercial can help landlords and tenants choose the cloud-based access control system that fits their needs. Our expert property management team can even take access control management off your plate as needed.

For professional property management help from Minnesota’s best commercial property management team, get in touch with Clarity Commercial today.

Start 2022 Off Strong with These Professional Development Events

Clarity Commercial is a proud, active member of the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Minnesota. This year, IREM Minnesota offers commercial property managers a full slate of professional and personal development opportunities. Here’s a look at what’s coming up in the first quarter of 2022.

After two years of online events, IREM is now offering in-person learning opportunities across the Twin Cities. Locations for first-quarter events include the IREM Minnesota Chapter office in the Harrington Company in Minneapolis and the office building at 7700 France Avenue in Edina. Both are convenient locations for commercial property managers across the Twin Cities metro area.

ETH 800 Ethics for the Real Estate Manager | February 2

How you respond to ethical challenges can make or break your reputation as a commercial property manager. ETH 800 helps participants resolve ethical dilemmas and avoid conflicts of interest. The best thing about this course? It’s taught by our very own Mel Schultz! Participants may earn four hours of real estate CE.

Enroll in the training on the IREM Website.

A New Year: CRE Prospects in 2022 | February 8

CoStar economist Brandon Svec leads this 90-minute seminar on the state of the CRE market and where it’s headed in 2022. Not only will you get the inside scoop on the Minneapolis market, you’ll learn what’s happening in Chicago, the Midwest, and across the country. Don’t miss this insightful look into what’s ahead.

Enroll in the session on the IREM website.

Clarity Commercial owner Mel Schultz, CPM, CCIM, CCAM, is an active IREM member (and instructor!) 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.

Year-End Financial Reporting Tips for Commercial Properties

Part of maintaining a healthy commercial real estate portfolio is year-end financial reporting. While it may not be the most exciting part of your job as a property owner, it is an absolutely necessary one. At Clarity Commercial, we often provide financial reporting as a service to our clients. Here are a few of the reports we may look at to help our clients plan for the new year and beyond.

Run Your Year-End Balance Sheet

A year-end balance sheet is a very common financial report across all types of businesses. It provides an overview of your commercial property portfolio’s assets and liabilities in real dollar amounts. Consider your year-end balance sheet a snapshot of the health of your portfolio. It may not tell the complete financial story of your properties, but it will give you an idea of what happened over the last year so you can start planning for next year.

Compile Your Rent Roll Report

If you manage tenants, then you know how important your rent roll report is to the health of your books. It’s one of the core elements of good financial reporting for commercial properties. Your rent roll report will tell you your income from every tenant suite in every property you own. Some property owners prefer to run a separate rent roll report for each property in their portfolio, while others like to see their entire portfolio compiled in a single report.

A comprehensive rent roll includes the income coming in from a particular space as well as market or zoning, the type of property, the address, and square footage. It may also indicate tenant lease dates, prepaid or past-due rent, and other tenant income and expenses. Your rent roll report offers many valuable insights into the health of your portfolio, so be sure to take a look at it at year-end.

Check Your Lease Expiration Report

To keep tabs on which leases will be expiring in the new year, run a lease expiration report. It will show you when tenants’ leases are up so you can approach them about renewing or start your hunt for new tenants. The report also gives you an at-a-glance insight into how many square feet will expire each month and how much income that represents.

Review Your Expense Recovery Estimates

As you know, property improvements, maintenance, and repairs are unavoidable expenses for a commercial property owner. An expense recovery estimate report will help you track current expenses and predict when you will recoup those costs.

Financial reporting is an essential tool in maintaining a healthy and profitable commercial real estate portfolio. For assistance running and interpreting your financial reports so you can make better business decisions for your portfolio, get in touch with the Clarity Commercial team today

Selecting a Minnesota Commercial Snow Removal Company

Winter weather has arrived in Minnesota, and with it the guarantee of snow and ice for the next few months. Commercial snow removal companies are ready to kick into gear. If you haven’t contracted with a snow removal company yet, Clarity Commercial has a few tips on how to choose the right contractor for you. These are the things we consider when we select a commercial snow removal company for our property management clients.

Understand the Services the Commercial Snow Removal Company Offers

The first thing you need to gain clarity on are the types of services a commercial snow removal company offers. Not all snow removal services are the same. Some are large operations with a fleet of trucks and dozens of employees. Others are owner-operator endeavors with a truck with a plow, a snowblower, and a shovel. Both are good options depending on your needs.

As you interview different snow removal professionals, ask if they are able to perform every service your property requires. Confirm that they are equipped to plow your parking lot, driveway, and sidewalks, as needed. Inquire about their deicing services for your surfaces, too. Double-check that the company will promptly and repeatedly come out to salt your sidewalks and walkways, as you could be held liable for a visitor or employee’s slip and fall accident if you leave these areas untreated.

Negotiate a Snow Removal Contract and Set Expectations

Once you’ve settled on a commercial snow removal company for your property, it is time to negotiate the contract and set your expectations. Your snow removal contract should stipulate required services as well as when you can expect the company to show up at your property. It should outline how soon after a storm snow removal will occur as well as any preventative measures the company will take to prevent icy surfaces before a storm hits. Your contract should also include what happens to the removed snow. Will the company push it to a certain area of your property or haul it away? Confirm how you will get in touch with the snow removal company if an issue arises or you have an acute need for snow and ice removal.

Confirm the Snow Removal Company Is Insured

This last point is often overlooked. Many property owners assume the contractors they work with are insured. Since failing to remove snow and ice can leave you open to risk, you need to confirm that the commercial snow removal company you are considered is properly insured for snow removal services. Any reputable company will be happy to share this information with you.

Old Man Winter is already knocking on Minnesota’s door. For help finding commercial snow removal services for your property, contact the professionals at Clarity Commercial today