Clearly Better Commercial

Commercial Property Fall Cleanup Tips

Breathe in, breathe out . . . that’s the smell of fall! Autumn has arrived in the Twin Cities, and it’s time to schedule your fall cleanup. Here are five commercial property fall cleanup tips from the professionals at Clarity Commercial. Our crews will be taking care of these tasks for our clients over the next 60 to 90 days.

Tune Up the Furnace

While your A/C worked overtime in the summer heat, your furnace will be clocking in for its shift soon. It’s best to schedule your HVAC maintenance appointment now before your HVAC vendor’s schedule books up. Early fall is an ideal time to inspect your furnace or boiler, clean your ducts, and prepare your system for the colder months.

Confirm Snow Removal Services

For commercial property managers like Clarity Commercial, September is the month when we confirm that our properties have their snow removal services in place. While they hopefully won’t need to visit our properties for at least another month or two, it is good to have them lined up early. We partner with reputable snow removal companies to keep our clients’ parking lots clear and safe all winter long.

Make Summer Storm Damage Repairs

Did summer storms cause damage to your property’s roofing or exterior? Be sure to make repairs before the cold and snow arrive. Clarity Commercial hires professional commercial roofing and exterior contractors to inspect and repair the properties we manage. If we uncover damage, we work with our clients to have it repaired to ensure your property is protected from the elements.

Clean Out the Gutters

Gutters on commercial buildings can become blocked with leaves and other debris over the summer and into the fall. Before the snow and ice arrive, get your gutters cleaned out. 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. Work with Clarity Commercial for vetted recommendations for both.

Schedule the Year’s Final Window Cleaning

The busy season for window cleaners runs through September. It’s your last chance to get your property’s windows cleaned before it is too cold to do so safely and effectively. Clean windows let warm sunlight brighten offices and atriums all winter long, a welcome reprieve from the cold outside.

Old Man Winter is coming. Get your commercial property ready for snow and cold with a little fall cleaning. Clarity Commercial is here to help. Contact us today for help with regular commercial property maintenance.

Lease Renewal Negotiation Tips for Landlords

One of the most valuable services Clarity Commercial provides to its property owner clients is renewing leases with their tenants.  Lease Renewal is almost always a much less expensive alternative than seeking a replacement tenant, by avoiding gaps in income and incurring lower costs of space improvements and tenant representation commissions. Here are a few of our team’s tips for making sure your interests and property values are maximized in the process.

  1. Leverage Established Rapport with the Tenant

The lease renewal process begins the day the tenant first moves in, by the property manager establishing a personal working relationship with the actual decision-maker of the tenant, or the local head of the office.  It continues with regular contact and prompt response to issues.  The goal is to create an atmosphere where the tenant wonders why they would consider moving.

  1. Offer Longer, but Flexible, Lease Terms

Landlords prefer longer lease terms, providing steady monthly income while minimizing costs of tenant turnover.  Tenants would also prefer that structure, but potential changes in financial performance (up or down) or future business strategy call for flexibility.  A potential compromise is a longer-term lease – 6 to 10 years – with an option to terminate at a certain point in time or upon certain business events occurring.  These situations call for concessions based on the shorter lease term, with “rewards” for not exercising the termination option, or based on the full lease term with the tenant paying back unearned or unamortized concessions if the tenant elects to terminate.  For longer-term leases, consider midstream rent adjustments based on the then-current market, or increases based on metrics like the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

  1. Include Relocation Rights

It is sometimes necessary to ask a tenant to move to accommodate another tenant who wishes to expand or relocate into the space, or in the case of retail properties to optimize the location/mix of tenants to draw more customers.  Adding a relocation rights clause to your renewal lease agreement can give the landlord rights to move tenants to help you manage your property more efficiently.  These rights should include fair compensation or incentives for the potential inconvenience.

  1. Educate the Tenant on Common Area Maintenance Cost Charges

A renewing tenant will know the history of Common Area Maintenance (CAM) charges at the property.  Use the renewal process to “open the books” and talk about the historical trends in each line item, identifying those items that are non-controllable or only partially controllable.  For controllable or partially-controllable expenses, talk about efforts or processes the owner and/or property manager have implemented to control increases; or if applicable discuss unusual events that have occurred that prevented controlling increases.  This is also a good opportunity to get feedback from the tenant on the level and quality of maintenance, considered in light of the image the property is striving for with tenants and the visiting public.

  1. Review and Update Status of Tenant Improvements

One of the most common contentious issues between landlords and tenants occurs at move-out, when there can be confusion or disagreement about ownership of improvements in the tenant space – regardless of who paid for them – and whether tenant-installed improvements can or need to be removed at lease end.  Use the renewal process to walk through the space with the tenant and talk about existing improvements and each party’s understanding/expectations, as well as potential improvements needed as part of the renewal.  Make sure the renewal language clearly aligns with your discussions, which will set off the new lease term on a good note.

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

Summer 2023 IREM Continuing Education Classes

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 this summer—there’s a lot on the calendar for continuity education! Be sure to check the IREM website for additional opportunities as they are scheduled.

Advancing Leaders of Minnesota Building Tour | July 27

New property managers are invited to join the Advancing Leaders of Minnesota for a building tour of the RBC Gateway and an ice cream social and happy hour. Sponsored by Davey Tree and Ben & Jerry’s, property managers under the age of 35 or with less than 10 years of experience are invited to join in the fun.

Register today on the IREM website.

Canterbury Park Tour | September 13

Enjoy an afternoon and evening at Canterbury Park and earn one hour of real estate CE. Tour the grounds and learn about building capacity and its impact on guest comfort, space use, catering, vendor relations, and horse care.

Register today on the IREM website.

Asset Management Track | September 18

The next class in the IREM Asset Management Track will take place on September 18. Join IREM for a day of learning about financing, loan analysis, investment real estate, and asset analysis.

Register today on the IREM website.

Capstone Track | November 13

This is a preparation for the two-part final assessment for the CPM certification. The class will cover the Management Plan Skills Assessment (MPSA) and CPM Certification Exam (CPMEXM) to prepare you for both assessments.

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.

3 Ideas on How to Retain Commercial Tenants

How to retain commercial tenants is a major concern for most commercial property owners. To do so, you must discover the things that keep current tenants happy and attract new ones. Here are three ideas on how you can keep your current tenants happy so they’re more likely to renew their lease with you.

1. Build Professional Relationships with Tenants

If rent collection is the only interaction you have with your tenants, your relationship with them is likely neutral at best. You can build your relationship with your tenants by taking 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 space for maintenance and repairs.

You can also build your relationship with your tenants by asking them what they love about your property and what you could do to improve the tenant experience. Then, act on their advice. Investing a little in them makes it more likely that they’ll be loyal tenants for years to come.

2. Make Property Improvements

All buildings require ongoing care to operate efficiently and reliably. Retain commercial tenants by showing that you’re dedicated to keeping your property safe, functional, and attractive for them and their visitors.

Maintenance and improvements should be part of your annual budget for every one of your properties. 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 rundown, invest in some upgrades. Not only will this help your tenants attract new business, you’ll likely attract a few new tenants yourself.

3. 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. Clarity Commercial can help you build and manage your tenant relationships, from finding new tenants and responding to their maintenance requests to lease renewals.

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.

 

Minnesota Commercial Association of Realtors (MNCAR) at the Legends Golf Club

Hosted by Minnesota Commercial Association of Realtors (MNCAR) at the Legends Golf Club. The event was a great opportunity for us to network and connect with other industry professionals while enjoying a beautiful day on the course. We were able to showcase our commercial real estate services and expertise, and gain valuable insights from other real estate leaders in the region.

As a company, we’re committed to staying at the forefront of the industry and providing innovative solutions for our clients. Participating in events like this helps us stay connected to the broader community and learn about emerging trends and opportunities. We’re grateful to MNCAR for organizing such a fantastic event, and look forward to participating in future events that bring together industry leaders and innovators.

IREM Property Manager

Spring 2023 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 this spring—there’s a lot on the calendar! Be sure to check the IREM website for additional opportunities as they are scheduled.

Feed My Starving Children Volunteer Event | April 26

Join IREM’s Advancing Leaders for an afternoon of volunteering at Feed My Starving Children in Chanhassen, then stay for a happy hour at nearby Chanhassen Brewing Company. You’ll pack meals for children in need, then have the chance to network with other property managers, including up and coming professionals.

Register today on the IREM website.

(Re)think Leadership | May 9

Reserve your spot for (Re)think Leadership: Managing Relationships in Property Management, featuring Steve Thomas. This workshop will provide strategies on working positively and successfully with your tenants, property owners, and others, especially during challenging circumstances. Facilitator Steve Thomas has helped all sorts of organizations build their teams. Qualifies for 4 hours of CE credit.

Register today on the IREM website.

Golf Tournament | June 5

Register yourself and your team for the IREM annual golf tournament at Mendakota Country Club! Join us for lunch, then spend an afternoon on the links with your team or with a new network of property management professionals. Don’t miss it!

Register today on the IREM website.

After the Smoke Clears Lunch & Learn | June 22

Scott Clemente of SERVPRO of Minnetonka will provide an hour of education about structural fire damage and how you can minimize long-term damage. Participants will witness a live burn at the end of the lunch and learn to see first-hand how quickly fire can spread and how effective sprinklers are at controlling the spread of fire. Qualifies for 1 hour of CE credit.

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.

Cleaners clean windows in the office

Commercial Property Spring Cleanup Tips

It may not look like spring out there yet after our record-breaking winter, but it is time to start thinking about spring cleanup. Here are five commercial property spring cleanup tips from the professionals at Clarity Commercial. Our crews will be taking care of these tasks for our clients over the next 60 days.

Tune Up HVAC Systems

While you will likely be heating your building for at least another month, schedule your HVAC maintenance appointment now. Early spring is an ideal time to inspect your furnace or boiler, clean your ducts, and prepare your air conditioning units for the warmer months.

Fill Potholes in Your Parking Lot

This winter’s severe precipitation and freeze-thaw cycles have created massive potholes on roads and parking lots. For commercial property managers like Clarity Commercial, March is the month for cold-patch asphalt and power sweepers. Now that the asphalt plants are open, our partners are able to properly fill those nasty potholes with the proper hot patch.  While the mountain of snow in your parking lot may persist until summer, you need to fill potholes and sweep your parking lot to remove salt and sand now. We partner with reputable asphalt and paving companies to keep our clients’ parking lots clear and safe.

Inspect Roofs for Damage

This winter is at least the eighth snowiest on record in the states. All that snow puts strain on your commercial roof. If you haven’t done so already, we recommend you have a professional remove the snowpack from your roof to avoid a cave-in. Once the snow has melted, have your roof inspected for damage. 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 occupants safe.

Clean Out the Gutters

Gutters on commercial buildings can become blocked with leaves and other debris over the winter. Heavy ice and snow also put strain on gutters and can cause damage. 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. Work with Clarity Commercial for vetted recommendations for both.

Schedule Window Cleaning for Late March

The busy season for window cleaners runs April through September. While there’s still snow on the ground now, we’re hopeful that by late March or Easter, it will be warm enough to give the windows on our clients’ properties a deep clean. Cleaning windows early means 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, a welcome change from the long winter we’ve had.

Believe it or not, 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

Upgrade to Cloud-Based Access Control

Upgrade to Cloud-Based Access Control

Securing your commercial property is an ongoing concern, especially if you have tenants and their customers and other visitors coming and going from your property. Whether you own a warehouse in the north metro or an apartment building downtown, a cloud-based access control system can help you stay on top of your visitors and keep your property secure.

Cloud-Based Security Has Gone Mainstream

Cloud-based security systems are popular access control solutions for commercial properties. Cloud-based systems can integrate several different layers of security, from alarm and access control systems to security cameras and CCTV. What’s more, you can add sensors and other security equipment to a cloud-based system. If you are growing your business or are a landlord with average to high tenant turnover, cloud-based access control may be the solution you’re looking for.

In a cloud-based system, you manage who has access to your property through an online dashboard. You can assign and revoke access to all or parts of your property and review who’s coming and going. Cloud-based video storage makes it easy and affordable to keep and review footage from security cameras anytime, anywhere.

Cloud-Based Access Control for Tenant Management

If you own a property with multiple tenants, a cloud-based security system is a great option for you. Many systems operate via a smartphone app, which means you do not have to invest in hundreds of key cards that can get lost or stolen. Instead, tenants download the app, and you simply authorize your tenants as users. The app automatically unlocks doors for them via Bluetooth. Since it’s cloud-based, you can assign or revoke access instantly and monitor who enters and leaves your building in real time.

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.

Commercial Real Estate

Plan Now for 2023 Property Maintenance

Planning for your property portfolio’s routine maintenance and scheduled updates can help you manage your cash flow and keep your tenants happy. Now is a great time to plan for your 2023 property maintenance.

Schedule Your Walkthroughs Now

Walkthroughs help you keep a pulse on each of your properties. You can perform your walkthroughs yourself or outsource them to your property management team. We suggest walking through each of your properties at least once a quarter. Now is a good time to get all of your 2023 walkthroughs on your calendar.

During a walkthrough, look for obvious signs of damage as well as routing maintenance tasks that need to be completed, such as replacing light bulbs, checking smoke detectors, and replacing HVAC filters. Be ready to interact with your tenants and respond to their urgent requests.

Arrange Regular Cleaning Services

Every portfolio benefits from regular review of maintenance vendors. Whether you already have a cleaning service you trust or you’re on the hunt for a new relationship, reviewing your current cleaning needs and adjusting your contract can help you manage expenses while continuing to keep your tenants happy.

If you have a commercial cleaning service, be sure to confirm that your properties are on their schedule for 2023. Be sure to ask them if their services or rates have changed since last year. Then, confirm when you can expect them to visit your properties, whether it’s weekly, biweekly, or monthly.

Schedule HVAC Maintenance Visits

While you’re arranging your cleaning services, be sure to reach out to your HVAC vendor and schedule your 2023 maintenance visits. No one wants to be surprised by an HVAC issue when it’s -20 degrees outside.

When you’re scheduling your routine HVAC maintenance, confirm that your service provider is available for emergency repairs and maintenance. Don’t forget to ask about any rate increases so you’re not surprised if and when an HVAC emergency occurs.

Confirm Snow Removal and Landscaping Services

As you’re making your calls to your cleaning and HVAC providers, add your landscaping and snow removal company to the list. Exterior maintenance is as important as interior maintenance is. Your properties’ curb appeal helps you attract and retain tenants. Regular exterior maintenance helps you avoid more costly repairs down the road, too.

On your call, confirm your properties are on the vendor’s list for snow removal. Then, ask them when you can expect spring cleanup and regular warm-weather maintenance to start.

Plan for Investments in Updates and Upgrades

When you’re budgeting, it’s important to not only plan for routine maintenance costs but also for anticipated updates and upgrades to your properties’ mechanical systems, exterior features, and interior finishes. They may include a new HVAC system, updated windows, a new roof, or replacing the flooring throughout a building. All of these costs are normal and should be expected, which is why they should be a part of your budgeting and forecasting planning.

Commercial property maintenance can be a full-time job, especially if you own more than one property. That’s why many property owners outsource maintenance to a professional commercial property management company like Clarity Commercial. To work with one of our professional property managers, contact Clarity Commercial today.

Commercial Team

We’re Grateful for the Clarity Commercial Team

We’re in the season of gratitude and giving, and this year, we want to give a special shoutout to the entire Clarity Commercial team. Our team of property managers are some of the most talented in the Twin Cities metro area. Take a moment to learn more about them and why they’re the best of the best.

Taylor Sonnenfeld, CPM, CCAM

Taylor’s been a member of the Clarity team since June 2019. In that time, she’s earned her CPM® designation and was nominated for IREM’s 2021-22 Next-Gen CPM Leaders program. Taylor manages more than 200,000 square feet of office, retail, restaurant, and medical space. When she’s not managing properties, Taylor enjoys reading, cycling, and spending time with her friends and family.

Tom Larson, CCAM

Tom joined the Clarity Commercial crew in September 2021 after a 25-year career running a successful courier business and managing 135 employees in five states. He brings his problem-solving skills and love of serving customers to his property management work at Clarity. His clients appreciate his prompt communication, vast network of resources, and ability to proactively find solutions to their challenges.

Lance Juffer

Lance joined the Clarity Commercial team after a 23-year successful financial planning career. He’s managed his own portfolio of commercial real estate for more than 12 years. Lance enjoys helping building owners lease, buy, and sell their properties. His financial background is an asset to his clients, as Lance is able to advise them on potential tax strategies.

Collette Altfillisch

Collette joined the Clarity team in July 2022. She has spent her entire 20-year career in property management in the Twin Cities. Collette brings her strong communication skills, leadership capabilities, and property management know-how to every client relationship.

Dave Thomas, Tyler Sutton, and Sarah Schultz

Dave, Tyler, and Sarah are the latest additions to the Clarity Commercial team. Together, they bring years of experience in the commercial property and property management industry to our clients. We’re looking forward to seeing where their careers with Clarity take them, and we’re grateful to have them aboard.

Mel Schultz, CPM. CCTM, CCAM

Mel’s our fearless leader who has been in the real estate business since 2003. Clients appreciate Mel’s professionalism, personality, and integrity. In addition to running Clarity Commercial, Mel is heavily involved in IREM’s Minnesota chapter. He served as the organization’s president in 2014 and earned the 2017 Spirit of IREM award. He’s also served at the national level within IREM. When he’s not managing properties, Mel can be found at his kids’ many activities.

We’re grateful for the hardworking Clarity Commercial team. To work with one of our professional property managers, contact Clarity Commercial today.