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.

Who should hire a property management firm?

Maybe, as a commercial property owner, you’ve considered hiring a property management firm but aren’t really sure what they’d do for you. Maybe, you’re becoming increasingly busy managing your properties and think a property management firm can take some work off your plate. Or, maybe you know you want to hand over the day-to-day activities of managing your commercial property, but aren’t really sure where to start.

We are going to discuss all of these points, but first, let’s define what a property management company can do for you.

If you were to Google, “What can a commercial property manager do for me,” you’d get an answer along the lines of, “A property management company will deal directly with your prospects and tenants, saving you time and worry over marketing your rentals, collecting rent, handling maintenance and repair issues, responding to tenant complaints, and even pursuing evictions.”

While some people purchase commercial real estate and look forward to dealing directly with prospects and tenants, other owners realize they’d rather hand those jobs off to someone else.

If that’s you, then it might make sense to hire a property management firm.

Who else might consider hiring a property management company? Here are five factors to take into account when determining that answer:

  1. The number of properties you own. If you own one commercial property, you may think you don’t need a property management firm, but if you lack the training, you most likely are throwing money down the drain without one. And, the more properties you own and the more units each contain, the more likely you are to benefit from a property management company.
  2. The amount of time you have. If you don’t have a lot of time to devote to being a landlord, and/or you’d rather spend your time building your portfolio by acquiring other investments, then a property management company is probably a good bet.
  3. You don’t live nearby. If the properties you own are located in another city or state, or if you are a frequent traveler, having a property management firm will give you peace of mind.
  4. Hands-on management is of no interest to you. If you bought your commercial properties as an investment and have no interest in running the day-to-day of the property, then definitely outsource those jobs to a property management firm.
  5. You can afford the cost. Hiring a property management company is an attractive option if you can afford the fees. But, you also can lose money by not hiring a management company. Here are a few examples of how:
  • Undercharging Rent: Don’t want to do that!
  • Overcharging Rent: May be good in the short term, but that tenant will likely leave once they realize the cost, and potentially leave you with a vacant unit.
  • Emergency Remediation: Not knowing how to properly address damage WILL cost you.  Property management companies regularly deal with emergency situations and understand what needs to happen to best mitigate damage and preserve your property.   Professionals like Clarity Commercial are ready to handle these problems 24/7/365, in the most timely and effective way.
  • Maintenance: Management companies have a network of contractors who often provide discounted pricing as they are competing for business in that management company’s portfolio of many properties.
  • Tenant Build-outs/Improvements: Having trouble leasing your space?  Maybe it needs some renovation work. Have you thought about providing a potential lessee with an allotment to renovate as they like?  May seems odd, but some tenants are very willing to sign a long-term lease (20 to 30 years) IF they can get the right space.  But, the numbers must add up, and there are many factors to consider.  The experts at Clarity Commercial understand the market, factors involved, and can help guide you through the process to maximize profit.

The cost of having a management company is often offset with the savings they provide, ultimately giving the property owner a better long-term bottom line.

If you do decide to hire a property management company, you want to ensure you hire the right one. To learn more about how Clarity Commercial can help you and your properties, please contact us. We’d love to speak with you!

Vendor Testimonial

This is why we love what we do – when out of the blue a vendor of ours sends an email to tell me how well my employees are doing and that we are building our business the right way!!  Thank you Mark!!

Mel,

While I have a moment and it’s fresh on my mind, I want to congratulate you and your team on the launching of Clarity Commercial.  These are exciting times and I know you will continue to grow and succeed for many years to come.

I also want you to know when members of your team go above and beyond expectations when dealing with contractors, such as myself.  I speak of Jenny Ramola.  She is extremely professional and pleasant to deal with. Any and every time I’ve dealt with Jenny, she gets to the heart of the matter, communicates well and follows through.

She realizes that contractors and Property Managers for that matter, don’t often get emails or phone calls singing the praises of how well your company manages a property or how efficient/effective a contractor is while on a property site.  Jenny, on many occasions, has passed on a kind word or compliment coming from a tenant and is one of only a handful of people (that I’ve ever dealt with) to ever bother doing this.  She seems to genuinely appreciate the work we furnish and always thanks me/us for the various services you folks have asked us to provide to your clients.

So congratulations on the great team you have surrounded yourself with and thank you for giving Lakeville Building Services the many past, current and future opportunities!

Respectfully,

 

Mark Rundquist
President
Lakeville Building Services, LLC

5 qualities to look for when hiring a property management company

As a landlord, one of the biggest decisions you’ll make is whether or not to hire a property management company. Some landlords want to manage their properties on their own, while others rely on a property management firm to help in a variety of ways.

Property maintenance is a big benefit, but property management companies also can help with the marketing of properties, lease renewals, collecting rent, and budget projections, among other things. So, if you are thinking about hiring a property management company, make sure that you hire one with a solid reputation, impeccable track record and one you can trust.

Here are 5 qualities to look for when hiring a property management company:

  1. Experience – This goes without saying. You want a property management company that has either been around for a while, or if it’s relatively new, is run by people who have been in the industry for several years and understand the ins and outs of commercial property management. Be sure to ask for references and talk to some of the employees to really get a feel for the company.

 

  1. Tenant relations – Obviously, for a property to survive, a landlord needs tenants. One of the many critical tasks of any property management firm is how they go about getting and retaining tenants. Do they have a plan to maintain relations with the tenants throughout the life of their lease, and what efforts do they make to keep the tenants upon the expiration of the lease? These are important questions to ask.

 

  1. Tenant procedures – Just as important as tenant relations is the processes and procedures the property management company has established in dealing with tenants on a day-to-day basis. Do they have a move-in/move-out procedure as well as a process for after-hours maintenance? These policies are critical for running a tight ship in a professional manner.

 

  1. Maintenance – Speaking of maintenance, you want your property management company to have maintenance resources available for the tenants as soon as they may need one. The maintenance workers should be clean-cut and professional, as they oftentimes are the face of the property, and they should all follow the same procedure – including record-keeping – when responding to a maintenance call.

 

  1. Financial reporting – Understanding the financials of your property or properties is critical. Will the property management company provide you with monthly reports, and if so, what will those reports cover? Can the reports be set up in different systems for accounting purposes? Will the property management company help with budget projections and payment of operating expenses?

Clarity Commercial is an experienced and professional property management company based in the Twin Cities. We manage a wide-range of commercial properties including multi-story office buildings, warehouse facilities, retail spaces and industrial properties, and we offer a variety of services to our clients.

From marketing and maintenance to lease negotiations and renewals, budget projections, site inspections, financial reporting, security system management and so much more, we work hard on behalf of our clients.

Contact us today to schedule some time to talk. We’d love to learn more about you and your properties, and discuss ways we can help!

 

 

 

 

Old School or Cutting-Edge Innovation, Your Property Management Company Should Adapt to You

We are in an interesting time in commercial property ownership and management. Some property owners have owned their buildings for decades, successfully managing tenants in-person at an office with a landline phone and paper files. They’ve built relationships with long-term tenants with their hands-on approach. And if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

Other property owners have embraced all the latest innovations in the property management industry. They were the first to use software and cloud-based programs to manage their properties and offer mobile apps to tenants to track rent payments and maintenance requests. Some even use drone technology to market and monitor their facilities.

There is room in the market for both approaches to property management. Some tenants value the hands-on approach of veteran landlords, while others may prefer more autonomy and automation that new technologies offer. Whether you’re running an old-school operation or an early adopter of all things new in commercial property management, you should work with a property management company that can adapt to how you work best.

Old School or Innovative, Clarity Commercial Works with You

To have a successful relationship with your property management company, you must be on the same page. If you’re a handshake, landline phone, paper file landlord, chances are you’re looking for a property management company that will pick up the phone, visit your property regularly in person, and call instead of email.

On the other hand, if you prefer email or text over a phone call, encourage your tenants to use a mobile app, and don’t have a physical office in your building, you likely want a property management company that can offer remote support and the newest technologies to streamline and automate your operations.

Clarity Commercial is a property management company that can do both. We implement many of the industry’s cutting-edge technologies to make our own operations easier and more efficient. But we also understand the value of building relationships, both with you and your tenants and employees. We’re committed to meeting you where you’re at and fitting into your processes, not the other way around.

Working with a property management company should make your life easier, not more difficult, confusing, or onerous. If you’re interested in hiring a property management company but you’re not sure if the relationship will be a good fit, please reach out to Clarity Commercial. Our experts will explain how our team can integrate with your own.

Texas Property Managed

Don’t DIY when it comes to marketing your commercial property

When someone takes on a DIY (Do It Yourself) project, they usually do so for one of two reasons: they love the type of work it is, and/or they want to save money. While these are both noble reasons, you should reconsider doing it yourself when it comes to marketing and leasing your commercial property. Rather, you should hire a property management company to do it for you.

Why?

If you try to market and lease a property yourself, you are most likely going to spend a lot of time and energy:

  • Preparing the space to rent
  • Answering phone calls and emails
  • Showing the space to prospective tenants
  • Negotiating the rent

And time is money.

Property management companies take care of all these tasks for you, and more. And, since they have the expertise and resources to properly market your space, they’ll most likely find the right tenant in the least amount of time.

That means more money in your pocket.

Companies like Clarity Commercial are experts at marketing different types of commercial properties so we end up attracting the right kind of tenant for a particular space. Plus, we have a vast network of referral partners who can help us identify potential tenants.

What’s more, we know what red flags to look for when interviewing someone for the space, which can save you headaches down the road.

And, once you have a good tenant in place, you’ll want to keep him or her happy so they continue to lease your space for a long time. A property management company helps do this by making repairs quickly and acting as a resource for the tenants when they have a problem.

Contact Clarity Commercial to start a conversation about our marketing programs and how we can help you save time and money while attracting high-quality tenants for your commercial space.

Clarity Texas Property Management

5 Ways Hiring a Property Manager Can Save You Money

As a property owner, you’re in the business of increasing your property’s value while keeping your costs under control. This is true whether you own a small office building or several 50,000 square-foot warehouses. Effectively managing your portfolio of properties takes a diverse set of skills. Without the help of a property manager, you have to become an expert in marketing, leasing, maintenance, insurance, taxes, and collections, among many others.

That’s why it makes a lot of sense to invest in the expertise of a property manager. We have the training, experience, and resources to take these and other tasks off your plate. In the long run, working with a property manager can save you money and even help you make more. Here’s how.

  1. A property manager maintains your budget.

How often do you sit down and look at your balance sheet? A property manager takes your budget seriously and works hard to stay within it. We help you understand how much you’ve made and spent so far and present you with budget projections for the rest of the year. We can help with your five-year and ten-year planning, too.

  1. A property manager evaluates your tax burden.

When you’re busy working with tenants, you have little time to spend analyzing and evaluating your tax burden. But income, property, sales, and utility taxes add up. In some cases, they can also be negotiated. Property managers can help you keep track of your tax burden and help you find ways to reduce it.

  1. A property manager handles collections.

Tenants who make late payments or fail to pay can throw off your books. Collections can take a lot of time, energy, and angst. Property managers can take collections completely off your plate and help you recover late or missing rent checks.

  1. A property manager mitigates risk.

Your properties are used for all sorts of tasks that create a diverse set of risks. Your insurance policies should cover it all, so you don’t have to pay out of pocket when it’s time to make a claim. We can help you understand the different risks you face at your different properties and recommend comprehensive liability, fire, and extended coverage.

  1. A property manager markets your property for you.

Okay, this one might actually make you money, not just save it. Property managers like Clarity Commercial can help you market your available properties so you can fill vacant space quickly. The fewer days your properties are vacant, the more money you’ll make.

Working with a property manager can be one of the best investments you can make. If you’re wondering what a property manager could take off of your plate, contact Clarity Commercial today