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

Commercial Real Estate Management Continuing Ed Opportunities with IREM

The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Minnesota is finishing 2021 strong with several professional development opportunities for commercial property managers, including its flagship certification and accreditation courses. The Clarity Commercial team hopes to see you at an upcoming event!

Online – Overview of IREM Certified Sustainable Property Program | November 3

Sustainable properties are well-managed properties. Get your property certified sustainable and open up a whole new market of tenants. This hour-long, interactive seminar will discuss the benefits of becoming a certified property and wasting fewer resources across all operations.

Enroll in the virtual training on the IREM Website.

Online – ARM Accreditation | Ongoing

Just starting out in your residential property management career? The Accredited Residential Manager (ARM) accreditation is designed just for you. Learn all about budgeting, leasing, maintenance, risk management, and resident relations and retention while you gain real-world experience at your current management job.

Enroll on the IREM website.

Online – ACoM Accreditation | Ongoing

If you’re new to commercial property management, then you want to pursue your Accredited Commercial Manager (ACoM) accreditation. As an ACoM, you’ll master the fundamentals of commercial property management while becoming more confident as a lease negotiator and manager of onsite management and maintenance staff. You’ll also learn how to use a financial analysis, build a budget, and forecast your portfolio’s financial outlook.

Enroll on the IREM website.

Online – CPM Certification | Ongoing

Will 2022 be the year you finally become a Certified Property Manager (CPM)? CPM certification has certainly helped the Clarity Commercial team become more effective property managers. Take the first step and enroll on the IREM Minnesota website. Instruction occurs online and, in some cases, in the classroom.

Enroll on the IREM website.

Clarity Commercial owner Mel Schultz, CPM, CCIM, CCAM, is an active member of IREM and is passionate about continuing education in the commercial real estate industry. For more information about IREM and how our participation in the

5 Common Leasehold Improvements

Typically, the next step after signing a commercial lease is starting work on leasehold improvements, also known as tenant improvements or tenant buildouts. These changes help tenants customize their new space to their particular business needs.

Any structural or cosmetic changes to the interior of a space are considered leasehold improvements. Exterior changes, additions, or changes to a building’s HVAC, fire protection, or security systems are usually not considered leasehold improvements. Landlords or tenants can pay for leasehold improvements.

Here is a general overview of common leasehold improvements for commercial properties.

1. Interior Structural Changes

It is common for new tenants to make structural changes within the footprint of the space they lease. Call centers may require cubicles, a law office may need to create a lobby, and a veterinary clinic may need to create exam rooms and lab space.

2. Addition of IT, Electrical, or Lighting Systems

Adding phone lines, internet and ethernet ports, and new lighting are considered leasehold improvements, too. Transforming a retail space into an office space or a medical clinic into a retail store will require significant changes to how a space is powered and lit.

3. Updated Wall Surfaces and Flooring

Updates to wall surfaces and flooring are also considered leasehold improvements. Adding drywall, painting, wallpaper, and other wall treatments are often necessary in reinventing a leased space for new use. So are changes to flooring. Carpeting may not be the best choice for a spa, and tile may not be appropriate for an office.

4. New Shelving and Countertops

Along the same lines, tenants may require new countertops and shelving systems to update their space. Adding shelving for a retail store may be a major investment, while countertop updates can make a huge difference in the look of a store, clinic, or office.

5. Installed Equipment

Permanently installed equipment, such as shampoo chairs at a salon or wash tubs at a pet grooming shop, also count as leasehold improvements. These type of tenant improvements cannot be easily removed at the end of the lease but are essential to the operation of the tenant’s business.

Leasehold improvements are part of the commercial lease process. Clarity Commercial can help landlords negotiate tenant buildouts with prospective applicants, including how the improvements will be paid for and by whom.

For professional guidance through the tenant improvement process, get in touch with the Clarity Commercial team today.

Two Clarity Commercial Property Managers Celebrate Significant Career Milestones with IREM

Addie Kubitz
Taylor Sonnenfeld

Minneapolis, MN (July 22, 2021) – Clarity Commercial is celebrating significant career milestones for two of the company’s up-and-coming property managers. Taylor Sonnenfeld was selected for IREM’s Next Gen CPM® Leaders program. Addie Kubitz was selected as one of IREM’s 30 Under 30 property managers and earned the organization’s ACoM certification.

Over the next 12 months, Taylor Sonnenfeld will join 18 other young property managers from across the country in the 2021-2022 Next Gen CPM® Leaders cohort. Together, the cohort will participate in a fast-tracked CPM certification program designed to rapidly develop talented property managers and create a professional community for the industry’s rising stars.

Ms. Sonnenfeld joined the Clarity Commercial team in June 2019. She started her career in 2014 managing and leasing residential properties in downtown Minneapolis. Today, she manages more than 100,000 square feet of office, retail, restaurant, and medical space for Clarity Commercial clients.

IREM’s 30 Under 30 has selected Addie Kubitz as a 2021 recipient. The purpose of the 30 Under 30 program is to acknowledge the next generation of real estate management leaders who have made a significant impact on the industry and their communities. Ms. Kubitz demonstrated her contribution to the profession through her career success, professional leadership, and community involvement.

At UW-Stout, Ms. Kubitz was an active student member of IREM. She served as the UW-Stout IREM co-president for two years, where she engaged students with IREM on local and national levels. Currently, she serves as the co-chair of the IREM Minnesota social media committee. She was awarded the IREM Foundation scholarship in 2020.

Ms. Kubitz joined Clarity Commercial in September 2020. As a Property Manager, she oversees six commercial condo associations throughout the Twin Cities suburbs. She earned IREM’s ACoM designation in Spring 2021.

Ms. Sonnenfeld and Ms. Kubitz will be recognized for their achievements on the IREM website and at the IREM Global Summit in Las Vegas in October.

To learn more about the accomplishments of Ms. Sonnenfeld and Ms. Kubitz or for professional real estate management assistance, contact Clarity Commercial Chief Manager Mel Schultz at 952-259-1222 or visit myclaritycommercial.com.

ABOUT CLARITY COMMERCIAL

Based in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, Clarity Commercial manages a diverse range of multistory office buildings, warehouse facilities, commercial condominiums, retail, and industrial properties across the Twin Cities metro area.

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Building Your Real Estate Portfolio Budget

Any successful commercial real estate owner will tell you a real estate portfolio budget is absolutely essential for scaling your investments. Not only does a budget help you understand how much you make and spend each month, it can help you plan improvements to your properties to increase revenue in the future. It can also reveal when you are ready to make your next property investment.

If you’re just starting to build your real estate portfolio budget or your current budget needs an update, here are a few tips from the commercial real estate professionals at Clarity Commercial.

Establish Your Portfolio’s Goals

Your budget is about more than numbers. It’s a vehicle to help you achieve your goals. Before you create your portfolio budget, consider what your 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year goals are. Do you want to increase revenue by 15 percent? Complete a major renovation? Purchase a new property? Whatever your goals are, you want to build your budget to meet them.

Start with Your Expenses

Take some time to gather and list all of the expenses associated with your properties, then include them in your real estate portfolio budget. Include maintenance, repairs, management, legal, staff, utilities, mortgages, and insurance costs. Don’t forget to calculate your vacancy costs as expenses, either. Vacant spaces cost you money each month and filling them should be your top priority.

Then Establish Your Revenue Targets

Once you have a grasp on your monthly expenses, you will have an idea of the amount of revenue you must bring in each month to break even or make a profit. If your current portfolio is covering your expenses, great! What else could you do to maximize revenue? If your current portfolio does not cover your expenses, work with a property management company to work out a plan for getting back into the black.

Put Your Profit to Work

If your portfolio is making a profit each month, think about how you want to reinvest that profit back into your portfolio. Are there capital improvements you need to make to your existing properties to attract future tenants? Perhaps there is a property you’d like to add to your portfolio. Your budget can help you forecast these future expenses and manage your profit so you’ll have the funds to achieve your goals.

If creating a budget for your real estate portfolio sounds intimidating, get in touch with Clarity Commercial. We’re experts in commercial real estate budgeting and forecasting. We can help you get a grasp on your expenses and revenue and plan for future investments. Contact us to learn how we can help you.

Commercial Real Estate Management Continuing Ed Opportunities

Clarity Commercial is a proud and active member of the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Minnesota. In the next few months, IREM Minnesota is offering commercial real estate management professionals a full slate of professional and personal development opportunities. Here’s a look at what’s coming up in the second quarter of 2021.

Online – Asphalt and Concrete Maintenance | April 28

Starting a concrete or asphalt project this year? Don’t miss Asphalt and Concrete Maintenance on April 28 with two experts from Asphalt and Concrete Solutions. You’ll learn about the basics of asphalt and concrete and learn what to consider when planning, installing, and maintaining asphalt and concrete surfaces at your property. Eligible for 1 hour of continuing real estate education credit.

Enroll in the virtual training on the IREM Website.

Online – The Case of Rotting Roofs | May 11

This training takes a close look at a curious case of a non-leaky but rotting roof as a way to understand moisture build-up, vapor drive, vapor and air barriers, and other roof moisture issues. Learn how to assess moisture in your roof. Eligible for 1 hour of continuing real estate education credit pending Minnesota Department of Commerce approval.

Enroll in the session on the IREM website.

Online – How Property Managers Can Emerge Stronger and Healthier from Adversity | May 18

It’s been a tough year for commercial property managers. In this hour-long session, work with executive coach Matt Norman to increase your awareness of how you relate to your team, your tenants, and yourself and your work. Learn how to make choices in difficult circumstances and avoid anxiety and dysfunction. Eligible for 1 hour of continuing real estate education credit pending Minnesota Department of Commerce approval.

Register on the IREM website.

Clarity Commercial owner Mel Schultz, CPM®, CCIM, CCAM, is an active member of IREM and is passionate about continuing education in the commercial real estate industry. For more information about IREM and how our participation in the organization helps you, contact Clarity Commercial today

Subcontractors You Want on Your Team

One of the primary responsibilities of a commercial property management company is the hiring and management of onsite workers. Hiring subcontractors rather than part-time or full-time employees saves money, is easier on HR, and ensures you get the best quality and timely work possible.

Here are a few of the types of subcontractors Clarity Commercial finds, vets, hires, and manages as part of our property management services. These are the professionals you need on your team to help you maintain and manage your properties.

Building Maintenance Crew

Your building maintenance crew is onsite regularly to ensure your property remains in good working order. Your crew makes sure common areas are clean and functional and addresses tenant maintenance and repair requests. Depending on the needs of your building and your tenants, you may require a single crewmember or an entire team to keep up with maintenance and repair demands.

Mechanical Professionals

Periodically, your property’s mechanical systems require maintenance and repair. For most property owners, subcontractors are the right choice for HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and other mechanical work. Clarity Commercial works with only the best mechanical pros in the Twin Cities to ensure our customers’ mechanical systems are properly maintained.

Landscaping and Snow Removal Crew

All Minnesota property owners need great landscaping and snow removal crews on their list of subcontractors. Your property’s landscaping plays a role in attracting and retaining tenants, so hiring a competent landscaping crew is important. In the winter months, working with a reliable snow removal team ensures your driveway, parking lot, walkways, and entryways are clear and safe.

Window Washing Professionals

Your property’s large windows are a selling feature. Regular window washing keeps them clean and clear. Most commercial property windows are too large for someone to do on their own without the proper safety equipment. A window washing crew that comes out a few times a year can make sure your building looks great.

Finding, hiring, and managing subcontractors is a job all its own. Trust commercial property manager Clarity Commercial to find, vet, and manage the subcontractors you need to keep your property working and looking its best. Contact us today to get started.