In a market like South Florida, where cranes are a part of the skyline and neighborhoods are routinely undergoing transformations, it seems as if there’s an investment opportunity on and around every corner. Before signing on the dotted line, though, there’s a lot to think about – because not all investments are created equal.
When considering a commercial real estate investment or a multi-unit residential investment opportunity, it’s important to consider that each transaction has its own unique complexities, as well as some similarities.
Taking a page from Real Estate Investment 101, the purpose of investing in any sort of property is to generate profit or income. It’s the income stream that’s essentially being purchased in a commercial real estate investment. The bricks and mortar of the property just happen to come along with it.
As a result, it’s important to underwrite the integrity of the current income stream or the potential income stream that could come from that investment. This in and of itself contributes to the complexity of a CRE investment. Two examples better illustrate this idea:
You’re interested in purchasing a triple-net investment; a free-standing building that’s currently home to a CVS Pharmacy. With the reputation of its brand, you generally have a sense that CVS is a very strong, credit-worthy company and the risk associated with the tenant is not that high. In other words, you’re likely to get your full income stream remaining on that lease.
Now, let’s up the complexity factor – and risk – with the purchase of an office building that has 27 tenants. As an investor, you have a responsibility to read and investigate every lease, as well as know the length of each of those leases, the average lease term on the rent roll, and see how creditworthy each of those 27 tenants are. The findings of this sort of research will help you establish the risk related to that investment. This same due diligence is required for retail and industrial investments, as well.
This doesn’t mean that residential investment opportunities are not concerned with risks or income streams, or that they are “easier” than a commercial investment. In fact, they are uniquely complex because of the nature of the residential tenant.
First and foremost, residential tenants move frequently. It’s generally safe to assume that one-third to one-half of your tenants will move out of your investment property. In a building with 30 rental units, that number translates into 10 – 15 vacant units at any time. As a result, you will have to figure out what your capital expenditure will be to replace those tenants, as well as how to maintain a profit while those units are vacant.
As different as residential and CRE investments may be, they also have several items in common — which can add more complexities to the mix:
At the end of the day, it may be beneficial to consult with or hire a qualified professional who is adept at navigating investment waters. The professional team at Morris Southeast Group is skilled at property management services and investment due diligence. Our comprehensive services include owner and tenant representation, marketing, lease administration, collections, and financial reporting.
For a free consultation or to learn more about our property management services, current investment opportunities, and/or other services, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s been said that a CRE investment partnership requires two types of people: someone with capital and someone with the knowledge to put that capital to work. It’s also been said that these investment partnerships can be more difficult to nurture and maintain than a marriage.
Forbes columnist Amanda Neville notes that all businesses partnerships have an 80 percent failure rate, a full 30 percent more than marriage. Another estimate reveals that roughly “70 percent of real estate partnerships fail because two equal partners cannot agree on anything.”
Nevertheless, a successful CRE investment partnership isn’t impossible. In fact, there are many successful examples. When comparing those that work and those that fail, a framework appears – one that will guide your next move.
CRE means big money, which can mean bigger risks, which in turn can mean greater excitement when an opportunity presents itself. While it’s perfectly okay to enjoy the adrenaline rush, don’t be overtaken by it. It’s important to stay grounded and firmly entrenched in reality to be able to make well-thought-out decisions – specifically as they pertain to the items outlined below:
When people enter a partnership, it’s because it makes sense for two or more parties to pool resources for the mutual benefit of all involved. In CRE, though, risks and rewards are higher – each decision is not only important, it can potentially be contentious. In 50-50 partnerships, disagreements can lead to no decisions at all and, as a result, place the venture in jeopardy before it even had a chance.
An option for a 50-50 relationship is a real estate limited partnership (LP), as opposed to a general partnership. One individual is the general partner who is responsible for the day-to-day decisions, whereas the limited partner is a passive investor.
Limited liability companies (LLCs) are also an option. To avoid gridlock or conflict, individuals who comprise an LLC can be designated as “managers” or “members.”
Before meeting with potential partners, understand your own objectives for wanting to invest in a commercial venture. What is your ideal rate of return and how much margin of error has been built into the investment from a break-even perspective? Is it a long-term investment that is intended to generate income for decades? Or is it a mid-term project that ends in a lucrative sale? Essentially, what is the exit strategy?
With your own answers to these questions, you can better assess potential partners and join with those who share your strategy.
This is perhaps one of the most important things to consider, and the most difficult. It’s also one of the main reasons to remain grounded and not get carried away with the excitement of the partnership.
Simply stated, markets change and life happens – so it’s critical to have an exit strategy for yourself and/or your partner. Whatever is decided should be in writing so all parties are protected.
This is common sense, but it bears emphasis: If you are the person in charge of making decisions, you will be the one spending other people’s money. It’s imperative to be more frugal with your partner’s money than you are with your own. If you are making operational decisions or advocating a certain strategy, this strict fiduciary duty must guide everything you do.
Part of being fair is transparency. It means consulting with partners – even the silent kind – on really big decisions, as well as informing them of what’s happening with the project. Is a tenant moving out? Is there a fantastic tenant on the horizon? Is a renovation or repair work in the wings?
If there are questions from partners, respond immediately. Greater care in selecting partners with the same CRE objectives helps to minimize criticisms.
At Morris Southeast Group, we cannot stress enough the importance the getting everything in writing. This is, after all, business. While CRE certainly has its share of risks and rewards, a written, highly-detailed contract between you and your partner(s) is a necessary tool to help offset risks and disagreements while increasing rewards.
For a free consultation or to learn more about our CRE investment opportunities or other services, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at email@example.com.
One of the greatest thrills for South Florida city drivers these days is to find available parking, whether it’s in front of a specific destination or in a convenient garage.
That gift, though, is becoming fewer and farther between, which is why so many commercial and corporate locations provide valet services. Drivers and passengers get to walk a short distance, while valets run all over the city to park and retrieve automobiles.
A headache, yes, but it’s a way of life that many urban dwellers have come to begrudgingly accept. Parking is a pain – but parking as we’ve always known it is in the throes of an evolution that’s connected to technology.
Parking first became an issue in 1908, when Ford’s Model-T was introduced. Ten years later, the first multi-story parking garage was built at the La Salle Hotel in Chicago. Ever since American drivers in many urban areas have been driving around in circles to find an available space.
Changing attitudes toward cars, technology, start-ups, and competition are coming together to move the parking industry into the 21st century. For the first time, ideas once considered fantastical are becoming a reality.
When it comes to car ownership, Millennials and Generation Z-ers have mixed feelings. Many workers in this age bracket tend to work from locations outside of a traditional office, and fewer of them own cars.
Rather than owning, they would much rather use public transportation or walk. At the same time, driverless cars and driving services such as Lyft and Uber are cutting into garage usage.
Nevertheless, car ownership overall is on the rise– particularly in South Florida, where development is surging, walkable downtown areas are still catching up to the times, and public transportation is sparse compared to other urban areas.
It was only a matter of time before driverless car technology would lead to driverless parking opportunities. As automakers continue to move forward with automated technologies, they are already testing smart garage capabilities in markets around the country, with cars dropping passengers off and then driving and communicating with a nearby garage.
As with just about all things related to technology, the parking garage is moving toward a data-driven environment that is also sustainable:
With improved and more commonplace car and garage technologies, parking garage footprints will become smaller. Cars will be parked more efficiently. With driverless capabilities and stacking, parking spaces will be narrower.
As parking becomes more efficient, there will be less carbon emission. Through the use of embedded hardware in parking spaces, drivers will be alerted (either through apps or signage) of available spaces to curb driving in circles.
To see such a system in action, visit the parking garage at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Carbon emissions are further reduced as some garages move cars via automated platforms.
Because of driverless parking capability, there is enhanced security for vehicles. There will be no way for pedestrians or thieves to get near parked cars.
No one ever said that evolution was easy. Sometimes, there are setbacks and unforeseen issues.
Such is the case with BrickellHouse in Miami, where the promise of the city’s first fully-automated garage fell victim to the human glitch. There, developers and the technology failed to realize rush hour surge in car retrieval – resulting in residents reportedly waiting up to 45 minutes for their vehicles. The end result has been litigation and years of parking headaches.
At Morris Southeast Group, we believe it’s imperative for parking garages to continually evolve to meet the challenges and changes in our rapidly changing South Florida landscape. To step away from the future would be detrimental to residents, commuters, and tourists – all of whom make our cities come to life.
For a free consultation or to learn more about our property investment opportunities and/or other commercial real estate services, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For anyone who has sat in South Florida traffic, it may seem there is no more land left to develop. Even from the air, the limitations are clearly defined by the expanse of the Everglades to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. South Florida, it might seem, has been fully developed from sea of grass to shining sea.
Not so fast, say many developers, investors, and municipalities. There are, in fact, many South Florida locations jockeying to take their rightful place on the list of the region’s emerging neighborhoods.
Allapattah, one of Miami’s oldest and most industrial neighborhoods, is coming into its own as prices and buildings rise in neighboring Wynwood. Full of existing warehouses, the area is reminiscent of New York’s Meatpacking District or Chicago’s West Loop.
While some developers have already seized on affordable opportunities there and the Rubell Family Art Collection Museum has announced its move from Wynwood to Allapattah, there are still deals to be found.
Spurring further development is the fact that Allapattah is adjacent to some of Miami’s biggest employers who will be able to enjoy new retail and dining opportunities as they commute between work and home. In addition, the neighborhood sits on higher ground – and that is a big deal for developers and investors concerned about sea level rise.
With Miami the perpetual jewel of South Florida, Hollywood in the throes of a renaissance, and Fort Lauderdale moving up, it seems only natural for Pompano Beach to make its mark on the real estate market.
The centerpiece of the city’s aspirations is the Innovation District, an idea that has been decades in the making. The location, underused acreage along Atlantic Boulevard, will be home to 750,000 square feet of office space, 16,500 square feet of retail space, 35,000 square feet of restaurants, 1,500 residential units, two hotels with a combined 420 rooms, and cultural arts venues. Tying it all together will be a system of self-contained, self-circulating waterways – a sort of Amsterdam with palms.
Along the beachfront, the city also plans to develop the pier with the Pompano Beach Fishing Village, featuring two restaurants, retail space, and a Hilton hotel.
If South Florida neighborhoods want to revitalize, it seems a good first step is to invite artists. Such is the case with Boynton Beach. Located between the high-end homes and retail centers of Boca and the entertainment and dining mecca that is Delray’s Atlantic Avenue, Boynton Beach needed to do something to make itself unique from its neighbors. The city needed to look no further than artists who had been priced out of Miami.
As a result, the Boynton Beach Art District was born and now features studios, galleries, murals, monthly events, and breweries. With this success, investors have noticed the area’s eastside, where there is a wealth of developable real estate along Federal Highway.
At Morris Southeast Group, we believe that South Florida’s opportunities cannot be limited by the region’s Atlantic and Everglades boundaries. In our view, there are gems around every corner – and our team of professionals can help you find the match that’s perfect for you.
For a free consultation or to learn more about our property investment opportunities and/or other services, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at email@example.com.
When it comes to real estate investment, industrial properties may well be the most out-in-the-open secret there is. Very often, investors overlook these locations. They’re not as sexy, say, as a beautifully appointed residential property or a commercial property with a fashionable address.
No, industrial properties are working properties. They’re all about docking and loading, storage and distribution, manufacturing and shipping. Nevertheless, they are an excellent option for the more entrepreneurial investor.
When it comes to properties, those in the industrial sector are the least management intensive, depending on the size of the property. For the investor looking to be more hands-on and not requiring the services of a third-party property management firm, most industrial properties only require one or two visits per month in order to check on tenants.
While many office complexes and even residential properties require the investor to renovate properties several times over the course of ownership years, industrial properties tend to need very little cosmetic upkeep. Industrial tenants, in fact, tend to be willing to pay for a few key assets:
Looking at numbers from 2017, commercial sales were either flat or down in many markets. Industrial properties, on the other hand, saw an uptick. That upward trend is expected to continue, particularly in South Florida. In a review of ports with year-over-year growth, Miami was in the top 10.
Helping to drive this is the explosion in e-commerce. As more and more consumers shop online, there is a greater need for localized distribution centers to meet delivery guarantees. In addition, many retail upstarts find it more cost effective to store merchandise in a warehouse and to sell online than to afford the rent in a traditional brick-and-mortar retail building.
At the same time, rents in class-A industrial properties – usually newer construction and located on the outer fringes of urban areas – are skyrocketing. Many potential tenants need more affordable places; in other words, class-B buildings, of which there is an abundance. Many of these are centrally located in urban areas that are close to potential consumers, and only need simple upgrades to make them palatable for today’s tenants.
In a comparison with three other industrial markets – Seattle, Northern New Jersey, and Oakland, CA – Miami has made major gains for a few key reasons:
As South Floridians, the professionals at Morris Southeast Group live, work, and play in a market that’s leading the way for the rest of the nation. We have access to an assortment of industrial, retail, and office properties to add to your investment portfolio, as well as matching tenants for the right property plus property management services.
For a free consultation, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When entering the commercial real estate market, owning a property is as much about the people as it is about the building. Tenants, just like the property itself, have needs. The two have a direct relationship: Ignore the property, and tenants leave. Ignore the tenants, and the property suffers.
The combination of a well-managed property and strong people skills not only strengthens the tenant/owner relationship, it also raises the value of the asset. In other words, a happy building is a happy tenant, and a happy tenant is a profitable investment.
First and foremost, it’s important to take stock of the property itself with regular inspections. Be aware of any property needs that may need attention, such as air conditioning, plumbing, pest control, and safety issues. If there is any work that needs to be done, know the contractors who will be doing the work. While they’re working in and around the property, they are a direct reflection on you.
At the same time, it’s important to not take the building’s appearance for granted. Consider the curb appeal of the property, as well as what’s on the inside. Adding or improving landscaping in addition to offering amenities like high-speed Internet service or Wi-Fi can go a long way in not only attracting the right tenants, but also convincing good tenants to stay rather than relocate.
When it comes to keeping tenants happy, communication is key. The biggest complaints from unhappy tenants are usually poor communication and any misunderstanding of terms. To address this, it’s important to:
While it’s impossible to prepare for every issue, it’s always a good idea to address problems before they become a crisis. Being proactive will alleviate many of the headaches associated with owning a commercial property.
If the management of your property is too large of a task, surround yourself with good people who can represent you and your vision professionally. Anything you can do to add value to your asset is a win for you and your investment. The property management team at Morris Southeast Group has a history of adding value to office, industrial, flex/warehouse, and retail properties.
For a free consultation or to learn more about our property management services, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at email@example.com.
When the housing market collapsed, investors of all sizes swooped in to buy up residential properties to grow wealth and expand portfolios. What is often overlooked, though, is another real estate investment opportunity that often stays comparatively stable during swings in the economy: commercial real estate (CRE).
Diversifying into the CRE market is vastly different than investing in residential, and investors new to CRE should dip their toes in slowly and cautiously.
Most residential investors are familiar with the ins and outs of single-family homes, duplexes and triplexes, and even small apartment buildings. CRE investments operate on a whole new set of metrics and complexities – and a new investor needs to answer a few key questions before jumping in:
There are a host of unique benefits from commercial opportunities. Topping nearly every list is the reason why so many turn to the CRE market: higher yields. Generally speaking, commercial tenants assume many more costs (such as insurance and maintenance) than landlords do for residential properties.
Additional positives include:
Despite the positives, there are complexities woven throughout CRE investment – and failing to deal with each one usually comes down to a single mistake: the investor not doing his or her homework.
Many new-to-CRE investors falsely believe that commercial properties won’t go into foreclosure, and failure to do proper research can lead many investors down that path. Consider the following before taking the leap:
Of course, the best way to face many of these issues is to talk to someone who is well-versed in CRE and the area you’ve chosen. The professionals at Morris Southeast Group have decades of experience in helping commercial investors in South Florida and beyond, and we help match a new investor with the best opportunities.
For a free consultation on CRE or to learn more about our property management services, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entering into an industrial, retail, or commercial lease agreement can be a little bit exciting, a little bit nail biting, and a lot confusing. That last item is often a result of some head-spinning terminology that is key to understanding and budgeting for the price per square foot.
Typically, this amount is displayed as gross, modified gross, or triple net – three approaches in how costs are allocated between tenant and landlord. The kind of lease is shaped by the type of building or the location of the property. Knowing the difference before signing on the dotted line can mean the difference between the start of a grand adventure or breaking the bank.
Gross is the most basic square-footage term, and it is often used in residential leases and class “A” office leases around the country. It indicates that the lessee has agreed to pay the gross price per square footage and the landlord has agreed that the additional expenses that come with ownership (repairs, insurance, utilities, and sometimes taxes) are included in the total rent. Most leases have an escalation clause on either the gross or net rent amount.
If the gross lease calls for $20 per square foot, the tenant agrees to pay that amount for a specific period of time. The landlord will have also included (factored in) various expenses when quoting that amount and accepting the fixed monthly payment.
The name says it all : a gross lease with modifications. In this agreement, both parties agree to pick up various costs. A modified gross lease is most often used for office-complex suites.
Each modified gross lease is different, depending on the building or the business that is hoping to become a tenant. Modifications can require the tenant to pay for cleaning services and contribute to common area maintenance (CAM), while the landlord pays real estate taxes and property and building maintenance. A modified gross lease usually has the Tenant paying for cleaning and utilities.
Some modified gross leases also come with an expense stop, which means the cost of the building operating expenses is stable for the initial year of the lease and any increase above that is passed along to the Tenant.
The bigger or more complex the structure (such as a strip mall or chain-store spaces), the more intricate the lease arrangement becomes. In this case, the tenant agrees to pay rent as well as all operating costs, which are broken down into three (net-net-net) areas: real estate taxes, insurance, and maintenance … and/or utilities, depending on the type of building and unit the tenant is occupying.
Whether you’re a tenant looking for space or a landlord looking to fill a space, it’s imperative to work with professionals who can negotiate the best arrangement for you. At Morris Southeast Group, our team is skilled at tenant and owner representation, as well as property management.
For a free consultation or to learn more about our services, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at email@example.com.
Ever since mom and pop lived above their haberdashery and assorted sundries shop, mixed-use buildings have been a staple of countless cities and towns. And these properties have evolved to become essential components in the design and building of livable, workable, and walkable neighborhoods and downtowns.
In today’s world, where buildings and footprints are larger and taller, the people upstairs are more likely to be customers than owners of the businesses at street level. Creating the perfect mix in a mixed-use setting is necessary to satisfy both residential and retail tenants. Although there isn’t one perfect recipe, there are several key ingredients.
When it comes to residential and office tenants, there is very little interaction between them and their landlord or building management. For the most part, everyone goes about his or her day until something comes up.
That dynamic changes with the retail tenant, many of whom have leases that include a percentage rate clause. Increased sales for the retail tenant translate into an additional rent percentage for the landlord/manager. This monetary incentive often results in greater contact between the tenant and building management, the latter of whom often feels compelled to problem solve and market the retail space.
On the one hand, retail tenants have the usual concerns of any tenant: price per square foot, ceiling heights, facilities, maintenance, etc. On the other hand, they have – and must have – a keen awareness of how their location impacts the customer experience. As a result, one of the most frequently asked questions is, “Who is above me?” Any disruption to potential revenue not only has a negative impact on them – it can also leave the landlord with a vacant storefront.
In addition, the customer experience is constantly evolving and often requires the landlord or building management to improvise. Consider a retail establishment that does so well that parking becomes an issue for that tenant, neighboring retail tenants, and the residents above. Both tenants and landlords must adapt to and ideally plan ahead for these scenarios.
Perhaps the most important ingredient in determining the mix in a mixed-use building is to be mindful of the residents who will be living above any retail space. Businesses that create excessive noise, smells, vermin, and trash generally lead to the most complaints from upstairs neighbors.
A solution is for the landlord/building manager is to match the retail tenant with the residential tenant and/or the neighborhood. Some examples:
would work well in an area where there aren’t any dry cleaners.
Managing a mixed-use property requires some of the same skills that have helped Morris Southeast Group successfully serve our clients: open and clear communication, understanding the specific nuances and needs that inform a smart CRE strategy, and transparency to head off any anxieties.
For a free consultation or to learn more about our property management services and/or mixed-use opportunities, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s one of the most spectacular views in the world: Miami rising from the sea like a modern-day Atlantis. From some vantage points, it looks as if land and water are one – but that multi-million-dollar selling point threatens to bring Miami to the same fate as the lost continent.
Attribute it to climate change or not, something is definitely going on with the weather, the tides, and the rising sea. Research from the University of Miami has found that flood events in Miami Beach have significantly increased as the result of the acceleration of sea-level rise in South Florida.
Further complicating matters is the end of the 2017 hurricane season, which has been labeled extremely active and the most expensive. In addition, seasonal high tides – also known as King Tides – are becoming more frequent, flooding more and more streets and neighborhoods.
An answer to this potentially dire future may be found in real estate. Municipalities, developers, and investors are actively pursuing solutions to ensure that South Florida will still exist above sea level, 50 to 100 years from now.
While many coastal locations are at risk of sea rise, South Florida is especially vulnerable because it has always been just a few feet above sea level. At the same time, buyers and investors are increasingly climate savvy. Not only do they want to know about a building’s ability to withstand hurricane force winds, they also want to know if their property will have a water view in the future or if it will be in the water.
While there are no plans to stop development along the coast, South Florida is still providing solutions to combat the tides. In 2009, Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Palm Beach counties joined together to form the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact as a means of coordinating efforts across county lines. Additionally:
There is a push to develop and market storm-resistant and hurricane-resilient buildings. A downtown Miami high-rise has been designed to withstand 300 mph winds – and this information is all part of the marketing package to entice buyers.
The developers of a property on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale not only installed higher sea walls, but also brought in soil to raise the level of the lots.
More and more municipalities are embracing green building standards to combat climate change and support sustainability.
In Miami Beach, building codes now require new construction and city infrastructure to be elevated. In addition, planning and zoning boards throughout the region are examining current codes and proposing changes to raise height limitations for sea walls, placing roads, water, sewer, and electrical systems on higher ground, and installing massive pumps to return the water from whence it came.
It’s the view. It’s so beautiful. To lose it – to lose Miami and its surrounding cities and towns –would be devastating. It’s why Morris Southeast Group embraces proposals and efforts that will help keep the region vibrant and above water for generations to come.
For a free consultation on CRE, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at email@example.com.