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Using Concessions to Lure Tenants to Your CRE Investment

A few carrots are healthy for your CRE property

When it comes to commercial real estate, there are a few key issues that are of great importance to potential tenants: location, foot traffic, competitor tenants, rents, accessibility, and space size. Many tenants, though, may find several properties all ticking off the right amount of checks—and their decision may come down to exploring which landlord is willing to make some concessions.

At the same time, landlords and owners may be frustrated at not being able to attract any tenant to a vacant space that has been available for some time. Again, the answer may be to look at concessions that can suddenly make a property more desirable.

What is a concession?

In the most basic of terms, a concession is a compromise between the landlord and tenant, one that usually involves the landlord offering something as a “giveback” to get the tenant to sign the lease. Normally, concessions make sense in order to quickly fill a vacancy, at lease-renewal time, during a slow market, or when a property is first entering the market.

While a concession is often viewed as a cost to the landlord, that cost can be offset over the duration of the lease. In addition, before offering anything or everything, it’s imperative to research competitive properties, concessions that are working in similar properties, concessions that make sense for specific businesses, and ones that make sense in a changing marketplace.

What are some of the most common concessions?

Concessions come in all shapes and sizes, and many are changing with the times. Regardless of the concession(s) offered, though, it’s important to spell out the details in a strong lease document. Let’s look at some examples:

  • By far, the most common is to offer some sort of rent deal, such as first month free. This can either be negotiated as an actual first month free or by applying the discount over the course of a 12-month period. Similarly, rent discounts can also be offered to a strong tenant at the time of lease renewal. While some may interpret this as a huge giveaway, collecting a discounted rent is far more profitable than collecting no rent at all.
  • Available space may not be exactly perfect for a potential tenant. Shelving, tables, interior traffic flow may need to be adjusted—and some landlords are willing to increase the Tenant Improvement Allowance to between $20 and $50 per square foot.
  • Start-up and pop-up businesses are always looking for ways to get their feet in the door, but long-term leases often either don’t work or are too much of a commitment. Offering short-term lease options can help sway their decision.
  • Relocating a business to a new space can be an expensive undertaking—and for some ideal tenants, landlords have found it worthwhile to help offset those costs with a negotiated Move-In Allowance.
  • Amenities go a long way in the residential market, so it makes sense that they can go just as far in the commercial arena. Upgrades and services can include Internet access and speed, adopting green measures, designated parking spaces, security measures, landscaping, excellent maintenance and cleanliness of common areas, and even services for employees who bike to work.

Which concessions work for you?

Of course, each concession has its share of pros and cons for landlords and tenants. That’s why it’s important to work with a skilled team that not only knows the market but also knows the concessions that make sense—so both parties can lease happily. The professionals at Morris Southeast Group are that team, and have a winning record of representing owners and tenants in property searches and lease negotiations. To learn more about owner and tenant representation, 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 kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

What Do Office Tenants Want?

5 ways to evolve your available space

When “Mad Men” first aired, many viewers looked at it with an eye toward the nostalgia of office design. The show had cubicles and corner offices, executive bathrooms and gobs of square footage to fill. But modern office design and open plans happened, and—well – this isn’t Don Draper’s office anymore.

And while some people find it easy to blame Millennials for practically everything, there is plenty for which to thank them. Their place in the workforce and in executive and decision-making positions is certainly keeping the current office marketplace interesting. As work has often changed from a destination to an experience, property managers, owners, and developers are coming up with more and more creative ways to keep office space current and competitive.

1. Flexibility is at the forefront

The office space pendulum appears to be swinging toward a happy balance of open space and cubicles. One way to avoid expensive overhauls and re-dos that change with the design trend of the moment is to provide and market flexibility. Some properties have started to provide space-planning services to help potential tenants envision a floor plan that works and to help successful tenants adapt the space rather than seek a lease somewhere else.

2. Consolidate some areas

Part of that flexibility is reconfiguring floor plans to create common spaces. Because of technology and working remotely, many potential tenants do not require an abundance of square footage of their own, but they are willing to share space and services with other tenants.

3. Provide services and amenities

Many people wonder what happened to the 40-hour workweek. As a result, basics to everyday living—from picking up dry-cleaning to scheduling some gym time—often get squeezed out. That’s why some landlords are now offering a wide assortment of amenities, including concierge-type services, food options in the lobby, bike racks, rooms with showers and lockers, weekly or on-premises health and wellness experiences, and shuttle services to help bring tenants to public transportation centers. Creativity mixed with a tenant-interest inventory can go a long way.

4. Keeping people and place connected

It goes without saying—and yet, must be said over and over again—tenants require greater connectivity, especially as their dependence on technology grows, both in-house and remotely. Beyond speed and secure connections, connectivity also requires owners, managers, and developers to move the property toward smart technologies, and often green technology is part of this overall trend.

5. Maintaining a secure, safe, and clean environment

These basic items made the list because they’re the things few people ever mention on an office-space wish list—but they can be the first ones noticed when not done well. Common areas, including restrooms and stairwells, should be well maintained. At the same time, we also live in a time of workplace shootings, so steps can be made to ensure tenants and their employees are safe without feeling as if they’re imprisoned. This means lobby security and visitor protocols, as well as employee key card entrance for parking and building access.

The strength of working relationships

When it comes to marketing your building in order to attract a new and dynamic pool of tenants, a lot more can be said—such as the importance of a property’s first impression, as well as the availability and transparency of the landlord/owner. Because at the end of the day, tenant satisfaction comes down to strong relationships and the quality of the product.

The Morris Southeast Group team knows a lot about those things, because it’s how we conduct business. Our professionals can help you evolve your property to meet the challenges of a changing workforce.

To learn more about property investment opportunities, property management, 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 kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

Invest in Your Community, Not Just Your Property

Goodwill, happier tenants, and increased ROI will follow

When you invest in a commercial property, your responsibilities—and opportunities—go well beyond the four walls of your building or the boundaries of your grounds. You are now part of the community and it behooves you to embrace that responsibility and become involved. Fortunately, this can also provide a welcome boost to your reputation and your ROI.

Everything from property values to tenant relations stand to benefit from community engagement. Here are just a few of the ways you can get involved.

Incorporate charitable acts into your business

There are many ways to contribute to your community other than money, and there are many ways to connect with these opportunities. Here are just a few examples:

  • Real Estate for Rehabilitation. As your first tenants move into your new property, hit the ground running by encouraging them to participate in this program. It connects them to the local Salvation Army, who will pick up their unwanted stuff and sell it in their stores. This fosters immediate goodwill for you, your tenants, and this legacy charitable organization.
  • Give Back Homes. Put some hands-on work into the community with this group of fellow real estate professionals who build homes for those in need—in your town and around the world.
  • Knock on some doors. Encourage tenants and neighbors to donate to the local food bank by providing bags and offering to deliver them. It’s a great way to get some face time with community members and serve a greater good.

Join local networking organizations

Networking is key to establishing and maintaining positive relationships with your neighbors and the town at large. Join the local Chamber of Commerce and attend events hosted by local service organizations, such as the Rotary, Lions, or Kiwanis clubs. They have their finger on the pulse of the community and can direct you to other opportunities to get involved. Local chapters of the Ronald McDonald House, the Boys & Girls Club, and various other groups are also great resources.

Support your local schools

Parents hold the key to a community’s good will. They are perhaps the most invested and the most vocal about their experiences, good and bad. What better way to engage this constituency than by helping your local PTA or PTO with fundraising, volunteering, or marketing, services which are nearly always in demand. Promote their events in your building and encourage your tenants to step up as well.

Get your tenants involved

Speaking of tenants, they are your most powerful tool and the most direct expression of your community involvement. Engage them in these efforts and you’ll have a better relationship with them and have a greater impact on your town. Organize neighborhood “shine” days where you collect trash or plant flowers along your street, as one example. Come the holidays, boost your efforts to collect food for the local pantry, and make your corner of town the pride and joy of the community with decorations and giveaways.

Give back, get back

These are just some examples of ways to become involved in your community. Commercial real estate investors in South Florida and beyond have innumerable outlets for finding causes and organizations that enable them to give back to the community. And the practical impact—beyond doing what’s right— is that all of them have great potential to bring positive attention to you and your property:

  • If you have empty units, people will be more likely to fill them.
  • Need something from the local zoning board? They will be more inclined to quickly provide it.
  • You’ll build valuable connections with local contractors, tradesmen, and other useful service providers.

In short, community investment is not only a moral imperative and a great way to improve where you live or work—it has real ROI. We call that a win-win … win!

Morris Southeast Group is a champion of community engagement. For a free consultation on our commercial real estate investment or property management services, call us at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

Leasing Billboard Space On Your Commercial Property

Why looking up is looking good for CRE

As soon as people had something to sell, they knew they had to advertise in order to draw in customers—and a business was born. From the outside walls of barns painted with images of fresh corn to LED digital displays turning night to day in Times Square, billboards have evolved and always managed to find a place in the American landscape.

Outdoor off-premise advertising became so popular and numerous that billboards were eventually considered a blight—and many cities and jurisdictions created a list of rules and regulations to contain their spread. Despite the pushback, though, they have remained a way to generate additional income from a rooftop, wall, or empty plot of vacant land along a heavily traveled road.

The billboard does not belong to the property owner

When it comes to renting space, most commercial property owners are familiar with the traditional leasing agreement they have with tenants. Rent is paid for a piece of the overall building, while the landlord retains ownership.

That isn’t the case with billboards. The property owner owns just that and only that—the property, whether it’s the roof, an exterior wall, or a plot of land. Sign companies own the actual billboard and, as owners, they then lease that space to advertisers. Unlike tenant rents, which are calculated by square footage, billboard leases are usually a fixed price that’s tied to the consumer price index and/or revenue generated by the billboard. In other words, property owners can expect a 10%–18% return. Digital billboards are even more profitable.

Things to consider before entering the billboard arena

Before exploring options to have billboard structures placed on the roof or exterior wall of your building, or on some land along I-95, there are a few things to consider.

  • Not every location is perfect for a billboard. Sign companies need to look at some data, such as traffic count, lines of sight, and demand and audience profiles. In addition, they also need to protect the visibility of their sign for their clients. This is done through a kick-out clause in the lease agreement. Simply stated, visibility that becomes obstructed through the owner’s alteration of the building, a third-party construction project, or road relocation are grounds for lease termination.
  • Many billboard lease agreements also contain hands-off provisions. The building owner cannot dictate the content on the billboard. About the only way content is controlled is if it violates any sort of law or local codes.
  • The sign company retains rights to not only assign leases, but to also sell the billboard to another company.
  • Since the sign company is responsible for billboard maintenance, property owners must grant “reasonable access.” When on top of a building, for example, this means allowing access to the roof. For a billboard placed along a major thoroughfare, things can become more complicated, since access is usually achieved by driving from the street (rather than from the highway) and then through the property. In addition, the sign company must also have access to electricity sources for lighting, though it would be responsible for utility payments.
  • As stated earlier, local governments have made it more and more difficult for billboards to find a place. As a result, existing locations are even more valuable for sign companies.

Generating CRE income outside and in

When it comes to commercial property generating income, most investors are well aware of primary sources—but secondary and tertiary sources, such as billboards, open up a whole new stream. At the same time, digital technology advances are expanding profit opportunities to interiors like the advertising possibilities in elevators and lobbies. At Morris Southeast Group, our professionals are uniquely qualified to help you make the most of your investment. To learn more about property investment opportunities, property management, and/or other services, call us at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

E-Scooters: Boon or Burden to Cities and Commercial Real Estate?

Cities have a love/hate relationship with these two-wheelers

Once an oddity only seen in America’s tech centers, e-scooters have now become near-ubiquitous across the U.S. and around the globe. From Columbus to Nashville, Lisbon to Paris, these two-wheelers are taking over the urban world as we know it. Startups like Lime, Bird, and Scoot once had the field to themselves, but are now being muscled around by transit giants Uber, Lyft, and Google Maps, who all want a piece of the action.

But it isn’t all sunshine and roses. While they can have some concrete benefits, scooters are often divisive—pitting residents against each other, adding fuel to the already tense relationship between tech companies and municipalities, and, if used recklessly, unsafe.

The Pros

  • A solution for “transit deserts.” E-scooters provide a viable transportation option for areas out of the reach of public transit. And in areas that do have buses and subways, scooters can be a useful solution to get you that last couple of miles—too short for a car, too long for a walk. For residents of smaller cities like Nashville, TN or Scottsdale, AZ, scooters may mean that having a car is no longer a requirement to live there.
  • More affordable than a car. Scooters provide accessibility at very low cost—typically around $1 to unlock and 15 cents a minute after that.
  • Eco-friendly. By reducing the need for a car, at least for the kind of short trips that are the most common, e-scooters can bring down emissions, save money, and reduce the number of automobiles stuck in traffic. Scooters also use far less energy than cars and public transportation.
  • Supplemental income. Scooter companies often hire locals to round up and charge their two-wheelers overnight.

The Cons

  • Town/tech conflict. Entrepreneurs and municipalities have been at odds almost from the start as this innovation has arrived in cities. Startups would simply drop scooters wherever they pleased; opting to apologize later, rather than ask permission. Many cities—including some in South Florida—initially pushed back, but are now working with these companies, rather than fighting them.
  • Unreliable technology. Many models have short battery life and don’t do well with repeated exposure to rough terrain, bad weather, and the grind of city streets.
  • Dockless chaos. By many accounts, the dockless nature of these two-wheelers creates a free for all with scooters left in the middle of streets and sidewalks, in buildings and on private property. Riders are known to zoom along pedestrian walkways when they are required to stay on bike paths or streets. Which leads to…
  • Safety concerns. Scooter injuries are on the rise, and many riders don’t wear helmets. In 2018, nearly 250 people reported to the ER in Southern California with scooter-related head injuries, bruises, bumps, and broken bones. Twenty-one of these folks weren’t even riding a scooter, rather tripped over or were hit by one.
  • Eco-friendly? While there are tangible benefits once the scooters are on the ground in cities, the process of getting them there is fraught with environmental issues. Bird sources its bikes from China and ships them in containers, which produce a growing percentage of global CO2. In addition, the lithium battery needs to be replaced every 300 to 1,000 charges. Unless your town has a means of processing these batteries, more shipping is required.
  • Vandalism. Los Angeles and San Francisco have both seen scooters vandalized in a variety of “creative” ways.

Scooters seem to be good for cities and CRE, despite the hurdles

The verdict in South Florida is generally positive. Cities like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Coral Gables are partnering with startups to roll out these programs safely—although Fort Lauderdale beach has banned them for the summer. Morris Southeast Group is well aware of the key role efficient and cost-effective transportation plays as part of successful commercial real estate and property management in South Florida. For a free consultation on our property management services or commercial real estate investment opportunities, call us at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

Pedaling vs Parking: The Impact of Bicycling on CRE

The newest front in the green revolution is actually a win-win

By the looks of things, it appears as if the green revolution is spreading across South Florida, as well as the rest of the country, in the form of miles and miles of green lanes dedicated to bicycling. As an increasing number of cities redesign streets to include wider sidewalks and increased tree canopies, bike lanes are often used as a means of improving road safety, slowing down traffic, helping the environment, and improving overall community health.

There is, though, a casualty: street parking. For landlords and business owners, this can be a critical issue as they envision a loss of profits from bike lanes that are seldom used to full capacity. Preliminary studies, however, are indicating the opposite is true.

The battle for street space

When considering a street redesign, the argument often comes down to space. On the one hand, there is traffic congestion slowing down many primary and secondary roads throughout the region. In many cases, adding a bike lane means the elimination of a driving lane—and when many roads are already moving at a snail’s pace, is it even possible to move any slower?

At the same time, there is a growing call in many urban and dense suburban areas—where space is quite limited—for pedestrian-friendly thoroughfares. This often requires wider sidewalks to invite strolling. It also calls for slower traffic so pedestrians can safely cross, and in South Florida, hit-and-run accidents and casualties have become all too common.

Bike lanes, then, have become a go-to solution. Not only do they meet the demands of a more environmentally conscious population and the increase of citywide bike-sharing initiatives, but they also appear to be efficient at forcing drivers to slow down.

The concerns among business owners and landlords

As nice as that all seems, though, it does little to quell the anxiety of landlords and business owners. But there are ways to not only meet the challenges of change but to do so profitably:

  • Without a doubt, parking concerns are valid ones, but it’s also important to realize that businesses with street parking have always had parking issues. It’s actually quite rare for a customer to be able to park immediately in front of a specific store. Very often, he or she has to walk some distance to the store after parking—and this distance is often less than the distance in a parking lot to the front door of a shopping mall. In addition, the street redesign will encourage pedestrians to linger, and the walk from the car to store will increase foot traffic to other businesses along the street. And that’s a great thing.
  • Businesses can assist customers through the transition, using signage and social media to direct customers to nearby parking options. In addition, some business owners embracing the idea have discovered unique ways to reach out to new customers, including sales incentives for people who walked or biked to the store and placing bike racks on the new, wider sidewalk. Some developers are even redesigning building spaces to include biking amenities, such as bike parking and bike repair items.
  • Ultimately, for business owners and landlords, it comes down to the bottom line. While some cities experienced initial growing pains during the transition to bike/pedestrian-friendly streets, they have realized a profitable upswing as the population has learned to adapt to a new way of living, working, shopping, and playing.

    When New York City added bike lanes to two major streets, retailers saw a 50% increase in sales receipts. Seattle and San Francisco had similar results. Similarly, in one Memphis neighborhood, locals took it upon themselves to paint their own bike lanes. Within six months, commercial rents in the area doubled and all storefronts were full.

Bike lanes and SoFlo’s CRE market

If the professionals at Morris Southeast Group have learned anything over the years, it’s that CRE is a fluid creature. Changes come, changes go—and through it all, our team has successfully helped investors to not only meet the challenges but leverage them, as well. When it comes to bike lanes, it’s an idea whose time has come. Even pedestrian-heavy Wynwood is considering a redo that would include a 2.5-mile network of connected bike lanes.

To learn more about adjusting your property to a bike lane, property investment opportunities, and/or our 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 kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

Dockless Transportation Might Be Your CRE Property’s Next Great Thing

It’s convenient, cheap, and riders love it

For the consumer, it’s beautifully simple—rent a bike or scooter for as little as a dollar using a free app on your phone, pick it up at one of the numerous locations across your city, and drop it anywhere when you’re done.

Welcome to the era of dockless, urban transportation, the latest iteration of the sharing economy. Rather than shoulder the cost of car ownership, or sit in an Uber or Lyft on increasingly congested streets, some urban commuters instead opt to get around using such startups as Lime, Bird, or GoBike.

The appeal

The scope of the trend goes beyond scooters and bikes and includes motorized skateboards, e-unicycles, and electric tricycles. This marks a shift from the pricier and less-flexible docked systems which had previously been the standard in many U.S. cities. The non-electric, kick-scooter wing of the industry is also seeing growth.

The dockless movement has much promise, and provides many amenities to city-dwellers and tourists:

  • A much-needed extension of public transit, dispersing bikes and scooters into neighborhoods where subways and buses can’t or won’t go.
  • The solution for quick, short trips where a personal car or Uber isn’t necessary, be it to the corner store or grandma’s house in the next neighborhood.
  • Convenient access, with simple apps and cheap rates.
  • Good for the environment—more scooters mean fewer cars on the road.

The complications of dockless transportation

While users rejoice at having a scooter or bike around every corner, it can be a little more complicated for cities and towns. Initially, entrepreneurs dropped these bikes where they pleased around a city and let customers come to them. But this has led to a number of concerns:

  • “Bike litter:” riders drop the bikes in the middle of streets, sidewalks, and on personal and commercial property.
  • Rider safety: helmet laws or best practices still apply to these vehicles but many riders, particularly tourists, eschew them.
  • Pedestrian safety: while electric scooters are legally confined to roads or bike lanes, riders sometimes opt for more convenient sidewalks.

Several South Florida municipalities such as Miami, Coral Gables, and Fort Lauderdale are working with dockless providers to address these issues and ensure safe travel conditions for all.

Landlords and owners want in

Investors and landlords alike see potential in the dockless transportation boom. It makes their buildings more accessible and welcoming, particularly when they’re perceived as a bit off the path from public transit.

And for residents who are elderly, have young children, or physical disabilities, bike or scooter-sharing can be a great alternative to driving or walking. Many scooters in particular are light-weight enough that a tenant or worker can bring them from work to home, even if that commute includes a ride on the subway or a bus.

CRE investors and managers considering adding shared transportation to their offerings should have a multi-faceted strategy:

  • Parking or storage zones. Be a part of the “bike litter” solution by providing a convenient place for people to drop their dockless vehicles. You’ll keep your own property clear and help solve a larger problem.
  • Smooth sidewalks and entryways. A level surface for riders reduces injuries and shows your commitment to tenant safety.
  • Proactive government cooperation. Petition your local municipality to add bike lanes, charging stations, and helmet lockers in the community.

CRE embracing transportation innovation

Proactive CRE investors will see the value of the dockless trend and, in doing so, provide access to their properties for a wide variety of new potential owners and renters. Considering the dueling statistics that the population of Americans age 65 and older is expected to double by 2030 and that a fifth of Americans are under 18, this proposition seems to be a win for attracting both ends of the age spectrum.

Morris Southeast Group keeps an eye on trends in South Florida and beyond that can impact commercial real estate investment and property management. For a free consultation on our commercial real estate investment or property management services, call us at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

Unused Golf Courses are a South Florida CRE Opportunity

Abandoned golf courses are prime opportunities for redevelopment—but be ready to get environmental remediation and community buy-in

When Tiger Woods won the Masters in April, golf course owners across the country hoped it would be “the putt heard ‘round the world.” The sport has seen a steady decline in interest since its heydays from the late ‘70s to early ‘90s. As a result, courses have been forced to close, and many homeowners—who spent top dollar for a home with a view of the greens—are now paying for an amenity that no longer exists.

Developers, meanwhile, have taken notice of these vast tracts of underused land. They are often the last available open spaces in heavily populated areas, and many are surrounded by affluent communities that were once paired with the course. The question, then, is: What can you do with the land, and how best to do it?

Site remediation is the greatest challenge to golf course redevelopment

The risk to redeveloping a golf course is what lies under the new development. Maintaining a perfectly manicured landscape requires an overwhelming amount of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. Over the decades, these chemicals build up in the soil and groundwater to levels that can be unacceptable for certain kinds of redevelopment. Be sure you’re prepared for strict environmental due diligence before flipping a golf course.

The type of development and zoning can make a difference in the environmental remediation required. Since many courses already had restaurants and shops, it’s relatively easy—in terms of zoning—to redevelop an abandoned course into a retail center where much of the land will be paved over. The same can hold true for industrial development on the property (although surrounding communities may oppose such usage).

Developing a golf course into residential space is the most challenging option but it’s also the most financially appealing. An 18-hole course is approximately 150 acres, which can accommodate 600 detached single-family homes. With the addition of townhouses and apartments, this sort of development can mean thousands of new residents.

3 key steps to successful golf course redevelopment

While many municipalities may be eager to see something on this vacant land—and very willing to negotiate—there are some expensive and delicate items developers should be ready to address:

  1. As stated earlier, golf courses can accumulate a lot of toxic chemicals. A developer should work with an environmental consultant who is familiar with golf course remediation. A Phase I Assessment will include soil and groundwater sampling of tees and greens. If high levels of toxins are found, the consultant can recommend a Phase II Assessment.

    In the case of extensive contamination, developers may have to work with their state’s environmental protection department to create a remediation plan/timeline that may also include future monitoring. Once contamination has been corrected, development can continue.
  2. Any development is a NIMBY issue (i.e. “Not In My Back Yard”), literally, for surrounding golf course communities. It’s in the best interest of developers to work with those communities, be transparent, gain a better understanding of their concerns, and find mutually amicable solutions. Those solutions might include removal of toxins, the creation of a landscaped buffer zone, or a smaller golf course.
  3. Developers must also work with local water management agencies to close irrigation wells that were used to feed the green. These are no longer needed and can present environmental risks.

South Florida’s golf game

When it comes to Florida real estate, year-round golf has traditionally been a huge reason many people choose to reside in the Sunshine State. But while residential non-golf development has remained steady through the sport’s waning decades, a number of communities that once looked out over manicured greens now have a view of weed-ridden fields.

Many community members enjoy this wide-open view, whereas others would like to see the land become a public park. This can put a financial strain on cities to purchase that land, develop it into parkland, and maintain it, however.

Developers with vision and an ability to navigate city zoning and community wishes hold the key to smart and profitable golf-course redevelopment. The Morris Southeast Group team can help you create these new links for old links. To learn more about our property investment opportunities and/or other services, call us at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

A Property Management Firm Eases South Florida Landlord Headaches

You and your tenants may sleep better when you leave the details to professionals

You’ve landed a prime property in a great location. On the surface, it seems like an easy, consistent revenue source that diversifies your portfolio and builds equity. And whether it’s residential or commercial, it can be tempting to take on all management duties yourself—this saves money and gives you confidence that every detail is just right. But a closer look at the details of what professional property management offers may lead you to a different conclusion.

Why consider a property management firm?

While property management may seem economical and fairly simple on the surface, there are a number of instances where hiring a manager may be the smarter course of action:

  • The number of units has grown (this is good!) but to a level that the landlord can no longer manage (not so good…)
  • The property is in a different city or state, or perhaps on another continent.
  • You need someone to handle day-to-day operations (simple maintenance, rent collection), which frees you up to focus on larger concerns such as marketing, staffing, and acquisition of additional units.
  • You need dedicated expertise in issues of rental law, including federal and state fair housing regulations.
  • You need someone with a deep understanding of both industry best practices and the local market, either through personal knowledge or a network of fellow professionals.

The cost for these services typically includes fees for basic setup, leasing, maintenance, and other management duties.

Maintenance services are a key element of professional property management

A property manager will be your eyes on the ground, making sure routine maintenance is in check and tending to emergency repairs that may be needed. A quality manager has a list of vendors which provide fair rates and service records. These vendors will share a vested interested in providing good service in order to maintain their preferred status with the management company.

Managing tenant relations

Your residential or commercial tenants will likely appreciate a management company that’s focused on their needs and not a landlord who’s spread thin with competing for career or business priorities. Best practices are to make contact about four times a year, updating tenants on the relative health of the property and any current maintenance or safety issues, and generally keeping open channels of communication.

Managers can also intercept and dispense with any frivolous complaints (loud neighbors, construction across the street, etc.) that will take up your time. And more serious issues must be addressed in a timely manner to meet legal responsibilities.

Rent and lease management

Property managers can handle arguably the most tedious and frustrating aspect of rental property ownership—collecting the actual rent. If the check comes on time in the mail or payment shows up automatically online, that’s great. But on those occasions when it doesn’t, you don’t spend hours tracking down tenants, enduring excuses, and possibly regretting the investment in the first place.

A management company can help set policy about late rent and oversee the process of warnings and, if necessary, eviction, that comply with state and local law. It can also enforce other terms of the lease, such as noise violations and unauthorized alterations to the property.

Finding new tenants is a service offered by quality management companies

Without reliable, productive tenants, the most beautiful property will sit idle and devoid of life. The process of finding ideal tenants can be unpredictable and frustrating—placing ads, screening applications, interviewing tenants, and coordinating on-site visits. A management company can take this onerous task off your plate or, at a minimum, significantly augment your efforts to ensure occupancy remains consistent.

Property management is a worthwhile investment for South Florida CRE

In the end, it’s crucial to understand the scope of responsibility inherent in property self-management. While there may be some up-front cost savings, the long-term time commitment and aggravation often tip the scales towards hiring an outside firm to do the heavy lifting. Morris Southeast Group provides comprehensive, professional property management that can make the difference between marginal and successful real estate investment. For a free consultation on property management services or commercial real estate investment, call us at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

4 Reasons to Future-Proof Your Property

Connectivity, innovative use of space, and the environment top the list

In the modern age of disruption, no business is immune to the ever-increasing pace of change. Commercial real estate is no exception, and a current trend cascading through the industry is the concept of future-proofing—designing (or redesigning) your property to adapt to changes in the habits of renters and entrepreneurs, the shifting of our climate, and our communication needs in a 24/7 connected world.

South Florida has seen ample opportunities—and challenges—in future-proofing its CRE market. Tenant demand has soared in recent years, for example. This has turned developers’ attention towards the dilemma of how to mindfully increase urban density in a way that accommodates the as-yet-unknown needs of future generations.

Let’s take a look at four of the issues that are shaping the future of CRE:

1. Rethinking mixed-use real estate

If the future-proofing movement could be summarized in a single word, it might be flexibility. How we work, shop and live is in a near-constant state of flux which poses a challenge for property owners who need to make decisions—before a shovel even goes into the ground—about how their building will be used by tenants and the public. Thoughtful design can mitigate many of these variables.

A property’s relevance will be determined by its owner’s ability to change with the times, adapting to new kinds of tenants, new uses, and even a new climate. This has made developers rethink the traditional “mixed-use” property, where a building may have predetermined functions assigned to each space (retail, restaurant, residential, parking).

Instead, they are beginning to lean more towards “multi-use,” which may look a lot like the modern hotel, where the same space houses multiple functions such as conference rooms, mini-bars, fitness centers, business nooks, and overnight accommodations.

2. Adapting to shifting renter preferences and parking needs

Unlike tenants of years past, today’s residents are less concerned about the size of their units than the flexibility of the common spaces that accompany them. They are more inclined to take the party into the lobby rather than confine it to their apartments. Traditional fitness centers often remain empty or lightly used, leading some managers to repurpose the space to accommodate both exercise and coworking.

As Uber, Lyft, and public transit change the face of driving, the exact future of the parking garage is also changing and uncertain. In their current form, most underutilized garages only have second lives as storage facilities, but forward-looking designers can ensure that future parking structures have proper ventilation, lighting, and space for conversion into rental or office units. The top level of a garage has a multitude of uses, from a roof deck suite to an urban garden.

3. Connectivity is a priority for CRE

In an increasingly wired world, a near-universal demand of business and residential tenants alike is the high-speed Internet. Newer construction projects build this into their framework but older buildings face a challenge meeting this growing need. Nevertheless, it should rise to the top of the developer’s to-do list when courting occupants now and in decades to come.

Increased connectivity also necessitates increased cybersecurity. With dozens or perhaps hundreds of users online at once—and the rise of smart devices and the Internet of Things (IoT)—a network’s vulnerability increases. Maintenance crews and third-party vendors also need access, making attention to password protocols and multifactor authentication important for a safe online experience.

It also means higher electric bills. A generation ago, people owned few electronics and certainly had no need to charge multiple devices at once. From surge protectors to additional wall outlets, there are many quick fixes modern developers can make to accommodate tenant expectations.

4. Environmental stewardship must not be forgotten

Florida is no stranger to the environmental impacts of our ever-shifting climate and its CRE industry has noticed. State leaders have taken proactive steps to future-proof buildings and communities, particularly in low-lying coastal areas. In Miami, these include a $400 million government bond and a voter-approved residential tax to lessen the effects of storm surges and coastal flooding.

North Miami has gone so far as to partner with the Van Alen Institute, a design-centric non-profit focused on urban improvement. Together, they aim to find creative solutions in the development of repetitive loss properties—vacant lots that are increasingly prone to floods.

South Florida CRE design for the future

Alongside flexibility, longevity is the other essential term in future-proofing your property. Make the building last, both in its structure and utility. It should stand strong and vibrant 20, 30, and 50 years from now. Thoughtfully designed now, for the future. Morris Southeast Group will work with you to develop a property that lasts for generations to come. For a free consultation on commercial real estate investment or property management services, call us at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.


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