Navigate Your Next Real Estate Transaction

If your CXO suite is planning a change of its real estate, learn to navigate market conditions effectively. There’s many moving parts to source and secure the right space and business terms to meet the operating needs of your company. Learn which questions to ask or how to position your business to get the deal terms it needs. I am currently offering conference room presentations as special guest to CXO meetings for businesses employing up to 150 staff. Request a topic from the blog posts here in “Mayer’s Blog” relevant to your needs.  Two presentation formats are available.

  • 15 minute presentation of basics, take a business card to ask questions via a planned follow-up call or meeting.
  • 30 minute presentation of full topic, plus 15 minutes of Q&A.

Should your CXO decide to discuss Tenant Rep services from me, all exploratory discussions of your needs are interactive via a white board, whether held in your conference room or via Skype.

If you’d like to invite me to present in your CXO meeting, click “Request A Consultation” link in the upper right of the screen. Enter “CXO Presentation” in the subject line; please include your name, email address, telephone number and topic subject in the message body; I reply within 24 hours. Any presentation requires five (5) business days lead time to schedule into my meeting calendar. (Any requests for custom made topics require fifteen (15) calendar days’ lead time to research and prepare for.)  Thanks for reading and listening, perhaps I’ll hear from you in the future. ###

Too Much Space? Sublet, Divest or Move

Has your sales or business operations changed to need less commercial space than you signed [a lease] for? Is your rent bill using too much of your operating budget? If you face this problem, a prompt strategic approach to solving it is necessary. Look at the financial impact and legal exposure of your options. I explain below how to approach this dilemma, how to solve it and free up your operating budget.

Assess the problem. What’s causing your business to use less space than you signed for? Were signs of change let go when you signed the lease, or is this a new emerging trend likely to stick? If a percentage of staff will be let go, how would you re-seat the staff kept to free up space to divest? Is additional rent more than you expected (and planned for)?

How many years are left on your lease? If less than 4 years and space is in move-in condition, the space could be relet for a longer term at current market rate, ending your lease.

What are your space and location alternatives? Finding the right building, in the right location for your business can be challenging. The scope of Tenant Improvements to the new space will dictate the base rent and lease term. What lease term can your business accept with some uncertainty of its future? (Note: Keep the math difference in mind that less construction cost equals fewer lease years, more construction cost equals more lease years (until rent exceeds construction cost)).

Compare Lease Terms of Buildings. Key clauses to review are operating pass thru’s, expense stops and operating increases. Paying the difference between year to year operating expenses is best; paying increases over a base year gets expensive to your operating budget.

Transaction model. The most effective way to compare deals is to prepare transaction models. (Your Tenant Rep broker has software to do this.) Modeling shows the financial difference between deals, some of which may look alike in the offer.

Personal Guaranty and Good Guy clause. If there’s a default of rent payments, the person guaranteeing the lease is responsible to pay. Good Guy clause versions are a) keep the rent paid through the lease term or b) leave the space broom clean, pay all rent due through the last due date, return the keys to be legally released from further lease obligations. Work to secure (b) because it releases you from rent you will not/can not pay and gives the Landlord back a space to relet without paying to evict you.

Sublet terms. What legal rights does your Landlord have to list your space for sublet? The time frame to list affects how quickly you can dispose of the unneeded space. Remember the leasing commission [and any construction costs] you’ll pay to sublet.

Delivery of Space and Move. Sublet of the vacant space or moving should be done during the least intrusive time of your business year. Expect to take 45 days to plan the move and another 30 days to execute/close it. That time needs to be compatible with your subtenant or your new Landlord.

Sublet. Sharing up to 3,000rsf of unused space is a quick solution; costs are limited to a background check, a credit check and fees to Landlord. If you’ll be compatible sharing the common areas of the space, pursue a space share.

If you must separate the vacancy from your space, expect to pay an architect and construction costs. Only choose that option if costs are dramatically less than your potential moving costs, future additional rent and escalated rent you’ll collect from the subtenant. Always review at least the two most recent years of signed financial statements from the Subenant and talk to 2-3 creditors to ensure they can afford to pay you their rent.

Divest. Sometimes, there’s a market for your vacant space to the Landlord, either in whole or as part of an adjacent space. However the market exists, hire a Tenant Rep broker and Tenant Rep attorney for a consulting fee to ensure your lease is amended with less space to bill for with your interests in mind.

I trust this post has been a simple read for you and helpful if you’re faced with this issue. I’ve helped companies deal with this issue in the past. If BREG can help you, please click “Request A Consultation” link in the upper right of the screen. Enter “Sublet, Divest or Move” in the subject line; please include your name, email address and telephone number in the message body; I reply within 24 hours. Thanks for reading and listening. ###

NYC Office Buildings Reposition

This is an excellent perspective how select Manhattan office buildings are repositioning themselves to match the needs of millennial tenants.  The article is found at this link.  (Note: the author is my co-worker). http://nyrej.com/75161

Deal Get What You Need?

Before you sign a lease or contract for new space for your business, do the negotiated terms get what you need? Just because the deal is market competitive (and perhaps a good one), is that deal good for your business? Don’t sell yourself on a deal that didn’t get what you should have. (The deals to my past customers were always good for their needs and at market competitive terms.)

Brokers’ efforts are often driven by their need to generate commissions to feed the overhead of their business. Landlords make deals to realize property returns on investment and feed overhead cost s of building operations. Clients and Tenants respectively often give up too much to secure space they need.


How can your broker secure the terms your business needs to operate with? They learn about the issues important to you, what your interests and positions are of those issues, identify creative ways to secure your needs with the landlord or seller, and educate you of the risks of picking the wrong deal or property you ask them to secure. (Note: Savvy realtors have staggered payouts coming to them regularly, affording them the ability to engineer deals that are right for their clients and market competitive.

I suggest taking 2yrs to secure the space you want for every 7500rsf of office space and 15Ksf of industrial you need. The conversation begins to identify who the stakeholders will be for the move, a consensus of important issues among stakeholders, what the interests are among those issues, what interests are critical, important or tradeable. Your broker’s job is to identify creative options of how your interests will be secured, solving your issues, how to get the seller’s issues secured and how the agent will be paid to represent you. There’s a methodical process to prepare for negotiation and a methodical way to negotiate that keeps all stakeholders happy with each other.

The 2yrs lead time gives your broker the ability to find the best options for you to consider, secure the deal that’s best for you and is market competitive. The next time you begin to think about a need for commercial space, hold a holistic view of your assumptions and begin to create objectives. From that you will be ready to meet a savvy commercial realtor to help you identify and secure the terms worth signing for. I have worked this way for 10+ years. If I can be of help to you, please click “Request A Consultation” at the right of the screen, write “Interest-Based Negotiation ” in the subject line; add your comments, name, email address and direct dial number to reach you; I reply within 24 hours.) ###

Business Analysis = > Tenant Rep

Corp Advisor(Post updated 01/26/2019) If your COO thinks its time to change the space your business uses, a great deal, in a seemingly good space, could become a (operating and financial) debacle you’ll seethe from long-term. (i.e. bad layout, a long inflexible lease, construction cost/time overruns, poor construction finishes, unexpected extra fees in the monthly rent bill). Blah, blah, blah you say? I’ve seen it happen many times; some clients were referred to me to solve such problems with their space.

A space debacle is avoided through planning – AND – using time to your advantage. When neither of these two elements are used, you pick the short straw and overpay. Analyzing your business carefully, to identify its needs [from workflow] and resources, become the baseline to negotiate the deal that meets the operating needs of your company.

Basic “Business Analysis” questions to ask:

  • How is the business operating today from its space?
  • Does the space facilitate productive workflow for ALL your staff (from baseline workers to C-level executives)? Is the work environment functionally collaborative and comfortable?
  • Does the space layout, location and rent bill foster productivity and profitability?
  • Can your space size change as your business does?
  • Does your office furniture, equipment and phones foster your comfort, efficiency and work pace?
  • Does your lease (or sublease) protect your occupancy rights? (this is more a business term that legal advocacy guides you to secure).

These questions are basic yet with privately held businesses, I’ve often seen little thought, planning and execution done in 24+yrs as commercial Tenant Rep. The best plan to change your space is a flexible one that’s able to make reasonable compromises as they arise. Identifying why your business is failing to meet executive vision, with worker comfort, leads to a baseline of expectations for new space. Let your Tenant Rep interview executive management, mid-management plus a few line workers; the data gathered will lead to an understanding of information flow, what defines a) a comfortable, efficient working environment, b) flexible occupancy, c) a flexible lease, d) sufficient utilities to meet operating needs.

If your business occupies 7Ksf [or more] of space, budget at least 2 years prior to occupancy to address your change vision at a leisurely pace; that puts time to your advantage to secure the right deal for your business (vs. a good deal for the landlord).  A virtual test-fit (1) of your space helps to create a short list of spaces/properties to focus on.

If you agree these suggestions are sensible for you, request a free 45 minute consultation with me by clicking the link at the right. Please put in the subject line “Business Analysis meets Real Estate.”; I reply within 24 hours. We hold a substantive face to face conversation, and see if our personalities are compatible to work with each other. Thanks for reading, perhaps I’ll hear from you soon. ###

  1. Kirsch, B. (2016). The value captured through a faster tenant test-fitting process, REFM, 03/15/2016.

How to Hire Me

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-After substantive conversation, if you choose to hire me, the principal of your firm signs an “Exclusive Right to Represent Agreement” from me that designates me to handle your firm’s real estate needs, regardless of how the space is identified.  I also offer analysis or consulting services through your service providers (i.e. CPAs or Attorneys) through a Consulting Agreement.

-My commission /fee  is borne by the landlord/seller you buy space from or at an hourly rate that we agree to, paid by your firm.

-I can work by sole transaction, by multiple transactions with a strategic goal, provide strategic planning advice or as project consultant.

-Rate: Without commission, $50/hr for the first 3 projects (prove service), then usual rate of $225/hr.

-Four hour minimum for initial project review ($50 rate), paid upon submittal of the review.

-I prefer clients to furnish me their accurate financial data after I sign an NDA (which I can provide).  This helps to budget real estate into your finances.

-In consulting assignments, I can present results you approve to parties of the transaction as needed, at the hourly rate.

Highly Successful Helping Businesses Grow

Learn Real Estate Costs Ahead of Needs

Small-Mid size users of commercial space (5K-100Krsf) often analyze their space needs just before starting a search; such timing would likely cost your business the wrong space size, overpriced deal terms and bloated operating costs. Also, merely comparing market rates to your rent [or mortgage] does not accurately measure the economics of your space. Do you know how much your occupancy costs take as a percentage of revenue [generated from the space ]?

The costs to operate space are: rent (or mortgage and property taxes), utilities, IT network and phones. The one-time costs to expand/relocate can include: movers, architectural and/or project management services, construction (beyond landlord’s work), furniture & fixtures, voice and data wiring, phone and computer equipment. If changes to your space are in-review [among executives], knowing both the revenue generated from the space and its occupancy costs will help expedite planning and decision-making within budget.

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A triumvirate of academics and experience are blended to deliver this service; it sets me apart from conventional real estate analysts. i) a complex understanding of commercial real estate, ii) academics and hands-on experience assembling/interpreting the economics of business operations, iii) training/experience with spreadsheet software.

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I often performed this analysis for clients as commercial realtor; I was a virtual real estate department to emerging businesses with 5-100 employees in metros New York and Atlanta, 1995-2007. (Figures and space needs came from collaborating with the Comptroller and CEO). The results enabled me to source the right spaces and negotiate the sharpest of terms a landlord could afford; those business terms matched or cut the client’s projected occupancy costs.   I deliver this service in five steps:

  1. Identify gross revenue from space / current occupancy costs (by category) = % occupancy costs claim from revenue.
  2. Estimate future space needs and occupancy term; scrub to market conditions.
  3. Project revenue from new space. How much more revenue could be kept as profit if occupancy costs were less?
  4. Identify space costs for the next occupancy term via a projection of entry costs, rent and operating costs (mentioned above).
  5. Compare sales projections to projected occupancy costs to reveal how much space is needed and what to budget for it. Add one-time relocation expenses outlined above.

(Note: Your results from this service will be most effective when completed two (2) years before operating from new space (up to 20Krsf; up to 4 years prior for 100Krsf). The lead time positions your business to negotiate from strength.)

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I can work directly for your company, collaborating with your Comptroller, or as subcontractor to the CPA firm you work with. I work per diem or by project; I estimate 24 hours per assignment; the work is completed in 5 consecutive days. If you’d like to talk with me, please click “Request a Consultation” at the mid right of the screen and fill out the form; I’ll reply to you within 24 hours. I trust that the content of this post was helpful to you. ###

Pricing Property to Sell

As the economy improves incrementally, commercial real estate is regaining attention as a stable, reliable investment [vs equities or bonds]. Its published knowledge that American businesses (including private equity) kept over $1 trillion in cash profit from sales since the depths of the [Great] Recession; currently cash is king. Banks are lending cautiously, yet in measured amounts. Investors are searching for choices that offer a mix of stable cash flows and future upside. Complete rehabs of functionally obsolescent buildings are an alternative investment, if handled shrewdly.

Plan and Prepare Basics

If you’re considering to sell a property you own, strategy and planning are key to a successful sale and use of proceeds. Stick to your plan; leave a bit of room for flexibility. Recruit multiple offers to assure the sharpest sale terms; have alternate buyers ready to fill sales that break up unexpectedly.

Seasoned, experienced, savvy service providers to process the transaction include a real estate analyst, Public Engineer, CPA and attorney.

a.  Real Estate Analyst. This knowledge worker, whether support staff or private contractor, will project an opinion of value of the property from accurate income and expense figures. (This is my service niche.)

b.  Pre-Inspection. Its to your benefit to hire an engineer (P.E) or commercial inspector to report on the physical condition of the property before bringing it to market. Leaving the inspection report up to the buyer could put you in a materially weak negotiating position, creating a lower perception of value by the buyer.

c.  MAI Appraisal. Order a professional appraisal of the property before sale, approved by an MAI; scrub the results against the opinion of value from your analyst. No buyer can argue with the results of an appraisal from a licensed appraiser and MAI.

d.  Legal. Assure the contract of sale fairly protects you and the buyer; read a sample copy from your attorney before they customize it to your transaction.

Four Essential Questions

Prior to bringing your property to market, ask yourself:

  1. What’s it worth?
  2. Where to place the sale proceeds?
  3. If you make a like-kind, tax-free exchange, identify the replacement property (ies) before bringing your property to market.
  4. Paying capital gains taxes on the sale proceeds? Talk with your CFO or CPA about profits’ affect on your P&L before bringing the property to market.

These preparatory steps include expenses and time worth investing in to avoid losing a sale, or negotiating unexpected material hurdles of sale that could lower the closing price you envisioned. These steps map a path to a smooth close, with flexibility as needed.

1.  What’s it Worth?

These facets of value, some of which are severable from the whole, work in-unison to generate an accurate value for the property:

  • Integrity of income (eg. rent from tenants, billboards and antennas, parking income)
  • Projected rents from lease renewals and potential vacancies
  • Does rent from long term leases (10yrs or more) sustain, lock or step-up revenue?
  • Does the building operate efficiently?
  • Is maintenance effective and costs sharp?
  • Is the assessed value of the property reasonable?

Additionals:

  • Are there hazmats behind walls needing abatement at relet?
  • Do floor plate sizes help/inhibit lease up?
  • Could select floors be re-positioned for better uses at higher rents or sold as condo?

The tangible and intangible variables of a property directly affects the capitalization rate applied to NOI to produce an accurate property value. Some are:

  • Building features (common area cosmetics, telco wiring, green skin and mechanicals)
  • Property’s ability to compete in the community for tenants.
  • Does the legal ease of your lease help, hurt or inhibit property value?
  • Credit of larger tenants

Uses for Sale Proceeds

Sale proceeds are substantial, you’ve agreed with your senior staff about where to place them (i.e. re-invest, pay debts, fund new development, etc). If you’re a single user of owned property, is this sale a leaseback to free-up cash? Proceeds may be divided among facility expenses, short term rent and to fund growth.

Like-kind Exchange. If you’re planning a like-kind, tax free exchange of properties, identify a list of replacement properties that meet your investment goals and core portfolio. Hire an experienced, neutral agent to handle the exchange of properties.

Capital Gains Taxes. If capital gains taxes are to be paid from sale proceeds, have a detailed discussion with your CFO or CPA about how the net profit will affect your P&L.

My Services

If your real estate investment business needs a savvy analyst for a sale project, who can also present the results with charisma, please contact me to discuss your specific needs.  If my skills fit the needs of your sale project, my hiring terms are: