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. ###

Lease or Buy

The space your business operates from represents an investment of available cash to bring a product or service to market to generate a return on investment. I have preached for many years that real estate is a tool to operate a business. This tool must be flexible in use and marketable to relet or sell when its no longer useful to your business. Space size and price do not offer enough of a means to compare options to choose from. Factors to consider include physical space, price, acquisition costs, holding costs/benefits, tax effect, return on investment. Merely looking for space within a budget leaves you vulnerable to taking ill-fitted space that you’ll live to regret using. A savvy Tenant Rep will show you the qualitative and quantitative modeling of how to look at your space options to decide which deal meets your operating needs. Such modeling has worked well for my clients since the late 1990’s.

Lease, Renew or Relet

You can choose to move to lease, exercise an option to renew or to relet space within your building at new terms. Critical questions to ask are space amount, engineering of use, layout, construction and space equipment costs, moving costs, budget and cost of capital, tax effect, flexibility of use (sublets/assigns, expansion or contraction rights). Each space considered should be presented in column format to facilitate a decision of accept, fine tune terms or drop the space from consideration. This format also enables preparing fighting alternatives to secure the deal you need. Overall, this method of comparison uncovers fine points of options to root out the right one for you. Give your business enough time to conduct this search and analyze project at a leisurely pace, relative to market conditions. Signing the term sheet of the deal testifies that the choice made from the search process is to move, exercise an option to renew or draft a new lease for your space met the operating needs of your business with a predictable outcome.

Purchase. Purchasing calls for placing available cash for acquisition costs, construction and property management, mortgage and property taxes; all other costs being equal if leasing. Analysis performed by your Tenant Rep shows how your investment will perform as compared to placing the money in other investments and how the real estate adds value to the business. If you’ll lease the unused portion of the property, the Tenant Rep prepares a financial model about how the net profit from Tenant(s) would be invested to enhance investment yield. A financial model for purchasing space shows how your cash will work for you plus net proceeds of sale, projected over a holding period.

Sale-Leaseback. If you own your property and are considering to unlock its cash value from a sale-leaseback, a financial model will show the present value of the property, the interest rate to pay rent, any operating costs, how investor’s holding period may affect your rent responsibilities. Tax impact influences your consideration to complete a sale-leaseback transaction.

Comparing to lease, buy or sale-leaseback shows your cash outlays, productivity of staff from space design and location, and shows tax impact.

If a change of the real estate for your business is on your horizon of projects, I encourage you to contact me to talk it out. Please click “Request A Consultation” link in the upper right of the screen. Enter “Real Estate on My Horizon” 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.

Buy Property

CONSIDERING TO BUY A PROPERTY vs. LEASE FOR YOUR BUSINESS? If you’re considering to own the space your business operates from, have you identified how financial benefits can lower your cost of occupancy? Imagine the lift to your P&L… Financial planning is as important as preparing the building for use. The goal is keeping space costs known, predictable and low while adding property value to the value of your business.

The physical and financial aspects of the buy can be plugged into transaction software that changes with scenario models. A comparative quantitative analysis helps to reveal your cost of occupancy. The final transaction model will serve as a guide to negotiate the closing terms of the buy as well as drive the project management of the build.

I’ll show you how a mortgage, tax, utility and economic development benefits will help lower your acquisition, development and operating costs of the property. We’ll review each scenario to the extent you need to create options to focus on. Our review of options will include how we’ll respond if the seller (and other players) cannot meet your transaction or development needs.

Five (5) Key Factors affect a property purchase:

  1. Physical building and location. What kind of building and layout does your business need? Where should it be located?
  2. Development. Does the building need retrofitting, rehab or is land development your best option?
  3. Financing (including IDA financing). Your credit status will dictate the lending terms you can secure.
  4. Economic Development benefits from utilities, job creation, construction. Location of the business, employees relocated, new hires and how you power/light your property will all help identify the economic development benefits available to you to lower your cost of occupancy.
  5. Tax benefits (mortgage interest, depreciation, property tax abatements, effective tax rate). Property tax abatements, plus tax deductions for interest will be factored into the transaction to show its financial effects on your cost of occupancy.

Considering to buy a property requires quantitative and qualitative analysis. I discuss the report with you in layman’s terms to make a choice giving a predictable outcome. The financial and physical outcome of acquiring commercial real estate requires some degree of predictability to focus on operating and improving the performance of your business. This consulting service is available for an hourly fee or is included in the commission fee [I’m paid by the seller of the property].

If you agree that this analysis service would be useful to you, please click “Request A Consultation” link in the upper right of the screen. Enter “Acquisition Modeling” 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. ###

Did You Plan for No?

In the midst of negotiating your deal for space with key stakeholders’ talking to secure their position in the deal, have you planned for them to say “No” to your critical/important needs or worse, act out to meet their needs?? Finding these issues out now could derail/end your deal unexpectedly; that’s to be avoided.  Most stakeholders of a deal don’t prepare for such contingencies…yet such preparation is essential to close the deal. Making compromises (that may include agreeing to split the difference) in the midst of negotiating can harm or eliminate meeting critical/important needs. Negotiating is a conversational debate among stakeholders to meet their needs of doing a deal. Maintaining positive relations is key to stakeholders agreeing that a deal is worth doing.

Naturally, any negotiation will factor in time to compensate for general disagreements, even some issues may need tuning or re-engineering to realize interests. However, no interests should be compromised or deal terms’ forced to re-trade that harms anyone’s critical/important interests.

While negotiations are being planned, consider the risks that key stakeholders may say no to your critical and important needs. What would your options be to meet your needs AND stakeholders to meet their needs? (Consider these steps akin to your attorney preparing you for trial.) Here are brief recommendations to assess risks before all stakeholders talk to negotiate.


i) Identify the key stakeholders.
ii) What’s important to them (you included)?
iii) Brainstorm what they or you may do if neither gets what’s important to them.
iv) How likely are options in brainstorming likely to occur?
v) How do unilateral actions affect stakeholders?
vi) How do unilateral actions affect you?
vii) As you perform the preparatory process, has it inferred that you forgot to identify/address any issues/interests you were planning to negotiate for? If so, return to analyze/fix what’s missing, then walk through all steps, including this one, to ready yourself to negotiate. If you or stakeholders do not meet your needs, an option should be to drop the deal.

Now you’re ready to negotiate that includes talking out options if your /their needs are not met. The outcome is a positive choice for all stakeholders involved. My negotiating practices have used this method successfully for 10 years. If I can be of help to you securing your next piece of commercial space, please click “Request A Consultation” at the right of the screen, write “Planning For No ” in the subject line; add your comments, name, email address and direct dial number to reach you; I reply within 24 hours.) Thanks for reading. ###

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.

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. ###

Investment Sale: Atlanta Community Office

Q3/2006 Facilitated sale of two-story community office property, 50% leased, to local business on behalf of private investor/owner. Property appraised and sold for initial list price that was +/-$25psf over market. Customized new contract of sale from Real Estate Trade Association and advised Seller to negotiate results of inspection period . 4000sf property sold for $700K.