6 Commercial Real Estate Myths

There are a number of misconceptions floating around in the market when it comes to commercial real estate and it becomes important to identify them. These misconceptions can deter investment and risk-taking behavior that is required in this market to be a successful investor. You need consider funds to start This is one of the…

There are a number of misconceptions floating around in the market when it comes to commercial real estate and it becomes important to identify them. These misconceptions can deter investment and risk-taking behavior that is required in this market to be a successful investor.

You need consider funds to start
This is one of the most common misconceptions in the real estate industry, you do not need to be swimming in funds to invest in your first property. Banks do not only look at your balance to approve your funding, they look at the potential profits of your deal as well. The more appealing the deal is the more likely you will be getting your funding, however, you do not need to rely on just your banks there are always private money lenders who'd be willing to help out if you check out.

The numbers are too hard
These days there are plenty of software options in the market to do the legwork for you, you just need to know your figures and the software will compute the rest for you. The rest just boils down to you being able to interpret the figures to make informed decisions when it comes to your real estate needs.

Most commercial properties are advertised
Contrary to popular belief most of the available commercial properties are not listed in newspapers nor will you find any bandit signs advertising the properties of your desire. You will need to consult a real estate broker who has considerable contacts among investors and property owners alike to get a comprehensive list of all the available properties in the area of ​​your interest.

Managing commercial property is much more of a hassle than residential property
Managing a property is no joke, but the hitch is that the proceeds with commercial properties is much more than that of residential properties. So one can afford to hire a management service that operates in your stead and takes care of all the aspects of your property, including using their comprehensive list of vendors.

Good deals are difficult to find
No matter the market situation it will always be possible to find a good deal in the real estate market, there are always certain types of properties and other factors that make this reality a possibility. All this is dependent on you making a reasonable effort to make the deal happen though.

A single agent can fairly represent both sides
An agent will invariably have the interests of the landlord at heart and not the investor or the buyer, the agent will always have vested interests and therefore act as a dual agent in a way. So it's always better to hire your own agent to represent your interests.
These are some of the common myths surrounding the commercial real estate industry.

The Latest Trends in Commercial Real Estate

The ebb and flow of the Commercial Real Estate (CRE) market is affected by innumerable variables including the condition of the economy, population demographics, and government regulations, to name a few. While there's not a crystal ball that can give you definite answers as to what the market will do, there are a few key…

The ebb and flow of the Commercial Real Estate (CRE) market is affected by innumerable variables including the condition of the economy, population demographics, and government regulations, to name a few. While there's not a crystal ball that can give you definite answers as to what the market will do, there are a few key factors that can give us a good idea. This year real estate professionals are monitoring these three trends in the market as indicators of what lies ahead for CRE.

Interest Rates
Historically interest rates have been a sound signifier of the state of the economy, so in December of 2015, when the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time since 2006, the change definitely made headlines. Although the hike was only by a quarter of a percentage point (0.25%), which raised the target range to 0.25% -0.5%, this past December the Fed once again raised rates by a quarter of a point to a range of 0.50% -0.75%. And subsequent hikes are on the horizon; Fed officials predict they will raise rates at least three more times over the course of 2017.

These changes can affect the CRE market in many different ways. The rate hike itself signifies lower unemployment rates and an increasingly stronger economy. A strong economy tends to indicate a strong real estate market, so in that respect the outlook is positive. As far as immediate tangible changes to commercial real estate go, even small rate hikes mean that borrowers will pay more in interest. They also contribute toward the cost of capital; higher rates mean the price to borrow money is also higher. The promise of continued hikes may motivate some to invest sooner rather than later, while for others this could make investments less affordable or achievable and could cause both borrowers and lenders to be more cautious when approaching loans.

Foreign Investment
Global economic and political uncertainty leave a big question mark for the year ahead and something for investors to keep an eye on. Recent reports have indicated that China is planning to slow foreign investments, and at the beginning of this year, state regulations have already begun tightening for Chinese citizens and institutions investing in overseas real estate. It will be interesting to see if these new restrictions will have a long-term effect on the US CRE market, or if determined foreign investors will find loopholes.

As the fallout continues from Great Britain's vote to “Brexit” the European Union, the strength of both the euro and the pound is uncertain. Volatility in foreign currency could mean investors turn to the US commercial real estate market as a sound and stable investment choice. In the face of all this uncertainty, the World Bank preceds global economic growth of 2.7% which is slightly higher than last year. Global growth is more likely to mean inflows into the US market, but it is still too early to tell how all this uncertainty will affect CRE.

Supply Growth
Commercial real estate supply growth has been slow over the past few years and there's no way to tell if or when it will pick up (see above considerations). We do know that continued slow growth with only pockets of supply available continues to drive up rent prices as the demand skyrockets.

What a Tenant Wants: Renovation & Remodeling Trends for Commercial Properties

The rental market can be a highly competitive one. And, as a property manager or owner of an apartment or office property, you know just how important a few essential updates can be. There are a number of remodeling projects potential and current renters hope for and knowing what they are can really help you…

The rental market can be a highly competitive one. And, as a property manager or owner of an apartment or office property, you know just how important a few essential updates can be. There are a number of remodeling projects potential and current renters hope for and knowing what they are can really help you get a leg up on the competition. Here is a brief rundown of what the most commonly requested tenant improvements are and why potential tenants seek them out in a place to lease.

Windows – First, when considering any large scale tenant improvements before renting your property, new and improved windows should be at the top of your list. Older properties in particular will benefit from updated windows. Newer, insulated windows are one of the very first features a potential tenant looks for, especially if they will be responsible for paying heating and cooling bills. New windows will regulate the inside temperature, therefore increasing energy efficiency.

Storage – How are the closets? In this day and age, ample storage is an absolute essential for any home or office. Potential renters want to ensure there will be enough room to store clothing, toiletries, files, and more. While you can not increase the size of your property, there are several ways to increase the size of your storage. You can create storage space where it did not exist before, as well as make the most out of the storage areas you already have.

Clean Walls, New Paint – This is an essential one. Whether or not you have the time and budget for large scale tenant improvements, you should never turn over a rental property without giving the entire place a fresh coat of paint. Freshly painted walls lend an overall cleaner look and shows renters you put the time and effort into getting it ready for future residents.

Kitchen & Bathroom Renovations – Small but impactful details, such as new faucets, light fixtures, backsplashes, and energy efficient appliances will update the look of the unit and make it more appealing to potential tenants. If you can only focus on one or two areas during your next round of tenant improvements, make it the kitchen or the bathroom.

Amenities – Add tenant-attracting amenities to other areas of the building. Put in a new fitness center, common area or laundry room to increase your building's rent potential. With today's emphasis on healthy living, having an on-site fitness center is an attractive feature for your building to have; whether you rent apartments, offices or otherwise.

And, these are just a few the renovation and remodeling projects you should consider in order to attract new tenants. So, start gathering inspiration and ideas and call your local contracting experts to get your condo, office or apartment renovations underway!

Ways How You Can Ensure the Future of Your Property

In today's day and age, investing in property is one of the best investments. It's a smart decision which can reap you rich benefits in the future. But it is very important to secure the future of your property as negligence can leave a huge dent in your pocket. Here are some ways that can…

In today's day and age, investing in property is one of the best investments. It's a smart decision which can reap you rich benefits in the future. But it is very important to secure the future of your property as negligence can leave a huge dent in your pocket. Here are some ways that can ensure a good future for your property:

Buy at a cheaper rate – It is said that one makes more money when he / she buys than when he / she sells. But buying at a cheaper price is a great way to curtail risk. Well, the reason behind this is very simple. You invest less capital, gather fewer liabilities, and you set yourself in a position to grab a higher yield as compared to the purchase price. This stands true for property investment too.

Ensure an updated will – You should have an updated will. This is to ensure that your assets are distributed as per your wish. This gives you great piece of mind and there is crystal clear clarity in terms of who gets what from your property.

Get income protection insurance – If you are a property investor who is contractually employed or are self-employed, your income does not enjoy the same stability as that of a permanent employee. One great way to ensure the stability of your income is to take out income protection insurance. This makes it possible to receive a certain income if you are unable to work due to any reasons. This might be possible in some countries, but wherever possible, it should be done.

Use property management services – There is no such thing as: one size fits all, when it comes to effective property management. Join hands with a good company that provides property management services. They will understand your property and your unique situation to unleash the true potential of your property in future.

Be an alert landlord – We have heard many stories of how tenants have misused the property they have rented. To avoid this in your case, take a proper deposit before you give your property on rent. Make a registered lease agreement with all conditions mentioned clearly. Always be on a look out of any news regarding any tampering with your property and take immediate actions. Once the lease agreement expires, make a new one immediately without any delay.

Always keep a buffer – The best way to ensure that you can get cash quickly when you need is to have some cash on standby. Cash is a liquid asset and a ready source of supply is one of the best risk management strategies.

Guard against inflation – Countries around the world are printing money to raise economic growth. It is very important to realize the boon of income producing real estate as a barrier against inflation. Generally when inflation occurs, the price of real estate will also rise. So you can use this in your benefit.

We all want our property to be safe and secure and be a great investment asset. The above few steps will ensure just that. Happy investing in property!

Commercial Property Condition Assessment (PCA)

The purpose of all Commercial Property Condition Assessments (PCAs), ASTM standard E2018, is to make sure that the property and building you believe you are purchasing or leasing is actually the property being received. You will have reached that decision, in part, from the information attained through a professional inspection and property condition report (PCR).…

The purpose of all Commercial Property Condition Assessments (PCAs), ASTM standard E2018, is to make sure that the property and building you believe you are purchasing or leasing is actually the property being received. You will have reached that decision, in part, from the information attained through a professional inspection and property condition report (PCR). Every real estate transaction is different and each transaction has its own unique set of considerations and conditions to valid before finalized. The utilization of professional third party experts in the physical property due diligence process is critical to the overall accuracy and cost efficiency of your property transaction.

The Purchase or Leasing of Commercial real estate, whether it be a basic commercial net lease, a commercial triple net lease, the purchase of a church facility, a retail outlet, or the purchase of a million square foot office / warehouse, the prospective buyer or lessee absolutely must conduct an adequate level of due diligence when investigating the physical quality of the commercial real estate that they are investing in.

You need to know not only the physical characteristics of the real estate and buildings being acquired, but the approximate condition and age, to assess the good with the bad, such that you can perfectly balance the risks and rewards being offered in conjunction with your real estate deal. The single most important part of the real estate transaction process, as well as the purchase price and profitability balance, is a well-documented review of the actual physical condition of the real property. Otherwise, you could find yourself the not so proud owner of a commercial property that does not suit your needs, costs more than you can afford in upkeep, or the ultimate remorse for investors – capital expenses are being sunk into a property on a regular basis that someone else is utilizing and making money off of, and you are not. Suddenly, that long term lease with a solid anchor does not seem so attractive anymore.

The process of commercial real estate inspection begins before the offer to purchase real estate is drafted or signed, by visiting the site and discussing the physical condition of the property with the owner and real estate brokers. This process should be considered invaluable to establishing relationships required to obtain the information that will be necessary to concrete your due diligence with a Commercial Property Condition Assessment (PCA).

During negotiations and drafting of the real estate sales / lease contract it is important to recognize seller or lesser connection to points such as the existence and availability of important documents such as warranties, maintenance contracts, architectural and engineering plans and / or local municipal reviews and inspections. Negative reaction to the request for release of these documents by seller or lessor may possibly enable deferred maintenance and / or inattention related to property and building condition (s) and inspection issues.

Once the commercial real estate sales contract is signed the due diligence period begins, focus on maximizing efficiency of time and cost and prioritizing concerns to start checking off the expensive big ticket items from the top down. Assuming adequate documentation is furnished by the seller for review, adequate time should be allotted to verify the information provided. Additional effort and monies that that will need to be sent to make up a summary of available documentation through extra property condition assessment and additional field inspections and / or experts should be considered essential and figured into the cost of the property transaction. Ask the seller for all documents and contacts the seller received during his due diligence process when he purchased the property to speed up fact finding.

Review of existing property documents where available may include:

Accessibility surveys, Architectural Building plans, Certificates of Occupancy, Citations from Municipalities Having Jurisdiction, Emergency evacuation plans, Environmental studies, Electrical System Construction plans, Fire-detection test and maintenance records, Fire-door inspection reports, Fire-Protection System Construction plans, Fire and Restoration records, Maintenance records, Mechanical System, Construction plans, Violation Notices from Authorities Having Jurisdiction, Construction Permits, Plumbing System Construction plans, Previous inspection reports, Roofing System Construction plans and Warranties, Safety inspection records, Seller condition disclosures, Sprinkler System Test Records, Systems and Material Guaranties, Current tenant information, Current policy of title insurance, Notices of any environmental conditions, notices of any new or special assessments or taxes, Copies of all current bills for the property, Service contracts, Evidence of current zoning , As-built pla ns and specifications, All construction related documents including warranties, All past and present uses of the property, Third party reports or inspections, Any surveys of the land and improvements in seller's possession.

One of the best tools available to the commercial property due diligence team is the interview process which can unlock a plethora of potentially useful information regarding the subject property.

Interview of any available key personnel with specific knowledge of the property conditions may include:

Owner, Tenants, Maintenance Foreman, Contracted maintenance services personnel or other contracted companies that routinely work on the property and / or building.

Property Inspection, Real Estate Inspection, Building Inspection, Due Diligence Survey, as they may be labeled in the due diligence report is essential to ensure adequacy of construction considering the intended use of the occupants and the surrounding geography and climate. The furnishing of any available plans and specifications should be helpful here, but will not end the investigation. A current commercial property condition assessment should be done by a qualified third party inspection company experienced in the type of property to be inspected. A previously performed property condition assessment or inspection is nearly always furnished for the use of a single party in a single transaction and is protected under law and not reusable nor transferable to any other party. The focus of the inspection should be primarily on site condition and building components such as the site drainage, parking, building structure, mechanical and electrical systems and general accessibility and usability of the property. Various climates and geographical regions will require more specific inspection knowledge, so hiring a local inspector is always a good idea if possible, in lieu of hiring a company out of Wisconsin to perform due diligence on a California high-rise building on a fault line.

Site Survey and Walk-Through to Observe Existing Conditions may include:

Grounds and Topography, Parking, Paving, Access, Building Exterior and Façade, Building Interior, Roofing systems, Structural systems, Mechanical systems, Electrical Systems, Plumbing systems, Fire-protection systems, Vertical transportation systems, and any number of other specialty systems.

The 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act is the current guideline for accessibility standards nationwide and is a federal law, since non-negotiable and to an extensive, yes, it's retro-active even for older commercial and public buildings. Many states also have additional and / or more stringent or specific accessibility standards as well. Most professional property condition assessment and inspection companies can also perform both abbreviated and complete accessibility surveys as part of a real estate transaction.

Basic abbreviated and full compliance Accessibility surveys may include:

Abbreviated survey looking only for basic ADA Accessibility components visible during the walk-through and documented according to the ASTM abbreviated survey form and checklist gives a quick check as to the general status of compliance. Full compliance survey involves physical measurements of distances, slopes, and push / pull forces required within the accessibility standards to allow for a certain level of physically disabled person to be able to successfully navigate a property, site, and building.

Environmental Due Diligence known as Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is the most utilized Environmental Inspection Report. The typical level of report preferred by lenders to demonstrate due due diligence is called a Limited Phase I Environmental Transaction Screening ASTM standard E1528. This explores the past use of the property and the surrounding properties to identify any potential onsite or adjunct environmental problems or future liabilities. These reports typically require a significant monetary investment and take a number of weeks to complete so they should be done as soon as you have determined you will be moving forward with your due diligence. The purpose of this inspection is to determine if the property contains any hazardous substances or poses a threat in any way to its surroundings. This could be caused by underground storage tanks located on the property or runoff from the property into the water table or any other number of hazards listed by the Environmental Protection Agency. While the report is expensive, the cost of cleaning up an environmental hazard can be astronomical. While not every deal will require you to obtain a Phase I Environment Site Assessment, many lenders will require it as part of their loan guidelines. In case of a fairly new development with a clean environmental record and no neighbors of an industrial nature, a simpler less expensive and much quicker Environmental Transaction Screening ASTM standard E1528 may satisfy lender and legal requirements.

Any basic environmental due diligence report may include:

Research of historical site usage, aerial photography records, property transaction records, construction records, building records, EPA mapping data, local jurisdiction topography mapping, and a through site walk-through to visually identify potential environmental issue indicators.

The information contained herein is purely professional opinion and provided for general real estate inspection reference only and is not intended in any way to be a definitive guide, nor a guarantee of past, present, or future legal or state or federal requirements, nor a measure of performance of any professional services company. Best of luck to you in all of your future property, real estate, and building dealings!

Should You Buy Your Own Property in a Ski Resort?

Many skiers dream of skiing in the mountains and owning a place in one of their favorite resorts. When it comes to popular resorts, the city is well regarded as the perfect getaway for a ski holiday. There are many offers' sell your property, which must have gotten you to think whether you can buy…

Many skiers dream of skiing in the mountains and owning a place in one of their favorite resorts. When it comes to popular resorts, the city is well regarded as the perfect getaway for a ski holiday. There are many offers' sell your property, which must have gotten you to think whether you can buy one.

It is definitely tempting to have your property in a ski resort. You will immediately feel that the snow is no longer a holiday option, but rather a solid part of your life, as you will have easy access with all of the amenities. There will be a place where you can escape the stress and negativity for a while, recharge yourself and then return refreshed from the winter spirit in the mountain. There are unquestionable benefits and if you feel good about them, then by all means you should look to buy a property in the mountains. But first, ask yourself a few questions:

Are you OK with one skiing location – one of the things that is often overlooked when buying a property in a ski resort is that it remains there season after season. If you are used to skiing in the same location, then by all means it is worth it to buy a property. However, if you are a fan of trying out different destinations, then it might not be worthwhile to purchase an expensive property. After all, what is the use of it, when you are not visiting it?

Do you have a family with you – another important factor to consider is what your family feels about a second home in the mountains. With children around, it may be a wise choice to consider a property, since you can store plenty of stuff there and not worry about the transportation issues of your children inventory. However, if you are traveling solo or with your partner only, you may find this benefit lacking in importance and instead choose to visit as many locations as possible.

Is it easily accessible – one very important factor to consider is the accessibility of the property. After all, you hardly want a property that is a complete drag to get to, especially when you have children to transport there too. A good network of motorways, sometimes a railway access work excellent in terms of getting to your ski holiday home.

What seasons are you looking to visit – just because you love snow does not mean you can limit your visits to the winter alone. Some mountain resorts are great to visit in the summer as well, and that is one thing you should consider. If snow is your only concern, then aim high. It might be worth more, but at least you know you have a sure location for skiing.

There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to buying a ski resort. Think carefully about your investment, because it will make a huge difference to how you feel about it later on.

Things To Note When Renting A Meeting Room

Company meetings held off site to bring staff a change of environment is growing in prominence. More companies, even religious and non-profit organizations, are looking to rent meeting rooms for their offsite meetings and events. Here are some things to note when booking a hotel meeting room: 1. Check on the details of the meeting…

Company meetings held off site to bring staff a change of environment is growing in prominence. More companies, even religious and non-profit organizations, are looking to rent meeting rooms for their offsite meetings and events. Here are some things to note when booking a hotel meeting room:

1. Check on the details of the meeting packages

Meeting packages defer from venue to venue. Some come with meals and some do not. Some have tea breaks, free WiFi while others do not. Be sure to look at the details and not just the pricing. Just a quick top: more often than not, hotel meeting packages are bundled with meal arrangements.

Also be sure check on the possible hours of rental. Some venues allow for full day or half-day rental, others may allow a further breakdown to rental rates that just cover a few hours of use. Be sure to check on the rental capabilities before committing to the package.

2. Dietary requirements

With an increase in participants having specific dietary requirements, check not only on the booking of the meeting room but also if the venue is able to support the dietary requirements.

3. Look up the possible activities around the venue

Do not just rely on the hotel meeting room forwarded to deliver your program of the day or the idea. Take the team and explore the area around the hotel with them and maximize the booking of the space. May at times, the areas around the venue make for interesting and fun activities that's unique and one of a kind. Make the most of the location that you are in!

4. Check on the technological requirements for the meeting- especially the audiovisual and WiFi requirements.

Other than picking the meeting room be sure to check the technological support provided by the venue! From the projection to the recording facilities to the WiFi, these smaller and often forgotten items are key to a meeting's success.

Questions such as what kind of projection connection does the exchange support and if there is IT support on site should be raised early in the discussion. This will allow the venue to make the necessary arrangements prior to the confirmation of the meeting room rental. This will also allow you to make preparations with the right technical needs prior to the meeting, which enable the meeting to go on smoothly. For instance, computers from the company may need to have certain firewall or privacy configurations made before they can connect to an external WiFi.

We hope you found these tips helpful.

Commercial Real Estate Agency Blogs – 5 Tips For Success

It's no secret by now that one of the corners of a great marketing strategy, you need to have great content, well-written and helpful to your site visitors. Perhaps the easiest way to achieve this is through creating and actively maintaining a blog. You're probably thinking, wait, I'm a commercial real estate agent, where do…

It's no secret by now that one of the corners of a great marketing strategy, you need to have great content, well-written and helpful to your site visitors. Perhaps the easiest way to achieve this is through creating and actively maintaining a blog. You're probably thinking, wait, I'm a commercial real estate agent, where do I even start with having a blog? Here are some tips to get you started on your way to becoming a CRE wordsmith.

1. Do not cover too much at once

As an author, your space on the blogosphere is pretty much unlimited. However, this does not mean that you should try to cram all you know about one topic into one single blog post. If you think that the topic can be broken down into smaller sub units, you should also make blog posts covering only those sub units. It will be easier for your readers to process, it will be easier for you to write, and it will give you more content and more traffic.

2. One topic = one blog post

Related to our previous point, your blog posts should revolve around one single topic. The reason is simple – both you and your readers will be able to stay more focused. If you're already brewing with ideas, write them down and expand them in future blog posts.

3. Answer the right questions

Writing helpful content is one of the best ways to get your visitors engaged and keep them returning to your site. However, you need to make sure that you're answering those questions which they need help with. Put yourself in the prospects' shoes and see what kind of concerns and problems they might have.

4. Cover common problems

In your average working day, you come across dozens of clients and they all have similar questions and doubts. Why not use this knowledge to your advantage? Your blog can be a platform where you address frequently asked questions, problems and concerns your clients might have.

5. Look at the bigger picture

You might think that having your own blog implies that you should use it to write about yourself, your agency and your work experience. However, your potential clients will not be looking for information specific to your agency. Instead, they will be looking for more general information relating to the commercial real estate industry. This is why your blog posts should rarely touch upon your own agency, unless it's something really worth noting – such as an important deal you closed, company anniversary, charity event you hosted or similar.

Information About Commercial Asphalt Driveways

There are several reasons why many commercial property owners areaving their driveways with asphalt rather than concrete. Asphalt pavements comes with many benefits and advantages; especially when it comes to maintenance and repair. Asphalt is much more economic than concrete for this reason and more. On top of its flexibility and easy maintenance aspects, it…

There are several reasons why many commercial property owners areaving their driveways with asphalt rather than concrete. Asphalt pavements comes with many benefits and advantages; especially when it comes to maintenance and repair. Asphalt is much more economic than concrete for this reason and more. On top of its flexibility and easy maintenance aspects, it typically costs less than concrete materials at most hardware and construction stores.

Although concrete paving can last up to 15 or 20 years without needing repairs, asphalt is still a trendier choice for most residential and commercial properties for a number of reasons. Continue reading to catch up on some important information about asphalt paving and why it is more popular than concrete these days.

Asphalt Pavement for Driveways

As mentioned before, concrete can last up to fifteen or twenty years without needing repairs; while asphalt paving may occasionally require some upkeep after about five to seven years. There are several reasons why asphalt pavement can weak or deteriorate. For example, elementary conditions, over-exposure, negligence, cars, and the surrounding natural environment call all have an effect on asphalt pavements. The following effects are common contributors to asphalt damage, pot holes, and wear and tear:

  • Heavy Trucks, Cars, and Loads
  • Substantial Water Saturation
  • Constant Exposure to Moisture
  • Harsh Storms
  • Overgrown Tree Roots
  • Poor Foundation
  • Tectonic Plates
  • And More

It is recommended to place sprinklers and watering hoses far from newlyaved asphalt driveways. Also, large or old trees should be removed to protect new asphalt from tree root damage. Even if the tree sees like it will not be a threat, it is safer to remove it before experiencing asphalt damage from underground root systems. As soon as you see a pot hole or crack appear, it is suggested to take immediate action to prevent further wear and tear. The sooner an asphalt issue is acknowledged and fixed, the less expensive the repair will cost.

You can purchase asphalt fillers and pot hole repair kits at local hardware and home good stores; however, it is highly recommended to seek out professional assistance from a licensed and experienced asphalt paving engineer. They can give you the best advice on asphalt maintenance and repair. If you do decide to repair asphalt driveway damages on your own, you can still ask a retail clerk at the store for extra instructions or advice. They too should know plenty of information about the product they are selling.

How To Avoid Lawsuits In The Early Education Industry

Lawsuits in the United States are sometimes referred to as an epidemic. I've seen many lawsuits in our industry, and I've been asked to serve as expert witness in many of those cases. While it's true that anyone can sue anyone, many lawsuits can be avoided. Here's the how and why of some of our…

Lawsuits in the United States are sometimes referred to as an epidemic. I've seen many lawsuits in our industry, and I've been asked to serve as expert witness in many of those cases. While it's true that anyone can sue anyone, many lawsuits can be avoided. Here's the how and why of some of our industry's most popular litigation issues.

1. See Your Students -Whenever possible, look at the children as they enter your school. Say good morning to your parents. There was once an exceptional school built to provide early education for kids who otherwise had a chance at high quality early education. The people who founded the school had to chase the drug addicts out of the empty building so they could create the school. They created, opened and filled the school. The kids had uniforms so everyone was equal, and teachers were teaching. One morning, a parent drops off her son and exits the building quickly. Her son had been burned by what appeared to be an iron. She sued the school and claimed that one of the school's radiators burned her son. It hit the news cycle. The school was gone before they could get to a courtroom verdict. We were called in to sell the remnants. You can be right and still lose. You have to protect yourself.

2. Do not Provide Opportunities for the Opportunists- Sometimes parents fall on hard times. Most of us find a way to work it off, but sometimes people look for a shortcut. We've seen lawsuits filed against schools for …

  • Woman in high-heeled shoes turns ankle walking back to car on level parking lot.
  • Comments about an employee's clothing.
  • Boy puts gravel in nose.
  • Child falls on playground.
  • Child bites child.
  • Child hits child … and child hits child back.
  • Slip on juice.
  • Playground fence unsafe.

These lawsuits are usually settled for the lower end of the $ 500 to $ 2,000 range, but they're still a drain on your time and energy.

3. Sexual Harassment -While sexual harassment cases are not limited to men harassment women, if you're a man working in this industry make sure you stay away from anything in this area. Unfortunately, a simple and genuine compliment can be used against you and your company if the wrong person is on the receiving end. In a meeting with an attorney, I was told of a case where four or five women sued the owner of the company for sexual harassment after working together for years. Apparently, it was all good-natured joking. They were well into the lawsuit when the owner found and submitted several cards (birthday … etc.) containing sexual comments from these same women. The company won the lawsuit, but it costs tens of thousands of dollars and several long-term employees. Be polite and professional. Skip this whole experience.

Some lawsuits are legitimate and necessary. Many are not. These lawsuits typically occur because parents or employees see an easy payday, and their attorneys see the same thing. For some attorneys, even if they know they can not win, they'll try to force some minor settlement if there is anything that looks like discrimination, harassment or neglect. For most people in our industry, these issues will never be a material problem. Be disciplined and professional on a daily basis. Everything should be fine.

Brad Barnett, President BFS®

( Legal Disclaimer: Always consult the proper professionals before taking action.) By and before the use of the information provided herein, reader agreements that BFS® is not liable for viewer's actions related to said information. )

The Sharing Economy – Why Start-Ups Choose to Share Work Spaces

Start-ups are often associated with the sharing economy, but the principle can also be applied to the work space. With more and more start-ups and small businesses looking to make their mark in competitive industries, they are teaming up with like-minded companies to find office space that can accommodate the needs of multiples businesses. And…

Start-ups are often associated with the sharing economy, but the principle can also be applied to the work space. With more and more start-ups and small businesses looking to make their mark in competitive industries, they are teaming up with like-minded companies to find office space that can accommodate the needs of multiples businesses.

And it makes sense. A functional work space can play an important role in the success of any business. Sharing work spaces allows small businesses to find an attractive and functional working space without taking on the responsibility and cost of an office office while reaping the benefits of a collaborative environment.

Financially, splitting operational costs in half, or sometimes even thirds or fourths, can allow for money that would otherwise be allocated to bills and extraneous expenses to instead be funneled back into the business or saved to increase working capital. And it's not just the cost of renting the space that can be shared. Splitting the cost of recurring office bills like energy, internet and routine maintenance could have a greater impact than imagined. In the early growth stages of many new companies, this is important as they develop their long-term financial strategies.

Collaboration and office culture can also benefit from aligning with other small businesses. Having several businesses co-inhabiting a work space can foster a friendlier work environment and encourage the exchange of ideas, which in turn leads to greater productivity through open interaction with colleges throughout the day. Many businesses are prioritizing casual staff cultures and relationship-building for employees, so inviting another company into the work space can lead to a friendlier, more welcoming atmosphere that could then prove to have positive results on the business end. Group gatherings, inter-company activities and seasonal celebrations are great ways to take full advantage of a shared work space and develop an inviting atmosphere for your business and staff members.

Co-working with another business can also organically expand personal and professional networks, and in the early days of a start-up these can be invaluable. From introductions to potential new clients to mentor opportunities, sharing an office space allows the business to grow industry contacts not just with people based in the office, but via their own extended network.

But despite most importantly, sharing an office space can also allow for flexibility in an age where start-ups and small businesses regularly need to adapt and pivot.

When to Go Bricks and Mortar

It's a common question for almost any new business – when is the right time to go bricks and mortar? In an increasingly digital work, working from an apartment or garage can be a stop gap in the initial stages when companies are not ready to commit to the outlay associated with an office. But…

It's a common question for almost any new business – when is the right time to go bricks and mortar? In an increasingly digital work, working from an apartment or garage can be a stop gap in the initial stages when companies are not ready to commit to the outlay associated with an office. But there comes a time in almost any new businesses life when they need to look at graduating from a virtual office to bricks and mortar.

It's not always easy to know when the right time to make the transition to a physical work space. Many new businesses get an office because it looks like the right thing to do. It can make you seem like a 'real' company as opposed to a freelancer, or it can aggravate the company is more established and will be taken more seriously. And while perception can be important, there are other aspects to consider when thinking about progressing to a permanent office.

The speed of growth of the company will be one of the key determining factors when considering bricks and mortar. As the company grows in size, especially in head count, it can become less practical to have different teams working remotely. A physical office enable the team to collaborate more easily, sharing ideas and thoughts, and can increase productivity with clusters able to get questions answered quickly.

How much in person client interaction is required can also contribute to the decision to go permanent. An independent work space enables the company to build a strong culture and brand and to present a professional first impression for clients, which is especially important if in person meetings are a large part of the company's requirements. It will no longer be bound the limitations of the home office or the scheduling constitutions of shared meeting rooms and will have the opportunity to decorate the office give it particular look and feel.

But although one of the most important questions to ask when considering going bricks and mortar is can you afford it. And not just the cost of the rental, but all the associated overheads such as maintenance, internet, electricity and other bills. Be realistic when considering the costs, you should have a clear financial projection before making any commitment. And build it into the business plan, so potential investors can see the solid reasons as to why you are doing it.

Commercial Property for Lease

Getting hold of a commercial property is tough. This can not be compared with getting a residential property for lease. There are many factors which can turn the most lucrative deal against you. Also there exist a lot of factors that can affect the business opportunities as well as profitability if such a property is…

Getting hold of a commercial property is tough. This can not be compared with getting a residential property for lease. There are many factors which can turn the most lucrative deal against you. Also there exist a lot of factors that can affect the business opportunities as well as profitability if such a property is not chosen without thinking about the pros and cons.

To choose a proper place we need to look for the right place where we can have our business running smoothly. In such cases many people rely on their own instinct and go ahead with their own strategy and plan to get a lease. They may succeed or they may fail. But if you are looking to get a commercial property for lease, you must always find a broker who knows the tricks of the trade. Getting a broker will help you in selecting the right properties in the area of ​​your choice.

Getting a commercial broker is not at all difficult as they are more than willing to find you the right place if you sign a small representation agreement and part with a little incentive. As they will be getting most of the fees from the owner, they will definitely secure you with the best deal available. If you are trying to lease a place in a small town where commercial brokers may not be available, you can search the public records yourself and have a deal fixed with the landowner. But choosing a broker in a big city will help you as the brokers work for the responsibilities and they will definitely try to get you the best deal available. Finding such a broker is not difficult at allpecially if you are working with any real estate attorney.

As is the case while renting a residential property, you will find that the lease agreement is generally more inclined towards the benefits of the landlord. You have to be very careful about the terms and conditions as there are a few snags that remain almost in every agreement and if not addressed at the beginning, could dent your financial plans. Any commercial property for lease market is a cut-throat market, and any agreement should be prepared so that both the tenant and the owner get to receive benefit from the contract. As of current situation there is no fixed security deposit that you must pay and it varies a lot. You can use your negotiation skills to reduce the amount though.

The general areas that may or may not be mentioned specifically in the agreement need to be addressed properly and you should come to a decision regarding the up keeping of the common areas. However, even if not mentioned, you are responsible for maintenance and utility of the area you have taken on lease. The tenure of lease may be fixed by both the parties and can range from anything from 2 years and more. If you want to leave the place before normal deadline, you must be ready to pay out the remaining period by giving a termination fee.

LED Sign Content – What Some Businesses Are Missing

We've found that some of our prospects and new clients are missing a critical piece of knowledge with their existing on-promise signage. Some of our new clients have already invested in an outdoor electronic LED Display or EMC, however they are not using it to the full potential. If you do not currently have an…

We've found that some of our prospects and new clients are missing a critical piece of knowledge with their existing on-promise signage. Some of our new clients have already invested in an outdoor electronic LED Display or EMC, however they are not using it to the full potential. If you do not currently have an LED sign at your place of business understand you may have an audience of 30,000 or more that you can communicate to. Digital signals have a much higher ROI than print advertising and cost less in the long run.

In order for an electronic sign to be effective it must have readable, engaging content with a call to action to be effective. One must use the same principals with this medium of advertising that is used in print and online advertising. Consider your LED sign like an electronic advertising space that lives at your place of business 24/7. It is also much less expensive to advertise this way than the above mentioned forms of advertising. My associates and collections that specialize in marketing would clearly agree, effective writing is huge!

So how does one design a good ad for an EMC or outdoor LED Display? In most markets the ad is visible for about 6 seconds so the message must be clear enough to understand in that short amount of time. Much like writing effective advertising for Google AdWords your message should catch attention, solicit emotion, and instruct the viewer to take some kind of action. Know your audience. Refrain from using messaging that is over their heads or is hard to understand. Use large copy, and fonts that are easy to read. Chose colors and backgrounds that make your message POP! If you have a full color EMC then use photos, take advantage of your full color investment. If you only have a monochrome EMC then be sure your copy is well written. For samples, do a Google search on your product or service and look at the Paid Ads found on the right of the search results.

Time and Temperature is useful for your audience but not your business. Instead, use that space to offer value and benefits to your market. Why should they stop by your place of business? This type of messaging benefits both you and your audience.

A Guide to Rental Agreements and Business Rates Liability

When renting plans for a new business, the renter should sign the lease in the name of the venture only, preferably without guarantors, who could personally face large rates and rent bills, if the business should fail, for the rest of the term of the lease. The lease should only be signed in the limited…

When renting plans for a new business, the renter should sign the lease in the name of the venture only, preferably without guarantors, who could personally face large rates and rent bills, if the business should fail, for the rest of the term of the lease.

The lease should only be signed in the limited company name with all correspondence regarding the rent and lease addressed to the company.

If an individual's name is signed on the lease or as a guarantor, all the responsibility is then passed on to that individual, or that guarantor, for rates and rent if the business should fail, removing the liability from the limited company.

There is no point going through the limited company process with directors, audited accounts, shareholders and dividends if the liability for rental agreements ends up with individuals to remove liability from landlords, in respect of future rates and rent bills.

It could have been seen as a weakness in the process that some landlords are trying to remove or circumnavigate this limited company liability, through trying to get individuals to personally sign lease documents.

Once signed in a personal capacity or as a guarantor the landlord can then present the lease documents to the council, so as to remove any business rates liability from them for as long as the lease is in operation.

It is the rental agreement which will indicate to the landlord and council that the limited liability of the limited company ends with the company and then should not be passed to any individual personally. This is why the company is limited for the reason of limited liability.

At no point should a private individual's name be used on the lease. If this basic understanding can not be achieved with the landlord, then you may want to think again before signing the lease.

If you have to sign your own name because the company is not limited it means that any rental or lease agreement should be closely examined by the renter before signing.

If the lease is long term and the renter can not release themselves, they will be personally liable for the rent and rates over the coming months or years.

To sign a lease in an individual's name can lead to financial ruin. A great deal of thought should be given before you sign your individual name to any lease document.

It is the case that future bills for rent and rates can be given to bailiffs to chase, and they may chase you personally. Even if you sign the lease in your personal name on behalf of the company you may still be liable.

If the occupying business is limited and struggling there is the option of closing it down, despite the council, landlord and even Bailiff Company if involved, may claim to be a creditor and if there are any outstanding rates or bills due, they could try to prevent the closure until any outstanding debts have been paid.

However, if limited and signed in the company name only, all the correspondence and any future bailiff visits from either party should go to the company address. As the business will no longer be operating it should not matter to any individuals personally involved with the company.

Evidence (the lease in the company's name) may be needed as well as a closed business bank account to prove to the council and landlord the business has failed and closed.

It has been known for some council's address rates letters to individual directors of a company to then allow them, the council, to update their records and make the director responsible / liable for the business rates without the director's knowledge.

This could be seen as an attempt to remove liability from the limited company and place it on a named individual. This action if engaged in by a council needs to be immediately brought to their attention and rectified with a copy of the lease signed in the company's name being sent to the council.