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Pay attention to how your use clause is written in your lease.  If you don’t, it could come back to haunt you and cost you in many ways.  Although all tenants need to pay attention to this and make sure the use clause is written correctly, retail tenants need to do this the most.  Imagine you are a retail tenant and you sell a food item, for instance, coffee, as part of your menu.  How do you make sure you always have the right to sell coffee under the terms of your lease?  It’s not as simple as it sounds.  And what if you don’t want other tenants to have the right to sell coffee?  This is where the exclusive use clause comes in. It is my opinion that a tenant should have a broad use clause.  Example:  “Tenant shall have the right to sell food products”.  That way, the tenant has the right to pretty much sell any type of food product.  But for a landlord, it would be better to limit the use clause to something like “ Tenant shall only have the right to sell coffee and coffee-related drinks”.   In practice, savvy landlords and tenants end up writing the use clause somewhere in between the aforementioned two options. The exclusive use clause is different than the usual use clause and adds to it in that it should prohibit or severely limit another tenant from selling your main product.  But again, how the exclusive clause is written is of paramount importance.  Example:  “Tenant shall have the exclusive right to sell coffee at the Project” and it might add “except for up to 10% of another’s tenant’s gross income” or something like that with more details for clarification. The above examples are for retail tenants but the same principle holds true for office, industrial or other types of leases also.  If these clauses aren’t written just right you can have a legal battle on your hands and if the clauses weren’t crafted correctly you probably won’t win the battle so I urge great caution. I have written and studied thousands of use clauses and make it... Read Original Article
I know, and have worked with, many commercial real estate (“CRE”) brokers.  Most of them aren’t expert witnesses for legal matters related to CRE.  Being an expert witness really gives me the ability to help my clients in ways brokers that aren’t expert witnesses can’t. One primary way being an expert witness helps my clients is when I learn what the court judges will and will not allow even if a lease or other contract states something to the contrary.  Even if the parties to a contract agree on an issue but it’s now allowed by law or by a judge, my understanding on these issues can really help me negotiate better for my clients and help them get out of sticky legal situations.   Don’t get me wrong; I am not an attorney.  Hiring an attorney at the right time is something I highly recommend.  But I am often able to use this type of experience, or clout, with a landlord (I bring the landlord tenants many times) as a broker to persuade the landlord. This includes the landlord’s property manager, and sometimes even their legal counsel, with me persuading them that they aren’t going to prevail on a certain matter. I can thereafter reach a reasonable settlement at great monetary, time and headache savings to my client. And knowing what a court judge or applicable law will allow, no matter what is agreed to in a contract, really helps my clients when I negotiate their leases or purchase or sell contracts.   If the opposing party to us doesn’t agree to change a term that isn’t allowed by law, it gives our side the ability to let this landlord get what he wants in exchange for something we want. However, I always recommend my clients run any of these types of matters by a really good experienced  CRE attorney just to make sure before we say “yes” to the landlord on an issue like this. Many times the landlord doesn’t know the issue he is fighting for isn’t even legally enforceable and usually worthless to pursue for a landlord.  Lately, I have been involved... Read Original Article
This is my fourth and final article in a series where I give insight into the world of a California commercial real estate broker. A commercial real estate broker leases/buys/sells commercial real estate (CRE) for the client (tenant/buyer/seller). Commercial real estate is defined for this article as office, retail and industrial spaces. As reminder from last time, there are four main things a good CRE broker does. They: find suitable locations, negotiate the offer, negotiate the lease itself (the many clauses) and are there when the client needs help thereafter. The first article I wrote was about finding locations; the second about negotiating the major deal points, the third one about negotiating the lease and this one will focus on how I as a broker help my clients after they sign the lease. What happens if you have a dispute with your landlord after you sign the lease?  Common disputes with landlords that I get involved with quite a bit are a tenant needing to terminate a lease early, HVAC too hot or cold, tenant being overcharged for its share of common area expenses, and many other similar disputes like these.  Shouldn’t you just hire an attorney to help you?  My answer is not right away. If I can settle the dispute, it will save you a lot of money by not having to hire an attorney. Why can I handle these types of dispute when other brokers can’t and why can I resolve them without usually using an attorney?  Because my experience is mainly from the landlord side of the tenant/landlord equation.  After negotiating over 1,000 leases, handling the property management and legal disputes for large landlords – I’m truly equipped to know how to deal with landlords with disputes like those aforementioned.  It is one of my largest value ads as your broker.  And if you are a landlord, I can even help you also to negotiate these matters with a tenant or the tenant’s attorney because it works both ways with my experience.   I am an expert witness on these matters in... Read Original Article
Many of my retail clients, especially restaurants and other food types of users, want to lease a great location with lots of visibility and quality foot traffic.  The main problem is that most of these prime locations are already leased. So, what if your broker found you a prime location where the business owner might be willing to sell at a very inexpensive price?  Many businesses will accept an unsolicited offer to buy them out inexpensively because they simply aren’t doing that well, are tired of the hours, want to retire, are ready to try something else and for many other reasons.   If you bought the business, you would then have the option to either assume the existing lease or, at times, the landlord will agree on entering a new lease with you instead if he likes your business and/or financial strength better than the existing tenant. As both a business and commercial real estate broker, I have been successful in doing the above for my clients.  For as little as $20,000, I have been able to secure many prime locations for my clients to lease.  (The price varies for many reasons, such as the worth of the existing improvements in the space, inventory, existing lease terms, perceived value by seller, etc.) There aren’t many brokers that successfully perform both business sales/buying and commercial real estate leasing/buying/selling like I do, and the combination serves my clients well.  Unless they are very experienced at both, you should never let your leasing broker also represent you on your business sale or your business broker represent you for your lease. They might be good at their main expertise, but won’t be good at the part they don’t do much of; and it won’t end well for you if you do. If you want to find out more about how to lease a prime location, buy/sell a business or commercial real estate, please contact me at 805-217-0791 or david@djmcre.com or visit our business brokering page. Read Original Article
Recently, I wrote about the shortage of medical space and an increase in retail vacancies in Southern California right now. My suggestion was to have medical tenants lease space in retail centers as compared to an office or medical building that they traditionally leased space in. This may seem like an unusual suggestion to solve the problem, but recent news suggests that this issue is beginning to grow. According to CoStar Group, the gaining US population is expected to drive demand for medical space with more than 200 million square feet of medical office space needed in the next decade: Driven by an aging U.S. population, within 10 years the amount of medical office space needed is projected to be 16 percent more than today, based on current trends. That’s greater than the combined medical office space in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas–Fort Worth, the nation’s four largest medical office markets. This undeniable demographic trend in the U.S. is both a headwind for traditional office demand and an incredible tailwind for medical office demand in the coming years. So, what are medical tenants to do with this shortage? Lease space in retail centers.  When you lease in a quality retail center, your business has good parking, signage, and retail visibility from shoppers at the retail center.  The main criteria for any business is usually the bottom line so, if being in a retail center increases your net income, wouldn’t you want to be there?  This is rule #1. Retail space in southern California is undergoing a change.  The smaller to medium sized retail centers in particular are starting to become more restaurant/food and service focused as opposed to other types of retail uses.  Customers at retail centers want to enjoy their experience and be able to do as much as they can at one location.  So, with the foregoing in mind, wouldn’t many medical tenants fit in with this new retail trend of a retail landlord leasing to service providers like doctors and... Read Original Article
David Massie of DJM Commercial Real Estate recently closed escrow on a medical/dental property in Oxnard, CA at 1600 W Gonzales Rd. This was a building in need of work that David was able to sell at a premium price for the seller he represented. In addition, the escrow was only 30 days compared to the normal 4 months or more. This is a prime example of why a seller or buyer should hire an experienced broker like David to successfully sell or buy a commercial building. Remember, because of David’s experience directing some of the largest real estate companies in the US, he can help both tenants and landlords with any of their commercial real estate needs for any type of commercial real estate for leasing, buying, selling and acting as a legal expert witness. So, why should a seller hire a broker and pay him a commission when a seller can do it on their own? Simply put, the seller will not be able to get the maximum price that a good broker can. Many brokers have clients waiting in the wings to buy a property and these clients will pay top dollar if they are allowed to make the offer first.  Also, the price a broker is able to sell a property for more than pays for their commission. Sellers don’t have the same marketing ability as a broker. The world has become international and your reach has to be international.  The dollars are flowing into the US from other countries right now and international buyers are willing to pay more many times.  Brokers also know what is needed in terms of a marketing package to interest buyers. It’s complicated, expensive, and time consuming to put this package together properly. The timing of when to put the property up for sale is critical. When is the market peaking?  Is there a lot of competition on the market for sale now?  Good brokers will usually know what is for sale on the market as well as off market, but sellers won’t. The repairs that you need to make to the property before you put it on the market are also important.... Read Original Article
If you’re like most commercial real estate (CRE) investors, you probably receive deal packages from brokers with CRE properties (defined here generally as multi-family, office, retail and industrial) for sale. Often, these packages contain executive summaries that position the deals as excellent investment opportunities. This should come as no surprise, as the job of the real estate broker is to present their property in the best light. In many cases, sellers exaggerate the potential opportunity and don’t usually reveal the bad stuff. Instead, they’re just giving you the good points of their property. The due diligence is up to you, the investor, to determine whether what they’re telling you is accurate. The key, of course, is to know how to perform the due diligence so you have a true and accurate reading on what’s being offered. It’s important to understand the key metrics to always look for in any real estate investment and I am always surprised at the most obvious metrics that I see the majority of investors miss. When you look at the potential of a CRE property, you’re really looking at how much income or profit it is generating for its owners. What should you be evaluating to determine that? Start with all the basic purchase information. This includes the price and any additional costs involved in renovating or repairs that need to be done. You should also look at factors that might make you pass on the deal like: the condition of the area in general, crime, surrounding job market, property and other governmental taxes (Example:  High business tax is a big one in the City of Los Angeles that can cause a tenant not want to lease in this city) and the age of the property. These are often deal-breakers if they reveal too much potential risk. The loan is another key metric: What type of loan will you have to finance the property? This will spell out the loan totals, down payment, interest rate, closing costs and other fees. Make sure you are comfortable with... Read Original Article
This is my third article in a series where I give insight into the world of a California commercial real estate broker. A commercial real estate broker leases/buys/sells commercial real estate (CRE) for the client (tenant/buyer/seller). Commercial real estate is defined for this article as office, retail and industrial spaces. As reminder from last time, there are four main things a good CRE broker does. They: find suitable locations, negotiate the offer, negotiate the lease itself (the many clauses) and are there when the client needs help thereafter. The first article I wrote was about finding locations; the second about negotiating the major deal points and this third one will discuss negotiating the lease. Most brokers and even many attorneys don’t negotiate the lease properly.  Why?  For brokers, many of them simply don’t know what most of the clauses mean and/or simply don’t have the experience to negotiate them properly.  For attorneys, it usually has to do with them not specializing in lease contracts and, again, not having enough experience and knowledge to do it properly.   Both brokers and attorneys many times specialize in only one area, like office or retail or industrial leases, but not all of them so it’s best to get one that specializes in the lease you are negotiating. The main problem with using a broker or attorney that isn’t experienced and knowledgeable enough at negotiating a lease is that it will usually cost the tenant money and/or problems later on.  There are many clauses in leases that can bankrupt a tenant even when their rent is low like only $1,000 per month. These include insurance clauses, indemnification clauses, operating expense share clauses, maintenance provisions and more.  Therefore, it’s not the size of the deal that matters, it’s what was agreed to in the lease that matters.  A tenant should tread carefully here. I recommend using both an experienced broker and a specific commercial real estate attorney for a lease. In... Read Original Article
This is my second article where I give insight into the world of a California commercial real estate broker. A commercial real estate broker leases/buys/sells commercial real estate (“CRE”) for you, the client (tenant/buyer/seller) of CRE space generally defined as office, retail and industrial. As reminder from last time, there are four main things a good CRE broker does. They: find suitable locations, negotiate the offer, negotiate the lease itself (the many clauses), and are there when the client needs help thereafter with matters like construction, moving, future landlord disputes, terminating a lease early, etc.  The first article I wrote was about finding locations and this one will discuss negotiating the deal. What makes a broker a good negotiator?  Knowledge and experience are the primary factors.  Most brokers simply don’t have successful negotiating experience and don’t know how to get the information they need to make the deal better for their clients.  They may have negotiated hundreds of deals, but if they didn’t do it correctly then they never learned the art of successful negotiation.  Too many brokers simply want to make a quick commission and move on to the next deal. This is especially true of those that have a quota to meet because they work for a large brokerage. An example of a negotiation I have done will explain this best. On one large lease deal of about 50,000 sf I was hired to co-represent a tenant along with another broker they had already hired.  They did this primarily because they didn’t have full confidence in the other broker.  After I was hired, I saved over one million dollars and made about 80 lease changes in my client’s favor that were accepted by the landlord.  Why was I able to do this when the other broker wasn’t (even though this broker has been in business a long time)?  Because I had negotiated against this landlord before and knew where his bottom line was for the economics and lease clauses.  I had also worked hard... Read Original Article
In this series, I will be giving insight into the world of a California commercial real estate broker that leases, buys or sells commercial real estate (CRE) for you, the client. The client is the tenant, buyer or seller of CRE space generally defined as office, retail and industrial. There are four main things a good CRE broker does: They find suitable locations, negotiate the offer, negotiate the lease clauses, and are there when the client needs help thereafter with matters like construction, moving, future landlord disputes, terminating a lease early, etc. The first thing a CRE broker does that might seem obvious and easy is finding you locations that fit your criteria.  We normally go on a proprietary website like CoStar that the client doesn’t have access to (a subscription to Costar is expensive and you have to learn how to use the software) and run a search for what you are looking for.  This isn’t as easy as it sounds.  If a broker doesn’t know how to use the software correctly and set up the searches correctly (including keeping a search active so that if a new listing appears that fits your criteria the broker is alerted right away), you won’t find all the possible locations.  Also, consider that many listing brokers for landlords/sellers don’t input the information correctly into the software or even keep the information updated. This makes it difficult to then find applicable properties for a client correctly.  It takes quite a bit of time to do a search correctly. Seems easy enough; why can’t a client simply find a website like CoStar and do this search themselves?  After all, there are CRE oriented websites like Loopnet or City Feet or Office.com and others that state they have the CRE listings available at no cost, right?  The main problem with these sites is that they don’t have anywhere near all of the listings that CoStar does.  Loopnet, for example, is now owned by CoStar and Loopnet makes brokers and landlords pay to have their properties... Read Original Article
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