Browse Month: August 2011

Under All Is The Land: Introducing the REALTORS® Land Institute

We’re introducing you today to another of NAR’s Commercial Affiliates, the REALTORS® Land Institute.




The REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI) is dedicated to building knowledge, building relationships, and building business for its members — the extraordinary real estate professionals who broker, lease, sell, develop, and manage our most precious resource: the land. Originally named the Farm & Land Institute, the organization was founded in 1944 and is an affiliate organization of the National Association of REALTORS®.

Created for and by land sales experts, RLI aims to:

-provide superior land education and professional development programs
-encourage open knowledge sharing and interaction among members
-develop networking and referral opportunities
-serve as a voice in Washington on land-related issues through its
affiliation with the National of Association of REALTORS®.

There are tremendous benefits available to land practitioners  – these are just a few:

  • Access to a national network of land REALTORS® who share a deep commitment to the land specialty
  • Core education through the organization’s Land University curriculum, as well as on-going professional development programs delivered through a variety of channels, from online to in person
  • An array of information and resources on land and real estate trends

Members of the REALTORS® Land Institute may earn the prestigious Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) Designation, which is conferred to only those land specialists who complete a rigorous education program and who achieve a volume of successful land transactions.

You’ll soon begin so see regular posts from the staff and members of RLI, bringing you perspective on this segment of the industry.  Let us know what you think!


5 Tips for Finding New Commercial Real Estate Revenue Streams

We welcome our newest blog contributors, the CCIM Institute, one of  NAR’s Commercial Affiliate organizations. We invite you to comment!


As the economic recovery lags, businesses realize they need to do even more to cut expenses, reduce payrolls, and find new sources of revenue. But what is left to cut? Where can they find new streams of revenue?

Real estate is often a company’s most valuable asset, and real-estate related moves can yield the biggest return on investment. In the July/August issue of CIRE magazine, Martin N. Burton shares 10 strategies that commercial real estate professionals and their clients can employ to find additional savings and new avenues for cash flow. Here are five highlights:

1. Divide and Prosper – If the time has come to sell off an asset, owners can maximize the chances of sale and total return by selling off smaller parcels instead of a single large one. Not only do smaller parcels typically sell for higher per-square-foot values, but their lower overall prices attract more potential buyers.

2. Embrace This Audit – Some companies have begun to adopt green practices, such as switching to fluorescent bulbs, or making sure employees turn off lights and computers regularly at the end of each day. But a comprehensive energy audit can help leverage the benefits of these improved practices to achieve even greater savings.

3. Bond with PACE – Property Assessed Clean Energy bonds can make green retrofitting even easier, allowing cities to finance a property owner’s green improvements. The owner repays the loan through tax assessments on that property over 20 years. In many cases, the money saved in reduced energy expenses is enough to cover the loan and bring in cash flow.

4. Increase Parking Revenues – Parking operation changes hold enormous upside potential for properties located in high parking demand areas. This is because the primary investment required to raise parking income is in management and not physical construction. A change in operations can unlock the hidden value in pricing for weekend, weekday, in-season, out-of-season, reserved, and valet parking, increasing parking “turns” and, consequently, revenues. Even changing the mix of just a portion of stalls from monthly reserved parking to daily or hourly parking can have a substantial impact on cash flow. Contact a parking professional for a look at just how much money can be made.

5. Get Paid for Rays – Until recently, electricity generated from solar panels on one’s property could only be used to offset the electricity used on that site. Now, feed-in tariffs allow property owners to sell excess solar power directly to a utility. The electricity generated on rooftops feeds into the utility’s power lines, for which the utility pays a tariff to the property owner.

Read more about these and other strategies for creating revenue streams.

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Hurricane Preparedness for Real Estate Managers


Thanks to IREM for this special and timely post!


As the 2011 hurricane season gets underway and Hurricane Irene takes aim at the East Coast of the United States, it’s time to think about hurricane preparedness for your properties.

Structures most at risk from hurricanes are long-span buildings and mobile or manufactured homes. Substantial steel-framed or reinforced concrete buildings are least risky. On a long-span building, the roof is usually supported solely buy outside walls. Shopping centers (traditionally long-span buildings) are especially vulnerable to roof collapse.

Plans to protect a property should be developed well in advance of hurricanes. However, there are some things property managers can do in the 24 or so hours before a hurricane hits to prevent property loss.

  • Identify in advance locally designated public shelters in the community and communicate this information to tenants and residents.
  • Review the need for and working condition of emergency supplies and equipment, such as plywood and nails (for safeguarding windows), flashlights, and battery-powered radios.
  • Clear out clogged rain gutters and downspouts; secure loose gutters and downspouts.
  • Seek out and secure objects out of doors that might blow away or cause property damage. These include trash cans and Dumpsters, signs, outdoor furniture, and trash.
  • Inspect roofs – repair loose gutters, shingles, and coping; remove tools and loose objects; pick up trash. Inspect roof-mounted HVAC equipment for loose debris and improperly fastened panels; make needed repairs.
  • Inspect storm sewers and catch basins; clear away debris.
  • Close and protect windows and glass doors – board up windows, install storm shutters, and apply masking or electrical tape in an X pattern on both sides of the glass.
  • If near a coastline, stream or river, shut off gas and electricity.
  • Shut down all three-phase electrical service just prior to hurricane striking.
  • Move elevators to the second floor level and lock them off in the event of flooding. Secure elevator doors at lower levels to prevent entry into the shaft.


After a hurricane, suggested actions include:

  • Be careful! Watch for live electrical wires, shattered glass, splintered wood, and debris as well as structural damage.
  • Inspect the property and appoint cleanup crews.
  • Call the property’s insurance company, restoration contractor, and building inspector, and get them to the site as soon as pissible.
  • Set up a manageable schedule to repair the property.
  • Have available materials for making temporary repairs, such as tools, hardware, plywood, sawhorses, and barricades.
  • Do not turn on the electricity unless it has been officially declared safe to do so by the utility company.
  • Report broken gas, sewer, or water mains to the respective utilities.

Before, during, and after the hurricane it is important to listen to authorities and communicate frequently to tenants and residents.

For more information about emergency procedures for any type of emergency, see Before Disaster Strikes: Developing an Emergency Procedures Manual


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Debt Man Walking

The following is the beginning of a blog post by Ken Ashley,  CCIM, MCR, SIOR  and Senior Director of Cushman & Wakefield, that recently appeared in the Atlanta Business Chronicle.  A special “Thank You” to Editor David Allison for allowing us to reprint a portion!



As Americans deal with the uncertainty in Washington and the instability on Wall Street, there has been a lot of press about how we should deal with these issues on a personal level. But what should  business leaders do?

Bill Gross of investment giant PIMCO coined the phrase “Debt Man Walking” to describe the apparent dire straits the US faces with its significant borrowing “issues.” How do you as a business leader turn this into Wise Man Walking? More specifically for this real estate focused space, what should you do with office or factory projects that are on the boards today?

To continue reading,  please click for original post in the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

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Bed Bugs Not Ballyhoo

During the NAR Mid-Year Legislative Meetings, the NAR Property Management Forum invited Lyn Garling, Program Manager for the Penn State Integrated Pest Management program, to speak about the bed bugs and the growing impact on property management and real estate in general.  We tweeted a great deal of Garling’s tips for detecting and mitigating bed bugs in commercial and multi-family properties and since we have become fascinated (somewhat in horror) over the growing “perfect storm” of bed bug infestation in the United States.  The Environmental Protection Agency’s staff were very helpful in recommending Garling to NAR as a speaker and they recently sent us another primer from the Pest Control Technology Magazine, titled “The History of Bed Bug Management: Lessons from the Past” by Dr. Michael Potter which was initially published in Entomological Society of America Bulletin back in April 2011.  While Dr. Potter’s article may be in the “more than I needed to know” category, we can tell you this – what you don’t know about bed bugs can indeed hurt your business.  States have begun passing legislation to address the burgeoning problems of bed bugs (see IREMFirst for what’s happening and where.)

Here are our top five tweets from the Mid-Year Session to give you an idea of how much we have to learn about controlling this pest problem and how it impacts your business:

#1 Bed bug bites are NOT reliable evidence that your property is infested. First time bites can take 10-14 days to manifest. Where was your tenant 2 weeks ago?

#2 Heat is the achilles heel of bed bugs.  Pesticides do not work!  Garling brought a petri dish of dead bed bugs and mentioned that she had to microwave them twice to kill them.

#3 Keep a cool head and watch your wallet.  If you remember the early days of mold, there are a lot of companies that would love to take large amounts of your money and promise to make the problem go away.

#4 Bed bugs can’t run, hop or fly but they can live up to one year without feeding.  Leaving a space vacant for any length of time won’t solve the problem.

#5 Get past the gross and get an education.  Here are some reliable resources (including a recent REALTOR Magazine Online Webinar with Lyn Garling herself!):

Oh, and the first person who can tell me the song and band we “tongue in cheek” used for the title and tells us in Comments will receive some cool NAR Commercial swag in the mail!

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What is your Public Relations IQ?

Guest Blog Post by Alex Ruggieri, CCIM, MBA – a commercial broker with Sperry Van Ness-Ramshaw Real Estate in Champaign, IL

One of the most important things that you must take responsibility for in your business is personal marketing.  It is a mistake to think that because the company or the broker does such a great job of marketing that you can rely on their efforts alone.  We are all taught that we should have a business plan but I believe that you must have a personal marketing plan.  A good personal marketing plan should also contain a public relations strategy.

Public Relations as it is applied to our business can be defined as: the practice of creating, promoting, or maintaining goodwill and a favorable image among the public towards an institution, public body, etc.

The marketplace today is a very noisy place.  If you hope to compete you must somehow get you, your team or your company above the noise.  One of the most powerful ways to accomplish this is through a personal public relations plan.

You may be thinking:  I don’t have the money to hire a PR firm.  How can I implement a public relations campaign? My answer to that question is to start small with things that you can do.  Here are a few ideas to help simulate your thinking as you craft your own personal public relations plan.

You can give a talk at a local service club.  Write an article for your local newspaper or trade publication.  Volunteer to serve for a local charity that you care about.  The thing about public relations unlike advertising is that it costs very little to implement yet can have an even more powerful impact that if you had taken an out a full page ad.

For example: one year our team volunteered to help build a home for Habitat for Humanity.  Besides having a great time serving the community we also had a very good teambuilding experience and our efforts were noted in our local newspaper with a story about our project.  We even landed on the front page of our national franchises newsletter.  You can’t buy that kind of publicity!

Whatever you decide to do, make a commitment that you will be consistent in your efforts.  You can’t hang you hat on the project you did three years ago.  Your plan must include a strategy that allows for your consistent presence in the marketplace.

In my market I have produced a radio show on Entrepreneurship and a TV show on business leadership.  Both activities provide for a consistent presence in the community and give me more exposure than I could ever get trying to purchase ads.

So the next time you are working on your business plan be sure to give some thought to a public relations strategy.  It won’t cost a lot but it will get you above the noise!

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