The Census 2020 Impact on the Office Market and Economy

Posted on: Tuesday, February 13th, 2018, under Uncategorized.

Bob Samiiby Liz Berthelette, Director of Research NAI Hunneman. Liz is a seasoned CRE researcher with a penchant for maps, graphs & data; providing insights on the local Boston market and beyond.

Demographers and data geeks rejoice! Preparations are well underway for one of the largest data collection efforts in U.S. history; the decennial census. With 2020 just around the proverbial corner, it’s not surprising that the U.S. Census Bureau is already gearing up to take on this mammoth task. While the survey results provide invaluable insights on the nation’s population base and ever changing demographic profile, this undertaking has deeper implications for the U.S. economy and office market.

A look back at the most recent decennial Census, which took place in 2010, offers us key insight on what the future might hold. In a report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2011, the impact of national employment was far from negligible. In fact, the number of temporary and intermittent workers hired to complete the 2010 Census actually muddied monthly employment trends during that year. Below are some key data takeaways from the BLS report:

1. Temporary/intermittent hiring totaled 564,000 workers
2. Soup-to-nuts the project took 30 months to complete
3. Peak hiring occurred in May of 2010
4. Temp employment declined by almost 100% by September of 2010

With that many new employees on the payroll it’s not surprising the General Services Administration (GSA) was also in need of commercial space. Accordingly, 12 Regional Census Centers and 494 Local Census Offices were established throughout the United States to temporarily house collection operations. Ultimately, this space acquisition program resulted in several million square feet of short-term office demand in 2010.

For the upcoming Census 2020 program, the GSA has released requirements for 245 short-term leases nationwide. The average size of these temporary offices ranges from 6,600 to 8,550 square feet, with up to 19 months of lease term. While this represents roughly half the number of requirements issued for the 2010 Census, additional U.S. office demand will likely surpass two million square feet on a temporary basis. When you factor in the need for several Regional Census Centers (RCC), which require a much larger footprint, this number is closer to 2.5 million square feet. We’re already starting to see the impact of the GSA’s latest space acquisition program. The administration’s first regional operation will be located at 1601 Market Street in Philadelphia; where a 37,500-square-foot lease was executed in November of 2017. The effect of the decennial census operations may only be provisional, but as history has shown us, it won’t go unnoticed.

The 8th Second: How to Keep People Looking at Your Listing

Posted on: Wednesday, January 17th, 2018, under Uncategorized.

People’s attention spans are shrinking by the minute. Seven seconds is, in fact, the average. If digital content doesn’t hook people in those few seconds, they’re gone forever. So, how do you keep people looking at your commercial real estate listing for the eighth second and beyond.

Striking the appropriate tone, messaging, and topics dramatically increases the effectiveness of your listing. It’s all about making your listing seem like it’s speaking directly to the person clicking on it. These strategies will help keep people looking at your listing.

Go on a Virtual Tour

Video is a game changer for your CRE listing, and it’s becoming more and more essential in attracting attention. Most people prefer video over photos and written content. Adding a video tour of the property can give you a search-engine advantage.

You can record the video yourself using a smartphone, but hiring a videographer is a worthwhile upfront investment, especially if you have a large commission on the way. Put yourself in front of the camera as the tour guide. This can build trust and let you establish yourself on the CRE expert in your area.

A virtual tour of the property lets viewers better understand the property’s full scope, depth of space, how the light comes into the space, how rooms interconnect, and other criteria. Photos are still an important addition to the listing, but videos paint a more accurate picture.

Write Inventive Descriptions

CRE listings need detailed descriptions that highlight all the essential information about the property, but go beyond the basics. Square footage, number of rooms, and other standard characteristics should be included, but extend the description to what’s outside the property’s four walls. Talk about the neighborhood, tenants in the building, past uses of the space, and any other details that will highlight the property.

Be upfront about the not so great aspects of the property. Potential buyers and investors will appreciate the honesty. This gives the listing credibility and shows your integrity in the CRE world.

Get Social

It sounds obvious, but you should always share your listings on social media, both on your personal and business pages. A few-sentence description and eye-catching hashtags will get people to click on the listing. Sharing on social media also gives you the chance to broaden the listing’s reach.

Though it sounds simple enough, amazing visuals and accurate details are the best way to keep people engaged with your listing beyond the seven-second average.

What Role Will Big Data Play for CRE in 2018? Part II How Tenants Will Benefit

Posted on: Monday, January 8th, 2018, under Uncategorized.

Commercial Real Estate has always been, and will always be, an information-driven business. For example, we’ve always known that law firms often want offices near the courthouse and that creates a submarket that operates somewhat independently from the metro area at-large in terms of pricing and demand.

The big shift that the industry is making now is the drastic reduction in the investment, both financial and time-wise, of gathering information about the market and the ability to make real-time analysis – and thereby getting a competitive edge. For example, with data analytics, we can determine the borders of a submarket built around, say, Google’s offices, and help your client find a pocket right by where they want to locate that is at a discount to the submarket.

In other words: we’re shifting from using data to support pre-determined intuition and opinions to using it to develop opinions.

How Real-Time Data Will Give You a Competitive Edge

Right now, one of the biggest advantages real-time data gives you is being ahead of the pack. If you can analyze what was happening yesterday while everyone else is looking at data from last month, you can see the trends before everyone else and use that information to your clients’ benefit.

One of the first aspects we’re seeing CREs capitalize on is with comparables. Seeing actual recent transaction prices and cap rates rather than just the numbers publicly bandied about gives you better information to act on. This in turn enables you to let your clients know if this deal is a steal or if it’s better to pass as it should be lower in a month.

It can also help with site selection. If your client is looking to expand their office, you can use data on where current employees live and find the ideal location to minimize average commute times. You can then collate that data with current market prices and find the location that allows them to maximize productivity at the lowest lease rate available.

The Door is Open…But the Window is Shrinking

As we enter 2018, there is ample opportunity to grow your market share by having better information, and at a lower cost, than the rest of the industry. But that opportunity will fade and turn into a necessity.

There are 5 stages of technology acceptance: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. While CRE is still in the innovator/early adopter stage for using real-time data, the adoption rate will continue to grow quickly. There is still significant value to getting onboard now, but waiting 12 months could be forcing yourself to play catchup.

At RealMassive, we’re working to keep you ahead of the competition. Find out how by signing up for a demo today.

What Role Will Big Data Play for CRE in 2018? Part I Retail The Future of Retail is Now

Posted on: Friday, December 22nd, 2017, under Data, Market Analytics.

Commercial Real Estate Data and InformationThere are countless prognostications about the future of retail that run the spectrum: a quick search for ‘the future of retail’ will tell you that brick and mortar retail is dying at the same time as it highlights successful eCommerce startups building dozens of retail stores across the country.

You already know the truth: retail is changing – just like it always has. If you go back 20 years and look at the headlines, they covered in the death of Main Street and the boom of the mall and big box retailing.

The real question is, ‘How is retail changing and what’s next?’

The answer is in the data.

Market Intelligence

Commercial Real Estate has always been about information: gathering it, analyzing it, and then providing your clients with value. What we’re excited most about is the influx of new information coming into CRE.

More and more, building owners are installing sensor technology to gather real-time pedestrian and vehicle traffic statistics. Combining this with unstructured data from sources like search engines and social media enables us to overlay traffic volume with other data, such as interests, behaviors and income, giving retailers real, actionable data to find their ideal location.

Being able to ascertain the revenue a specific type of retailer can generate from a given location in turn gives LL Reps more information so that they know precisely what NOI is possible.

On top of that, the trendy business model for retailers is to start out as an eCommerce-only store and then expand to have physical locations. This gives them a large amount of data about their customers when they’re shopping around with their Rep. They can see where their site is getting the most traffic from, and the common interests of their fans on Facebook and Twitter, and use that to help with site selection.

The Long-Awaited Internet of Things

IoT has been on pretty much every ‘what’s next’ list for years. The idea of creating smart buildings to adjust temperature, humidity, and lights has had people excited for ages. Now, the addition of tech to give us more location analytics so that retailers can learn more than ever before about people’s in-store purchasing behavior, giving retailers a better ability to determine what building layouts work best, and which ones don’t.

This, layered with traffic data, likely makes for the best-informed tenant in history.

The Meaning for Commercial Real Estate

From CRE’s point of view, the need will be centered around gathering actionable market data as quickly as possible. With it, Tenant Reps will be able to see what building layouts and assignable area they will need to maximize revenue for the store as well as ascertain reliable revenue models to make sure the location is a good long-term fit.

At RealMassive, we are creating real-time data analytics so you will be able to give your clients the best advice with the latest data to back it up. Want to find out how? Sign up for a demo.

The Benefits of Real-Time Data Management: Save Time & Increase Accuracy

Posted on: Tuesday, December 19th, 2017, under Open Data.

Commercial Real Estate Data Visualization

It’s not a stretch to say that business happens in real-time. Doors open and possibilities present themselves at a moment’s notice, and inaction can mean missed opportunities.

At the same time, information has become one of our most valuable commodities. Without accurate, up-to-date data, decision-making is instinctual rather than informed.

These facts are leading commercial real estate towards a new trend: real-time data aggregation.

What Real-Time Data Means

Real-time data effectively is information that is constantly being updated. In short, real-time data gives you the ability for more thorough analysis: the less time you spend gathering the data, the more you have to analyze its meaning.

It has been a trend in consumer-facing industries for a while: for example, when you’re booking a flight online or ordering an Uber. Once it becomes commonplace, you expect the information to be accurate to the minute and it marks a paradigm shift for an industry.

In commercial real estate, however, we haven’t encountered that shift yet. In the past, information on assets or leasing data was often looking back two or three weeks at best. To get the whole picture of what was going on in an entire market today, you would need a robust network and a lot of legwork to get an accurate snapshot.

The good news: that’s beginning to change.

How Real Time Data Benefits You

If a client or prospect has ever asked a question about the market and you’ve had to answer, ‘let me get back to you,’ real-time information can change how you do business.

Having an up-to-date portfolio of your agency’s listings streamlines the search experience and allows you to promote and lease properties more rapidly. What’s more, being able to keep track of market-wide trends and availability as they’re happening, rather than after-the-fact, enables you to make more informed decisions and give you a competitive advantage.

What’s Next

At RealMassive, our goal is to give you flexibility and control over your listings with automated, real-time data management tools to ensure you have your full marketplace presence at your fingertips at all times. We’ve been working hard to develop pioneering tools that not only give you the ability to better promote your listings, but to see market-wide data in real-time so that you can focus on taking advantage of changing trends rather than wasting resources to discover if they are happening.

For our latest solution, check out AutoPilot Property Listing Management Platform

“Commercial Real Estate is an Antiquated Business” and 5 other highlights from CRE//Tech 2017 in New York

Posted on: Thursday, December 14th, 2017, under Uncategorized.

Not many industry events have the ability to fill a conference agenda with leading voices from global companies, active industry venture capitalists, CIO’s from the most recognized brands and the leading landlords in New York City.

Last week, the team at CRE//Tech managed to not only assemble these leading voices in one room, but stacked them together to provide expert perspectives on the current state and future of not only CRE Technology, but CRE in general.

With so much expertise in one room, trying to capture all of the highlights would have been an impossible task. However, there were some key takeaways from the discussions that stood out. Here are the 5 comments or insights that caught our attention.

“What’s valuable in our spaces is investing in the
quality of life for our employees.”

CRE is becoming more human. It was a theme that resonated through most conversations as the future of work is evolving. For organizations like Bloomberg, the culture of the space is as important, if not more important, than the location. No longer are employees held captive, but when they are under a single roof, the value and character of those spaces must be attractive to a variety of workers.

Amenities like wellness spaces, food halls, conference centers, gyms, et cetera are increasingly important, but so is the way the space makes employees feel, how it represents the brand and how effectively it helps them manage their work. Technology has become the heart of modern commercial space.

“Selling into organizations that have been doing something a certain way
for generations is not easy.”

Much has been said about the challenge that comes with behavioral change. CRE’s resistance to technology was a primary topic of discussion, with most leaders essentially telling the audience that those holding on to antiquated business practices need to, essentially, “get over it.”

However, members of the VC panel correctly pointed out that the market is saturated and many startups have not only failed to understand the competitive landscape, but also to differentiate themselves in a crowded market.

As with the overall trends of digital transformation and industry disruption, modernizing and changing our industry will take time. The best technology doesn’t always win, so buyers need to understand the space and explore their options before defaulting to the first suitor.

“Tech has played a huge role in tracking
customer demands.”

If you’re responsible for some of the largest development projects in New York City or the biggest landlord, odds are you know a bit about market trends and what moves the market. These Industry titans spoke at length about how the human assets have become a bigger priority than the physical assets for businesses.

Investment is going up in places that feel “authentic” versus the traditional concept of “location.” Traditional data sources and institutional knowledge will quickly become less valuable as leaders begin to experiment with alternative data sources to optimize their strategy. It’s time to start expanding and experimenting beyond the norm and recent success stories are increasing a willingness to try.

“We aren’t in the availability and space industry,
we’re in the advisory business.”

The most fascinating panel included technology and digital leaders from the largest brokerages in the country. This group of leaders provided the necessary blueprint for driving change in CRE. With 30% of the market represented among them, they recognize that they will be the biggest drivers and accelerators of the technology shift for CRE.

All agreed that clients are actively looking for technology solutions and data to drive the process. CRE professionals need to understand that their clients expect experiences in their professional life that are equal to the digital experiences they have in their personal lives. These expectations require a change in the way businesses is conducted as the nature of relationships are changing.

The consensus is that trends that have digitized the residential real estate market will absolutely translate to the Commercial Real Estate market. Residential was fundamentally changed by giving the end consumer the ability to explore and discover. In CRE, the entire industry will benefit from this shift, but driving adoption will take time and the right technology solutions.

“Startups that think openly will get attention.”

When it comes to technology, automation solutions and those that don’t easily integrate will see the slowest growth. Technology is still a growing capability in CRE, so any additional work or heavy lifting required by an internal technology team is a deterrent. For many organizations, not just in CRE, complicated technology faces user adoption challenges that requires internal teams to invest heavily in training and often reducing the return on investment.

Overall, C-Suite representatives from the five largest brokerages in the country clearly stated that the industry must open up, work together and rapidly accelerate innovation. On multiple occasions, the panel acknowledged the “monopolistic nature” of the CRE Industry and clearly called for an end to closed-door practices and walled-off ecosystems.

Representing 30% of the national market, the panel essentially put organizations clinging to closed market, dated business practices on notice. They are willing to work together to find alternative solutions. They are willing to experiment and are open to change.

These 5 highlights are just a snippet of the insights and intelligence displayed at CRE//Tech. To capture the full experience of the panels, the tradeshow floor and the side conversations would require a much longer post. However, CRE//Tech has quickly established itself as a “must attend” event for not only Technology Startups, but the entire CRE Industry looking to understand what’s next.

Kudos to the entire team and we look forward to 2018!

Getting Started in Commercial Real Estate in Today’s Modern Economy Many Opportunities Exist

Posted on: Thursday, October 12th, 2017, under Commercial Real Estate, Development.

Commercial real estate deals often take a lot longer than residential transactions, but each deal is (often) much more lucrative. Commercial real estate is a varied segment that encompasses so many different types of properties: shopping centers, office buildings, warehouses, and lots more.

There are many avenues to explore if you’re a newcomer wanting to get started in commercial real estate. You have to figure out which approach to take and then take the steps to get your career rolling.

Career Opportunities

Considering a commercial real estate career? There are three main paths to take to make it happen.

Commercial Brokerage: You represent buyers or sellers in commercial property deals. They usually work as independent contractors and may specialize in a certain type of commercial real estate, like retail, office, or industrial.

Development: Devolopers work to purchase land and build something on it. It’s up to the developer to arrange financing, hire architects and contractors, negotiate tenant leases, and supervise the entire project.

Property Management: Once properties are purchased and developed, property managers tackle the day-to-day operations, including staffing, repairs, maintenance, and .

Ready to Get Started?

If you’re ready to get involved in commercial real estate, it may be difficult to know where to start. Follow these steps to start networking and get your career :

  1. Make a list of everyone you know in commercial real estate. Then, ask your friends and relatives to do the .
  2. Start making calls. First call the people on your list. Ask if you can about 20 minutes of their time to learn more about the industry.
  3. Visit with CRE professionals. Talk about how they got started and ask for advice for newcomers. Get them to talk about the industry and suggest industry publications that you can read to learn more.
  4. Read up on the industry. Visit industry-specific websites and do some research on the industry and your specific market. Also, attend some local commercial real estate classes—you’ll learn a lot and meet some new .
  5. Find opportunities. Learn about CRE compensation structures and consider what type of opportunity you’re most interested in and how much salary you need to .
  6. Start applying for positions. Once you’ve narrowed down what you’re looking for, start the serious job search. Contact CRE professionals who you’re most interested in working with. Most organizations don’t have job openings, but create slots when need or opportunity arises.
  7. Explain what you can offer. Companies are most interested in what they will gain.

Many opportunities exist in commercial real estate. You just have to know what you want and where to look—and, you have to be persistent and do your .

6 Reasons Startups Should Purchase Commercial Property: Buying property comes with many advantages

Posted on: Tuesday, October 10th, 2017, under Commercial Real Estate, Real Estate Investing.

Bob Samii

If you’re a startup founder, raising capital and getting your business off the ground the first major hurdle. There are countless decisions that need to be made daily in order to bring your product or service to market. One decision that is often overlooked, at least until they are later stage startups, is whether to rent or buy your office space.

Most startups don’t think twice and jump immediately into the rental market. But there are some distinct benefits that buying commercial real estate offers and renters miss out on. The best way to make the decision is to decide what you can handle both short term and long term. Consider your individual real estate market and the stage of your business.

Here are six reasons that as a startup, you should opt to purchase your office space rather than rent it:

 

  1. You Get to Be the Landlord. Being your own landlord has its advantages. You don’t have to worry about your rent going up or lease agreements changing. Plus, you set all the rules. You can change the property however you see fit without having to ask for anyone’s permission. You can renovate the space or rent part of it out for additional cash flow. You can shape your space to fit your brand, your ideas, and your team.

 

  1. It Costs More to Rent. In some markets, the cost of rent exceeds the cost of purchasing property. You may be able to actually lengthen your runway by investing in your office space. That’s why we recommend that you carefully examine your individual market and weigh the pros and cons of buying versus renting. Look at the numbers from both a short-term as well as a long-term perspective. Buying property is almost always a better long-term investment and it may be better for your company in the short term as well. (ahem, you could save on moving costs down the road, too).

 

  1. You Can Focus on the Long-Term. There are two main reasons most startups go straight to renting: they don’t want to be distracted from their main mission and their investors didn’t fund them to get into real estate. So if you’re trying to grow users to get to your next funding round, it probably isn’t a good idea add any commercial real estate to your balance sheet. But, if you have the time and energy to take it on and are able to look 5+ years into the future, it starts to look like a good idea.  

 

  1. Cash Flow Isn’t a Problem. When you’re cash flow positive (or are growing quickly and can easily attract investors), there are distinct advantages to owning rather than renting. Buying property is a long-term investment that allows you to build equity, which you can use as collateral for future growth. Commercial real estate appreciates in value, so if you choose to sell in the future, you could potentially make a solid return on the property. And, if you invest in a larger property and can attract tenants, their monthly rental payments will be a nice, steady source of income.

 

  1. Tax Benefits Exist. Tax benefits are available to businesses that invest in commercial real estate. As a property owner, you can receive tax deductions for property taxes, mortgage interest, and other costs associated with purchasing and managing the property. And if your business grows too fast and you outgrow your space, you can use a 1031 exchange to upgrade your space without paying taxes on increased value.

 

As a startup, the decision to buy or rent office space is tougher than many think. We get it. But it’s important to know your options. You may just be surprised at how purchasing your office space could be more cost-effective and while contributing to your ongoing success.

Why You Should Add Video to Your CRE Listing: Video paints a true picture and drives leads

Posted on: Wednesday, October 4th, 2017, under Commercial Real Estate, Marketing.

Bob Samii

Commercial real estate listings are all about the visuals. High-quality photos are obviously essential, but adding a video to your listing takes it up a .

A video walk-through gives prospective buyers or leasers a real-life perspective of the property. It provides much more detail and description of the building than photos alone  can. Viewers can see how rooms connect and get a better idea of the layout.

If you’re not using video in your listings, here are some reasons why you should.

Video Traffic Keeps Growing

YouTube is the second-largest search engine, behind Google. Websites with properly optimized video will rank higher in search results, which means more people will find you. Mobile videos are even more of a traffic driver. Online video will represent nearly 70% of all mobile traffic in 2017. Videos are among the shareable content. Listings with video will be more likely to be shared.

Video Better Conveys Information

People often prefer videos over text and photos these days. Most people don’t like to read and digest information. You can convey more information with video in less time than you can with text, and people are more likely to remember what they’ve seen in videos. So, you can provide all the information that potential leads need in a shorter timeframe, which they will appreciate.

You’ll Create Better Visuals  

Consumers respond to video. Letting them visualize the space in a real way, where they can see the true sizes of rooms and how they connect, increases their level of interest in the property. Videos tell a property’s story, as well as the story of its surrounding neighborhood.

A video paints a true picture. Just make sure your video is high quality, and hire a professional to get it right. Proper lighting, good pacing, and a steady picture will get the listing the attention it deserves.

You Can Establish Yourself

Consistently creating video for your commercial real estate listings can help establish your CRE business and you as a major player in the industry. Make sure you make an appearance in the video to introduce the property and talk about its features. It shows that you are innovative and creative, and it can help you grow your sales in the future.

Videos generate potential leads for your property, increasing the likelihood of a quick sale or lease. It can also help raise your company’s profile. When planning your listings, start making video an integral part.

4 Key Reasons to Buy Commercial Real Estate for Rental Purposes

Posted on: Monday, September 25th, 2017, under Commercial Real Estate, Real Estate Investing.

Bob Samii

Investing in commercial real estate has a plethora of attractive qualities. And, purchasing multi-unit properties that allow you to recruit tenants offer some of the best returns on investment around.

Of course, attracting the right tenant and negotiating leases can be challenging, but once that’s in the books, the doors are open to enjoying all the perks of your investment. The good news is most commercial tenants enter into long-term leases because they are looking for a reliable space in which to operate their business. This low tenant turnover rate, along with the steady stream of rental income, makes commercial properties a lucrative investment that you wouldn’t want to miss out on.

So, here are four reasons you should seriously consider buying commercial real estate for rental purposes:

Leases Are Long Term

We can’t stress this enough. Unlike residential leases, commercial contracts tend to be long term. Typically, businesses can enter into five year terms (some even double that).  Having a steady, long-term location is good for their business as well as yours. You have guaranteed rental income and time to build a trusting relationship with your tenant. Not to mention, banks look favorably on long-term leases if you ever plan to refinance or sell your property.

You Set the Standards

As an owner, you are able to negotiate any types of rent, deposits, or other collateral that you want with your tenants. Some leases may require a couple of months’ rent as a security deposit. You can also ask tenants to personally guarantee the space, which means that they will be held personally liable for any damage or unpaid rent caused by the business. Leases can also include what happens if the tenant terminates the agreement. So, you can be sure to protect yourself and get set-up a little bit better on the on-set of a new tenant.

Rent Provides Consistent Income

Having consistent tenants will ensure that you’ll receive a certain amount of income each month. This can help you achieve a significant return on the investment for the property. During lease negotiations, you can work out many different rental agreements with tenants.

Unlike residential properties, there are rarely any rental control regulations on commercial properties. However, landlords sometimes give new business a reduced rate in the beginning so that they can establish their business and get things ready to grow on their end. There is always an expectation is that the rent will increase over time. More established businesses are likely to pay more rent to ensure that they maintain their space – especially if they’ve created a brand awareness in the space you’ve provided. Added bonus? Tenants also often pay a portion of utilities and some maintenance costs.

Exclusivity Offers

As a landlord, you can offer exclusivity to your tenants. While this limits who you can rent to—for example, your exclusivity agreement may limit your building to one accounting firm—it also limits where the tenant can move to if they vacate your building. Essentially, it limits a tenant’s competition, which makes it an attractive feature for recruiting tenants. You want your tenants to have successful businesses, so it benefits everyone.

If you’re ready to take the plunge into commercial real estate – it’s definitely worth your while to dig in and consider purchasing a tenant-driven property. The benefits are endless, and it is a great opportunity to really get a high ROI.