Beyond the Building: 3 Ways to Show Off a Property’s Personality in an Online Listing

Posted on: Thursday, August 31st, 2017, under Marketing.

Bob Samii

Aside from location – walls, floors, price, and square footage are what most people consider when they’re looking to purchase or lease commercial real estate. But, as you know, there’s so much more to a space than the four walls that contain it.

Every building has a personality and gives off a certain vibe. The more you help highlight and show off these aspects, the more likely you’ll be able to attract tenants or buyers. When you’re creating your online listing, be sure to factor in key aspects of the property that capture its personality and essence. Here are four ways to do just that:


  1. Focus on Location Location is one of the top things that people consider when looking for a space to buy or rent. Online listings should highlight a variety of aspects related to location, because different things matter to different people. Discuss whether it’s located near major highways or neighborhoods and share some engaging, active images of nearby hotspots and the surrounding area. As walkability is another factor that comes into play, particularly to millennials and younger businesses, it’s important that you highlight the property’s proximity to cafes, restaurants, parks, shops, and more. And, of course, make sure the listing includes a map and plenty of photographs of the exterior of the building, along with the street where it’s located.


  1. Highlight Demographics. Neighborhood demographics can make or break a business. So, when business owners look for spaces to buy or rent, they want to know who and what makes up the neighborhood. Include whether the neighborhood is more commercial, industrial, or residential. Mention some of the types of businesses that are included in the neighborhood.


  1. Give the Space Life. When people are looking to buy or rent a space, they want to see all the potential that you see. Be sure to tell a great story of the space – describe it in jaw-dropping detail. Get your potential buyers salivating at the idea of occupying it.  Share whether or not the space is already built out, or if build outs will be customized for the tenant. Give options and ideas. Don’t forget the basics like  the square footage of the building as a whole and each individual space. How many units are available? What amenities does the building offer? Who are some of the existing tenants? Do tenants have the right to make changes to the space? Is storage available?

The dimensions and other practical information are obviously important for buyers or tenants. But, a building’s vibe and personality is often what truly draws attention to it. So, go ahead and truly show off the property’s best features. People will take notice.

Are You Ready to Be a Landlord? The high return on investment comes with many responsibilities

Posted on: Tuesday, August 8th, 2017, under Commercial Real Estate, Real Estate Investing.

Bob Samii

Purchasing an office building or other commercial real estate property is a lucrative investment. It’s an asset that appreciates in value, and having ongoing and steady tenants means a continuous cash flow.

Investing in a building with tenants means you’ll become a landlord, which comes with a wealth of benefits and challenges. Making a commercial real estate purchase is the first big step, but before you buy, make sure you’re ready to be a landlord. Here are some signs that you are.

You have the money (or can get the financing) to invest.

Sounds obvious, but do you have the money to invest in commercial property? Paying cash may be ideal in some situations, but there are also many financing options out there. One option is the CDC/504 Loan Program through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

504 loans specifically finance major assets, such as real estate. While there are several eligibility requirements, these loans are fixed rate, come with flexible terms, and are less expensive than other types of financing. A 504 loan is a great option for first-time commercial real estate investors.

You can find solid tenants.

When you own commercial real estate, tenants are your lifeblood. Having solid, long-term tenants will keep cash flowing, helping you pay back loans and adding to your bottom line. Finding such tenants can be challenging.

Advertising the property online is one of the best ways to attract tenants. You create a profile for your space (link to:, include lots of appealing amenities, and take enticing photos to stir interest. You can share the listing on social media to attract even more interest.

You’re not dependent on the cash from rent.

While commercial real estate brings a nice return on investment, don’t rely on the rental income as your sole source of income (or even a large part of it). Chances are there will be times that you have vacant spaces—and, no matter how successful your tenants are, they might not always pay their rent on time. Not to mention that companies can go out of business.

You understand the responsibilities.

Being a landlord comes with many responsibilities. You will be responsible for maintaining the property, making any repairs and keeping it in a state that will attract tenants. You also have to insure the building and keep all certifications, like fire safety, up to date. Landlords are also responsible for creating lease agreements and sticking to the lease’s conditions.

If you’re ready for the responsibility that comes with being a commercial landlord, these tips will help you get started.

How Good is CRE Big Data? Three Ways to Use Big Data to Your Advantage

Posted on: Tuesday, August 8th, 2017, under Commercial Real Estate, Data, Technology.

Bob Samii

The term big data sounds incredibly complicated, implying vast layers of statistics and trends to translate and then use to make solid predictions. It’s intimidating to those who not only don’t have access to big data, but who are also inexperienced in harnessing its power to make proactive and well-informed decisions.

By anyone’s estimation, though, big data is a valuable tool that reveals new trends and opportunities for those in commercial real estate. In fact, solution providers who give their clients enough content and numbers to navigate through all stages of the buying process are chosen 95% of the time over those who do not. Everyone is potentially accessing the same numbers as everyone else, but it’s the sort of questions these stats prompt that matter.

It’s clearly crucial to understand and use big data. How? Here are a few ways to turn the numbers into sales:


  1. Creating a comprehensive site evaluation. Office buildings equipped with sensor technology can provide real-time foot and vehicle traffic statistics and predictions. Such unstructured data, when merged with the property information already available in structured data outlets, creates a strategically tight target to identify appropriate tenants. Also crucial to consider are past price negotiations and loans, the current state of the property, maintenance costs, and policies. Transparent transactions are the goal.
  2. Predicting client behaviors and preferences. Well-researched assessments of a property help targeted buyers make decisions, whether they’re new tenants or currents tenants deciding whether to extend leases. Unstructured data that monitors leasing trends and stays current on related topics appearing on social media streams and via online opinions has a direct connection to identifying focused business opportunities. For example, with insights gleaned from recent increases and interest in shared office space, large offices are now being divided into smaller units to attract start-ups and sole proprietors, bundling shared services all tenants will need regardless of their industries. This is a clear response to predictive unstructured data layered with structured information.
  3. Revolutionizing property technologies. The needs and expectations of potential buyers and tenants are changing on a dime, and the only way to process and implement the most recent developments is by keeping current with big data. Analytics including every important entity in the sales process, as well as the use of smart sensors to manage up-to-the-minute energy resources on property, are necessary to acquiring and keeping buyers engaged.


Big data is all about making insider information available to those who formerly had limited access. One of the biggest complaints about big data is that major corporate players with deep pockets have invested in compiling data to be uniquely useful; it’s the governance of the data that gives smaller players pause. Transforming the numbers into meaningful and accessible business intelligence across the commercial real estate industry is the ultimate goal of the new big data. Using its power is the key to enabling innovations in the commercial real estate industry, as well as enabling growth, continued smart development, and profits.

Gain access to CRE Big Data through our innovative platform, built for Commercial Realtors. Sign up today.

9 Tips for Photographing Commercial Properties to Get Attention: How to show off its best features

Posted on: Tuesday, August 8th, 2017, under Commercial Real Estate, Marketing.

Bob Samii

High-quality photography is essential for commercial real estate listings. Most buyers begin their property searches online, where making a strong first impression is everything.

If you’re new to real estate photography, the best way to learn is through practice. Experiment with different angles and light settings, and take photos at different times of day to see which look best. You can always delete the less-than-stellar ones.

These nine tips will help you photograph your commercial property so that it gets the attention it deserves:


  1. Use a Wide-Angle Lens. If you decide to be your own photographer, invest in a wide-angle lens. The wider frame showcases the true sense of the space and provides a sense of depth and detail.


  1. Emphasize Space and Lighting. Buyers look for natural light and space—so, make sure you accentuate both. You’ll need to consider the best time of day to take the photo to capitalize on the light so that you can avoid bright sun and dark shadows. Often, the best time to take photos is when the sun is low.


  1. Avoid Vertical Shots. It’s always better to use landscape orientation for your property’s photos, rather than portrait layouts. People tend to be more drawn to horizontal photos, and they show off more of the property.


  1. Give Yourself Time to Shoot. Snapping great photos that will get your listing the attention it deserves takes time—so, give yourself enough time to take the best photos possible. A good photo shoot can take a fair amount of time, but that’s a worthwhile upfront investment that will pay off once your online listing goes live.


  1. Highlight the Best Features. Location is one of the most important aspects of commercial property. So be sure that the exterior photos highlight its location and some of the surroundings. For interior photos, emphasize each room’s best features—whether it’s natural light, spaciousness, or other identifiable qualities.


  1. Prepare the Space. Make sure furniture is carefully arranged in each room so that the photos demonstrate its possibilities. Adding fresh greenery, bright artwork, or other colorful accents can draw attention to the space.


  1. Clean Up. This probably sounds obvious, but make sure the space is clean and clutter free before photographing it. Any surfaces should be free from papers and other items. Clean windows and floors—and, generally, make sure everything is tidy.


  1. Choose the Angle Wisely. Angles matter when you’re trying to show off your property. Use a tripod to avoid blur and move around to find which angle does the best justice. Choosing the right angle can make rooms look more enticing and close a deal faster.


  1. Hire a Professional. The better your photos, the more likely you’ll get the best price for your listing. It’s also likely to sell or lease more quickly. If photography isn’t your thing, consider hiring a professional who has the right equipment and expertise. The return on investment is definitely there.


Whether you decide to DIY your commercial property’s photos or hire a professional, you want to be sure to showcase it in its best light. Buyers will definitely notice and take action.

Death of the Retail Industry: Is Warren Buffet Right?

Posted on: Tuesday, August 8th, 2017, under Commercial Real Estate, Retail.

Bob Samii

Known as the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet has built a solid reputation as one of the world’s most revered, most influential, and most followed investors. When he makes a prediction – especially when it focuses on commercial real estate – we all listen intently.

At Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting held in early May, the billionaire investor forecasted a total change in the retail industry within the next ten years as it heads into a predominantly online model. It’s not just rhetoric; Buffet’s investment firm sold off $900 million in Walmart stock, even as the multinational retail corporation of grocery and superstores invests billions to compete with Amazon. Reviewing an ever-increasing list of retail stores closing this year, from Radio Shack’s 552 locations to 138 JCPenneys, as well as 70 Staples and Sears sites, it’s impossible to ignore the fast-shifting, downward trends of brick-and-mortar retailers.

Buffet isn’t alone. According to asset management company Cohen & Steers’ recent report, “We see this retail weakness, which is occurring despite a relatively healthy economy, as part of a permanent evolution in how and where Americans spend their money. We expect the paradigm shift taking place to dramatically alter the retail landscape, with potentially significant implications for real estate investors.”

So how does the commercial real estate industry adapt to this stressful evolution and shore up a rough retail real estate market? Perhaps the answer involves persuading brands – and building owners – to be more flexible. A study from commercial real estate services firm CBRE reveals the average length of a retail lease is currently around five years, down from 20 years in 1991. They’ve coined the term “rogue retailing” to describe a new model that requires more flexibility on the parts of both landlords and retailers in order to compensate for greater risk involved when setting up shop in the market.

Traditional shopping experiences are being re-evaluated as they’re influenced by new ideas and online effects. Technology and behaviors are changing too quickly to carry long-term, massive real estate buildouts, and long-term leases no longer make much sense.

Enter: the pop-up shop.

While the cost of retail real estate is projected to increase by only one percent in 2017, the pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2016. Also known as flash retailing, pop-up endeavors have created entirely new marketplaces to allow for their ease into commercial real estate, like those companies offering “retailer in a box” services to help with concept, staffing, and set up supplementation.

At a time when retail landlords are fighting alarming vacancies, pop-up shops attract fresh traffic, revitalize dying properties, and bring additional rental income. While developers aren’t encouraged by the direction of retail, they realize their bottom lines favor the increase in income. As the saying goes, empty space doesn’t pay the rent.

Are we headed into a future without retail stores? Probably not. But no matter what side of the commercial real estate industry on which you may find yourself, the keys to success and profit involve flexibility and a willingness to readjust on the fly.