When Is It Time To Hire A Property Manager?

You’ve noticed something unsettling. The number of vacancies in your property investment is growing, and it’s becoming a challenge to bring quality tenants to occupy your space.

Over the years, you’ve watched thriving tenants retire or outgrow their accommodations. But something has changed. Tenants are flocking to other properties and leaving your investment behind. What’s happening? And what can you do to attract new tenants, keep the ones you have, and market your property effectively?

It might be time to hire a property manager.

What can a property manager do for you?

Simply put, a property manager will do everything they can to help you fully maximize your investment. Your property should be making you money—that’s the bottom line. And having an advocate take care of the day-to-day management of your property could be the difference in reaching your full income potential, or having opportunities fall through the cracks.

So, what can property managers do to help you achieve your ideal investment outcome? Here are just a few of the many ways you can benefit:

  • Stabilizing and reducing operating expenses
  • Implementing tenant retention programs
  • Proactively applying Risk Management programs to protect assets
  • Serving as your support when negotiating service rates
  • Regular inspections of the property
  • Ensuring quality lease terms and conditions
  • Monitoring construction supervision
  • And much more

What are the signs you could benefit from property management?

Many property owners effectively manage their own properties. But when is it time to look into hiring a commercial property management team? Do a quick assessment.

Lack of time – It’s a simple question. Do you have time to execute all of the necessary property management duties without sacrificing quality service or your personal life? If you are managing several properties at once, a property manager can help you by taking care of the daily tasks that can consume your time.

A property manager can handle screening tenants, listening to tenant complaints, ensure tenant safety, and deal with any after-hours emergencies that need immediate attention. This frees up your time to focus on the things that matter to you.

Outdated understanding of the industry – Staying current with industry trends is a must. There is a constant need to be updated on the latest changes that occur in the insurance industry and legal system to safeguard your investment.

Property management teams can make sure that Risk Management programs remain current and effective. They can also enforce tenant obligations, collect delinquent rent and be there for you during difficult legal processes. It’s a welcomed weight off your shoulders.

Several vacancies within properties – Property management teams can help fill troublesome vacancies by utilizing their network of agents and marketing professionals to increase occupancy and improve tenant retention.

Furthermore, they can complete regular site visits, property assessments, and help negotiate the best terms and conditions for all of your leases. This builds a solid foundation of communication and trust with each tenant you manage.

You want more insight throughout the construction process – Supervising the flow of an entire construction process takes knowledge, dedication, and attention to detail. These are all things a property manager can offer. Handing over the reins to a skilled team can free up your time and minimize your stress because they can handle any challenges that arise and monitor from the pre-design stage all the way through construction.

You need assistance when handling income/operating expenses – It’s about more than managing a property, it’s about managing your assets. Part of the property management service is keeping a detailed record for the operation of the property.

Managers can help with your annual operating budget and stabilize operating costs, financial reporting, and account management. They can make sure that you aren’t paying more than you need to be, and help you navigate through the complex and confusing red tape.

The decision to hire a property manager is a personal one, but one worth looking into. When it comes to property management, what matters most to you? Let us know in the comments.

Interested in learning more about how Crunkleton can help manage your property? Click here to download the guide.

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HALEY CLEMONS
MARKETING COORDINATOR
CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP
HALEY@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM

The Trend Report: Emerging 2017 Insights

While just a mere month into 2017, there are already a few emerging trends that savvy commercial real estate investors are taking notice of according to the 2017 Emerging Trends in Real Estate report recently released by the Urban Land Institute and PWC. After reading the report for ourselves, here are our top six emerging trends to watch out for in 2017!

Demographic Shifts

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We’ve gone into great length previously on the impact that the rising number of Millennials and Baby Boomers entering and exiting the work force is forecasted to have on the commercial real estate market, and the crossover point where more Baby Boomers are retiring than Millennials entering the labor force is now upon us. Boomers are retiring at a rate of approximately 10,000 per day and America’s population of persons over the age of 90 has almost tripled since 1980. This, combined with the fact that many younger (millennial) households are falling behind, has left older and younger households competing for housing in many of the same places, indicating that Multi-Family developments with evolving amenities will continue to stay a strong investment.

Urbanization / Densification

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This trend, which has been steadily growing over the least several years, seems to have no indication of slowing down any time soon as walkability, extensive live/work/play opportunities and alternative transportation options continue to draw people of all ages into the urban core. Developers are also continuing to follow this trend, preferring to invest in creating high-density mixed-used centers that provide a mixture of luxury living spaces, retail, work, parks, gathering and entertainment spaces. Even the suburbs are feeling the pressure to become more “urban”.

The Suburbs Aren’t Dead

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While urbanization is still a hot trend moving into 2017, it’s important to note that most suburban communities are still flourishing despite the fanfare of the urban movement. In fact, in America’s 50 largest (and most urbanized) metropolitan areas, suburbs account for 79 percent of the population and (despite popular and media perception) 75 percent of the 25-35 year old population. So while many are feeling the pressure of the urbanization trend, it’s important to note that our nation’s suburbs are still poised to maintain their relevance and predominance.

The Rise Of The “Surban” Neighborhoods

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As we just stated, the suburbs are far from dead. However, the market is beginning to see a trend toward the urbanization of existing suburban neighborhoods and new developments that are shifting their focus to provide greater density, diversity, walkability and transit accessibility. This trend is due in large to the Millennial preferences for these qualities, which studies have found they find equally attractive in the suburbs as they do in the densest urban core. This has seen more and more retail stores transforming their spaces into locations that sell experiences, rather than goods and more developments combining housing and retail to satisfy consumer demand for places that offer convenient, car-free shopping.

Forward Looking Strategies

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One trend that has become glaringly apparent as we move into 2017 is a push toward investors and property owners utilization of forward-looking strategies. Whether it be opting for the build-out of dynamically configurable office spaces that can easily be transformed to suit a variety of tenants or the conversion of class B and C shopping centers into last mile distribution centers to help e-retailers tackle the holy grail of same day delivery, investors are looking forward to the future and taking drastic steps to breathe new life into outdated spaces that are rapidly trending towards functional obsolescence. It seems that while often viewed as a “disrupter” for real estate, e-commerce is gradually emerging with a symbiotic relationship beyond the first clicks-and-bricks rapprochement.

Labor Shortages

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As labor shortages in the construction industry continue to rise across the US, demographic projections are indicating that the issue will only intensify over the coming years. As of April 2016, there were over 200,000 unfilled job openings in the building and construction industry. More young people than ever are seeking higher education and therefore remaining out of the workforce longer at the same time that the Baby Boomer generation is slowly leaving the labor force creating a significant shortage of skilled laborers. These shortages are poised to not only reduce the number of projects undertaken by developers (some are already hypothesizing that this may have been a key factor in preventing over building in 2016) and delay the timing of these projects, but may also drive up the cost of new development. This, in turn, may see a push towards developers opting for projects that target the luxury end of the market in order to help cover costs.

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-10-09-10-am“One thing is coming through loud and clear from the Emerging Trends interviews: you can find opportunities in any of the markets in this year’s survey, whether the market is number-one Austin or number-78 Buffalo. It all comes down to your strategy, risk tolerance, return requirements, and access to deals. If the markets are the squares on the chessboard and the property sectors the pieces, then there is an almost infinite combination of moves that can be made.”

To read the rest of the Urban Land Institutes report on Emerging Trends in Real Estate for yourself, click HERE.

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KADIE PANGBURN
MARKETING COORDINATOR
CRUNKLETON Commercial Real EState Group
KADIE@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM

Four Signs That Your Company Could Benefit From A Change Of Space

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Let’s face it. Nobody likes moving. The thought of having to pack up and relocate everything to new space can be daunting. But for some businesses, an ill-fit space could be holding them back from realizing their firms full potential.

Here are four signs we’ve found may signal that it’s time for a change of space for your company:

1) Your Current Location No Longer Represents Your Company’s Brand

Whether you’re are small creative start-up or a large, innovative corporate tech firm, if you’re working out of an office space that looks like it could be a time capsule from the 1960s, it may be time for a change.

Studies have shown that when your work environment contrasts too greatly with your brand and company culture, it can have a negative impact on your employees and can also make it increasingly difficult to attract the new talent.

Most employees want to work in an energizing, fun and inspiring environment that compliments the brand they’re working to help create. So if your office space is crowded, disorganized, and in desperate need of repairs, you may be missing the opportunity to subconsciously remind your employees of your brand’s core values that you want them to represent in everything they do.

Since the appearance of your office says so much about your company, it’s important to keep in mind that employees and clients will start to make assumptions about your firm the moment they walk up to the building it’s housed in. The question you need to ask yourself is, what assumptions will people make about your company? What story is your space telling about your brand? And more importantly, is that the story you want to be telling people?

2) You’re Struggling To Make The Space Work Efficiently

Is your office space starting to feel a bit like a maze, with departments haphazardly laid out here and there where you can fit them? Do you find yourself spending half your day navigating from one end of the office to the other in order to communicate with all the employees you need to?

Even if you physically have enough space in your office, it simply may not be laid out to best fit your needs as a firm. Or perhaps the layout is simply too inflexible to keep up with your changing needs as your company grows and expands.

Most companies act like a living breathing organism, they grow, they shrink, they change shape and sizes constantly. Having an office space that allows for those changes without splitting departments or moving people to inconvenient areas of the office can be a key factor in how efficiently you are able to operate.

A good rule of thumb is that you should be operating within a space that offers a range of different types of workspaces: open areas, space for small teams, space for large teams and space for individual workers in addition to dedicated space for private or confidential conversations.

3) Your Space Can No Longer Accommodate Your Technology Needs

In today’s world technology is constantly changing. In the 1960s we needed an entire room just to house one computer, now we can house that same computing power in the palm of our hand. It only follows then that as the technology our businesses utilize changes, the space it interacts with and lives in must change as well. However many businesses find themselves working in offices that simply cannot keep up with those changes.

And while technologies tend to be getting increasingly smaller, more and more sophisticated copiers, printers, computer monitors and a multitude of other machines invented to help increase our workplace efficiency are taking up more room than ever and beginning to encroach on human workspace in many cases. Each computer, printer, copier and fax machine needs so much open space around it to prevent malfunctions due to overheating and to allow access to its controls.

In addition, your office may also need to keep up with increasing demands for data connectivity. Dead spots that affect your employee’s ability to connect to wireless service, or the inability to utilize a high bandwidth connection, may decrease your employee’s productivity potential.

4) Your Location Just Isn’t Working Out

The visual appearance of your office is one thing, but the old adage still holds true, location, location, location can be everything. The convenience of your office to your target employees and clients has the potential to make a huge difference in how your business can compete in your industry.

Commute time alone is often a large deciding factor for many employees. Long or heavily trafficked commutes are highly taxing on employees, and that stress may affect their work when they finally make it to the office.

In addition, proximity to amenities like restaurants, espresso shops, health clubs, dry cleaners and banks are not only helpful in ensuring the happiness of your employees, but also give you more options for entertaining important clients with ease.

Finally you’ll want to consider how well your industry is performing in an area. Are there too many firms all competing for the same dollars? If so, you may struggle to grow while you fight over the best employees and clients.

So while even just the mere thought of moving is daunting to just about every business owner, it’s important to keep in mind the impact that housing your company in an ill-fit space can have.

If you think your office could benefit from a change, don’t hesitate to call us at 256-536-8809 to see how we can assist you in finding the perfect space to help maximize your company’s full potential!

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KADIE PANGBURN
MARKETING COORDINATOR
CRUNKLETON Commercial Real EState Group
KADIE@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM

Trend Report: The Future of Retail in 2017 – A Changing Environment

As a commercial real estate broker I am constantly asked: what is driving the future of retail and retail shopping centers? What changes, if any, can we expect to see in the coming years?  And how are property owners dealing with the effects of e-commerce on brick and mortar retail?

So today we are going to take a few moments to try and answer a few of those questions, take a look at the changing landscape of retail shopping and the effect it is having on commercial real estate right here in Huntsville, Alabama.

Let’s start by looking at e-commerce, its effect on physical retail, and the opportunities it is providing to those that are willing to adapt to a changing marketplace:

It is no secret that online shopping is influencing the traditional brick and mortar retailers. Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2016 were the largest online shopping days in history and that trend will likely continue. However, does this mean that we are seeing the beginning of the end for brick and mortar retail? Absolutely not. What we are seeing instead is a shift in the traditional shopping center layout and tenant mix. The typical retail store is getting smaller and retailers are focusing more and more on the experience of shopping.

Labeled “Experiential Retail”, retailers are shifting their focus to providing shoppers with a fun and exciting experience. Shoppers not only want to touch and feel the product they are buying, but want to be entertained in the process. This is something that e-commerce can never provide. And not only are the younger generations demanding that experience, they are also willing to pay more to get it.

So how does Experiential Retail and the changing layout of brick and mortar retail affect the commercial real estate market?

Well, this desire for a better experience doesn’t just start once a shopper walks through the door. Consumers want the entire experience to be better, which includes the physical layout of the shopping center and the overall destination. Urbanization and the revitalization of downtowns across the country are a perfect example of this. Even right here in Huntsville we are seeing consumers demand a different experience. The success of projects like Campus 805, Lowe Mill, and The Garage at Clinton Row are great examples of the adaptive reuse of properties to provide a better experience.

What does all this mean for existing shopping centers and landlords?

The term adaptive reuse that I mentioned previously is going to be critical for Landlords of traditional shopping centers. As retailers continue to shrink their footprints, Landlords are going to have to get creative in how to back fill the big box spaces left by shrinking retailers. We are already seeing examples of this across the country and even right here in Huntsville. Large box spaces left vacant are being backfilled by entertainment type uses such as indoor go-cart tracks and trampoline arenas. Medical and dental concepts are even starting to open up locations within retail environments, backfilling former retail stores. There are opportunities out there for Landlords that are willing to think outside the box and be creative.

Despite the ever-growing presence of e-commerce, we are far from the end of brick and mortar retail. Consumers are willing to pay for a better experience and the ability to touch and feel what they are buying. This is evidenced in the fact that online giant Amazon is getting into the brick and mortar game with physical retail stores and even a grocery store. There will always be a place for the traditional retail store, it just might look different and be located in different areas than what we have grown accustom. Retailers and Landlords that are willing to change their mindset and adapt to the new environment will have a competitive advantage going forward.

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Originally from Tennessee, Zac studied business management at Samford University. After moving to Huntsville in 2001, Zac started out his career in banking, wealth management and financial planning. In 2010 he joined Crunkleton and has since become the VP of Leasing for the commercial real estate group where he focuses on retail leasing and development.

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Zac Buckley
VP of leasing
CRUNKLETON Commercial real estate group
ZAC@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM