Office Tenant’s Guide to Commercial Real Estate Tenant Representation

Unlike brokers that represent landlords and owners, Tenant Representation brokers specialize in representing the best interests of tenants and space users only on the lease and purchase of commercial real estate.

The value a business can gain from hiring a tenant representation broker to handle its corporate office space, just as it would hire a CPA for financial and an attorney for legal matters, is so significant, it’s essential every business owner understands the benefits. With real estate typically being a business’s second largest expense, companies can’t afford to overlook the benefits of professional tenant representation services when thousands of dollars are ultimately at stake.

Successful, savvy business owners either employ an in-house corporate real estate director to manage their property, or outsource their requirements to a professional tenant representation advisor. Those that don’t are missing out – on potentially thousands of dollars in lost revenue and wasted money that could quickly and easily be converted into profit!

There are no savings to be had by not hiring a tenant representation broker.

Every listing agreement compensates the landlord’s broker with an industry standard fee, which the landlord’s broker shares with the tenant’s/buyer’s tenant representation broker if they have one. This incentivizes the landlord’s broker to find a tenant that isn’t benefitting from their own tenant representation broker, because the landlord’s broker will receive the entire fee for negotiating against them! There is no discount to be had by not hiring your own tenant representation broker so you should take advantage of this service because the full commission WILL be paid on every listing whether you are represented or not. Furthermore, tenant brokers’ negotiating expertise and intimate knowledge of commercial real estate can easily save you an average of 30% in occupancy costs in today’s market, several times greater than the full listing fee!

You can quickly and easily save thousands of dollars by hiring an expert commercial real estate negotiator.

An experienced tenant representation broker’s negotiating expertise can typically reduce your occupancy costs by approximately 30%, several times the total commission paid on a commercial lease transaction! The office leasing and buying process is complicated and risky and should only be handled by an experienced professional. Just as you hire a CPA for financial and an attorney for legal matters, hiring an expert tenant representation negotiator to navigate the complicated and risky commercial real estate process is essential to achieve the maximum money and time savings, protection and benefits for your business.

Avoid conflicts of interest unlike a landlord’s broker, your tenant representation broker is 100% committed and accountable to you only.

Just as a landlord’s broker’s obligation is to represent their client’s best interests, not that of a tenant’s, your tenant representation broker’s obligation is to represent your best interests only. Hence, you expose yourself to a huge conflict of interest when you use one or several landlord brokers to “negotiate” for you on their own listings, and you are far less likely to receive the level of service you would from a tenant representation broker who is committed and accountable to you only as their client. Unlike a landlord’s broker, your exclusive tenant representation broker is 100% accountable and committed to you because they have a legal responsibility to represent your best interests, not those of a landlord.

Unlike brokers that represent landlords and owners, tenant representation brokers avoid conflicts of interest by specializing in exclusively representing commercial tenants and space users. The best way to avoid a conflict of interest and ensure your broker is representing your best interests is to execute an agreement acknowledging their legal obligation and duty as your representative. By doing this, you can also expect a higher level of service, commitment and accountability as the broker knows he will ultimately be rewarded for his efforts. Owners and landlords exclusively engage their own brokers to guarantee the best possible terms and you should too!

Save hours of your valuable time and thousands in company dollars by hiring a professional to manage the real estate process for you.

When you’re running a business, time is money, and searching for space and negotiating office lease transactions often takes longer than expected! The commercial office leasing and buying process is extremely time consuming and can place a huge drain on company time, money and resources. Not only do tenant brokers advise you on the best strategy so you don’t head off in the wrong direction, they’ll save you huge amounts of time by preparing property listing reports, scheduling and conducting property tours, submitting proposals, negotiating and reviewing leases and managing tenant improvement and relocation projects. Outsource everything but the decision making to your tenant representation broker and benefit from the peace of mind that they will professionally manage the process and save you a huge amount of personal time and money while you focus on running your business. Your exclusive tenant representation broker will of course also save you thousands of dollars in occupancy costs by negotiating the maximum concessions on every transaction.

Protect yourself from exposure to real estate risk.

The office leasing and buying process is complicated and risky. Just as you would hire a CPA to manage your taxes and an attorney to represent you on legal matters, the real estate process should only be managed by an experienced professional that understands all the pitfalls and intricacies of the transaction. We take risk out of the equation by professionally and expertly managing the process down to the smallest detail and advising you on the most risk-free strategy for achieving your objectives and protecting your business from unexpected real estate risk.

Benefit from professional tenant representation to achieve the best results for your business.  

Due to the relatively inert nature of real estate, maximizing the operational efficiency of your office space can be a challenge, especially if your business and your space needs are evolving. Opportunities for businesses to grow and change are often hindered due to the restrictions placed upon them by their office space. Don’t let your office space hold you back! Find a tenant representation broker with the expertise you need when expanding, consolidating, or relocating facilities, renewing or restructuring existing leases or purchasing a commercial property  for your business.

A tenant broker’s role is is to provide you with the comprehensive data and impartial advice you need to make the right corporate real estate decisions and, in turn, provide the most economical, operationally effective and risk free real estate solutions for your business.

Get instant access to every available real estate listing and opportunity.

The most important phase of the real estate process is identifying and qualifying suitable opportunities to lease or purchase. Without a tenant representation broker it would be extremely time consuming and futile to attempt to thoroughly survey your target market as, unlike the residential market, the vast majority of commercial office space listings are not available online. Furthermore, searching for commercial space through landlord/listing broker is unlikely to give you exposure to every available opportunity as they may only introduce their listings, and calling numerous brokers is extremely time consuming. A landlord broker is encouraged to steer tenants to their own listings as they receive double the fee if they represent their client, the landlord, as well as the tenant. Tenant representation brokers have no incentive whatsoever to steer you to particular listings and are completely impartial as they are representing you, the tenant, and are subject to the same listing fee structure regardless of the property.

By hiring a tenant representation broker, you can be guaranteed exposure to every available listing opportunity and also receive impartial, objective advice on the suitability of the space to your business needs. A good tenant broker will go to great lengths to assist clients in determining their specific real estate requirements and locate and evaluate properties that meet their exact needs. Not only should they have access to all the commercial real estate multiple listing services, but their in-depth knowledge of specific commercial real estate submarkets will give you access to all off-market availabilities and pocket listings to guarantee you access to every opportunity. They will also prepare a comprehensive survey of every commercial MLS database, leverage their intimate knowledge of the marketplace to research every suitable off-market property and aggressively market your requirement to every owner and listing broker. This creates powerful negotiating leverage as multiple landlords compete for your business!

Real Estate Tax Strategies And Forming An LLC

The 1st step in doing any real estate investments is to start a business. There are different types of business entities: sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Company (LLC), Series LLC (only in certain states), Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), LLLP, S-Corp, C-Corp. Series LLC can be set up in following states: Delaware, Iowa, Oklahome, Tennesee, Utah, Wisconsin.

Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages. The only true flow through taxation entity and the most beneficial in terms of holding real estate is Limited Liability Company. Limited Liability Company allows you to pay for business related expenses with pre-tax dollars. It is very important to understand that when you get paid and receive your paycheck, your taxes are already deducted and all your expenses whether they are real estate or business related are deducted on AFTER-TAX basis. When you have an LLC, you take all business expenses, deduct them, and pay income tax on what is left over. LLC does not require records and minutes of meetings. Filing paperwork is limited to articles of organization that lists LLC members. Tax Advantages: LLC is a pass through entity and if it is a single member the entity is considered disregarded by IRS. A corporation is subject to double taxation where not only the profits are taxes but also distribution in the form of dividends are taxed as well. The other advantage is flexibility in terms of LLC ownership transfer. LLC ownership is guided by Operating Agreement, which is an internal document. In order to change ownership all that needs to be done is the Operating Agreement and no filings are required besides updates with IRS for given tax ID number. LLC is the only entity that is NOT subject to loss limitation! It also has less filings than an S-Corp and very easy to maintain. If you have multiple properties, have them each in LLC and have one LLC to be your holding company that would own all the other LLCs. For tax purposes your main holding LLC will be a sole member LLC for the other ones and you will need to file only one tax return. In addition to the tax benefits LLC also allows you to have a basic level of asset protection. If your business owns the assets, they are separated from your personal assets and in case of a law suit they can not be touched. Please, note that LLC is a BASIC level of asset protection and if the opposing party has a good attorney there are many ways how your personal assets can become a part of a law suit. It is called piercing corporate veil. For example, you are required to have a separate bank account for an LLC. If your LLC owns your property, then all property relates income and expenses have to come out of that particular bank account. If this is not done, the LLC status can be disqualified and your personal assets become part of the lawsuit. Your LLC must be in good standing with the state and your must have adequate information on your article of organization. The purpose of the business must be clearly stated with no exclusions and you must file amendments when necessary. If you buy real estate, you should say that you buy, hold, rent or lease residential real estate; if you sell, you must state that you buy for the purpose of resale for profit, etc. In some states it is necessary to publish LLC in a local newspaper, and it can get very expensive; in other states like Maryland you need to pay annual fee, which is currently $300 a year. You need to check on your state requirements and guidelines and always be in good standing with the state.

Primary Residence. If you have an LLC, you might need an office and conveniently enough it could be in your personal residence. According to IRS Code 288G, you are allowed to deduct rent payments for your office space in your personal residence.

Depreciation. It is the most beneficial deduction in real estate! While your real estate is appreciating, you are allowed to depreciate it over the life of the building, which is 27.5 years and take the deduction against your income. However, depreciation is allowed only against the building, land can not be depreciated. For example, if you own a house thats worth 100,000, the value of the building might be only $80,000 and the value of the land is $20,000. Thus, you are allowed to take depreciation expense against the value of the building only.

Accelerated Depreciation. You might have heard from your accountant that accelerated depreciation is not allowed against real estate, and it is true, but there is a way to make improvements deducted in prior years and it all depends on how they are classified. For example land improvements such as curbs, sidewalk, and landscaping are depreciated over 15 years; personal property is depreciated over 5 years. Items that are considered personal property according to IRS code 1.48-1(c) must have one of the following features 1. accessory 2. function 3. movability. Basically everything that is an accessory, functions or movable is real property. If you are doing a rehab and can install movable walls, you can deduct the cost of improvements over 5 years. If they are not movable, then you will have to take 5-6 times less deduction for improvements in the next 5 years. Make everything you can either function, be an accessory or make it movable! One commercial developer built his office building with light weight movable walls and was able to deduct $80,000 that same year.

DEALER status. When flipping properties it is important to avoid “DEALER” status. In some case it can be avoided by flipping properties through different entities, in some cases by doing a few transactions, but the easiest “investor friendly” way is to simply state your INVESTMENT INTENT. If you state that your investment intent is buy, hold, lease, and rent properties unless forced to sell under certain conditions like need for working capital, you can get away with not being considered a DEALER.

IRS Red Flags. There are also certain things you should not do that would raise red flags to IRS and you might get audited. First, do not report too much rental income loss, there are plenty of expenses you can find to reduce your pre-tax income. Second, do not over complicate your asset protection structure. Having too many business entities on top of each other, or having domicile headquarters in Las Vegas, NV, tax free state could be a red flag. Reporting losses for more than 2 years always raises red flags. The common sense behind it: “if you do not make money why are you still doing business?”. Reporting excessive donations, high expenses vs high income can also cause an audit.

Property Taxes. Real Estate Investors are subject to a number of taxes including property taxes. Assessed value and market value of the property always have a gap. In 2007 assessed value was normally lower and in 2010 it is 99% of the time higher than market value of real estate. The taxes are not always reassessed depending on the market cycle and it is your responsibility to dispute them. In state of Maryland it is allowed to dispute personal property taxes within 60 days off settlement date or file before the end of the year for the next year hearing. Even though taxes are a deduction against income, they are not a tax credit, and the more you can minimize your expenses the more profit you will end up with. In order to successfully dispute your tax bill you would need to show the comparables and recent sales prices of real estate in your area. You will also need to compare the real estate that was recently sold to your property in terms of structure, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, amenities, etc.

Capital Gains Taxes. This type of tax is imposed only when you sell the property. The difference between purchase price and sales price is subject to this tax. There are exemptions to homeowners who lived in the property for at least 2 years and the amount of profit. There is a way to defer capital gains taxes by doing a 1031 Exchange. Make sure that you contact an escrow company and do everything within IRS guidelines. According to this IRS rule you can sell your property, find another property, make an offer within 45 days and settle on a new property within 6 month and defer paying capital gains taxes. According to the IRS tax rules, the property you are buying must be “likewise” property, meaning it does not matter if it is bigger as long as it is “investment” just like the one you just sold. So you can buy a single family house and buy an apartment building as long as both were investment properties.

What is essential to know before setting up an LLC?

The NAME. Your business should be in the name of your LLC. Most companies name LLC by the street address, for example 17 Lexington Ave LLC…I prefer to name them by the number and street name only without St..Ave..Ct.etc For example 17 Lexington LLC. It is just easier to remember and shorter to write. When you get a number of LLCs set up it starts getting confusing which one was St or Street or Ave, and the correct spelling of the LLC is essential in absolutely everything you do.

CHECKING NAME AVAILABILITY. Once you pick the name, you need to check the name availability with the Secretary of State Office. In many states in could be done online, and if you go to Secretary of State Office, they can check it there for you as well. I like to go in person to file all paperwork just because I can get everything done right there and get all paperwork in my hands the same day. In state of MD it costs extra for expediated service but it is worth paying because you need to get your bank account and everything else straightened out right away.

ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION. Articles of Organization is the name documents that lists members and managers of the LLC. It does not have to be registered with the state, at least in MD and NY.

REGISTERED AGENT OR RESIDENT AGENT. An LLC requires a resident agent to serve on behalf of the LLC. It can be a business entity or individual that resides in the state where LLC was formed. For example, if you live in state of New York, you can list your name and address as a registered agent, or hire a company to represent the LLC. If the LLC is formed in another state, it is necessary to have a registered agent in that state.

LLC organizer. Members of LLC or somebody authorized to register LLC.

EXISTENCE of the LLC is perpetual and does not end with the death of its members.


1. Start without a budget. It is necessary to incorporate budget for setting up LLC, which includes filing fees, fees to maintain LLC (in state of Maryland department of assessment and taxation required $300 annual payment just to maintain LLC in good standing), fees that accountant will charge extra at the end of the year to file taxes, some states require LLC to be published and it might be VERY costly (e.g. in New York it can cost a couple thousand dollars, but Maryland does not require publishing at all), initial contribution requirement needs to be met, annual fee to resident agent, separate bank fees might be charged for an business account like checks, monthly service fees.

2. Neglect to check the name availability. It is absolutely crucial to check the name availability for LLC before filing and paying the fee that might be non-refundable! Not only that, if you file paperwork, you wil probably have the same LLC name where the title is transferred to the property and it can become a problem.

3. Always hire an attorney. It is not true that only an attorney can file paperwork and write up documents. Anybody can be qualified to file on behalf of LLC, and in many cases it is unnecessary to pay attorney fees.

4. .Neglect the other paperwork. It needs to be checked what paperwork is required and needs to be filed in each state, and it is YOUR responsibility to check even if you hire a professional to do it for you.

5. Contribute lots of Caputal-might not be a good idea. Each state has a minimum amount required to be contributed to the LLC. Only this amount or what you need is necessary to contribute, because if you need to withdraw funds it becomes distribution of capital which is a taxable event in the eyes of IRS.

6. SKIP over BUY-SELL agreement. It is necessary to have an exit strategy, especially when LLC is a partnership because you never know what can go wrong and it is always better to have everything in writing.

7. Get tax ID later is not a good idea because it is better to get everything right away including a bank account. Without tax id you cant have a bank account and without a separate bank account IRS can disregard LLC as a business entity

8. Just ballpark the income tax. Never estimate what your income and expenses are and keep accurate records of everything. If you have a separate LLC account for the property, write checks from that account for all expenses including maintenance, state fees, property taxes, management fees, advertising fees, and all other expenses related to that property.

9. USING LLC account for personal benefit is absolutely unacceptable and can be VERY COSTLY. If you ever get in a lawsuit, the other party may sephina bank statements. If LLC account was not used solely for the purposes as stated in operating agreement and contain unrelated expenses, the status of the LLC can be disregarded and you can become personally liable for the law suit.

Property Management-Real Estate Management – A Booming Career Option

Almost similar to the management function in any other business, property management also implies operation of residential, commercial, or industrial property. In literal words, this may stand as managing a property on behalf of its owner in his/her absence or lack of time. This branch of management includes a wide array of functions related to maintenance of buildings including damage repair, paint, and substitution of any fitting. Property management, also referred to as Real estate Management, at times also involves rent collection, outgoings of payments, insurance payments, paying the maintenance staff, and negotiating with the current and prospective tenants.

Right from the residential apartments to villas, and from small shops to commercial malls, people engaged in the property management service cater to all your property related needs. Not only this, they at times also undertake personal property management, thereby taking care of equipment, tools, and all the related corporeal capital assets attained and employed to build, renovate, and sustain end article deliverables.

Real Estate Management or Property Management actually entails the procedures, organisms, and manpower needed to administer the life sequence of acquired properties. These procedures may include two or more of the following features like acquisition, maintenance, control, liability, operation, and disposition.

Roles of a Property Manager
One of the most important roles of a property manager is to act as a buffer between the landlord and the user of the property. He/she acts as a liaison person who makes both the parties agree on mutually beneficial terms. The property mangers accept the rent on the behalf of the landlord from the tenants and address all the maintenance issues on behalf of tenants. This service thus benefits both the parties equally and is hence flourishing with the upcoming boom in the real estate sector.

Property management service is beneficial either for working professionals who do not have time to search for their desired place or for property owners staying outside Canada. Such landlords definitely need to hire some manager to look after their property and to liaise with their tenant constituency.

This service has many different facets to it. It includes managing the financial transactions of the properties, participation in the litigation process as well as initiation of tenant litigation and signing in of the contracts with maintenance companies, security companies, and insurance companies.

Although litigation is an altogether different stream which is entrusted only upon trained attorneys of the area, yet most of the management services undertake the property litigation themselves. For this, they also at times hire real estate attorneys on an hourly basis who do the freelancing for the former. The majority of legal matters that draw the attention of property managers are cases pertaining to

* Evictions
* Public nuisance
* Non-payment of rent
* Non-payment of bills
* Harassment due to damages and
* Diminution of pre-arranged facilities

Therefore, it becomes quite mandatory for the property managers to be updated on all the law practices applicable under municipal, county, and state law.
In the present scenario, various magazines and journals also publish the desired property details. Such journals tend to publish mainly the following

* Contemporary market trends and research
* Market data digests and reports
* Area-wise deep analysis of property trends
* Various judgments and updates in property law and
* Property reviews based on market research

That is to say, these journals adopt a wide subject abate and address key concerns ranging from the economic, physical, and social aspects of Property management to international perspective.