Credit: Getty Images
Outdoor Landscaping Strategies to Attract Attention to Your Business


If your courtyard, outdoor space, and parking lots are poorly designed and not well maintained, it diminishes a complex’s appeal to potential renters and customers. In regions where the weather allows people to spend more time outdoors, attractive common areas are a landscaper’s purview as much as an architectural or interior design concern. Upgrading outdoor common areas does not need to be an expensive project – it just needs to be well thought out, and you need to have bandwidth and budget to maintain whatever features you get.

To get a sense of what’s drawing in customers, attracting top-tier office talent, and encouraging business tenants to sign a lease, we spoke with Teddy Russell, CEO of Russell Landscape, a commercial landscape firm based in Atlanta and operating in five Southeastern metro areas including Nashville and Savannah—and member of the National Association of Landscape Professionals. Here, Russell shares his expertise for making your building more attractive to potential tenants, especially if you’re in a mild, four-season climate or have year-round warm weather.

Click HERE to read more.


Posted by: Bob Wiley | December 23, 2019

6 Ways to Get Financing for Land Investments

What You Need to Know About Land Loans


Not all real estate transactions are the same, especially when it comes to buying land.

Due to some of the special considerations and risks that come with land investing, getting financing isn’t as cut and dry as most typical commercial deals. Before you move forward on any land purchases, it’s critical to do your homework.

Here are some of the most common ways to get financing for land investments, and tips for choosing which option is right for your needs.

Institutional Lenders
Local credit unions and community banks are more likely to offer loans to land investors. Chane Steiner, CEO of Crediful, a company that helps consumers understand loans, mortgages, and credit, also notes that banks consider land loans riskier than traditional loans. It can hamper the process—especially if you don’t have perfect credit. With most banks, Steiner notes, “The creditworthiness of the buyer is a major consideration.”

To improve your chances, get your financial house in order beforehand. “Provide strong financial statements with assets well in excess of liabilities,” advises Steiner. This statement should show strong totals of cash and other assets, such as security investments like stocks and bonds.

“On the liability side, there should be limited liabilities, such as credit card debt, mortgage debt, and any loan obligations,” adds Steiner.

Seller Financing
“One of the most popular ways to finance a land investment is owner-financing, which is a direct arrangement between the seller and the buyer,” says Ben Mizes, CEO of Clever, a company that pairs buyers with real estate agents.

In this instance, the seller agrees to take payments from you over a set period to cover the purchase price of the land, and typically means banks or other lenders aren’t involved. However, there are still some considerations to pay attention to when it comes to this sort of financing.

First, seller financing (sometimes known as owner financing) usually requires a larger upfront down payment. You might also see higher interest rates as well as shorter payment periods. For example, instead of a 20-year mortgage, you might have to pay off this loan in five years.

For investors who struggle with financing through more traditional options, this might be a fit. However, have your lawyer review any agreements and paperwork during the process.

SBA 504 Loans
The federal government offers both loan and grant programs for people looking to invest in land. One of the more popular is the SBA 504 loan. It’s guaranteed through the U.S. Small Business Administration. A 504 loan allows for the purchase of fixed assets; these are tangible assets for long term use, including land, machinery and property.

SBA loans are small business-friendly and have a unique breakdown:

  • 50% comes from a participating lender
  • 40% comes from a local community development program
  • 10% serves as a down payment from the buyer (this can sometimes go up to 15%)

SBA 504 loans tend to have low fixed interest rates, and the term for land purchase can run 20 to 25 years. Many local credit unions will offer SBA 504 loans. Check with yours to determine if you qualify, the amount of the loan available to you, and the associated fees.

Farm Credit System
Another place to look within the federal government is the Farm Credit System. It’s run by the Farm Credit Bureau, an independent agency that provides, among other things, agricultural real estate loans.

A benefit to working with this type of lender is they typically have plenty of experience lending to land investors and can provide guidance, especially if you’re new to the process.

Be aware down payments for land are usually relatively high. Mizes notes that raw land is considered riskier when it comes to financing, so the down payment required could be as high as 20% to 50%.

However, for younger or first-time investors, there are some programs run by the Farm Service Agency that help reduce the down payment required.

Home Equity Loan
Your current home can be another place to turn for financing. A home equity loan is essentially a second mortgage based on the equity remaining in your home.

There are two types of home equity loans. A standard home equity loan is a fixed rate loan where you’ll get a lump sum of cash upfront that you’ll repay over a set term with a fixed interest rate.

The other option is a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). In this case, a lender would approve a maximum amount available for you to borrow as a line of credit versus a lump sum. You can tap into that amount at any time for any amount (as long as it is less than the maximum limit), very much like you would with a credit card.

With a HELOC, you only pay interest on the amount of money borrowed. You will have to pay back the money you used in full, usually in fixed monthly payments over a set period.

However, it’s important to remember these loans don’t come without risk. If you can’t meet your repayment terms, your home could be in jeopardy.

Retirement Accounts
Some investors tap their retirement savings as another source of cash. However, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a plethora of rules and regulations that cover the use of retirement funds for real estate purchases.

Plan administrators might allow you to borrow against your 401(k), but there are limits. The maximum borrowable amount is typically up to 50% of your savings or $50,000, whichever is less. The loan will also have a set repayment period; if you miss it, you’ll face taxes on the loan and an early withdrawal penalty tax.

Borrowing from a Self Directed IRA is also available thanks to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. However, there are a few important things to note up front. You can’t live in or actively manage any property you purchase through your IRA—that needs to fall to a third-party custodian. You also can’t mortgage the property, and any income generated gets fed back into your IRA.

If you’re thinking about pursuing this route, check with retirement and tax professionals to go over any potential long term impacts and tax implications.

Investigate Your Options
When considering the types of financing available to you for land investments, Steiner stresses it’s best to shop around. “It is important to secure the best possible and flexible financing terms as to interest rate and term of the loan.”

Just know that before you make any decisions, thoroughly investigate the details of the financing. Have a plan ready and speak to the appropriate individuals, including tax, retirement, and loan experts who can help you make the right choice.

Source: Loopnet


Posted by: Bob Wiley | October 22, 2019

Spotlight on Listing!

155 9Th Street, Coplay Borough

Over 14,152 sq ft of warehouse space currently used as Carpenter shop and wood shop. 400 Amp 3 phase electric service. Sturdy clear span construction with recent addition and recent roof. Public water and sewer. Multi tenant potential. Great building for warehouse space or General contractor. Conveniently located in the borough of coplay with easy access to Mac Arthur road and route 22. Basement area with on grade doors for inside parking or storage. Masonry construction on older exterior walls and metal siding on newer addition. Newer addition also has concrete floors. Origional building has Multi layer wood that is approximately 3″ thick. Previous use was banquet hall and prior to that was a silk mill. Bring your ideas with this flexible clear span construction to design your investment portfolio. Call today to schedule your private showing.

With Office and Retail Leases, You Pay for More than Just Your Space

Credit: iStock
Credit: iStock

You might believe that when you lease an office suite, the amount of square feet you pay for is the same number of square feet you’re actually occupying. However, with commercial office buildings you receive (and pay for) more than just your suite.

The actual office space you occupy is called the Usable Square Feet, or USF. All tenants in the building share use of the common areas like hallways, stairwells, lobbies, restrooms, etc. Each tenant pays their pro-rata share of leasing the common areas in addition to their USF. This is how the Rentable Square Feet (RSF) is determined.

Let’s assume a building is 100,000 square feet in size and the common area that can be used by all building tenants is 15,000 square feet of the total square footage. That means the building has a common area factor of 15%.

If you occupy 20,000 USF, you would pay rent on that plus 15% (common area factor) to equal 23,000 RSF.

An office building floorplan with common areas occupying 15% (hallways, restrooms, lobby, stairwell, and so forth), leaving 85% leasable space, may look similar to this:

In the same example, if your rent is $20.00 per RSF per year, because you are leasing23,000 RSF rather than 20,000 USF, your annual rent would be $20 x 23,000 RSF = $460,000/year (or $38,333/month).

About the Author: Beth Young
Beth Young serves as Senior Vice President of Colliers International in Houston, Texas. She develops and executes acquisition, disposition and leasing strategies for investors and users of healthcare and office real estate. She serves as Trustee of the Harris County Hospital District Foundation, Director of the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Women’s Health Network of the Texas Medical Center.

Posted by: Bob Wiley | August 28, 2019

Top 5 Items to Look for in an Investment Property

Location, Physical Condition, and Other Factors to Consider

Credit: iStock
Credit: iStock

You may be interested in commercial real estate as an investment opportunity, but unsure where to start. Before beginning a property search, potential investors should delineate their purpose for the acquirement—such as making the purchase solely as an investor or going in as an owner-tenant—evaluate their risk tolerance, and secure equity.

Once these steps are taken, investors can begin researching and touring commercial investment opportunities. As you evaluate potential investment properties, here are the top five items to look for to ensure the space is worth your resources.


Location is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing an investment property. You’ll want to evaluate the neighborhood, visibility of the property, freeway access, traffic counts, and accessibility for clients in order to ensure the space will be attractive to tenants.

Physical Condition

A critical step in your property evaluation is conducting adequate physical inspections. You’ll want to have a clear understanding of the condition of the roof, mechanical systems, plumbing and structural integrity of the building. Inspections such as a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment will check if historical utilization of the property poses threats to the environment, and help determine the true property value and alert you to potential problems.

Projected Growth

Get familiar with the current and forecasted trends of the area around the property. It’s wise to choose a property where the demographics are stable or growing, and you should also learn which new businesses are moving into the area. If there are any anticipated changes to the road systems, it’s smart to be aware of those as well, as property values may change when roadways are diverted or modified.

Current Tenants

Investors often look for properties with tenants already in place. Tenants’ reputations within their specific market can speak volumes about the character of a business owner, so you’ll want to take a closer look to ensure reliability. When evaluating tenants, think like a bank underwriting a loan, and look for the “Three Cs”: credit, collateral, and capacity to repay. Take it a few steps further and also investigate tenants’ cash flows and the growth projections for their specific industries.


You should choose a property that provides you with flexibility in the event that a tenant defaults, the surrounding area changes, or something else doesn’t go to plan. In these situations, you’ll want to have the ability to change use types or zoning to attract different tenants.

Commercial real estate can be a great investment that can diversify your portfolio and provide you with additional income. When you select a space based on the above criteria, you’ll feel confident that your property investment is worth every penny.

About the Author: Tanner Milne
Tanner Milne is president of Menlo Group Commercial Real Estate , a full-service brokerage based in Tempe, Arizona. He founded the company in 2008 with the objective of delivering value to clients through service, innovation, and solutions. During his career, Tanner has facilitated and negotiated projects and transactions with values of more than $500 million, establishing him as a leader in the medical, office, and condo markets throughout Phoenix.


Click HERE to learn more.

Posted by: Bob Wiley | June 18, 2019

Car Wash Available For Sale

441 S Best Avenue, Walnutport

Profitable Turn-key Car Wash Available in high traffic area of Walnutport. 4 manual wash bays, 1 touchless automatic bay and 6 vacuums. This is the only full-service car wash in Walnutport. It is surrounded by other commercial/retail businesses and residential nearby. $999,000

Posted by: Bob Wiley | March 12, 2019

Posted by: Bob Wiley | February 8, 2019

Successful Restaurant Available for Sale

Have you ever wanted to own your own business? BeanBath Café, a well-established turn key restaurant and specialty café is available for sale. Established since 2011, this award-winning restaurant and café has a beautiful ambient atmosphere, full coffee/expresso bar and free Wi-Fi. They serve breakfast all day and lunch every day from 11:00pm-2:00pm. Accommodations include seating for up to 49 people inside, 12 people outside, a drive-thru window for commuters, or convenient phone pickup for customers. Business is attached to the lease of this space. Flexible lease – either take over current lease or write new lease with landlord.

2425 Plaza Court, Moore Twp PA, 18014
Posted by: Bob Wiley | January 29, 2019


Development Opportunity – 200+/- residential units adjacent to Golden Oaks Golf Course – 96 units have some of the development approvals completed – Seller will agree to an Agreement of Sale contingent on completed development approvals – in addition there is an existing stone farmhouse and a small stone office / house available adjacent to the proposed development area – the existing Golf Course will remain with some modification to the 18th hole and the use of the driving range for the residential construction – the existing clubhouse, pro shop, restaurant, bar facility will continue to operate -public utilities are available – Nave Newell Associates are the Land Planners


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