Category: Consulting

Rising Interest Rates Present Opportunities for Commercial Real Estate Investors

rising interest ratesWhen interest rates rise, it can potentially make borrowing more expensive for commercial real estate investors. This may lead some investors to shift their focus to properties that have stable, long-term cash flow, as these properties may be able to generate enough income to offset the higher borrowing costs. However, rising interest rates can also create opportunities for certain types of investments.

One potential opportunity for commercial real estate investors when interest rates rise is to focus on investments that are relatively insensitive to changes in borrowing costs. For example, properties with long-term leases or properties that have stable, predictable cash flows may be less affected by rising interest rates.

Another option for commercial real estate investors is to invest in properties with strong demand, such as properties in high-growth areas or properties that are leased to creditworthy tenants. These properties may be able to command higher rents, which can help to offset the higher borrowing costs associated with rising interest rates.

Investors might also consider exploring alternative financing options, such as private lending or crowdfunding, which may offer more favorable terms than traditional bank financing.

Finally, commercial real estate investors might negotiate interest rate swaps or caps with their lenders, which can help to mitigate the impact of rising rates on their investment portfolio.

For nearly 40 years, Kelley Commercial Partners has helped provide clients with a competitive advantage. We have the knowledge and experience to help clients navigate through the ever-changing market. Whether you are new to the commercial real estate market or an experienced investor, we are here to help you meet your real estate goals. Contact us today.

Tenant Estoppel Certificates

Are you a tenant? A landlord thinking about selling? Or an investor looking to buy a leased property? If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, it is important that you understand what a tenant estoppel certificate is and the benefits and protections it offers.

What is a tenant estoppel certificate?

A tenant estoppel certificate is a legally binding document signed by a tenant verifying the current status and terms of a lease and specifying any modifications to the original agreement, defaults by the landlord, or other issues relating to the lease. Typically, an estoppel certificate is requested by the landlord as part of the due diligence process before closing on the sale of a property. This statement of facts regarding the lease and the premises estops either party from making a claim that contradicts those facts post transaction.

Tenant Estoppel Certificates Include

If you lease, own, or want to purchase a tenant-occupied property, it’s important to understand how a Tenant Estoppel Certificate can protect you.

Most commercial real estate lease agreements include a provision requiring a tenant to complete an estoppel certificate within a specified amount of time after receiving the Landlord’s request. However, only a landlord wishing to sell or refinance the property would request the estoppel. If a lease does not have a provision requiring a tenant to complete an estoppel certificate, it is in the best interest of the tenant to carefully review and complete the estoppel certificate to verify all pertinent lease information.

Why sign a tenant estoppel certificate?

From the tenant’s perspective, an estoppel certificate informs and certifies to the purchaser of the property (i.e., the new landlord under the lease) and, in the event of financing, the lender of any existing issues they will need to address after closing. For lenders and purchasers, the estoppel certificate verifies information presented by the landlord regarding the tenant, the premises, and certain material terms of the lease, which helps prevent any costly surprises after closing.

As a full-service commercial real estate firm, Kelley Commercial Partners provides landlord and tenant representation. And no matter which side we represent, we are committed to successfully guiding you through the process from the beginning through closing. For all your commercial real estate needs, let us be your partner to success.

Predictions about commercial real estate in Little Rock circa 2050

In this month’s issue of the Arkansas Times, Hank Kelley shared his thoughts about what the commercial real estate industry will look like in 2050. 

Hank Kelley, CEO

Hank Kelley, CEO

Connectivity

There is demand now — and will be in the future — for unique living and workspaces in multiple-story buildings so your space can be close to other residents and professionals, and to other recreational and educational uses. The way we “go to work” now will change over the next 30 years, and the need to have the same level of hard-wall separate office areas within a building will change. More emphasis will be placed on a building’s connectivity for virtual connections than exists today. Even today, mobile professionals regularly chart their destinations based on the connection to credible Wi-Fi. In 30 years, the need for high-quality connections will be a constant and core requirement.

The exterior of buildings will hopefully be a source of energy generation through advances in solar panel technology, but not at the expense of views within the spaces. More filtering will improve indoor air quality. Rooftop decks and balconies with sunscreen canopies will be the norm as people continue to want to be outdoors but become even more concerned about sun exposure.

Mixed-Use

I believe we will continue to see an evolution of larger office buildings to include a mixture in their uses. The cost of converting their use, though, will have to be feasible before developers will invest in the remodeling needed for conversion. The conversion of office buildings to residential and or hospitality (hotel) requires extensive plumbing and mechanical alterations, and those changes will only happen when adequate demand for those uses justifies the conversion cost. In the short run, we will see workspaces within the buildings compressed to more flexible work environments and, in some cases, with even more open floor spaces for cubicle and tabletop workspaces. Landlords will become more flexible on tenant expansion and contraction needs to retain their tenants and use the surplus space they have to attract growing businesses.

The office buildings and existing residential condo buildings in Little Rock’s Central Business District represent the highest density of population per mile in our city and region, and companies will continue to be attracted by the excellent accessibility to both I-30 and I-40. People who live in midrise and high-rise buildings in the Central Business District enjoy walkable amenities now — the Central Arkansas Library, the Robinson Center, the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts — and we believe the demand for walkable amenities will grow over time.

“’Hoteling’ of office space and rotation of in-office and out-of-office workdays will become more of a norm.”

As regards trends toward remote working, we don’t believe the majority of companies will choose a completely remote workforce because of the challenges in maintaining the culture needed to compete. “Hoteling” of office space and rotation of in-office and out-of-office workdays will become more of a norm. We continue to believe there is value in the separation of workspace and living space. The networking component of “going to work” is now and will continue to be a valuable need for workers and companies.

Energy Efficiency

We will see great advances in products and technology to conserve and generate energy, water and land at both the individual user level, but also at the utility provider level. We are hopeful those advances will reduce operating costs and help preserve our natural resources. The office building industry has been active in conservation efforts through the LEED certification process. Maintaining buildings to operate at peak efficiency will become a requirement to own and operate a building, and utility providers will charge non-compliant building owners penalties for excessive consumption.

We expect that fewer people will own their own cars, meaning we will see less of a need for parking spaces.

Finally, inflation will increase interest rates on the debt and the cost of services to maintain existing buildings. Some building owners are not prepared for their debt and operating expenses to increase, as they have been trying to maintain current rent levels with tenants. This means less income is available to pay debt and reinvest in building upgrades needed to maintain an efficient and attractive building. The squeeze of increasing costs will challenge some building owners and cause a change in ownership if those owners don’t have adequate reserves. Tenants will seek out buildings with owners who have the financial resources and desire to reinvest in their properties.

Hank Kelley is CEO and Executive Broker at Kelley Commercial Partners, and has been working in brokerage and property management in Little Rock for 36 years.

Commercial Real Estate Leases: The Basics

Leases: The Basics

 

Whether you are a property owner with leasable land or space or an individual looking for space to lease, it’s important to know the basics of the types of leases that are most common in the commercial real estate world.

Gross Lease

In a gross lease (also known as a full-service lease) the tenant pays a flat monthly rate while the landlord remains responsible for all operating costs of the property including taxes, insurance, and maintenance, as well as other expected costs, such as janitorial service. Because landlords must cover all of the property’s operating costs, the rental rate for gross leases is generally higher than for a net lease. In exchange for paying a higher rate, the tenant has the security of a fixed monthly rent payment, minimizing the possibility for variations in their operating costs, making budgeting more predictable and less complicated.

Net Leases

Net leases shift some or all the operating costs associated with a property to the tenants, and tenants are responsible for that cost in addition to their regular rent. There are three types of net leases: single, double, and triple. Tenants with a single net lease are responsible for one of the operating costs associated with the property, generally the property taxes. With a double net (net-net) lease, the tenant assumes the cost of two of the operating costs, generally the property taxes and insurance. With a triple net (NNN) lease, the tenant assumes all of the property’s operating costs, which include taxes, insurance, and all maintenance costs. Lastly, there is a variation of the triple net lease called absolute net lease (also known as a bondable lease). This type of lease relieves the property owner/investor from all financial obligations and risks associated with the property, including taxes, insurance, structural maintenance, and debt liability. All those obligations are passed on to the tenant normally in exchange for a lower base rent.

Benefits of Net Leases

From the landlord’s perspective, entering into a net lease can simplify the management and operation of the property, which can be especially beneficial if they own multiple properties. Furthermore, net lease rates are typically made for longer terms, which gives the landlord the benefit of long and stable income from the property.

Because net lease tenants assume more of the unpredictable costs associated with maintaining the property, their base rent is often at a reduced market rate. This can mean considerable savings in rent over the long term of the lease. While annual rent increases may be built into the lease agreement, they usually remain below the rate one would pay with a gross lease.

Ground Lease

Yet another variation of a net lease is a ground lease. An owner with undeveloped land may enter into a ground lease in which the lessee agrees to incur the cost of developing the property (i.e., construct a building or business on the land) and in exchange, pays only a NNN lease on the land. Ground lease terms are long, generally 50 to 99 years, but when the lease term ends, the ownership of the both the building and the land revert to the owner.

Negotiating a Lease

Before entering into a lease agreement as “lessor” or “lessee”, know your options so that you can benefit the most from the deal. Agents at Kelley Commercial Partners have the knowledge and experience to walk you through the process and negotiate with your best interests in mind.

Opportunity Zones: The Basics

What are opportunity zones?

Opportunity zones were created by congress as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur economic growth in economically distressed communities. In April of 2018, Gov. Asa Hutchinson proposed 85 tracts around the state be designated as official Opportunity Zones in Arkansas. By December of that year, the US Department of the Treasury confirmed this proposal and all 85 tracts were designated as Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs). There are more than 8,700 designated zones nationwide that provide tax incentives for private investment in low-income communities. Opportunity Zone properties around the state vary greatly. They include urban/downtown, industrial, suburban, and rural areas—but each QOZ shares the same need of a spur in economic growth and job creation. Click here to view an interactive map of opportunity zones in Arkansas.

How do they work?

Investors who wish to take advantage of this program have 180 days to reinvest any prior eligible capital gains into a Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF) and by doing so, they receive several tax incentives on those gains. The QOF is created to invest in an opportunity zone property with at least 90 percent of its assets dedicated to the QOZ. By reinvesting all or a portion of their gains into a QOF, the investor’s capital gains tax may be deferred until the sale of the QOZ investment or until December 31, 2026, whichever comes first. If the QOZ is held for five years, the investor will benefit from a 10% exclusion of the deferred gain; holding it for seven years will increase the exclusion to 15%. Investors who hold the QOZ for at least 10 years will eliminate paying a capital gains tax on appreciation of the QOZ property.

Who benefits?

Investors benefit from the preferential tax treatment while communities benefit from property improvements, job creation, and new businesses. Small businesses operating in the opportunity zone may also benefit with an equity investment from a QOF. There are requirements that must be met to qualify as an Opportunity Zone Business (QOZB), which are outlined in detail in the New Proposed Regulations.

The Opportunity Zones program is a unique and effective economic development tool and an important part of making our communities and neighborhoods stronger, safer, and more economically healthy. As Opportunity Zones grow and prosper, the communities around them reap the benefits, which in turn, benefits everyone.

Learn more:

IRS: Opportunity Zones

Arkansas Economic Opportunity Zones

The information provided here in is not to be construed or relied upon as legal or tax advice.