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Top 5 questions to ask before investing in commercial real estate

Water fountain & Buildings

Water fountain & Buildings

Topic description: Commercial real estate investments can provide first-time investors hassle-free, high net yields, as well as healthy capital growth. However, commercial real estate investing isn’t foolproof. One of the ways investors get scammed or don’t maximize their property’s potential is that they fail to do due diligence. Smart investing begins with knowing how to ask the right questions. Consult a professional real estate broker about any questions that come to your mind, no matter how ridiculous they may sound. One of the most critical aspects of putting money into commercial property is understanding your risk appetite and investment options. Read the article to find out more.

While many of us now work from home and companies are letting go of costly office space, that doesn’t mean we are saying goodbye to offices. Coworking spaces will be in great demand in 2021 and beyond, and companies will look for additional land to grow and expand. This means that now is the time to consider investing in commercial real estate while prices and demand are relatively low.

Commercial real estate investments can provide first-time investors hassle-free, high net yields, as well as healthy capital growth. However, commercial real estate investing isn’t foolproof. One of the ways investors get scammed or don’t maximize their property’s potential is that they fail to do due diligence.

Smart investing begins with knowing how to ask the right questions. Regardless of where you intend to invest your first real estate dollar, there are five questions that you need to ask before investing in commercial real estate in Texas:

  1. Is there a continuing demand for commercial real estate?

    It can only get better after a global health crisis, and so the answer is yes, yes, yes. Commercial real estate is not limited to floors of office space or free-standing office buildings. The sector encompasses various types of property, from streetside retail space, shopping centers, industrial parks, warehouses, and even farms and ranches. First-time commercial land investors should also be aware of the latest real estate trends and developments.

  2. Where is the commercial property located?

    In the real estate industry, location is absolutely everything. The same applies to commercial real estate. A city that is attractive for homes, apartments, or condominiums may not necessarily be profitable for self-storage, car parks, or other commercial assets. Research into the economic potential of the town or city. Conduct extensive due diligence to verify if the property’s location and position within that city can attract high occupancy and even higher profitability. In addition, manage as many site-specific risks – such as natural disasters and noise pollution – as you possibly can.

  3. Do the property guarantees make sense?

    If the guarantees on the commercial property sound too good to be true, then they probably are. If the commercial land has a guaranteed income period, an investor should check that it makes sense. Compare the guarantees on the space with other local properties, particularly the rental and sales demand. Assess the market for nearby cities and properties.

  4. Can the developer be trusted?

    If the developer’s real estate portfolio shows inexperience in the industry or poor build quality, then the property may have limited profit potential. It’s also worth looking at the performance of previous developments, ideally in the same sector. That way, you can determine the performance and track record of the developer.

  5. Does it fit with my overall investment goals?

    A number of investors often overlook two important elements: how well an investment fits their goals and where it will fit within the existing portfolio. What might be an excellent asset for one investor may not be suitable for another. Remember that diversity is essential; commercial real estate offers a great opportunity to achieve this without spending a fortune.

How Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Caliber Realty can help achieve your commercial real estate goals

Real estate can enhance your investment portfolio in many ways. By asking yourself and discussing our top five questions with a knowledgeable commercial real estate agent, you can go a long way in determining whether investing in commercial land is right for you. Don’t hesitate to ask a professional real estate broker any questions that come to your mind, no matter how ridiculous they may sound. One of the most critical aspects of putting money into commercial property is understanding your risk appetite and investment options.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Caliber Realty understands that commercial real estate can be complicated. Working with city, county, state, and federal regulations can be exhausting and frustrating at times. Finding commercial financing can likewise be cumbersome.

We are skilled and focused on addressing issues that may arise. We are also versed in helping you find the right entities and solutions, and providing the legwork necessary to resolve any potential problems. Whatever your particular commercial real estate needs may be, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Caliber Realty can help make your investing experience exceptional.

One of the most important skills any real estate investor must learn is how to find great real estate deals. Do you need help finding commercial property for sale in College Station and other areas of Texas? Contact Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (BHHS) Caliber Realty at 979.694.8844. or email sales(at)bhhscaliber(dotted)com today.

How to improve your workspace at home

Woman sitting with laptop

Woman sitting with laptop

Topic description: If you’re one of 9.2 million Americans who now work from home – and may eventually continue to do so on an extended or permanent basis – it’s time to take what was once a temporary home arrangement and turn it into a lasting solution. Get your laptop off the kitchen table into a home office nook of your own. Trade in the kitchen island barstool for an ergonomic chair guaranteed to do wonders for your back. Look for a place with natural light to experience significant improvements in productivity – and gain you 46 more minutes of sleep at night! But don’t forget to make it fun! Add a whiteboard or noticeboard where you can list brainstorming ideas, scribble your to-dos of the day, or write mantras that can inspire you throughout the day. Read on for more home practical office tips.

As Americans continue to stay home to combat the coronavirus’ spread, more work teams are shifting to remote or work-from-home arrangements. This means fewer distractions, no commutes, less noise, and more personal space.

At a time when millions of people are working from home more than ever before, now is an excellent opportunity to get some home office inspiration. Whether you are working from home for the first time or for many years now, here are our tips on how to improve your home workspace. As a remote worker, taking the time to choose the right setup thoughtfully is a worthy investment.

Have a dedicated workspace

First-time remote workers tend to camp out on their kitchen island, couch, or dining table. These places, however, are uncomfortable, cramped, and bring many distractions. Find a more permanent space in your home for work and work alone. But when choosing a dedicated workspace, consider your working style and the nature of your work, as well as your family’s needs.

Add color and vibrance

A home workspace doesn’t have to look like a typical office desk. Add color, vibrance, and personality to the space with a colorful pillow, family photos, artwork, or a coffee corner. For focus, light a scented candle, listen to your favorite music, or add a potted plant from outside. Work won’t feel like a chore in a workspace with charm and character.

Mix natural and ambient lighting

Did you know that adults who get natural light sleep 46 minutes longer than those who don’t get natural light? People who work under natural light also experience significant improvements in productivity. Bring in a mix of natural and ambient lighting to the workspace by opening windows and adding a soft light desk lamp. Better yet, move the desk by the window for a beautiful view.

Invest in a desk

Choosing the best desk for the home workspace involves considering how much room is available. It needs to be big enough to accommodate a laptop or desktop computer while providing space for manual tasks, taking notes, and sorting files. Remember: the desk is a piece of furniture that will last you decades and, when cared for properly, can be passed on to your loved ones.

Pick a comfortable chair

Don’t slump over your desk and crane your neck so much that your back aches. A comfortable and ergonomic desk chair is the backbone of an effective workspace. After all, most of your day is spent sitting on it. Investing in a good desk chair will make a notable difference in your work life. To find the right fit, pay attention to back, thigh, and arm support.

Hang a noticeboard

For all the modern wonders of the computer, we’re constrained to its mode of function: the keyboard and the monitor. This is where a corkboard or whiteboard can be the analog solution. Incorporating a whiteboard into your work environment is a fun alternative for scratchwork and brainstorming ideas that need space to conceptualize. Writing to-do lists, notes, outlines, deadlines, and mantras on your noticeboard can be a huge productivity boost. Get your creative juices flowing by having pens, markers, and colorful notepads nearby.

Hide any cords

A messy workspace covered in tangled up cords and cables can be stressful to look at. Arrange cumbersome wiring neatly into the corners of your desk and walls. Using cable ties, covers, clamps, or molding is another option.

Clean up and declutter daily

You wouldn’t want all your efforts to go to waste after a few days or weeks. Keep your workspace neat, tidy, and clutter-free with a storage and filing system. Purchase some shelving and storage accessories that are functional and stylish and will encourage you to keep everything where it should be. After all, a clear desk is a clear mind. And don’t forget to make room for office equipment, such as printers, scanners, and document shredders.

The home workspace is part home office, part homework study, and part home admin center. However, it just doesn’t have to be the space where you get things done. The workspace should showcase your unique personality. Even though work-from-home situations and preferences may vary from person to person, the best piece of advice is to stick to a daily routine and stay productive throughout the day.

Do you want to learn more about living in College Station, Texas? Looking for things to do in the university town? Get in touch with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (BHHS) Caliber Realty at 979.694.8844 or email sales(at)bhhscaliber(dotted)com today.

5 DIY projects that increase your home’s value

Family working on their House

Family working on their House

Topic description: If you’ve been stuck at home doing office work for the better part of the year, isn’t it about time to embark on a little home improvement to get your hybrid work-and-living space up to snuff? With a little time and money, you can invest in making your home a better place to live and work. You can also think of this project as something that will bear fruit in the future, when you decide to sell your home. Many such projects do add value to the house. You don’t need to tear down walls or install a new HVAC system – some of the most uncomplicated DIY projects will make your home more comfortable and marketable. Here are 5 home improvements you can do on your own.

People have been staying at home for the better part of the year and with the growing number of companies now allowing their employees to work from home on a permanent basis, it’s time to focus on a little home improvement.

With a little time and money, homeowners are investing in their houses and making them a better place to live. They are also considering the benefits of minor improvements to their home to make it more attractive to potential buyers.

Whether homeowners want to list their home on the market in 2021 or sell long after, many DIY home improvement projects can be done to add value to the house. While there is no need to tear down walls or install a new HVAC system, a home’s value can increase with simple DIY projects.

Besides making the home more comfortable and marketable, there are other great reasons to improve the comfort of a home. A good homeowner keeps a record of all the remodels, renovations, and updates made to the house over the years. They are also well aware of the projects that will yield the best return on their investment.

Many of the projects that add value to a home are not complicated. Today, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Caliber Realty recommends five DIY projects that will increase a home’s value.

  1. Spruce up the yard

    First impressions matter and that goes for the curb appeal of a home. First, scrape off any flaking paint on exterior walls and patch it up. If the property has a lawn or a front yard, cut, mow, and landscape to make it picture-perfect. Add some potted plants for an inexpensive option. Homeowners who want to invest more time and money can set up a backyard fire pit or plant shrubs or bushes. Show buyers what they can do with the space with some gardening inspiration.

  2. Add lighting

    Brighten the home without breaking the bank by opening windows, cleaning skylights, and changing or removing outdated curtains. Homeowners with dated light fixtures on their ceiling can update them with something a little more minimalist, eye-catching, or modern.

    Another relatively easy change a homeowner can make is to replace light fixtures with LED bulbs. Not only do they reduce the cost of electricity, but the house will be sold much sooner. If you have more money to invest, consider smart lighting or dimmers.

  3. Update the bathroom

    Bathrooms are the sanctuary of the home and, therefore, should not be ignored. Next to the kitchen, it’s what buyers are most interested in viewing. Make sure it’s spotless at all times. Check for leaking taps and poor drainage. Instead of completely retiling the bathroom, recaulk gaps around the toilet, tub, and shower for waterproofing. Replace outdated faucets with newer, more functional sets. Scrub away the dirt between the floor and shower tiles and touch up the grout as well.

  4. Give the kitchen a new look

    With all the cooking and entertaining, the kitchen is one of the busiest parts of a home. It’s also the top area of the house buyers are interested in. Paint kitchen cabinets, cover old flooring with a modern carpet, replace the faucet, and swap out knobs and handles for a more contemporary design. Homeowners who want to invest more may wish to replace their countertops with a sturdy butcher block or porcelain, which mimics the look of marble but requires little maintenance.

  5. Paint

    A fresh coat of paint works wonders for any part of the home. Painting interior rooms, the fence, the exterior, or even the front door is one of the easiest projects that can be done to increase a home’s value. For most rooms, choose a matte neutral shade, such as gray or taupe. Lighter and brighter tints will make rooms appear larger and more inviting than darker colors. Homeowners who haven’t painted much should pay close attention to their taping to ensure no paint gets on the floor or molding. For exteriors, pick a glossy coat. Consider painting the front door black, as this has added thousands of dollars to the home’s selling price.

    Homeowners don’t need a huge budget or highly technical skills to bring most of these DIY home improvement ideas to life. These projects will not only add value to the selling price of a property, but they will also deliver an incredible return on investment and build confidence in basic woodworking and home improvement skills.

For professional advice on selling or listing your Texas home, get in touch with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (BHHS) Caliber Realty. Contact our experienced real estate agents at 979.694.8844 or email sales(at)bhhscaliber(dotted)com for information on selling properties in College Station and other areas of Texas.

Real estate closing in the new normal

Woman sold her house

Woman sold her house

Topic description: Are real estate companies open for business? Can closing be extended due to the pandemic? Is a signed deed effective even if it has not been registered in property records due to delays under COVID-19? These are some of the frequently asked questions homebuyers have as they navigate their way through the new way of doing things under the new normal. In this article, we provide answers to some of those top FAQs, including adding possible COVID-related clauses to a contract, and employing virtual showings, 360-degree walkthroughs, and electronic signatures in lieu of in-person interactions. Find out what else buyers are concerned about in this article.

COVID-19 has affected the way real estate firms operate. Before the pandemic hit in early 2020, buying a home or commercial property had long been a series of personal transactions. Buyers and sellers met with a real estate agent, toured spaces, held open houses, and signed closing documents in person with legal witnesses from both sides.

However, with the emergence of the pandemic, the practice of meeting and transacting in person has changed dramatically. Since most people don’t want to risk venturing out of their bubble, buyers and sellers have had to find creative solutions. More importantly, it has become even more necessary to bring in seasoned professionals to help manage the process.

Many of our clients have asked how real estate deals are closed in the new normal. Here are our FAQs to address your real estate concerns:

Are you open for business?

Yes. Real estate services like ours are still considered essential services in Texas. However, in some ways, we cannot operate in the same manner as we did before the pandemic. As recommended by the state government of Texas, we implement social distancing and telecommuting whenever possible. We also strictly follow health and safety protocols, such as cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette, at our clients’ properties and in our offices.

A member of our household tested positive for COVID-19. Should we disclose this information?

If a household member has tested positive for COVID-19, it must be disclosed. While there is no need to reveal the individual’s identity, do inform your real estate agent, doctor, and local authorities. They will need to contact anyone who has been on the property for brokerage activities in the last 14 days. A two-week self-quarantine may also be required.

We are about to close a deal, but one of the parties tested positive for COVID-19. Can either of us terminate the contract?

In Texas, home resale contracts do not contain any termination provisions that could be triggered under unusual circumstances such as a pandemic. If there is no strict deadline, both parties can negotiate a reasonable extension due to COVID-19 illness or quarantine.

Can the property be thoroughly cleaned after the seller has moved out?

Suppose a buyer is concerned that the coronavirus will survive on the property after the seller moves. In that case, the buyer may request disinfection or deep cleaning at the seller’s expense. But what if the seller does not agree to shoulder the cost? In this case, the buyer may delay moving into the property to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.

I am concerned about possible exposure to COVID-19 if appraisers and other professionals enter my property. What are my options?

Consider virtual alternatives, such as photographs, 360-degree walkthroughs, live streaming, video conferencing, and other technologies. To sign documents, ask your real estate agent to go paperless and submit and sign documents electronically instead. Another option would be to practice social distancing, prescheduled appointments, and health and safety protocols when visiting, touring, and meeting face to face.

Can we extend the closing due to the pandemic?

Unfortunately, no. The terms and conditions in the real estate contract still apply.

Is a signed deed effective even if it has not been registered in property records due to delays under COVID-19?

Yes, the deed is effective from its execution, even without being recorded. The buyer is the owner of the sold property as soon as closing and payment occur, regardless of whether the deed has been registered.

Can the contract contain clauses related to the pandemic?

Standard contracts do not include a clause for unforeseen situations, such as a pandemic. We recommend consulting your broker and attorney about adding COVID-19-specific clauses.

Closing with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (BHHS) Caliber Realty

Closing a real estate transaction can be tedious and time-consuming. There are documents to sign, lawyers to meet, and appraisals to arrange. The closing stage, in particular, can be the most challenging part of navigating real estate transactions during these unusual times.

However, it doesn’t have to be. Virtual showings, 360-degree walkthroughs, and electronic signatures have become much more widespread and acceptable. Strict government guidelines are in place. Most of all, you can rely on the guidance of an experienced real estate agent to steer you through the rough waters of real estate closing.

If you plan to buy a house in Texas or commercial real estate in College Station, contact Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (BHHS) Caliber Realty. To get in touch with our team of experienced real estate agents, call 979.694.8844 or email sales(at)bhhscaliber(dotted)com.

What to do with a tenant’s abandoned belongings?

Abandoned red couch on the street

Abandoned red couch on the street

It’s a common problem that landlords face: the tenant has already left, but they also left behind personal possessions.

Do you throw them out? Can you keep them for yourself? Are you legally allowed to sell them?

To answer this prickly Texas property management question, we prepared this convenient guide for you:

Prevent this from happening in the future

Hindsight is always 20/20, but now might be a good time to add an “abandonment clause” to your lease contracts. It should cover the steps you’ll take when a tenant vacates their unit. For instance, you may stipulate that left-behind belongings will be stored for 30 days, after which they will be disposed of. Adding this clause also protects you from legal action when you get rid of their belongings after the claiming period.

What can you toss out?

If you’re lucky, most of the tenant’s abandoned stuff will turn out to be junk. This includes things like old magazines, broken furniture, old clothes, and the like. As long as the items do not seem valuable, you can toss them out without much worry. Remember that cleanup and garbage disposal can be deducted from the tenant’s deposit. Be sure to include associated receipts for the cleanup when you turn over the remaining funds to the tenant.

What can’t you toss out?

But what if your tenant leaves behind an entertainment system or a vehicle? Unfortunately, Texas laws do not provide explicit rules for what to do with abandoned property. However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from legal liability:

  • Take inventory
    Doing an inventory of left-behind possessions makes it easier to turn them over if the tenant returns. Have an objective third-party witness (e.g., a neighbor) witness the inventory; this protects you from claims that you stole or destroyed any of the valuables. It’s also a good idea to take a photo to document the quantity and condition of the items. Do not open locked trunks or suitcases – simply note the number of unopened containers in your inventory.

  • Store the belongings
    The location should be secure to prevent theft or damage. You may safekeep items in the unit for now or rent a storage space off-site. Again, the storage fees may be deducted from the tenant’s deposit.

  • Set a deadline
    The Texas Property Code says that you may dispose of abandoned properties after 60 days, but most landlords will set a 30-day cap. You want to give the tenant enough time to reclaim their property, but you’ll also want to minimize storage costs. A shorter deadline is also better if you’re storing items in the unit but have new tenants lined up already.

  • Notify the tenant
    The next step is to contact the tenant and request them to pick up their abandoned items. If these are stored off-site, give them the address and meet them there to facilitate the turnover. Be sure to give them a copy of the inventory and have them sign it to finalize the transfer.

What if the tenant doesn’t reclaim their belongings?

If the tenant failed to show up within the stipulated safekeeping period, you have a few options for how to dispose of the properties:

  • Disposal
    As previously mentioned, the Texas Property Code deems properties abandoned if they are left unclaimed after 60 days in storage. Hence, you are free to destroy them, turn them over for garbage disposal, or donate them to charity.

  • Public sale
    Yes, Texas landlords can sell off abandoned property. This option is especially attractive if the tenant owes money that their deposit doesn’t fully cover. To stay above board, however, sell the properties at a public sale. You should also give the tenant one final notice and publicize the sale through a newspaper.

  • Return monies
    This includes the deposit, less the costs of storing the possessions.

    If the properties remain unclaimed 30 days after you mail a relative or executor to collect the belongings, you are free to dispose of the properties as you see fit.

Got more questions about property management in College Station, TX? Just give Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Caliber Realty a call at 979.694.8844 or send an email to sales(at)bhhscaliber(dotted)com.

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