It wasn’t so long ago that Florida-based commercial property firms started to post job titles like “master real estate developer” in response to the influx of high school students who wanted something on the side. Today’s job titles reflect the need for those same young people to expand their horizons as they pursue real estate investment and/or open new shops and restaurants in areas they love. Those job titles aren’t intended to be jokes, either. In this article, we’ll learn lessons from Douglas Ebenstein, a Miami-based real estate guru whose firm launched a web portal for buyers and sellers to meet with prospective clients.
Real estate isn’t a recession proof industry, despite what the media may try to make you believe. The recent economic slowdown in the U.S. economy didn’t help matters when it came to commercial property management firms looking for local partners in their expansion efforts. Florida-based real estate firms quickly realized that a large portion of their client base had lost jobs or looked set to. While unemployment numbers are expected to rise, more people have been saving their jobs through other means than simply quitting their jobs. As a result, there’s been a large increase in the number of property management firms opening.
Douglas Ebenstein isn’t shy about sharing his thoughts about Florida-based real estate firms in light of the current situation in the industry. Recently, he authored a report called “The September Report” that examines the economic situation in nine Florida counties. While he acknowledges the downturn has hit every industry across the board, he sees the residential housing market in particular as being particularly affected by the economic crisis. The report finds that foreclosures and short sales are hitting homes in all nine counties, with the numbers running highest in the Tampa area. “There is definitely a ‘housing bubble’ in Florida right now,” Ebenstein said. “If you can find properties that sell at prices that can be considered a bargain, you can probably do better.”
What exactly does “a bargain” mean? It could mean saving up to purchase a less expensive home or perhaps getting a better deal on a less expensive commercial property than what you’d expect to pay based on comparable properties in your area. A bargain also could mean saving enough money to finance a down payment on a new apartment or buying a condominium in a Florida-based industrial park. Whatever your goal, it’s important to be realistic in your expectations and goals as you search for a bargain.
In an effort to keep occupied and potential new owners comfortable, many Florida-based commercial real estate brokers offer two-year leases on many of the properties they list. While many may view this as a great option since it means that new owners don’t have to worry about finding a new place to live immediately, if you look out long-term, it could be costing you money. Typically, when a property is leased for two years, it must be rented out for at least three years plus the final year. If you plan on leasing for more than three years, you will be investing in a building that may no longer be usable by its current tenants or that may not have all the amenities that you require for your business operation.
Whether you are looking for a shopping center or a condo, you should check out a few things before making a decision. The first thing you’ll want to check is the number of satisfied tenants to the company. Consumer research firm Westgate Properties found that nine of the ten best franchises were located in Florida. For shopping center and condo companies, the state of Florida accounts for over 40% of their overall business. By checking with your real estate broker and reviewing the local business listings in this manner, you’re sure to find a company that can help you fulfill all your dreams.
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