When I list my property with a commercial real estate brokerage firm, what sort of marketing services can I expect?

In addition to the actual real estate brokerage, showing and negotiating services; your Commercial Real Estate (CRE) broker will provide marketing services for your lease or sale listing. The variety of services and market range varies from company to company. Because visibility and marketability separate your property from the rest on the market, it is wise to review your options with your broker prior to listing. While these opportunities may look different at each firm, marketing strategies should include three areas of expertise and action.

RELATIONSHIPS: Much of real estate success is based in the relationships within the business community. An audience with the active owners and landlords of the community can bring your property into the limelight. A CRE brokerage house should have relationships with local chambers, business organizations, development councils and participate in community events and networking. Relationships with municipal boards and committees provide answers to the logistical/zoning questions regarding the best location for your business. While you might think of marketing as ad sales and large signs, the value of marketing potential through relationships with clientele and investors can be more effective than any billboard.

DATABASE & MEDIA: CRE brokerage websites should, at a minimum, be designed to offer a personalized property search and a unique property listing page with customized brochures including photos, floor plans and detailed listing information. They might also include daily blog posts of property news and local market information. In addition to a firm’s own website, your property should be listed on local and international property platforms, bringing in leads from all markets.  Ask how email and internet marketing campaigns are customized to highlight your listing. And finally, review the firm’s social media posts to ensure that posts are current and relevant.

PRINT: Print marketing comes in different forms including custom signs with QR coding technology, custom brochures, and targeted snail mail campaigns if it is determined to be advantageous for the listing and the demographic.

While each CRE firm offers different services, it is imperative to understand their marketing strategies in order to be confident in the exposure and market placement of your sale or lease listing. – Swisher Commercial Marketing Team

To view the marketing services provided by Swisher Commercial, CLICK HERE.

Why should I hire a commercial broker to find my office/industrial/retail space as opposed to the residential agent that found my new house? They’re all realtors, aren’t they?

On the surface it may seem that residential and commercial real estate are similar and can be handled by any licensed Realtor, but in fact, they are vastly different. To assume that your residential broker could also provide you with commercial real estate opportunities would be similar to asking an orthopedic doctor to do heart surgery…not wise. Specialization and knowledge are critical.

Consider, “What are your future business needs and how can real estate serve those goals? versus “What is your family looking for in a home and neighborhood community?”

 · Commercial agents have current market knowledge and have built relationships with local commercial property landlords and municipalities that can span a decade or longer; just as residential agents know their local sales history and current inventory of houses. These are two different markets and there is little crossover.

· Your commercial realtor will know that commercial property listings are not maintained in just one place and while your local residential MLS system may provide the homes for sale in your area, it will not have thorough coverage of the commercial real estate available. Contacting your commercial real estate broker will give you a glimpse of both on and off-market opportunities for your business using commercial search databases.

· A commercial sales contract differs from a residential property lease or purchase agreement. A commercial realtor will be well versed and understand the critical differences of the buyer, seller, landlord or tenant’s investment. Issues such as CAM (Common Area Maintenance) and  Lease type (NNN, modified gross or full service) can be explained by your commercial broker. Other factors, including but not limited to, zoning use, parking information, property visibility, floor plan, power capability, and data access for specific use. Property or suite improvements (referred to as Tenant Improvements – TI’s) may be needed and should be included in the lease. 

Commercial real estate needs are best handled by commercial brokers with the specialty knowledge and local market connections. While residential brokers can help you find the right neighborhood and pick out a home with the perfect backyard, don’t forget that your future business should be in the hands of a commercial broker. – Charlie Koenn, Associate Broker

Building relationships…property showings with care!

Swisher Commercial is happy to announce that in-person property showings are back on the calendar! In support of a healthy community, we are introducing new showing procedures to protect our clients and brokers while conducting business and exploring commercial real estate opportunities together.

  • Showings are limited to four attendees total, including showing brokers.
  • All attendees will be required to wear a face mask.
  • Subject properties will be prepared for contactless showing, doors will be open and lights on. Gloves will be offered to clients as a courtesy.
  • No handshakes or contact is allowed.
  • Marketing materials will be provided virtually prior to the showing, or upon request post-showing.

Swisher Commercial’s brokers will keep our clients informed and prepared to tour in order to assure that our clients’ safety is a priority. Property showings with care! For more information, reach out to our office at (734)663-0501 or info@swishercommercial.com.

When preparing to list my property for sale, what information will my listing broker ask for?

There is certainly not one answer to this question.  Every broker, property owner and property are unique and offer different outlooks, amenities and challenges. However, thoroughly understanding the physical property is paramount to the marketing of a property in your community. Your commercial real estate broker will need to know the strengths / weaknesses of each represented listing or parcel. Providing site history, property data (i.e. building height, HVAC type, number of elevators, etc.), utility information, floor or site plans, and tenant history will shape the product that your broker can market. To complete the marketability of a sale property, your broker can provide information on zoning, area specific comps, and knowledge of property attributes that are attractive to the current market.

It is also important for the broker to understand the priorities and motivation of the seller in order to position each property to best align with those priorities. Bring your business goals, your motivations for selling and all property information / history to the table so your commercial real estate broker can market your property to its greatest potential! – Mike Giraud, Associate Broker

Where can I find zoning and permitted use information for a property that I am interested in?

When selecting a possible location for your business, zoning ordinance and use guidelines can be an indication of whether a property is a good match or can even be considered for your business plans. There are a few resources that will guide you to the zoning information that you need in order to understand permitted uses of the property.

In the state of Michigan, a good place to start is by logging into BS&A Online. Other states will have BS&A Online or something similar. BS&A Online is a collection of services providing instant and convenient access to important pieces of information recorded by respective local government entities. A Public Records Search allows title companies, realtors, and other interested parties to view municipal information. Some municipalities provide access to property information free of charge, while others may charge a small fee for each property search. This information is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Another valuable online resource is your County’s Geological Information Services (GIS) mapping website such as Washtenaw County’s — CLICK HERE. This will allow you to navigate detailed maps as well as look-up a specific property parcel to understand zoning, lot descriptions, ownership and more. With such a vast amount of property information available through exploring map layers (not limited to zoning, and including historic districts, floodplain boundaries, environmental evaluations, etc.), GIS information can be overwhelming. Washtenaw County offers a simpler property/parcel look-up system for those who want to streamline their research process. Be sure to have a property address, tax ID #, or legal owner name as your search criteria. Then CLICK HERE.

Finally, review the municipality’s online Planning & Zoning site. This will provide detailed information including zoning maps, zoning codes (i.e. RM1, CB2, PUD, etc.), ordinances, and definitions for Permitted/Allowed Uses and Conditional Uses. If you have questions that are not clearly answered by Planning and Zoning descriptions, contact the municipality Building Department using the phone number provided on the Planning and Zoning site. It is recommended that future buyers and tenants reach out to the municipality to confirm use suitability.

While many online sources of information will outline the zoning of a property, reaching out to a local commercial real estate broker can be beneficial. A local broker can provide additional unique information regarding possible uses or advantages for your business being located in a specific zoning area. In many cases, the broker already has a relationship with the municipality zoning department to guide a client through zoning hurdles. Don’t hesitate to ask your broker to help research the zoning of a potential property. –Tony Caprarese, Associate Broker

How does vacancy data effect my real estate decisions?

Commercial real estate sale values and lease rates are impacted by “supply and demand” much like other commodities. The vacancy data for a market can also have an effect on plans for new commercial development, options for small businesses to expand into larger office footprints and financial feasibility for entrepreneurs looking for small office space. Both the sale and leasing market can benefit from this knowledge.

For instance, the best reliable source for office and flex space vacancy rates in the Ann Arbor Area can be found in the annual Swisher Commercial Vacancy Report. The year-end reports include the breakdown of vacancy rates by sub-market, and charts the vacancy trends over the last 27 years. It provides the most precise insights into the Ann Arbor office and flex commercial real estate market. – Bart Wise, Associate Broker


Who is CAM?

CAM is not a who, but rather a what, and is more specifically, Common Area Maintenance. CAM is an unacknowledged presence at the building you currently lease or are contemplating tenancy. It could potentially include snow plowing, landscaping, lighting the hallways, cleaning the public restrooms and a myriad of other services that make a property function day to day. In some lease types, CAM is included in a tenant’s monthly rent to the landlord. However, in a net lease, it may be quantified to a tenant as a lease line item. In a net lease, separate lease line items may include landlord expenses such as real estate taxes, casualty insurance, and yes, CAM, which are in addition to the base rent rate.
Joe Palms, CCIM, Associate Broker

Why is Ann Arbor a good city to own Multi-Family Income property?

One short answer is the University of Michigan. Low vacancy rates, relatively high lease rates and ongoing demand, all contribute to the attractiveness of owning residential income property in Ann Arbor. With the seasonal flow of thousands of students and an equally impressive number of faculty and university employees, the demand for housing is unmistakable. Also, it should not be overlooked that Ann Arbor is ranked 3rd in the country as a tech hub, attracting tech entrepreneurs and industry giants alike. Ann Arbor’s multi-family income property owners can expect their properties to be consistently occupied if buildings are well maintained and offer Ann Arbor residents the proximity to their needs and interests.

If you are interested in personalized recommendations on how to grow your income property portfolio, contact our office to speak with a broker at (734)663-0501 or info@swishercommercial.com. – Mike Giraud, Associate Broker