Category Archives: What you need to know

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Beginner’s Guide To Investing In Commercial Properties

Successful commercial property investment requires an understanding of the complex market factors at work, unique financing requirements, property management options, leasing arrangements and a good grasp of the potential risks.

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An understanding of these factors will provide a reliable basis for the selection of commercial investment properties that will succeed, being either retail, industrial or office.

The following considerations apply equally to large and small commercial property and will help to identify suitable locations and opportunities for investment.

Understand the commercial property market drivers

The fundamental driver for commercial property growth is similar to the residential market – it’s demand. However, commercial demand is driven by economic factors as well as population growth.

A strong economy is fundamental for any successful commercial property investment. Booming commercial markets are supported by strong international, national and local economies.

As the economy starts to grow, transport companies experience the first signs of growth, driven by the increased demand for materials used in the manufacture of goods for sale, an increase in imported goods and/or an increase in building. Transport stocks begin to rise on the back of increased business and earnings, more jobs become available, and the demand for office space increases.

As the economy continues to grow, the demand will start for warehouse space, then retail, followed by office.

Other factors that influence commercial property demand are:

 

Interest rates

The Reserve Bank of Australia uses interest rates to manage inflation. Increasing interest rates helps slow growth; the cost of money is higher and the rate at which companies can grow is reduced. Additionally, increasing rates reduces consumer spending. This has a slowing effect on the demand for both commercial and residential property.

Infrastructure development

The development of infrastructure can increase the demand for commercial property. The opening of the M7 bypass around the western outskirts of Sydney led to an increased demand for warehouse property in the outer ring close to the M7 exits. Cheap land and access to good roads provides impetus for transport companies to move their warehousing facilities.

 Demographics

As different segments of the population are motivated to move to different locations, new opportunities arise. For example, the ‘sea change’ Baby

Boomers have increased demand for healthcare services, among others,

in coastal centres, and new suburbs with young families require greater childcare facilities.

As lifestyle becomes increasingly important, more people want to work nearer to home. Thus there has been an increase in the number of small offices located in lifestyle suburbs such as the northern beaches area of Sydney.

Population growth

Locations that have strong population growth require many services. As new suburbs spring up, shopping centres are built to service the growing consumer demand. Grocery stores are required, then cafes and specialty shops, support services (small industrial), and then office space.

 

Retail spending

Consumer spending increases demand for product, so the requirements for warehousing and retail outlets increase.

Understand the risks

A well-researched commercial property investment can be very lucrative and require little attention for some time once it’s tenanted. However, awareness of the risks will enable the investor to be prepared for adverse circumstances.

 

Risks to be aware of:

  • Lease terms 
    Long-term leases of 3–5 years or more can have advantages, but it takes longer to find a tenant if the property becomes vacant. Prolonged periods of vacancy are common and an investor will need to be able to handle the carrying costs during this period.
  • Size of commercial property
    Larger commercial properties can be harder to lease than small suites and will cost a lot more to hold.
  • Supply/demand
    Changes in supply conditions can create potential problems. An increase in new property coming onto the market in the same area creates a threat to existing tenancies as tenants may look to upgrade or expand. Strong supply can also reduce potential yields.
  • Changes in infrastructure
    Major infrastructure implementations or changes have both a beneficial and negative effect on commercial property returns. While infrastructure can attract commercial investment to an area, it has the negative effect of drawing tenants from existing areas. Keep in mind that areas close to CBDs are always popular. However, new growth areas further away tend to have more pronounced cycles.

 

Investment structures

Individuals, companies, syndicates of investors and trusts can purchase commercial properties. For individuals or groups of less than five, an ideal structure to use is a Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF), so long as no mortgage is required, ie, the fund can purchase a property outright. An SMSF can also provide investors with tax benefits.

 

Finance

Commercial property finance is often more complex than normal residential funding. Some financiers specialise in commercial property finance because of the complexity of some situations.

 

Normally banks will lend up to 70% of the value of the property but this value is often based on the rent/yields achieved by the property.

Management

The management of commercial property is usually undertaken by commercial agents who operate more like ‘dealmakers’ than traditional residential agents.

The agent will try to match the property with an appropriate business and can lure businesses by arranging attractive deals, like rent-free periods, free fit-outs and the like.

The lease

The details in the lease can make or break a commercial investment.

Considerations are:

 

  • Leases can be three, five or even 10 years with an option to renew.
  • Rental increases linked to CPI.
  • The tenant pays all outgoings. This includes rates, water, body corporate fees, etc.
  • The tenant makes good any physical changes (often the tenant will be allowed to install partitions etc, however, the owner reserves the right to have the office, shop or warehouse restored to its original condition). This enables the owner to rent to a suitable tenant when the existing tenant leaves.
  • Some types of tenancies may require special council approval, for example chemical treatment facilities (such as those used by an electroplater), medical centres, childcare centres and so on.
    Leases over a certain value are registered with the Department of Lands (NSW) or equivalent in each state.

Conclusion

Small new or ‘off-the-plan’ commercial suites or warehouses in high-demand areas provide a lower risk option for investors to enter the commercial property market. Entry prices range from about $250,000 and initial returns are often guaranteed for the first year. After this, regular yearly CPI increases help maintain reasonable yields.

Having the ability to let newly finished offices or warehouses adds to the attraction of this type of commercial investment.

However, this doesn’t negate the requirement or importance of understanding and managing the associated risks. This information will hold the investor in good stead as they move into larger commercial deals.

 


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Buying or Let ting

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With the Kenya SGR has transformed ordinary location to Prime Locations for investments.Commercial business premises have become a hot-cake in the property market in Nairobi and leading urban towns. The allure of ultra-modern offices in up-market business addresses like Nairobi’s
Upper-hill, Westlands, Kilimani, Ngong Road, Mombasa Road and some locations in the ever busy Central Business District has remained attractive to many businesses.
Increased growth and commercial might has also seen an increasing trend where businesses are not only buying, but established brands are building own premises with state-of-the art facilities and Wi-Fi connectivity.
This transformed best speaks of the executive nature that doing business is leaning towards in Kenya, as it has put local-owned businesses at a globally competitive platform.
The reality is that choosing to buy or build own business premises is a big commitment for any business — big and small, but on the plus side, owned business premises is a good investment and a long-term asset that will potentially increase in value.
It pays dividends to first gauge on whether it might be better to operate from rented premises or to buy. There are benefits and drawbacks to both.
Some businesses operate in an industry that makes the ability to change location quickly and easily an important factor. To others, the line of business could be historically linked to a specific location that renders the ability to relocate unlikely.

AFFECTS PROFITABILITY
To buy premises, a business will need to sink some capital into the building, and probably take out a commercial mortgage.
This may affect the profitability of the business for some time, and restrict the ability to find or borrow capital for new projects.
On the flip side, the monthly mortgage repayment is likely to be less costly than a rental payment on the same property and it is not just going into anyone’s pockets.
When buying business premises it is advisable to ensure that the planning allows for any changes that may necessitate to be made. It is also good to check if it has asbestos roofing — as it will be an expensive bill to remove it.
However, renting premises gives business organisations greater control over their cash flow. Rents tend to be fixed, whereas mortgage payments will be affected by interest rate rises.
Owners will have to pay for extra buildings insurance. For all businesses, there are other costs to consider, including utility bills, business rates and stamp duty (sometimes tenants have to pay this on commercial leases).
Leasing comes with minimal responsibilities. The owner bears responsibility for any damages or dysfunctional infrastructure, maintenance and repair works within the building. This can be time consuming and added responsibility to a young business.

Owning a premises may not give the flexibility that a small business requires as it grows. Renting therefore, may be the better option for smaller companies as they can move to bigger premises and eventually own premises.
The flip side is that owners can do virtually whatever they like within their own buildings, such as creating extra space. That may remove the need for a move. This is an option that may not be open to tenants.
Often lease agreements state the premises must be put back to the original state when they are vacated – that could mean thousands of pounds of improvement work you have done has to be ripped out.

BEFORE SIGNING THE DOTTED LINE…
Finally, here are some general tips from business owners with decades of experience in commercial property:
• Leases: Understand every term and condition in the offer including the total cost until the lease ends and ask the Landlord to confirm in writing that the offer meets the Lease Code.
• Negotiate lower rent and better terms: Do not accept the first rental figure without haggling.
• Opt for short-term leases: You never know what is around the corner, so in your first few years shorter leases are better. It may mean you pay a little more, but one day you may appreciate the ability to move quickly.
• Check how rent is reviewed: If you are going to be facing a possible increase each year, it is better to know about it from day one.

Buying
• Buy property in growth areas: If the government has announced a town to be a growth area, there is likely to be initiatives to attract new jobs. Which means more employers who will need business premises. That could have a positive effect on the price of modern business properties.
• View more property: Just as with home hunting, you should view a number of premises, and consider how their size, location and proximity to aomenities will affect your business and its staff


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TIPS FOR OWNING A HOME

What is involved in buying a residential property?

Buying a home is an exciting time. But, as one of the largest purchases you’re likely to make, it can also be seen as one of your best long-term investments – so it’s important that you get it right. This means doing your homework and making sure that the property you will eventually buy is the right one for you in terms of price, location, value, size and lifestyle.Muthaiga Square Residence

Why should I buy a home instead of renting?
You will have a sense of personal satisfaction owning your own home. You will be able to create your own private space that is unique to you. When you own, you can do it all your way!
Owning a home is the possibility of the home increasing in value over time. If you rent, you write your monthly check and it is gone forever. At the end of your lease, you have nothing and face the possibility of increasing rental rates. By purchasing a home, you are entitled to deduct the property taxes you pay as a homeowner.

What factors do I need to consider when buying a home?
Good city services, social amenities proximity and a playground if you have kids, convenient shopping and transportation, a track record of sound development and good planning–these are just a few considerations that are important to many people when they choose a community in which to live.

Can international Buyers purchase property?
Yes, they can, the ideal way to purchase property in Kenya is to appoint a lawyer here and he/she can act on your behalf. Your lawyer will liaise with us in order to have the sale agreement signed by you, for the payment of the deposit, and will also undertake to get the title of the property transferred into your name once the development is complete and the payment is completed.

When should I start looking for a mortgage?
The best time to look for a mortgage is before you look for a house. This enables you to determine the amount of money you can borrow and what house you can afford.

How does one obtain financing in Kenya?
Financing for the purchase of properties can be obtained from Mortgage companies, Banks and Building Societies in Kenya. Details on mortgage schemes, interest rates, repayment terms etc can be obtained directly from them.
What are the property transfer procedures and charges?
The property transfer charges are 2% of the property value in addition to an accelerated installment, payable whenever a property is sold to completion.


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What you need to check before committing to an investment.

It could Land, Houses, Apartments e.t.c.Important things you need to understand and check before you get into a property transaction in Kenya. Like any legitimate business, there exists the very real possibility of getting swindled.

To avoid complications, it is first important to check the validity of the title deed, the zoning of the property and whether the land rates and taxes have been paid up to date. It also necessary to check if there are any caveats against the property or any pending disputes on ownership.

After all these check out, the process of purchase is pretty straightforward. But if you are new, it will save you a lot costly mistakes to enlist the services of a qualified legal counsel.

Then there is the issue of financing. If you choose to get a loan or a mortgage to finance your property investment venture in Kenya, be sure that you fully understand exactly how much you are going to pay back. Flexibility on the payment terms is a very good thing.

Finally is the consideration of security and insurance. Real estate investment, as any other asset, should ideally be insured. Shop around for the best insurer, and make sure you understand the terms, especially the fine print.


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Why Invest in Kenya.

WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER INVESTING IN KENYA.

Of late Kenya has been attracting Global attension, especially after the GES summit that happened in Nairobi in July 2015. International media has picked this up as expected. A great take I liked was by Forbes , a nice article entitled Why invest in Africa’s Fastest growing economy.

It is an open secret that the business environment in Kenya has been great, with many multinational companies setting up office in the recent history ; big names like Google, IBM, Microsoft, ORACLE, SAP, Coca Cola, GE just to mention a few.

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I know you have seen the “for sale” sign on those apartments on your way to work, a number billboards about property open days as you sat in the notorious Nairobi traffic jam, or you just saw a whole newspaper page advert on a new real estate development in Nairobi. All these signs suggest something, the real estate sector is flourishing. It has experienced it’s share of good performance over the years, contributing to 7.85% and 8.12% of the GDP for the last two years respectively according to the Central Bank of Kenya economic review.

This growth in real estate in Kenya is mainly driven by a huge housing deficit being experienced in housing in Kenya. Currently, the Kenya urban population is growing at an average rate of 4.2% annually resulting in a demand of about 150,000 new housing units every year. The market is only supplying about 20,000 units per year, leaving a yawning deficit. In Nairobi alone, the housing deficit stands at 80,000 units annually according to the Planning and Housing Executive Committee.

This factors present a superb opportunity for those wishing to invest in property in Kenya. With rental returns having grown by 9.7% over the past year and property prices having increased 3.46 times over the last 15 years, the prospect of making a neat return on investment real estate in Kenya is almost given.

For more information, Please contact Us. info@islconsult.com Park Suites | 5th Floor | Suite 17 | Parklands Road | +254717302718


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Mortgages in Kenya fall under two types:

1. FIXED RATE MORTGAGES

The borrower owes a percentage of the loan as interest. This amount never changes and remains constant over the life of the loan.

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2. VARIABLE/ADJUSTABLE RATE MORTGAGES
In this type of loan, changes in the credit market are reflected in the repayment rates. Equal repayments are made on a reducing balance. Part of the interest rate risk is transferred from the lender to the borrower. Variable rate mortgages are widely used where fixed rate funding is difficult to obtain or prohibitively expensive.
There are several factors that broadly define the characteristics of mortgages in Kenya and elsewhere globally. These may include;

• INTEREST
This is what banks gain from the loan from the repayments made. Interest may be fixed over the life of the loan or it may be variable, changing at certain predetermined periods. It may rise or it may fall, depending on existing market conditions.

• PREPAID AMOUNTS
Some lenders will limit or restrict prepayment of part or the entire loan. If the borrower decides to prepay, then he may also pay a penalty to the lender for the prepayment.|

• AMOUNT AND FREQUENCY OF PAYMENT
In some cases, lenders may offer the borrower an option to increase or decrease the amount paid, without incurring penalties. The amount paid per period is variable.

• PERIOD OF THE LOAN
This refers to the time period the loan is lent out for. The borrower may be required to pay the entire amount after that lapsed time period. He may also be required to pay a certain amount at the end of some predetermined period.

 

For More information, Please contact us. info@islconsult.com Park Suites | 5th Floor | Suite 17 | Parklands Road | +254717302718


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Buying a Home? Reasons why you need an Agent.

While house hunting TV shows tour the neighborhood, close the deal and throw a housewarming party in 30 minutes, real life is not as streamlined. If you’re in the process of buying a home, here are signs it’s time to call a realtor.

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1. You believe everything on the internet
While you can view tons of listings online, not all of the information is accurate or up-to-date. You’ll see outdated comps, conflicting forecasts and different ratings. With access to the MLS and insight on properties about to hit the market, a Realtor will make sure you’re considering all of the homes in your market that fit your criteria.

2. You’re juggling a hectic schedule
You don’t need to spend time sorting through listings and contacting sellers. An agent will do the browsing so you only visit the homes that best fit your needs and price range.

3. The biggest thing you’ve negotiated lately was your kids’ bedtime (and you lost)
As professional negotiators with years of experience, Realtors know how to create, present and negotiate the best offer. Remember, you’ll be going up against another professional negotiator: the seller’s agent.

4. You don’t know if a neighborhood is on the way up or down
An agent who knows the neighborhood can give you the scoop about local developments and changes that don’t always pop up in a Google search. He or she will also put them in context of larger market forces that could impact the future value of a home.

If you’re looking for an experienced professional to guide you through the home buying process, look no further than ISL Consult. Find an experienced agent to work with here.


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Why you need to move from your office.

Move Your Office If…

#1: It’s in an Undesirable Location

While there are a lot of things you can do to improve your current office changing its location isn’t one of them. If your office is in an undesirable location, then you may have trouble attracting the kind of talent you need to meet the demands of your business. This is especially true for companies that require employees with highly specialized skills and technical expertise. A convenient location is also key to serving your target market—whether that means being closer to clients, distributors, or even the competition.

#2: It’s Costing You Clients

A bohemian-style loft may be the perfect place to start your company, but if your business image is changing, your office must too. Just as a non-profit group’s choice to hold a swanky address would raise more eyebrows than funds, an office that doesn’t fit your brand image could be detrimental to your business. Your office creates an impression of your team and its work. An unprofessional setting will send the wrong message to prospective clients.

#3: Facilities Are Outdated

Are your services and utilities unreliable? At best these challenges are an inconvenience that can hinder the day-to-day activities of your business. At worst, outdated facilities pose serious health and safety concerns to employees and visitors. Make sure your building is up to code. If an inspection reveals any violation, have the problem fixed, or move.

#4: The Market Tells You It’s Time

Maybe you entered an up-and-coming neighbourhood and a favourable real-estate market means your modest investment will now yield a profitable return. Take advantage and upgrade your facilities for future growth—even if it is a little ahead of schedule. On the other hand, you might have office space in that same neighbourhood and the gentrification means you can no longer afford your rent. Even if you’d prefer to stay, fiscal responsibility says it’s time to relocate.

#5: The Team is Unhappy

Happy employees are productive employees. Bottom line: if your staff is unhappy in their work environment it’s time to make a change. When constant construction postpones projects, staff raises and bonuses, you need to consider that an outright move may be your best one.

#6: Your Renter’s Contract/lease Agreement Prevents You From Remodeling

If you know you could make your space work better with a few minor renovations, but are unable to renegotiate this in your lease agreement, start looking elsewhere.

#7: Cost Concerns

Recent changes in your industry may require you to make an unplanned investment in new technology, or marketing. To compensate for the additional expense, you may need to drastically reduce your overhead—especially if you’re a small business. Reducing rent and utility costs by moving to a more affordable office can keep you in the black.

#8: It’s Not the Right Size

Whether there are too many or too few of you, your space just doesn’t work. Productivity plummets in overcrowded offices when employees can’t concentrate. But too much space is equally unproductive. If you’ve downsized and can’t repurpose unused areas in a meaningful way, the ‘emptiness’ could hold a negative energy. Find an office that fits your company now with a view to the future.

#9: It’s Not the Right Fit

Is your corporate culture handcrafted or high-tech? Family-focused or driven by young professionals? Your office should reflect the beliefs and values of your organization. If it doesn’t, you’ve got a good reason to move. Choosing an office space that fits your corporate culture can help you attract and retain the best talent. It may move you from the city to the suburbs, or from a historic building to a newly constructed office complex.

#10: Infrastructure Changes

Adding or removing in-house departments will require more than few desk changes. Departments have their own unique equipment and design requirements that may cause you to move your office from one floor to two, or, into an entirely new building. Opening a new location or separating a manufacturing facility from the main office may mean transferring staff, furniture, and equipment across the city, or even the country.

If you can tick one or more of these boxes, it’s time to hire professional office moving services.

When you move your office for the right reasons is an exciting time in your company’s history. Your staff will know you’ve been paying attention, and they will be dedicated to making your new office, and your business, a success.

 


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Considerations before getting an office.

If you’re in the market for an office space, what you choose is incredibly important to your business.

Not only does it affect your day to day operations and your staff morale, but also your brand image. There are so many things that can impact which office you choose; however, there are five factors that are absolutely crucial to the process. Overlook one of these, and you could end up disappointed.

  1. Location

“Location, location, location.” We’ve all heard that famous phrase, which drives home just how important location is when choosing a space for your office.

Here are two really important questions to ask:

Can my clients get there without a hassle?

Can my employees get there easily?

If you find an office that ticks these two boxes, then you’re well on your way to finding a good location. Think about the security of the neighborhood as well and what’s close to the office. Is there a gym nearby? Coffee shop? After work bar? All of these things are important for keeping your clients and staff happy!

  1. Price

Price is probably the most important factor to most businesses when they’re choosing a new office. If you spend too little, you’ll either end up with an office you’re not happy with, or you may find yourself moving out after a few months. Spend too much, and you might struggle to pay the rent or have to move again to downsize. Neither of those scenarios are ideal.

Here are a few important questions to ask when considering how much to spend on your next office space:

Can I afford to pay a three month rent deposit on this office right now?

Have I asked about any hidden costs? (Maintenance, extra cost of parking, etc.)

Is this office priced in line with similar office spaces in the area?

Question one gives you a very broad indication of affordability and asking about hidden costs helps you protect yourself against being stung with charges you didn’t expect. The third question is simply to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. Always do a quick comparison with other offices spaces in the area to make sure you’re getting value for money. Read More


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