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Real Estate Consultation

Real estate consulting is sometimes utilized to address a specific atypical issue and at other times is utilized to address a routine task that the client prefers to outsource. For example, some apart...

Real estate consulting is sometimes utilized to address a specific atypical issue and at other times is utilized to address a routine task that the client prefers to outsource. For example, some apartment developers prefer to outsource the market study once a site has been selected. This provides a fresh and independent perspective regarding the probable success of the proposed property. Real estate consulting covers a breadth of areas including market rent study, market study, feasibility study, highest and best use analysis, cost segregation and analysis for an under performing asset. The scope of work for consulting assignments can vary from a highly defined assignment to a complex project involving man-years of work and myriad permutations. For example, one client may engage a consultant to obtain an independent opinion regarding the market rent for an apartment complex while another may seek guidance on plans to develop a 5,000-acre mixed-use community. Clarifying the client's objectives and expectations is the cornerstone of a successful real estate consulting engagement.

Real estate consulting begins with a detailed discussion regarding the concerns, constraints and time frame related to an assignment. Through a series of interactive questions regarding relevant topics the scope of work and reporting requirements can be developed. Real estate consulting could include the following:

  • Highest and best use for 5,000 acres in a metropolitan area; Such a development would likely include single-family, multifamily, retail, office and a variety of other land uses. The development would occur over an extended period of time and require detailed planning and analysis. Correctly allocating the portion of the site to each of the relevant land uses is critical to the success of the project.
  • Highest and best use for 3 acres on a major thoroughfare in a metropolitan area; This type of assignment may involve several stages. The first stage would be to define the appropriate land use. The next stage would be to develop highly detailed building specifications to reduce the risk of the project, increase the rate of absorption and maximize the value to the land.
  • Highest and best use for 40 year old office building in an area of regentrification; The first step of the engagement would be to determine whether the existing office building is the highest and best use of the property. If the building is the highest and best use, the next step would be to review whether it is financially feasible to upgrade the property. If the building is not the highest and best use, the next step would be to determine what building maximizes the value of the land.
  • Market rent study on a floor-by-floor basis for 50 story office building; Market rent can vary based upon both the level of the floor in the building and the view. It is possible a fifth floor view of a beautiful harbor would command higher rent than the 15th floor view of a low income housing area. The arduous part of this engagement would be collecting relevant market data from leasing agents for similar buildings, leasing brokers and perspective tenants.
  • Market rent study on a floor-plan by floor-plan basis for 256-unit apartment complex;
  • Evaluation of efficacy of leasing effort for industrial building; Building owners sometimes become disenchanted with the results delivered by a leasing company. If a building has been vacant or had excess vacancy for an extended period of time, it is sometimes appropriate to obtain an independent perspective regarding the performance of the leasing team.
  • Evaluation of management for an office building;
  • Review of level of operating expenses for an apartment complex; There are many rules of thumb for apartment operating expenses. Operators sometimes referred to apartment operating expenses on a per square foot basis or a per unit basis. Estimating the appropriate level of operating expenses for an individual apartment complex requires detailed analysis. The level of expenses per unit tends to increase for apartments with less than 250 units. The level of expenses per unit increases as the average unit size increases and decreases as the average unit size decreases. The converse is true for the per square foot level of operating expenses.
  • Evaluate whether proposed scope of work to renovate an upgrade an apartment complex is appropriate;
  • Develop scope of work to renovate and upgrade an office building; It may be clear that is appropriate to upgrade a dilapidated office building in an upscale area. However, defining the exact level of upgrading and building materials takes research and analysis. The objective is to obtain the maximum increase in value net of the costs of renovation.
  • Confirm whether a retail strip center is the highest and best use of a site; if yes, develop highly detailed design characteristics including building dimensions, type of materials, number of parking spaces, layout, ideal tenant for end cap, level of tenant improvement to provide first generation tenants, elevation, type and quality of signage, type and amount of landscaping, etc.;
  • Review real estate portfolio and suggest changes based on market conditions, market trends, and the investor's objective;
  • Prepare an evaluation of market status and likely trends for an individual asset to provide guidance regarding whether or not to sell;
  • Due diligence regarding a pending acquisition;
  • Due diligence for a contemplated disposition.

Real estate consulting includes many activities. Clearly defining the clients objectives helps generate an appropriate scope of work. Engagement agreements should require consultants to call the client during the assignment if certain conditions occur (i.e. initial analysis indicated proposed property is not likely feasible).

OConnor & Associates staff complement of over 50 real estate professionals can handle any real estate consulting project. These professionals are supported by a support staff of over 100 who is accustomed to complex assignments. Out team has experience in market rent studies, market studies, feasibility studies, highest and best use analysis, cost segregation, and analysis for an under performing asset. Reduce your risk and stress by utilizing OConnor & Associates breadth and depth of experience to evaluate your real estate investments.

Article Tags: Real Estate Consulting, Real Estate, Estate Consulting, Market Rent, Rent Study, Apartment Complex, Office Building, Operating Expenses

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Regularly updated primary market data is the basis for quality real estate market data. It provides the basis for market analysis including absorption, rental rate trends and occupancy rate trends. O’Connor & Associates has provided timely real estate market research since 1988. The data is used by our appraisers, real estate consultants, property tax consultants and clients. Our ability to research, analyze and interpret market trends is a major reason for why developers and acquisition experts rely on O’Connor & Associates for market studies, Dallas Industrial Space For Lease feasibility studies, rent studies, tax credit studies, Dallas Retail Space For Sale project design guidance, property performance valuation and lease audits.



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