Doug Donia

CCEF Awards 21K in Mini-Grants to Cabarrus County Teachers

Doug Donia Becomes the First Valedictoian Level Sponsor of the Cabarrus County Education Foundation

Last night, the Cabarrus County Education Foundation fundevaledictoriand 56 classroom grant projects submitted by Cabarrus County School teachers for the 2015-16 school year! Over 100 people attended the event held at the Cabarrus County School Education Center.

"It was a fun evening full of food, fellowship and a chance to celebrate and support directly the individuals who are the reason why we do what we do...the educators. Our mission statement specifically challenges us to provide the resources that our teachers need in order to foster student excellence. This program directly supports teachers in the classroom working to challenge, inspire and inform the children who are the future of our community,” said Rachel Wilkes, CCEF Executive Director.

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What Is Commercial Real Estate (CRE)?

questionsThe following are examples of Commercial Real Estate:

  • Office buildings
  • Industrial/warehouses
  • Multi-Family apartment buildings
  • Shopping malls and retail centers

Investment Commercial Real Estate, including land, brings or has the potential to bring income. From a business point of view, commercial real estate is any offering of office, retail, industrial, medical, hospitality, and other commercial space that can be leased (and sometimes bought) for the use of the business.

Commercial properties are often classified into six main categories: office, retail, industrial, multi-family, land, and a miscellaneous catch-all category that includes everything else sometimes referred to as specialty.

What Does a Commercial Real Estate Agent Do?

A Commercial Real Estate Agent can represent either a property owner by assisting in the sale of their real estate, finding qualified tenants or by managing their property to realize the highest possible return on investment (ROI).

A Commercial Real Estate Agent can also represent a tenant who would like to lease commercial space or represent a buyer who prefers to own rather than lease.


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3 Myths About Commercial Real Estate

mythThe world is filled with numerous myths such as taking seven years to digest swallowed gum, we only use 10% of our brain, and of course we can’t forget Big Foot and the Loch Ness monster. These examples are pretty far-fetched, but myths in commercial real estate can be much more difficult to decipher. Here are three of the most common myths that many people believe to be true.

Commercial real estate agents are more expensive than residential real estate agents.

There is no standard or set commission rate for commercial real estate transactions. Contrary to popular belief, all commissions can be negotiated between the property owner and their agent.  I set my commission based on the level of work that will be needed to get the most value for my client.

All real estate agents are the same.

Like many other industries, real estate benefits from agents who set a clear focus on a single area of expertise.  The benefit to having a commercial real estate agent represent you is their knowledge of the industry.  While a residential agent will know the best neighborhoods and school districts, a commercial agent has the knowledge to determine how owning a property or leasing a space can affect a business’ bottom line.  Here are some things I can help you with when participating in a commercial real estate transaction:

  • Evaluate how much space you need (or don’t need) and how it will give you the best return on your investment.
  • Represent you as an experienced negotiator when it comes to topics, such as cap rates, comparative lease rates and terms, and concession and rent abatement provided by landlords
  • Advise you (as a property owner) on whether it would be more beneficial to sell or lease, given current market conditions

Commercial real estate agents are only interested in mega-corporate clients or big deals.

As a commercial real estate agent, I am interested in helping all parties in a real estate transaction find a successful solution for their business, no matter the size or scope. More often than not, I represent a single property owner who does not have the time to manage their commercial space or a small local investor who needs help selling or leasing their property. I consider each opportunity on their individual merits and how I can add value to the transaction.


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7 Reasons to Hire a Commercial Real Estate Advisor

creHere are some reasons why you should consider hiring a commercial property agent to help secure property:

1. Expertise. Good commercial property brokers scour the market on a daily basis. They know the owner of many of the properties in the area and know how willing which landlords are to negotiate and which ones are difficult.

2. Cost of Service. Typically, landlords have built in commissions for buyers and landlord representation. If you elect to not have representation, the budgeted commission goes to the broker negotiating against you, not on your behalf.

3. Time Savings. A good agent knows the market and does not have to start from scratch learning the good areas and good deals.

4. Negotiation. Structuring leases or purchases can be complex. It should help to have someone on your side of the table armed with knowledge on sound structure and market conditions.

5. Space efficiency. Some buildings are more efficient than others. Common areas can consume enormous amounts of space and increase your rent dramatically. A good agent can guide you away from buildings that have huge common area charges (or at least provide an apples to apples comparison) and provide additional insight on to how best to design office layout after you have decided on a location.

6. Data and Tools. Most commercial property agents spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars a month for reports and market data on sales and leasing trends in their markets.  This can be invaluable when making site selection decisions, discovering where your customers are and how best to logistically position your business.

7. Integrated Services. Legal, interior design, office layout, architectural services. Would you know where to go and who to trust to help you properly set up your business or practice?  Leverage the commercial broker’s network to help you accomplish your goals.


By: ROI Commercial Property Brokerage, Inc.

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Five Ways to Increase the Value of Your Commercial Real Estate Property

valueIf you are thinking about purchasing commercial real estate, it’s important to know that there are things that you can do to enhance and increase the value of your investment. As such, when you search for a commercial property, look at the property’s potential in addition to its historical data. Because the value of commercial real estate is primarily driven by the cash flow that the property generates, any strategy you employ has the potential to increase your cash flow, decrease your expenses, and increase your overall equity and the value of the property. Below are five strategies you should consider when determining how you can make the most out of your commercial real estate investment.

1. Make Improvements to the Property

Improvements can take the form of cosmetic improvements or substantial rehabilitation. Cosmetic improvements include such things as new paint or wallpaper, new decor to the common elements, new landscaping, new carpeting/flooring, etc. Substantial rehabilitation involves making structural improvements to the property – for example a substantial rehab may involve redoing all the units of a multifamily property, or changing the structural façade of a shopping center, or making major renovations to the lobby of a large office building. In any case, you increase the value of the property for not only your tenants, but for your own portfolio as well.

2. Increase Rent

The value of your commercial real estate property can also be increased by increasing the rent. In reviewing the historical data on a property, take notice of whether the tenants are paying market rent or whether there is potential for a reasonable mark up in rents. Determine how the improvements you make to the property can justify your rent increase. Pay close attention to both the upper and lower level of rents that are being charged for similarly situated types of real estate so you don’t price yourself out of the market.

3. Decrease Expenses

Evaluate the historical operating statements of the property to determine if there are areas where you can decrease the expenses. For example, perhaps improving the property with more energy efficient light bulbs in the common areas will drastically reduce your monthly electrical bills. Or perhaps you find that the gas company can individually meter the units so that instead of paying for the gas, you can fairly pass that expense onto the tenants. In the vast majority of instances, a commercial property owner can cut expenses without significantly impacting the operations of the real estate itself.

4. Alter or Change the Property's Intended Usage

Often times, changing the use of a commercial real estate property can drastically change the value of the property. For example, suppose you find an old industrial warehouse in the middle of a bustling epicenter. Instead of keeping it as an industrial warehouse, you can seek a zoning variance to convert that warehouse to a hotel, or a condo building, or an office building, or any commercial use that makes sense for that location.

5. Add Amenities

Finally, you can also consider adding amenities to the property to make it more appealing and valuable. Value enhancing amenities can include something simple like creating a playground in a multifamily property or adding free wireless Internet for your retail tenants. Or you can add more extravagant amenities like a daycare center in your office building or an outdoor courtyard in a hotel property.

In sum, when scouting for commercial properties, look beyond the historical data and see what strategies YOU can employ to make the property more valuable. Know your property’s potential before you close the deal. The best deals are made when you buy a property, not when you sell a property!


By: Lauren Vo Zelakiewicz, President & CEO, VEC Financial Group (now defunct)

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Commercial Real Estate

Charlotte Metro and Cabarrus County

Contact info

Doug Donia

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New Branch Real Estate Advisors
363 Church St N., Suite 240
Concord, NC 28025
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