Top 5 Reasons to Obtain a Land Survey

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Guest Post by Will Schnier, P.E., President of BIG RED DOG Engineering | Consulting Land SurveyThere are many reasons why somebody purchasing property would want to obtain the necessary survey products. For this discussion, at a minimum, I recommend that you should always obtain a current title survey, based on a title commitment less than 30-days old. A title survey will include information regarding property lines, location of improvements, easements, utilities and other conditions affecting the property.

I would also suggest that you consider obtaining a full tree, topography, and boundary survey in addition to the title survey if it’s appropriate for your purchase and project/investment intentions. The tree, topography, and boundary survey is also referred to as a design survey, and may be used by an engineer or architect to develop site development and building plans.

 

My top five reasons for you to obtain a survey are as follows:

1.) Know what you’re buying – the survey will identify the exact limits of the property boundary and improvements on the property.

Real estate can have title and boundary disputes (unfortunately it’s more common than you’d expect), which a title survey would help to uncover. Furthermore, relying upon tax district information on the lot or building size, or seller furnished documentation can be a recipe for expensive trouble without proper due diligence.

2.) Discover the presence and exact location of any easements, restrictions, or other encumbrances that may be imposed upon the property.

You may look out on a piece of property and see a green field, or a paved parking lot, and simply assume that that land is available for you to develop easily. How does that change if there are drainage or utility easements in that location? You may still be able to develop, yes, but your cost just went up a lot more than the cost of the survey.

Or suppose, you’re out in the county, not under the jurisdiction of a municipality that can impose zoning and land use restrictions. So you can build what you want right? What if a former owner of the property restricted its use, in an effort to promote a certain type of community? That 10-acre tract you intended to use for your commercial construction business may not be feasible if there is a deed restriction from 30 years ago limiting the use of the property to residential.

3.) If you’re spending significant money, it makes sense to an additional thousand or few thousand on a title and design survey.

Obtaining a title survey is an affordable way to obtain some more peace of mind with the transaction. Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish. You should do everything you can to protect the investment you’re making. A title survey could be as little as $1,000.

4.) The title and/or design survey can be used in the future to prepare drawings and exhibits, and to apply for building permits.

If you’re buying an office building for example, your prospective tenants may ask for a site plan showing the parking locations on the property – well now you have a survey you can supply them. Suppose again you want to apply for a minor building permit to expand the same office building - having a survey in hand will be a necessary step in that process.

5.) You can make the other guy pay!

All real estate contracts, residential or commercial, contain a clause specifically assigning the cost of the tile survey to either the buyer or the seller. Check the box next to the other guys name; this point is rarely an issue of significant contention during the negotiation process.

 

For more reading, I would encourage you to visit the BIG RED Blog.  On you blog you will find very useful information on the land subdivision and site development permitting process, and highlights of specific BIG RED DOG projects, such as our new downtown Austin hotel at 416 Congress Avenue.Survey

About Will Schnier, P.E.:

Will Schnier is the President of BIG RED DOG Engineering | Consulting. He has been responsible for the project management, engineering design, and regulatory permitting of numerous multifamily residential, retail, office, and industrial site development projects throughout central Texas. He can be reached by email at Will.Schnier(atsign)BIGREDOG.com or by phone at (512) 669-5560.

About BIG RED DOG Engineering | Consulting:

BIG RED DOG is an Austin, Texas-based civil engineering firm specializing in land development engineering, permitting, and land use consulting. Our team of professional civil engineers and certified land planners has over 100-years of combined experience in the Austin and central Texas market. Our commercial project experience includes multi-family, hotel, office, industrial, retail, and single-family subdivision development projects throughout central Texas.

25 Things My Clients Know

50 Things Your Customers Wish You Knew | Remarkable Communication One of my favorite posts floating around online about customer service is from Sonia Simone titled "50 things your customers wish you knew".

It is quite the opposite of what many business books teach and tout about mission statement, features and benefits etc.

The full list of 50 can be found here.  I left 25 or so that I know my commercial investment real estate clients certainly represent.  No insults intended; just a bit of psychotherapy.

Client speaking/thinking:

1.  I don’t need you to be perfect, but I do need to know I can rely on you.

2.  Telling me what you don’t know makes me trust you.

4.  You don’t need to do all that much to be a superhero. Just do exactly what you say you will do.

7.  I don’t mind spending the money, as long as I feel I’m getting real value.

8.  My life is really stressful. If you can reduce that stress, you become immensely valuable to me.

11.  My life is very complicated. If you make it easy for me to just buy a simple all-in-one package that I can use without learning anything, I’ll take it and be grateful. (I’ll even pay a premium for it.)

12.  I want to trust you, but it’s hard for me to trust anyone.

13.  Once you’ve won my trust and loyalty, the truth is you can screw up once in awhile and I will forgive you. If I don’t think you’re taking me for granted, that is.

15.  I spend an awful lot of time being scared to death.

16.  The wealthier I get, the more I like free stuff.

18.  I’m lousy at admitting I was wrong, but I respect you when you do it.

22.  Our relationship isn’t equal and it never will be.

24.  I don’t have any interest in your excuses. In fact, I usually don’t notice them at all, and if I do, they annoy me.

27.  I only like to communicate over the phone/Web/mail and I hate when you try to make me communicate with you over the mail/phone/Web.

28.  I want to buy your product, but I need you to help me justify it to myself.

29.  There’s something in my life I’m afraid of losing. If you can make me feel like you’ve protected it for me, my gratitude will be intense and eternal.

31.  I want you to do the hard work for me. Even better if I can get all the credit.

34.  I have the attention span of a goldfish. Go too long without contacting me and I’ll simply forget you exist.

35.  Money is no object when it comes to my obsessions.

38.  It infuriates me when you answer the phone while I’m talking with you face-to-face.

39.  Embarrassment scares me more than death.

46.  I want to tell you everything you need to know in order to sell to me, but I’m lazy. Make it easy enough and I will. (Especially if you flatter me a little.)

47.  I don’t know what I want most of the time. You need to figure it out for me.

48.  I mostly daydream about making life better for myself, but I’ll take action to keep from losing what’s mine.

49.  I believe that most of what’s wrong in my life is someone else’s fault. Let me keep that cozy illusion and I’ll believe anything you say.

50.  It really is all about me.

Yes, we are trained in business school to pitch ourselves and sell us and our product/service.   Really it is not about the product service, it is about the customer/client.

Change the perspective from me to you; or maybe keep it on me (meaning you).  Right?  Got it?

credit:  50 Things Your Customers Wish You Knew | Remarkable Communication.

Who pays Closing Costs? State by State Guide

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Closing costs differ around the United States.

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Closing costs including title insurance are usually based on local custom where the property is located.  Yes, this is negotiable but in most cases, even if the Buyer and Seller are in different states, the parties pay closing costs based on the customs and traditions in the county where the property is located.

Here is a great State by State guide to real estate closing costs and who pays title insurance.  Again, this differs in every transaction and is usually negotiated by the Buyer and Seller in the deal unless it is mandated by state law.  The following list is via Closing costs around the United States www.miadomo.com.  Photo credit Doug Francis Virgina Realtor.

Closing costs around the United States

This is a general reference guide. Contact a local title company, real estate attorney, lenders or private escrow companies who handle closing in your state for specific information.

Alabama

Buyers and sellers negotiate who's going to pay the closing costs and usually equally split them.

Alaska

Buyers and sellers negotiate who's going to pay the closing costs and usually equally split them.

Arizona

The seller customarily pays for the owner's policy, and the buyer pays for the lender's policy. They split escrow costs otherwise.

Arkansas

The seller customarily pays for the owner's policy, and the buyer pays for the lender's policy. They split escrow costs otherwise.

California

Not only do escrow procedures differ between Northern and Southern California, they also vary from county to county. Contact local title company for a specific information.

Colorado

Closing costs are generally paid by real estate agent. Sellers pay the title insurance premium and the documentary transfer tax.

Connecticut

Buyers pay for examination and title insurance, while sellers pay the documentary and conveyance taxes.

Delaware

Buyers pay closing costs and the owner's title insurance premiums. Buyers and sellers share the state transfer tax.

District of Columbia

Buyers pay closing costs, title insurance premiums, and recording taxes. Sellers pay the transfer tax.

Florida

Buyers pay the escrow and closing costs, while county custom determines who pays for the title insurance. Sellers pay the documentary tax.

Georgia

Buyers pay title insurance premiums and also closing costs usually. Sellers pay transfer taxes.

Hawaii

Buyers and sellers split escrow fees. Sellers pay the title search costs and the conveyance tax. Buyers pay title insurance premiums for the owner's and lender's policies.

Idaho

Buyers and sellers split escrow costs in general and negotiate who's going to pay the title insurance premiums.

Illinois

Buyers usually pay the closing costs and the lender's title insurance premiums and the state and county transfer taxes.

Indiana

Buyers pay closing costs and the lender's title insurance costs, while sellers pay for the owner's policy.

Iowa

Buyers and sellers share the closing costs; sellers pay the documentary taxes.

Kansas

Buyers pay the lender's policy costs and the state mortgage taxes, sellers pay for the owner's policy.

Kentucky

Sellers pay closing costs; buyers pay recording fees, responsibility for payment of title insurance premiums varies from county to county.

Louisiana

Buyers pay the title insurance and closing costs.

Maine

Buyers pay the title insurance and closing costs, buyers and sellers share the documentary transfer fees.

Maryland

Buyers pay the title insurance, closing costs and transfer taxes.

Massachusetts

Buyers pay the title insurance, closing costs, except in Worcester where sellers pay.

Michigan

Buyers pay the lenders title insurance premiums and, closing costs, and sellers pay the state transfer tax and the owner's title insurance premiums.

Minnesota

Buyers pay the lender's and owner's title insurance premiums and the mortgage tax/ Sellers pay the closing fees and the transfer taxes.

Mississippi

Buyers and sellers negotiate the payment of title insurance premiums and closing costs. There are no documentary, mortgage or transfer taxes.

Missouri

Buyers and sellers generally split the closing costs. Sellers in western Missouri usually pay for the title insurance policies, while elsewhere the buyers pay.

Montana

Buyers and sellers split the escrow and closing costs, sellers usually pay for the title insurance policies.

Nebraska

Buyers and sellers split escrow and closing costs, sellers pay the state's documentary taxes.

Nevada

Buyers pay the lender's title insurance premiums, sellers pay the owner's and the state's transfer tax.

New Hampshire

Buyers pay all closing costs and title fees except for the documentary tax, that's shared with the sellers.

New Jersey

Both buyer and seller pay the escrow and closing costs. The buyer pays the title insurance fees, and the seller pays the transfer tax.

New Mexico

Both buyer and seller pay the escrow and closing costs, sellers pay for the insurance premium.

New York

Buyers generally pay most closing costs, including all title insurance fees and mortgage taxes. Sellers pay the state and city transfer taxes.

North Carolina

Buyers and sellers negotiate the closing costs, except that buyers pay the recording costs and sellers pay the document preparation and transfer tax costs.

North Dakota

Buyers pay for the closing, the attorney's opinion, and the title insurance, sellers pay for the abstract.

Ohio

Buyers and sellers negotiate closing costs, but sellers pay the transfer taxes.

Oklahoma

Buyers and sellers share the closing costs, except that the buyer pays the lender's policy premium, the seller pays the documentary transfer tax, and the lender pays the mortgage tax.

Oregon

Buyers and sellers split escrow costs and transfer taxes, the buyer pays for the lender's title insurance policy and the seller pays for the owner's policy.

Pennsylvania

Buyers pay closing costs and title insurance fees, buyers and sellers split the transfer taxes.

Rhode Island

Buyers pay title insurance premiums and closing costs, sellers pay documentary taxes.

South Carolina

Buyers pay closing costs, title insurance premiums, and state mortgage taxes, sellers pay the transfer taxes.

South Dakota

Sellers pay the transfer taxes and split the other closing costs, fees and premiums with the buyers.

Tennessee

The payment of title insurance premiums, closing costs, mortgage taxes, and transfer taxes varies according to local practice.

Texas

Buyers and sellers negotiate closing costs.

Utah

Buyers and sellers split escrow fees, and sellers pay the title insurance premiums.

Vermont

Buyers pay recording fees, title insurance premiums, and transfer taxes.

Virginia

Buyers pay the title insurance premiums and the various taxes.

Washington

Sellers pay the title insurance premiums and the "revenue" tax, buyers and sellers split everything else.

West Virginia

Buyers pay the title insurance premiums and sellers pay the documentary taxes and the divide the other closing costs.

Wisconsin

Buyers pay closing costs and the lender's policy fees, sellers pay the owner's policy fees and the transfer taxes.

Wyoming

Buyers and sellers negotiate who's going to pay the various closing costs and title insurance fees.

To buy real estate forms, please look at MiaDomo's legal forms section or our real estate forms links.

ipad for commercial real estate

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Thinking of buying an Ipad?  I love mine.  Here is a quick video review:

Also, my colleague David Stone, CCIM, had sent out an email to CCIM's about real estate apps and CRM for the iPad, here are his summarized responses from other CCIM's:

1. Bento -- good database program for contacts and highly customizable if you have the time.

2. ACT -- syncs with iPad using software called "DoubleLook"

MY ANSWER 3. ipad and macs rock period.  my feeling for ipad is something web based that works in any browser.  I have had good luck with salesforce.com and/or google apps.  Thinking about going from salesforce to a simple system in google apps rather than both.  salesforce is too robust for sole practioners or even small teams.   http://highrisehq.com looks good also.  I think it will be some time until you can use a ipad specific app that does all we need.... browsers are still the future....any device, any time, any place.

4. Roambi or Daylight

5. I have designed the CRM  ( Contact Management ) to run on Mac OS and iPad. We ( the developers and I )  are in final phase and will market it in early Fall.It wil be called :  CREM  - ( Commercial Real Estate Manager ) for Mac systems and integrated with iPhone, iCal, Apple Address book, CCIM , STDBonline, CCIM REDEX, REIWISE).Besides doing contact management it will also have ability to take pdf forms which you FILL  for listing properties  to populate your own  data base in File Maker and then convert to .excel file which can  download to CCIM-REDEX or Costar or Loopnet and other Listing Services. The DOCUMENT TAB will be directly linked to FINDER on Apple iPAD or Mac book or IMac. This is very powerful and I have looked at ACT for Commercial, REST plus other applications and in my frustration I developed this design specific to Commercial Real Estate because I am an avid Apple User. Even CCIM forms have a " button " to click and open up in Excel 4 on this contact management system. Yes there will be a charge. Estimated cost: below $400, including setup and support.

6. I am experimenting with an app called AgentWorx by AppSpice.com. I like the program, but support has been very poor to date and I am not sold. Also, in an attempt to digitize my daily notes, I am trying out a couple programs -- NoteTaker and WritePad. Both seem promising. One is a handwriting-recognition app and the other allows you to save handwritten notes as PDFs.

Jared Chamberlain a RE/MAX Calgary Realtor vlogs about how the iPad could change many business run and look at online mediums.

CRE- The Tenant Advisor Blog

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Check out my twitter "friend" Coy Davidson's blog about commercial real estate. Coy is a CRE Professional with Colliers International in Houston and specializes in Tenant Representation and Corporate Real Estate Strategy. The Tenant Advisor: assisting corporate users and businesses with their office space and facility requirements, identifying optimal, cost effective locations, structuring transactions and corporate real estate strategy that compliments their business objectives.

You can follow Coy on twitter at: @CoyDavidsonCRE

Blog | BIG RED DOG | Land Development Consulting

Great Real Estate Development and Engineering Blog: Blog | BIG RED DOG | Land Development Consulting | Civil Engineers | Permit and Zoning Services | Austin, Texas

BIG RED DOG is an Austin, Texas-based civil engineering firm specializing in land development engineering, permitting, and land use consulting. Our team of professional civil engineers and certified land planners has over 100-years of combined experience in the Austin and central Texas market. Our commercial project experience includes multi-family, mixed-use, office, industrial, retail, and single-family subdivision development projects throughout central Texas.

My Favorite Post: Trammel Crow leaked docs

Real Estate Development

Anyway

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A great read in Fast Company re the Adman Alex Bogusky dropping out of the Ad world had some good inspiration.  Whether or not he is genuine or not remains to be seen. Alex has this quote from Mother Teresa on his mirror:

"If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway."

Another good quote from Alex himself:

"I guess I just don't aspire to corporate legacy. I'm convinced that the greatness that matters more is the greatness people achieve through helping each other, through collaborating, more than the greatness that's achieved by grabbing all you can or getting all you can or building all you can. The 'you' needs to go away for there to be the real greatness to things. So for me, the genuine part, it's a weird thing -- to get to the real you, you have to be less you."

I think we can all learn from a guy like Alex who not only talks the talk but walks it.  Go get em Alex!

Permanent Financing for Retail Properties

Authored by TMO guest blogger: Mark Jeffries, Vice President, Q10 | Essex Financial Group Over the past 9 months or so, the credit markets have experienced a shake-up unlike any in recent memory. The main impact of this on retail property permanent financing is related to the fall-out of Conduit or CMBS (Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities) lenders.  As recently as the summer of 2007, retail property owners and purchasers were able to obtain 80% loan-to-value financing from a CMBS lender without much difficulty.  Life Insurance Companies were typically offering 70-75% financing with similar fixed rates to CMBS.  Today, without the need to compete with CMBS, Life Insurance Companies have scaled back to leverage levels in the 65-70% range. The good news is that fixed rates from Life Companies are currently in the 5.75% to 6.5% range, are most often non-recourse, and can offer fixed terms of up to 25 years.  One of the potential dangers on the horizon is inflation, which could lead to higher interest rates across the board.

If a property owner is considering a refinance it makes sense to lock in a rate soon rather than later in my opinion.  We’re happy to provide financing estimates and analysis to assist borrowers in making difficult strategic capital decisions.  Retail properties continue to be viewed favorably by Life Companies as vacancy rates remain low in most markets.  We anticipate the capital markets will stabilize later in the year, and CMBS will return to the scene but likely on a more limited basis. Mark can be reached at 303.843.4023