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5 Property Maintenance Tips for Spring

May 16th, 2017

Spring Tips

Business owners know that the first impression is everything! Now that the Maine winter is finally behind us, it is time to take a walk around your commercial property to assess any winter damage, and spruce things up for spring. Besides always wanting your business to look inviting to your customers, it’s important to make sure your building and grounds are safe and accessible. Even if you lease your business location, you know your surroundings better than anyone, so alert your property manager of these important issues.

Assess & Prioritize

The first thing to do is walk your entire property, notepad and camera in hand, and inspect the buildings and grounds for any damage or hazardous issues. Common building issues include damaged siding and roofing, missing or damaged window screens and entrance doors, and peeling paint. Landscaping always takes a beating in the winter, so look for loose walkway pavers, fallen debris, and missing chunks of ground. These items not only look bad, but affect the longevity of the building materials, so addressing them on an annual basis is good risk management.

Make a list of things that need to be repaired or replaced, and get on the schedules of your contractors. Of course, any safety hazard is a top priority to get resolved quickly, but even landscaping has a big effect on your appeal and property value. You won’t be the only property owner facing a list of needs, so making your calls early ensures you will get on the schedules of repair companies in a reasonable timeframe.

Clean Up

Getting any debris such as branches, leaves and trash raked up is a quick and easy improvement, and also encourages healthy early grass growth. Most professional landscapers have a “spring cleanup” offering, and these professionals will come with all the right equipment, and can also sweep up the sand left from winter.

Make sure all your parking areas and walkways are clean, and in good condition. An annual power-washing of surfaces, of your building and hardscaped areas, will make your place look its best. When you make your business look like someone cares, you send a message to your customers about your level of attention to detail.

Safety First

Pay careful attention to the travel path of your clients – from car to footpath entrance – and make this your first focus of attention. Once walkways are clear of any debris, parking spaces should be made easily accessible. Also, consider the special needs of your customers by making sure paths are level, and that railings and other appropriate safety precautions are in place.

HVAC Inspection & Maintenance

With winter heating season behind us, attention now turns to air conditioning systems. These should be serviced annually to inspect the coils, drainage and replace filters. If your property has a sprinkler or irrigation system, this too needs an annual maintenance inspection for any leaks, blockages, or damage.

Plan Improvements

Sometimes, we don’t consider our commercial property’s “curb appeal” as much as we do our residences, but the visual impression you make on your customers says a world not only about how much you care about quality, but also about your worth (read: pricing and value).

If your exterior and landscaping has become run down over the years, or is minimalist, this may be the year to plan some exterior improvements. Really look at your property from an outsider’s viewpoint: what is messy, faded, or rundown looking? Re-sod your grassy areas and keep them mowed nicely. Grass needs annual fertilizing and weed/insect control measures, and during the spring growth is the perfect time to catch an issue early. Keep your shrubs and trees pruned and cut back from walkways and parking spots. Have landscaped beds cleaned of old mulch, and add a new layer. Don’t skimp on mulching – it not only makes everything look much better, but it cuts back on the need for weeding and watering. Adding some hardy perennials or annual flowers to your planting beds will provide the finishing touch of color to improving your visual appeal.

 

Which type of Commercial Lease is right for your business?

April 24th, 2017

Thinking of leasing commercial space for your business? Before you speak to a potential landlord, it is important that you understand how commercial leases work.

Successful business leasing requires:

  • Thorough understanding of the different types of leases;
  • Having an ally in your corner – your Real Estate Broker;
  • Making sure the lease fits business needs and future growth plans;
  • Never signing anything until your attorney reviews it!

It’s important to first point out that commercial leases are very different from residential rental agreements. Commercial leases are legally binding contracts and breaking a lease has serious financial consequences. On the bright side, commercial leases are typically negotiated to fit the needs of your unique business space and methods of operation. This negotiation stage is critical to ensure you are setting yourself, and your business, up for success. Having an experienced commercial real estate broker helping you not only search for the right space, but negotiating your needs for you, can make or break a good deal.

Types of Commercial Leases

We’re accustomed to commercial real estate being rented at a square footage rate, but how that is being determined is essential when evaluating a lease agreement. Terms of commercial leases vary dramatically based on the type of building, what different industries require, and popularity of particular geographic areas – these all drive square foot costs. So why are some spaces more than others? When is something “a good deal”?

There are three common types of commercial real estate leases: Gross, Triple Net (NNN) and Modified Gross. They each ultimately indicate how much the tenant pays for base rent, along with a portion of the associated expenses of the building. Some leases include most building expenses, others include very few, all attribute to the ultimate cost per square foot you will pay to rent space for your business. Terms of individual leases vary tremendously, but this provides an overview:

 Gross Leases

A Gross lease basically means a tenant pays one lump sum for rent which includes associated building expenses (real estate taxes, utilities, building insurance, property maintenance, etc.). You may have to pay IT/telecommunications costs, and any unique business fees for services you may require. Sometimes excess utility consumption is charged back to the tenant, and you will need your own property insurance.

Triple Net (NNN) Leases

Triple Net leases have smaller base rent amounts, but other expenses are also paid for by each tenant, and need to be considered in your total square foot costs. In NNN leases, common language includes reference to CAMS, or Common Area Maintenance, which includes janitorial services, property management, landscaping, building maintenance and repairs, and other expenses associated with the common shared areas or services of the building and its tenants. CAMS are calculated on an annual basis. If you lease 10% of a building’s square footage, you will also pay 10% of the associated costs (utilities, insurance, taxes, maintenance).

Modified Gross Leases

A Modified Gross lease is sort of a happy compromise between Triple Net (NNN) and Gross leases, with the party responsible for various building costs shared between the landlord and the tenants. Perhaps the rent is offered at $13.00/SF and includes real estate taxes, building insurance, and the heat. However, each of the individual spaces have their own electrical box, so each tenant is responsible for their individual electrical use, and the maintenance costs are pro-rated according to the percentage of leased space.

Important Lease Factors to Consider:

  • Lease Term: when the lease begins, the length of it, and termination and renewal options
  • Lease Amount: what is the rent, when is it to be paid, and are there allowable escalations (increases)
  • Security Deposit: how much and what are the conditions for its return
  • Sub-Lease Terms: can you assign or sublet the space
  • Size: what is useable now, what is “deemed to be”, etc.
  • Inclusions: are insurance, property taxes, maintenance costs, etc. included in the lease (gross lease), or will some be paid for independently (NNN lease)
  • Clear description of the space: what are you renting, are there common areas included (or restricted), how is the space measured? Is parking included or is it a separate fee?
  • Build Out: are there improvements, modifications, or other changes allowed for the space, who will pay for them, who owns what following any changes
  • Signage: where and how can you identify and advertise your business
  • How is the building, and its spaces maintained, including HVAC equipment
  • How will disputes be handled

Bottom Line

When evaluating your options for business rental space, it is very important to understand the different types of leases, and all the variables that may be going into a lease’s terms. Ask for a history of the operating expenses of the building that you are considering. This is something that your real estate broker will ask for and review with you.

When looking at any lease, you always need to ask, “What is included? What is not included?” While there are vast differences between the different types of commercial leases, very often square foot costs really end up at the same market rate, no matter how the expenses are allotted. Always have an attorney review your lease, as this is complicated legal language, and changing a lease after it is enforced is very difficult and rarely done.

SONY DSCSpecial thanks to Magnusson Balfour Broker Craig Church for his valuable input into this article!

2017 Real Estate Market Forecast

March 3rd, 2017

Members of the Magnusson Balfour team recently attended the Maine Real Estate & Development Association’s 2017 Annual Forecast Conference & Member Showcase in Portland, where we spent the day hearing from economic and industry experts regarding the economic outlook on the Maine real estate market. The conference is also a great opportunity for us to network with other real estate industry professionals. It is a day spent learning about the trends driving Maine’s real estate market, and, as a result, the growth of our economy.

A strong understanding of the economic shifts occurring in the local and statewide market is a key component to our effectiveness as commercial real estate and business brokers. One of the most helpful aspects of the Conference are the forecasts that are provided, broken down by region as well as by business sector. This information is tremendously helpful to us as we advise clients regarding their investment in or relocation of their business.

We know the real estate market has been recovering steadily in Maine, and different regions are growing strongly, many within specific real estate type. The Biddeford/Saco and Lewiston/Auburn area have traditionally been more industrial and commercial, but they are now growing rapidly in the hospitality/food and retail sectors. The renovation of empty mill buildings is offering high-end housing, and revitalized streetscapes. Geographic areas with convenient proximity to mass transportation and border access are expanding in distribution facilities. Once a struggling community, the re-purposing of the Brunswick Naval Base is demonstrating the impact of creative adaptive design and mixed-use buildings. This revitalization is seeing expanding office and retail businesses, as well as residential growth, making the area highly desirable for both businesses and residents.

It is a seller and landlord-friendly market in most places, as vacancy rates are dropping for their 6th straight year, currently at less than 2% in Portland. Buyers and lessees are in need of qualifying properties, raising prices to a premium and making it a hot race to get a contract on strong listings. While interest rates are expected to creep up some more in 2017, rates are still historically low and continue to support strong market growth.

Commercial real estate and successful business brokerage has a significant impact on our communities, and our state’s economy. What is happening in the real estate market influences curricula and workforce training programs at our colleges and schools. Small business growth and expanding industries in a community means a growing workforce that requires other businesses and services, as well as adequate housing. It is very exciting to see growth in new market sectors, rehabilitation of vacant buildings bringing new businesses to areas, and our graduates finding the education and career opportunities they are looking for here in the state building a strong workforce of the future. The outlook continues to be bright, and continued growth is predicted – all good news for our clients!

The Maine Real Estate & Development Association

The Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) is an organization whose mission is to promote an environment for responsible development and ownership of real estate throughout the State of Maine. MEREDA publishes the MEREDA Index quarterly, an invaluable tool that summarizes key measures of activity in the Maine commercial and residential real estate markets, for both new development and existing properties, as well as construction employment.

FMI about MEREDA:

http://mereda.org/about.php

The MEREDA Index is available to the public and can be viewed at:

http://mereda.org/currentindex.php

 

Have You Recently Relocated Your Business? Don’t forgo these final efforts to ensure your move is a home run!

February 15th, 2017

Your move is over! While you likely want to put it behind you as soon as possible, and get back to business as usual, there are several final efforts that should not be ignored in the excitement.

moving

Post-Move Checklist:

  • Do a final walkthrough at your old location
  • Update your records accordingly
  • Make sure people can find you
  • Don’t forget digital location finders

Former Location

In the haste and excitement of moving to a new location, many items often get left behind such as electronic component cords, fixtures, and small pieces of furniture, as well as important company information. Request a final walk through to carefully scan for business property, as well as taking the opportunity to evaluate any damage or necessary repairs you may be responsible for, is well worth the time. Taking photographs during this visit is a good idea to document the scene as you have left it.

Collect all access cards and keys, parking passes, and signage and either return them to your landlord or new owner, or dispose of them accordingly. These all represent security risks, and old signage can create confusion to customers trying to find you.

Discuss with your landlord or new owner any final responsibilities you may have, negotiate timeframes for completing work or last-minute clean up, and handle any remaining issues with your occupancy. Finally, request in writing to have your security deposit returned pursuant to your lease.

New Location

Even the best movers tend to bang things up, and it’s easier to take care of things right away than believe you will get to them later. Keep your new place looking new by surveying moving damage immediately, and plan for repairs. Submit necessary reports and work orders, and do paint touchups, etc. right away.

A new location means changes to emergency/fire escape routes and information, department layouts and contact lists, and possibly employee policies. Consider how the move will affect your employees, from building access and parking to communication and privacy issues. Be sure you have updated employment law posts up in a visible location, and update your policy manual accordingly. Don’t forget to consider things such as changes in mileage reimbursement, off-hour access protocols, and any other way your new location impacts your employees.

Business Identity

Your business identity is key to retaining your customer base and reaching new customers. Make sure your signage in your new location is up and clearly visible, update all your printed materials, and don’t forget the various online accounts and platforms that contain your business contact information. Our Relocation Guide has a complete checklist to help ensure you don’t miss a thing.

Creating a public relations campaign, complete with press releases, social media announcements and postal mail notices can help create a buzz to drive people to check you out in your new digs.

Your Business Online

Beyond all the intentional platforms where you have listed your business address and contact information such as your website, social media accounts, and professional organizations, your business is very likely listed in hundreds of online business directories that automatically generate business listings on the web including Yelp, Bing, Facebook, Super Pages, maps, Yahoo and many more. These all need to be updated – do not depend on changes to your website to update other online resources in a timely manner. You do not want them directing people to your old location! This is time-consuming and a headache, but critically important to customer finding you.

Want to make it easier? To correct your business address information across the internet, we recommend a YEXT listing. YEXT is essentially location software that allows you to update your address and other business information, and feed it out into the Internet through one portal. Like street signs do in the physical world, your “digital presence” needs to ensure that customers who search online for you, or businesses like yours, find their way to your new location. YEXT is the most effective way to update your digital presence.

We know moving a business is a major undertaking, and that is why we have created a Relocation Guide to assist our clients with the necessary planning and preparation to make relocating a business a smooth transition for you, your employees, and your customers.

We hope you have found this Business Relocation series helpful and informative. If you have missed any, Relocation Part 1: Pre-Move and Preparation, and Relocation Part 2: Logistics are available on our website, along with our other blog posts on all things commercial real estate and business brokerage.

 

Relocating Your Business? Take these steps to make your moving day a success!

January 26th, 2017

Once your new space has been selected, the other critical aspects of moving your business successfully begin. We know moving a business is a major undertaking, and that is why we have created a Relocation Guide to assist our clients with the necessary planning and preparation to make relocating a business a smooth transition for you, your employees, and your customers.

Logistics

Organize Your Information

  • Review floor plans
  • Determine physical upgrades & buildouts
  • Consider IT needs
  • Order necessary new equipment & furniture
  • Notify your vendors
  • Announce your move to the world!

Getting Your New Space Ready

Before you begin unloading the boxes in your new business location, you want to take advantage of the empty space to make any necessary upgrades in services or remodeling requirements. Carefully review the blueprints and floor plans so you can identify key components such as electrical/telephone/IT services, lighting requirements, access, and office structure. Consider the things that drive you crazy in your current location, and work to improve or solve these issues in your new space.

Take some time with a measuring tape and paper to sketch out placement of your office and business equipment layout in the new space. Will everything fit? What do you need to upgrade or purchase additional equipment and furniture for? Moving even simple things like electrical outlets are much easier to accomplish before a space has been moved into. It’s a great idea to do a walk through with your IT professional and other key service providers prior to the move to review what changes need to be made.

Our Guide has a great checklist for you to run down through so you can be sure you are not forgetting anything!

Give Special Attention to Technology

IT and other communication systems are the lifeblood of a company, and a move requires special attention to your entire communications infrastructure. Your new space, or the new equipment you are investing in, may require updated network cables and lines, or you may be adding a dedicated server that needs consideration. If you are moving towns, and use a landline, you may need to change your business phone number.

Backup all your data, and the individual desktops, etc. if necessary, prior to unplugging and moving any computers. Be sure this includes a backup off-site in case any equipment is damaged or goes missing during the move. It is a good idea to have appointments scheduled with an IT professional (or your telecommunications provider) immediately following the move to resolve any technical issues, because we know there are always technical issues.

Bottom line – you do not want your communications technology to be interrupted for too long on moving day. Schedule the necessary professionals to help you make this part of the transition as smooth as possible.

Notify, Notify, Notify

It is easy to overlook the nearly hundreds of vendors, suppliers, and other contacts that we interact with in the course of conducting business. Running down through your accounts payable list over the last year or so helps to jog the memory, as well as the business manager’s email contacts list. Consider:

  • Office & Business Suppliers
  • Utilities & Insurances
  • Building Maintenance & Care
  • Professional Services

Avoid services being interrupted by getting ahead of this piece of the moving project. Create an email template or simple handout so notification with details is easy. Our Guide has a list for handy reference so you don’t forget anyone.

We know you will remember to update your printed materials, but don’t forget your digital media, social media accounts, various business apps and logins, and your search engine listings. Your email signatures and website location information is critical, and include a map-search function where possible for easy directions.

Communicating with Customers

Like employees, often customers have a difficult time when a business they patron moves, and you don’t want to neglect clearly informing these valuable stakeholders. Customers need to know that your move is intended for you to be able to serve them better, so determine the benefits to your customer-base and communicate them well and often. Will your new location be more convenient? Is there better parking? How will your product or services be improving as a result of this move?

Begin notifying your customers well in advance of your move via traditional mail, location signage, and through your digital communications. This will give them time to prepare, ask necessary questions, and never arrive to an empty building instead of your new location. Be sure your staff is prepared to handle complaints effectively, and answer questions thoroughly, and you will avoid frustrated customers.

Moving Logistics

Whether you manage the move yourself, or hire a professional moving company, there are plenty of efforts you can make for an easier moving day.

Just like our homes, we tend to be pack-rats at the office too. Instead of moving extra clutter and outdated items to your new clean location, take time to go through desk drawers, file cabinets and storage areas while you’re packing, and recycle and get rid of unnecessary things. Donate unwanted office equipment and furniture, and shred files before throwing them out. We have a list of donation sites for your unwanted items in our Guide. Clearly label boxes as you pack them, and when possible assign their new location so you aren’t searching for them later. Share copies of the new floor plan to help ensure furniture and boxes are moved to the correct areas. We have included a great Moving Day Checklist in our Guide for you to follow.

A new space is a time to consider some new policies for employees. There are likely changes to space configurations, or new shared spaces in your new location, so consider what is appropriate. Personal items clearly visible to customers, or within shared or common areas, are usually only okay to a point. Now is a great time to review and instigate some new “rules”.

Make a good first impression with your new neighbors by notifying them of your moving day(s) so they will be aware of the activities, and the likelihood that parking and loading areas may be obstructed and in heavy use.

Having some cold drinks and snacks available for movers, staff and curious neighbors helps fuel energy, and makes a friendly gesture during this busy time.

Moves require a lot of energy, but with good communication and organization at the outset, your move can be an exciting and invigorating change for your business, employees and customers!

Relocating Your Business? It’s more than finding the right location – don’t skip these important steps when preparing to make a move!

December 1st, 2016

If you have run out of space to conduct your business effectively, find yourself in an inconvenient or undesirable neighborhood, or simply want better digs or lower expenses, it may be time to consider moving your business.

We know moving a business is daunting, and that is why we have created a Relocation Guide to assist our clients with the necessary planning and preparation to make relocating a business a smooth transition for you, your employees, and your customers.

Along with finding the right new space, there are several pre-move efforts that are critical to things going successfully. We do not want you to rush this process and find yourself way over budget, losing valuable business, or wrestling with disgruntled employees. By taking the time and effort to carefully plan a realistic timeline, set an adequate budget, and communicate thoughtfully with your staff, you will prevent moving backlash from damaging your business.

relo-blog-part-1-pic

Communicating with Staff

Moves are most often positive, but change is still difficult for many people. Being sure you have communicated your intentions and progress with employees will set their minds at ease, and make them feel part of the process. When people are uninformed they will begin to guess and make up consequences – this breeds rumor, gossip and complaining. Head off the potential for negativity by being as transparent as possible with your moving plans, and involving employees on a moving committee or task force can improve feelings of inclusiveness. Create an internal comprehensive communication strategy that consistently informs, updates, and manages the relocation process, and have it available to all employees.

Be sure you announce your plan to relocate as early as possible. You do not want employees feeling like they have been misled, kept in the dark, or left without adequate time to mentally prepare for the change. Company morale depends on staff clearly understanding the reasons for moving, and feeling they have some level of input or involvement. Staff meetings are a great time for discussion and questions about the impending move, and a field trip to visit the new location is also a great idea. Remember that changing your employees’ workplace location may have employment law implications, so check with your HR director and/or payroll company to see what might be involved.

Our Relocation Guide provides an outline regarding your communication strategy and how to deal with questions involving employee concerns that you will want to be able to answer before making a move.

Set a Realistic Timeline

Relocating your business is NOT something to rush! This can be a costly mistake, and one that can take years to recuperate from. A small business  should plan a minimum of three months to prepare for a move, and larger businesses a minimum of six to eight months. Businesses involving manufacturing or special design/layout requirements to conduct business often require even longer time frames.

Have an Adequate Budget

Moves are often made to resolve cost issues, but relocating your business creates many expenses as well. There are the direct costs of hiring movers and buying new office furnishings, as well as the costs of business downtime. Know that your business isn’t going to operate anywhere near what is considered “normal” in the days leading up to your move, and as you settle in after moving day. Consequently, employee productivity and your revenue will also take a dip, so plan your budget accordingly.

For your employees, if you are moving to another geographic area, they may experience their own relocation expenses, or certainly a change in their commuting costs. Additionally, for your business there may be tax implications when moving to another town or state. Think through all the potential costs as you prepare your moving budget.

Moves are major events in a business, but with the right planning, and anticipating all the associated costs, your new space can feel like home in no time! As always, we’re happy to help you relocate when you’re ready. Call us at 207-774-7715.

Key Steps to Succession Planning

November 18th, 2016

scott-panel

Magnusson Balfour CEO, Scott Balfour recently sat on a panel discussion at the MaineBiz Momentum Convention in Augusta to help business owners understand and prepare for selling their business and succession planning. Here are the key topics discussed, and some helpful insights from Scott:

  1. Conduct Due Diligence on Your Own Company

When selling your business, be prepared to address prospective buyer’s questions with accuracy and authority. If you avoid doing your own due diligence, that is, to do your own comprehensive assessment of your business, you risk losing a sale.

Your business details should be as transparent as possible, and answer any questions a prospective buyer may have. Be prepared to thoroughly disclose the accounting and sales structures, personnel and IT infrastructures, and financial and marketing plans. A potential buyer naturally needs to know all this information before considering buying your business. Avoiding doing due diligence yourself prior to the sale means when it is conducted, it will be by the buyer. Consequently, you must scramble to accommodate their questions, or the deal will be terminated.

Conducting due diligence is a preventative measure that you want to do while you are in control of the sale process.

  1. The Dynamic of the Owner’s Role in Value

The owner’s role in the daily business functions has a tremendous impact on determining a business’ value. Consider the hypothetical sale of a plumbing business: both businesses have the same cash flow, same earnings, same number employees, same equipment, and both have good relationships with their customers. One has a great deal of value; one, unfortunately, has very little value. How could this be?

In one business, the owner is the key player and the hub of the business. He is the point-person for customers, and considered the expert in delivering the business services. When this owner is gone, there is not much left for infrastructure; he, essentially “is” the business. In the second business, the owner has systems in place, a self-directed employee workforce, experienced sales staff, and a modern marketing plan with online presence. When this owner is gone, it will be easy for someone to step in and take over because there are systems and people are in place that make the business successful with or without him.

Clearly, the second business presents the greatest value to a potential buyer. If you wish to have a business that you can sell for a profit at some point, it behooves you to create an infrastructure that keeps the business operations and sales independent of your own expertise.

  1. A Successful Sale Needs an Advisory Team

A successful sale of a business requires the right Advisory Team in place so that the transaction goes smoothly from preparation to the owner happily handing over the keys. Your list of professionals needs to include: Transaction Attorney, Transaction Accountant, Financial Advisor/Wealth Planner, Business Broker/Mergers & Acquisition Specialist, and a committed seller.

Your Transaction Attorney should not be the current attorney you work with for family business or day to day legal questions. You need someone who specializes in business transactions, and has proven experience advising on such matters.

Likewise, the Transaction Accountant to work with isn’t the bookkeeper or accountant who prepares your taxes. You want someone who knows how to structure business transactions for the best tax advantage on a sale of a business versus the operations of a business.

When you sell a business, it is not what you make but what you keep that counts. The right Financial Advisor is the person competent to fully help you prepare for what comes after the sale of the business, whether your plan is retirement income, investment, or new business acquisition, you want to work with someone who can develop a financial plan that meets your future needs.

Also on the team is the professional who handles the actual sale of the business. A Business Broker (Mergers & Acquisitions specialist) is more than a real estate broker, so don’t enlist your friendly, neighborhood real estate agent who helped you sell your house. An experienced Business Broker specializes in businesses versus real estate, and should have credentials for such. Business brokerage is very different than residential or even commercial real estate because it involves a different set of pricing structures, the need to fully understand business financials (as opposed to building construction), and there are different professionals involved to coordinate with.

Lastly, why a committed seller, you ask? If the owner doesn’t know what they are going to do after the sale, they are likely not committed to the process yet. A half-hearted seller will not perform all the above key steps, not set or accept a reasonable price, and is not ready to let go of the business. If you know what you are going to do – pursue another business, work for the community, spend time with family – then you are thinking beyond the business and are ready to let go. When a seller is ready to commit, looking at it as a business transaction, not an emotional loss, then the experience is a good one.

  1. What is the biggest mistake business owners make when selling a business?

They call the Business Broker (professional charged with representing the business for sale) two years too late!

Owners consider selling their business, perhaps having lost their original drive and passion, or they are just ready to retire, but they avoid acting and put things on autopilot. As time passes, this apathy for the business directly impacts its value. When you wait too long, and find yourself needing to sell a struggling business, your chance to properly prepare the business for sale may be gone. Sell when the business is doing well, perhaps giving yourself enough time to increase its value, and allow time for the process to be successful.

Join us at the 2016 MaineBiz Momentum Convention!

November 1st, 2016

On November 9th, Magnusson Balfour owner/president and Designated Broker, Scott Balfour, will participate on a panel at the MaineBiz Momentum Convention workshop entitled, Naming the new CEO: Key Steps to Smart Succession Planning.

Along with three other business experts, this panel discussion will cover the critical components of exit and succession strategies including financial planning, employee stock ownership plans, selling outright, and overall best practices. Planning for the future may mean different strategies for different companies, and this workshop is an opportunity for participants to explore the many succession planning options, and how to best prepare for such a change.

During Scott’s 35 years in business brokerage and commercial real estate, he has worked with numerous business owners in the planning for and execution of selling their businesses. His expertise includes not only developing a successful sales strategy, but also assisting ownership with their exit plan and the transition to new ownership. His specialty is advising business owners through a successful sale process so both the business and owner thrive post-sale.

 Why attend the Mainebiz Momentum Convention?

  • Networking –  Attendees will have the opportunity to visit with over 100 Mainebiz B2B companies!
  • Learning – It’s a great opportunity to access seasoned pros in leadership and business.
  • Products & Services – Vendors across the many fields of business resources will be on hand as Exhibitors under one roof. Magnusson Balfour will be at booth 414. Stop by to visit us and enter to win a Kindle e-Reader!
  • Marketing – Bring your clients and customers along to attend with you, to introduce them to new information, your expertise, and have a unique opportunity to connect with them.
  • Free Stuff – Enjoy some great food, many samples, prizes and giveaways galore!

For more information about the Momentum Convention, and to register, please visit: www.momentumconvention.com

 

Understanding Real Estate Brokerage Relationships in Maine

October 26th, 2016

At Magnusson Balfour, we take our relationship with you seriously. We want to be very upfront and honest with you from the start, and be clear about how we are working together, so you know you are making the best decision going forward. One of the ways we do that is to provide all the individuals we have a substantive conversation with about a specific property, or Maine real estate in general, a copy of the Maine Real Estate Commission’s Real Estate Brokerage Relationships Form.

If you are considering buying, or selling real estate in Maine, it is important that you understand that our state law provides for different types of brokerage services. You need to decide whether you want to work with a real estate broker as their Client or simply as a Customer. Your rights and a broker’s responsibilities during a real estate transaction depend on the level of working relationship you choose.

Maine law requires that all real estate brokerage companies and their agents perform certain basic duties when dealing with a buyer or seller. When you are a Customer, in addition to the broker acting ethically and honestly, and complying to the laws associated with real estate brokerage, you can expect to receive what is considered basic services. As a Customer, you cannot expect the broker to promote your best interests, or to keep any information confidential.

We like to refer to this level of relationship as acting as a “referee”. In other words, as you would expect a referee to be honest. we will be as professional as they come and answer any questions you may have about the practice of Maine real estate. Like a referee, we cannot take a side or give you any advice on how to “play the game”, only explain the rules.

Your broker must represent you, as their Client, in order to provide you with a deeper level of service. When you are a Client, your broker can then put your interests first and negotiate on your behalf, will maintain strict confidentiality regarding any information or bargaining details, and is accountable to you as outlined in the written listing agreement or buyer representation agreement.

When you want a broker to really partner with you – to be a “coach” and offer you guidance and insights – you enter into an agreement with your broker and become their client. As your coach, we work with you on the bigger picture of what you want to accomplish with your real estate goals, develop strategies, and consider different scenarios to achieve the best outcome. We have only your best interests in mind, and work for the best improvement in your game. We want you to win!

While the Real Estate Brokerage Relationships Form is only required for those interested in buying or selling residential real estate, it’s also a great tool for commercial and leasing conversations because it does a good job outlining the professional relationships associated with real estate transactions. We look forward to speaking with you, and to have the opportunity to fully discuss these working relationships further, and how we can best help you with your real estate needs. Call us at 207-774-7715.

Magnusson Balfour is Hiring!

February 29th, 2016

Busy commercial real estate and business brokerage firm looking for admin help for 8-10 hours per week split up into two separate days. Tuesday mornings is a must; other day can be flexible. Duties include answering the phone, greeting customers, data entry, light filing, and other tasks depending on experience. Must be proficient in MS Office, especially Word and Excel. Adobe InDesign experience would be a plus. $14/hour. Please send resume to: office@balfourcommercial.com.

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