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Posts tagged with: site entitlement

A PASSION FOR (REAL ESTATE) BUSINESS

Lawyers are like most other business professionals. We want your business and we want your referrals – we just don’t always know the best way to ask for either.

 

Take me for example. I’ve been handling commercial real estate transactions and business deals for nearly 40 years. I’ve loved (almost) every day of it, and I look forward to many more (knock on wood). My clients appreciate my insights and value the guidance I provide. Other attorneys respect what I do, and brokers and CPAs like working with me because I strive for practical solutions to efficiently and effectively get the job done. I pay close attention to learn my clients’ business objectives, then work diligently and negotiate hard to get my clients what they expect – when they expect it. That’s what lawyers do. Or at least what all lawyers should do. For any client hiring a lawyer, what else is there?  Achieving client objectives and getting the deal closed on time is why lawyers exist. Deals fail, for sure, but we can never be the reason they fail. Deals that fail are a waste of everyone’s time and money. Getting the deal done, if it can be done, is our value proposition.

 

Deals are my lifeblood – my passion. They’re why I wake up every morning and get out of bed. I love this stuff. I can’t explain exactly why that is – it just is.  Why do musicians practice their instruments and play? Why do scratch golfers golf? Why do competitive skiers ski?  It’s our passion. We don’t know exactly why – it comes from within. And we always need more.

 

Commercial real estate deals always come first for me, but in every commercial real estate project is a business. They go hand in hand. My preference for a good real estate deal over a good business deal is a matter of only slight degree. There’s not really a number one and a number two. It’s more like #1 and #1A.

 

So what’s the problem?

 

The problem is, a lot of people don’t know I’m available to represent them. I write books and articles on commercial real estate. I give seminars on how to structure and close business and real estate transactions. I publish a commercial real estate and business blog.  People think I’m busy, or that I only handle huge deals. The truth is, I am busy – but never too busy to handle another deal, large or small. In the words of the late, great Lucille Ball: “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.” We all loved Lucy!

 

The most shocking question I get from prospective clients is: “Would you (I) be willing to handle my (their) next business or commercial real estate deal?”  Are they kidding? My answer is always an emphatic “yes”! It’s my passion. It’s my love.  It’s what I live for.

 

To be sure, I’m a business professional, and I charge for what I do, but if you have a commercial real estate deal or business deal, and need representation, I’m in. Never be shy about calling me. We’ll work out the economics. The range of deals I handle is extraordinarily diverse. For a taste, look at my blog Harp-OnThis.com, or check out my latest book, Illinois Commercial Real Estate on Amazon.com or in your local public library. I love this stuff. I need this stuff. Of course I want to represent you. When can we get started?

 

So back to my initial point:  I do want your business and your business referrals. Like many other business professionals, I just don’t know the best way to go about asking for it. What do you suggest?

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NEW BOOK – Illinois Commercial Real Estate

I’m happy to announce that the website for my new book, Illinois Commercial Real Estate is now live.  Visit www.Illinois-CRE.com for a book excerpt.

illinois-commercial-real-estate-book-coverIllinois Commercial Real Estate, Due Diligence to Closing, with Checklists, is intended as a practical handbook for investors, developers, brokers, lenders, attorneys and others interested in commercial real estate projects in Illinois. This book zeros-in on commercial real estate due diligence, and walks the reader through the due diligence process, from conception to closing, with a focus on making sure the commercial real estate project functions as intended after closing.  Checklists are provided as an aid to commercial real estate professionals to assist on evaluation of the property and the transaction on the path toward successful closing. As people in the real estate industry understand, if the deal doesn’t close, it doesn’t count.

I’d like to extend Special Thanks to:

My clients, whose passion for creative commercial development I share;

My partners and staff at Robbins, Salomon and Patt, Ltd., who work with me tirelessly to earn our client’s business every day.

Catherine A. Cooke and Emily C. Kaminski, attorneys at Robbins, Salomon & Patt, Ltd. who provided legal research, advice, counseling, and technical editing;

James M. Mainzer, tax partner at Robbins, Salomon & Patt, Ltd., for his insights and assistance on tax matters;

The editing staff at the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, for editing early versions of chapters 11, 12, 25, 27 and 28, which were first published in IICLE Practice Handbooks;

Dale V. Weaver, Illinois licensed surveyor, who was kind enough to convert my rough draft drawings into the diagrams included at chapter 25;

. . . and, of course, my friend and valuable resource, Linda Day Harrison, founder of theBrokerList, for her ongoing encouragement and support.

If you are buying, developing, financing, selling, leasing or otherwise dealing with commercial real estate in Illinois, I hope you will find Illinois Commercial Real Estate, Due Diligence to Closing, with Checklists to be a useful resource.

ENJOY!!!

R. Kymn Harp

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AIR RIGHTS DEVELOPMENT – Chicago, Illinois

WHY DEVELOP AIR RIGHTS?

Prime commercial land is limited. Prices per square foot can be astronomical. Demand for efficiency to maximize return on investment is growing. No wonder developers and property owners are looking to the sky, with varying degrees of success, to capture all the value they can from each urban parcel. Air rights development may be the solution you are looking for.

 

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-chicago-skyline-image2898031Owners and developers, and people in general, are conditioned to think of potential development sites as flat surfaces with essentially two dimensions: north/south and east/west. They see only the surface of the land, and envision the building they will construct for the particular purpose they have in mind; a bank, a drugstore, a restaurant, a strip mall, a parking garage, an office building. If the parcel is larger than they need, they may envision subdividing the parcel to make two or more lots. In most cases, however, they think primarily in terms of land coverage for the type of building they need. They visualize only the two dimensional space depicted on their Site Plan or Plat of Survey.

 

In 30 out of 50 states, including Illinois and all other Mid-Western states, the “Rectangular Survey System” is in effect. The Rectangular Survey System was adopted in 1785 to meet the needs of the Federal Government as it faced the challenge of dividing vast areas of undeveloped land lying west of the original 13 colonies. The system, developed under the direction of Thomas Jefferson, essentially divides the United States into rectangles, measured in relation to lines known as Meridians and Base Lines.

 

Development lots are instinctively viewed as the two-dimensional surface of land visually representing a potential development parcel. Descriptions of a parcel typically refer to “a parcel of land X feet by Y feet” located in relation to an intersection or other identifiable landmark.

 

Once a parcel is “developed”, or designated for development, by construction of improvements on the land, it is natural to think of the parcel as being unavailable for further development (unless the existing improvements are to be demolished).

 

Classic examples of this are single story commercial buildings at prime commercial locations, a multi-deck parking garage or mid-rise building in a downtown development area, railroad tracks or spurs cutting across valuable urban land and, in some cases, roadways and alleys.

 

Each of these situations represent, potentially, under-utilization of valuable real estate. Finding a way to develop the “air” above these existing or planned improvements maximizes the economic utility of these parcels and can be like creating “money from thin air.”

 

The practice of finding ways to utilize the “space above” is often referred to as “air rights development”. Air rights development requires thinking in three dimensions, and requires serious design consideration and legal planning but, when land values are at a premium and zoning permits, the economic return may be dramatic.

 

Though often overlooked, virtually all of Chicago’s downtown business district is a “city in the air“. People tend to think of streets and street level entrances to buildings in the downtown Chicago “loop” as being at “ground level”. This is simply not the case. Most of what is thought of in the Chicago Loop as being at “ground level” is located 12 to 22 feet above the earth’s surface. This explains the vast network of “lower” streets and passageways in downtown Chicago, such as “Lower Wacker Drive”, “Lower Dearborn Street”, “Lower State Street”, etc. which most people seldom traverse. It also explains why, in 1992, the Chicago Loop business district was virtually shut down by “the Great Loop Flood of ’92”, but few people got wet or even saw any water as office and retail buildings were closed and workers were sent home because of “flooding”.

 

The point of these observations is to reveal that “development of air rights” is not new. It is also not “. . . some exotic legal manipulation of doubtful efficacy dreamed up by big city lawyers for use only in big cities”. Development of so-called “air rights” is little more than efficient use of a limited resource when use becomes economically feasible and beneficial.

 

WHAT ARE “AIR RIGHTS”?

“Air rights” are part of the “bundle of rights” constituting fee simple title to real estate. The term “air rights” generally refers to the right of the owner of fee simple title of a parcel of land to use the space above the land. If this right did not exist, it would not be possible to (more…)

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Keys to Closing A Commercial Real Estate Transaction

Commercial Real Estate Closings

Anyone who thinks closing a commercial real estate transaction is a clean, easy, stress-free undertaking has never closed a commercial real estate transaction. Expect the unexpected, and be prepared to deal with it.

Harp Author Photo PID 732110I’ve been closing commercial real estate transactions for over 35 years. I grew up in the commercial real estate business.

My father was a “land guy”. He assembled land, put in infrastructure and sold it for a profit. His mantra: “Buy by the acre, sell by the square foot.”  From an early age, he drilled into my head the need to “be a deal maker; not a deal breaker.” This was always coupled with the admonition: “If the deal doesn’t close, no one is happy.” His theory was that attorneys sometimes “kill tough deals” simply because they don’t want to be blamed if something goes wrong.

A key point to understand is that commercial real estate Closings do not “just happen”; they are made to happen. There is a time-proven method for successfully Closing commercial real estate transactions. That method requires adherence to the four KEYS TO CLOSING outlined below: (more…)

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DUE DILIGENCE CHECKLISTS for Commercial Real Estate Transactions

R. Kymn Harp Robbins, Salomon & Patt, Ltd.

R. Kymn Harp
Robbins, Salomon & Patt, Ltd.

 2016 Update:

Are you planning to purchase, finance, develop or redevelop any of the following types of commercial real estate in the USA?

  • Shopping Center
  • Office building
  • Large Multifamily/Apartments/Condominium Project
  • Sports and/or Entertainment Venue
  • Mixed-Use Commercial-Residential-Office
  • Parking Lot/Parking Garage
  • Retail Store
  • Lifestyle or Enclosed Mall
  • Restaurant/Banquet Facility
  • Intermodal logistics/distribution facility
  • Medical Building
  • Gas Station
  • Manufacturing facility
  • Pharmacy
  • Special Use facility
  • Air Rights parcel
  • Subterranean parcel
  • Infrastructure improvements
  • Other commercial (non-single family, non-farm) property

RSP_LogoHD (3)A KEY element of successfully investing in commercial real estate is performing an adequate Due Diligence Investigation prior to becoming legally bound to acquire or finance the property.  Conducting a Due Diligence Investigation is important not just to enable you to walk away from the transaction, if necessary, but even more importantly to enable you to discover obstacles and opportunities presented by the property that can be addressed prior to closing, to enable the transaction to proceed in a manner most beneficial to your overall objective. An adequate Due Diligence Investigation will assure awareness of all material facts relevant to the intended use or disposition of the property after closing. This is a critical point. The ultimate objective is not just to get to Closing – but rather to confirm that the property can be used or developed as intended after Closing.

The following checklists – while not all-inclusive – will help you conduct a focused and meaningful Due Diligence Investigation. (more…)

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Cities Shooting Economic Development in the Foot

NOTICE TO MUNICIPALITIES:  If you want economic development, ACT LIKE IT!

Sometimes, municipalities can be their own worst enemies when it comes to economic development. At best, things they sometimes do, or don’t do, evidence disinterest, if not incompetence. Alternatively, it may evidence a breach of trust to the community and local taxpayers.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-city-development-image22231888Here’s the situation:

Recently, in representing developers before a variety of municipal governments, I have been struck by the Jekyll and Hyde  approach many have when in comes to economic development. Often, the city, town or village will have a fully staffed economic development department. It may pay hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, if not millions of dollars per year, to pay economic development staff salaries and to cover associated overhead. It will allocate or approve millions of dollars per year in economic development grants, tax incentives, tax increment financing, real estate tax abatements, sales tax revenue sharing, and other economic incentives to encourage investors and developers to bring private development to the city to create jobs, remove blight, increase land values and otherwise improve the quality of life of the community.  These are all proper uses of public economic development funds.

Then what?

As is necessary, the developer has its architect submit plans to the municipal building department for review and approval to obtain a building permit. There is nothing controversial about that, right? But then, in a remarkably high number of circumstances, the permitting process proceeds at only glacial speed.

How long should it take to review plans and specifications for a modest sized project that will bring jobs and economic opportunity to the city? The city has already confirmed that it wants the project by granting development incentives to the developer for the project. When the developer’s architect is moving forward as quickly as practical to obtain the building permit, should it take the municipal building department 9 to 10 months to issue a building permit on a modest sized structure? I’m not talking about a building the size of Trump Tower – I’m referring to buildings of less than 30,000 square feet. How long is reasonable?  Is a building permit review process that takes 9 to 10 months necessary or reasonable? How is that promoting economic development?

And once the building permit is issued, and work begins – how often should work have to stop because city building inspectors fail to show up for scheduled inspections?

Private investors and developers cannot afford – literally – to sit around and wait extended periods of time to move a project to completion. Market conditions change. The cost and availability of money changes. Commercial tenants choose other options.

The Point?

The point here is that municipalities need to get their act together if they want to promote economic development in their communities. Not all cities, towns and villages are guilty of dragging their feet or sending mixed messages, but there are many more than you may think. For developers, time really is money.

It is counterproductive – and more than a bit silly – for local governments to “give away” economic incentives to promote economic development, and then have their building departments drag their municipal feet in facilitating completion of the project. Economic development staff and their building department siblings need to get on the same page and follow the same agenda if a municipality truly wants to promote economic development.

Promoting Economic Development

Promoting economic development is not merely a matter of handing out economic incentives. That can be useful – and sometimes necessary – to promote economic development in your community, but it is not the whole story. To get the economic development engine running, local governments need to take a holistic approach that fully embraces and encourages desired economic development. It needs to walk the walk.  It needs to expedite services to facilitate development. It needs to get its collective act together – in all municipal departments – to genuinely do what is in the best economic interests of the community.

Commercial developers and their prospective commercial tenants and users have choices as to where to invest their money to build new projects that promote economic growth. Most development opportunities are regional, if not national or global. If your town will not do all it can reasonably do to truly promote economic development in a meaningful way, some other town likely will.

This is not a threat – it is a practical reality. If you are in local government and genuinely want economic development, I suggest, with all due respect, that you act like it.

Thanks for listening.

Kymn

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WANTED: REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER

MONEE, ILLINOIS IS IN SEARCH OF A COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER – AND WILL PROVIDE ECONOMIC INCENTIVES

This post is intended to serve two purposes:

  1. To give any interested commercial real estate developer a heads up that there is an opportunity in Monee, Illinois to obtain meaningful economic incentives as part of a public-private partnership with the Village of Monee;
  2. To help Monee, Illinois attract the commercial development it wants and needs – including particularly a grocery store.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-walking-shopping-center-image29466233Let me first say that I am not a real estate broker or real estate developer, I don’t own land in or near Monee, I don’t represent Monee, and I have no other specific connection to Monee.

WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS POST?

I do represent commercial real estate developers (mostly property turn-around specialists and redevelopers) and commercial real estate investors. Developers often tell me they are looking for development opportunities (more…)

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ICSC RECon 2014 – SPOTLIGHT: MONEE, ILLINOIS

ICSC RECon 2014 is in full swing as the largest retail real estate convention in the world. Every year, retail owners, investors, developers, lenders and other commercial real estate professionals converge on Las Vegas, NV to network, discover, promote their projects, look for development opportunities and make new deals. This year is no exception. There are an estimated 33,000 real estate professionals in attendance for this action-packed three day convention at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-building-future-city-image20348789Once again this year, members of the International Council of Shopping Centers are recognizing and acknowledging the need for public-private partnerships with local communities to promote economic development. The extremely difficult economic conditions over the past several years have taken a toll on communities and developers alike. Now, more than ever, they need each other to facilitate mutually beneficial development.

To help local governments establish and promote much needed permanent, beneficial economic changes for their communities, ICSC in cooperation with other development groups and agencies continues to (more…)

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IN PRAISE OF REAL ESTATE DEVELOPERS – Let’s Do Lunch!

This article is being republished as a welcoming salutation to many of my long-lost Real Estate Developer friends.  You have been missed over the past several years. Call me.  Let’s do lunch!

RSP_LogoFull_2PMSDid I happen to mention I love Real Estate Developers? Not like I love my wife or my kids, or even my dog, but Real Estate Developers are definitely among my favorite people.

Think about it.

Real Estate Developers are like Gods. [Well, miniature gods, at least.] They create much of the physical world we inhabit. The homes and condominiums we live in. The grocery store and pharmacy down the street. The resorts and casinos and golf courses we enjoy for leisure. Restaurants. Shopping centers. Office buildings. Movie theaters. Truck terminals. Medical and surgical centers. Spas. Factories. Warehouses. Auditoriums. Parking garages. Hotels.

You name it; if its man-made, attached to dirt, and we can get inside it, a Real Estate Developer was probably involved. (more…)

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DUE DILIGENCE CHECKLISTS – for Commercial Real Estate Transactions

Are you planning to purchase, finance or develop any of the following types of Commercial or Industrial Real Estate?

  • • Shopping Center?
  • • Office Building?
  • • Large Multifamily residential?
  • • Parking Lot/Parking garage?
  • • Retail Store?
  • • Mixed-Use?
  • • Restaurant/Banquet property?
  • • Sports and Entertainment Venue?
  • • Intermodal Logistics Terminal?
  • • Medical Building?
  • • Gas Station?
  • • Distribution Center?
  • • Manufacturing facility?
  • • Pharmacy?
  • • Special Use facility ?
  • • Other?

RSP_LogoHD (3)A KEY element to successfully investing in commercial or industrial real estate is performing an adequate Due Diligence Investigation prior to becoming legally bound to acquire the property. An adequate Due Diligence Investigation will assure awareness of all material facts relevant to the intended use or disposition of the property after closing.

 The following checklists will help you conduct a focused and meaningful Due Diligence Investigation.

 BASIC DUE DILIGENCE CONCEPTS

 Caveat Emptor: Let the Buyer beware.

Consumer protection laws applicable to home purchases seldom apply to commercial real estate transactions. The rule that a Buyer must examine, judge, and test for himself, applies to the purchase of commercial real estate.

Due Diligence:

“Such a measure of prudence, activity, or assiduity, as is proper to be expected from, and ordinarily exercised by, a reasonable and prudent (person) under the particular circumstances; not measured by any absolute standard, but depending upon the relative facts of the special case.” Black’s Law Dictionary; West Publishing Company.

Contractual representations and warranties are NOT a substitute for Due Diligence. Breach of representations and warranties = Litigation, time and $$$$$.

The point of commercial real estate due diligence is to avoid transaction surprises and confirm the Property can be used as intended.

 WHAT DILIGENCE IS DUE?

The scope, intensity and focus of any Due Diligence Investigation of commercial or industrial real estate depends upon the objectives of the party for whom the investigation is conducted. These objectives may vary depending upon whether the investigation is conducted for the benefit of: (i) a Strategic Buyer (or long-term lessee); (ii) a Financial Buyer; (iii) a Developer; or (iv) a Lender.

If you are a Seller, understand that to close the transaction your Buyer and its Lender must address all issues material to their respective objectives – some of which require information only you, as Owner, can adequately provide.

GENERAL OBJECTIVES:

 (i) A “Strategic Buyer” (or long-term lessee) is acquiring the property for its own use and must verify that the property is suitable for that intended use.

 (ii) A “Financial Buyer” is acquiring the property for the expected return on investment generated by the property’s anticipated revenue stream, and must determine the amount, velocity and durability of the revenue stream. A sophisticated Financial Buyer will likely calculate its yield based upon discounted cash-flows rather than the much less precise capitalization rate (“Cap. Rate”), and will need adequate financial information to do so.

 (iii) A “Developer” is seeking to add value by changing the character or use of the property – usually with a short-term to intermediate-term exit strategy to dispose of the property; although, a Developer might plan to hold the property long term as a Financial Buyer after development or redevelopment. The Developer must focus on whether the planned change in character or use can be accomplished in a cost-effective manner.

 (iv) A “Lender” is seeking to establish two basic lending criteria:

 (1) “Ability to Repay” – The ability of the property to generate sufficient revenue to repay the loan on a timely basis; and

 (2) “Sufficiency of Collateral” – The objective disposal value of the collateral in the event of a loan default, to assure adequate funds to repay the loan, carrying costs and costs of collection in the event forced collection becomes necessary.

Questions and Answers signpostThe amount of diligent inquiry due to be expended (i.e. “Due Diligence”) to investigate any particular commercial or industrial real estate project is the amount of inquiry required to answer each of the following questions to the extent relevant to the objectives of the party conducting the investigation:

I. THE PROPERTY:

 1. Exactly what PROPERTY does Purchaser believe it is acquiring?

• Land?

• Building?

• Fixtures?

• Other Improvements?

• Other Rights?

• The entire fee title interest including all air rights and subterranean rights?

• All development rights?

 2. What is Purchaser’s planned use of the Property?

 3. Does the physical condition of the Property permit use as planned?

• Commercially adequate access to public streets and ways?

• Sufficient parking?

• Structural condition of improvements?

• Environmental contamination?

• Innocent Purchaser defense vs. exemption from liability

• All Appropriate Inquiry

 4. Is there any legal restriction to Purchaser’s use of the Property as planned?

• Zoning?

• Private land use controls?

• Americans with Disabilities Act?

• Availability of licenses?

• Liquor license?

• Entertainment license?

• Outdoor dining license?

• Drive through windows permitted?

• Other impediments?

 5. How much does Purchaser expect to pay for the property?

 6. Is there any condition on or within the Property that is likely to increase Purchaser’s effective cost to acquire or use the Property?

• Property owner’s assessments?

• Real estate tax in line with value?

• Special Assessment?

• Required user fees for necessary amenities?

• Drainage?

• Access?

• Parking?

• Other?

 7. Any encroachments onto the Property, or from the Property onto other lands?

 8. Are there any encumbrances on the Property that will not be cleared at Closing?

• Easements?

• Covenants Running with the Land?

• Liens or other financial servitudes?

• Leases?

9. If the Property is subject to any Leases, are there any:

• Security Deposits?

• Options to Extend Term?

• Options to Purchase?

• Rights of First Refusal?

• Rights of First Offer?

• Maintenance Obligations?

• Duty of Landlord to provide utilities?

• Real estate tax or CAM escrows?

• Delinquent rent?

• Pre-Paid rent?

• Tenant mix/use controls?

• Tenant exclusives?

• Tenant parking requirements?

• Automatic subordination of Lease to future mortgages?

• Other material Lease terms?

10. New Construction?

• Availability of construction permits?

• Soil conditions?

• Utilities?

• NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) Permit?

• Permit required if earth is disturbed on one acre or more of land.

• If applicable, Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) is required.

II. THE SELLER:

1. Who is the Seller?

• Individual?

• Trust?

• Partnership?

• Corporation?

• Limited Liability Company?

• Other legally existing entity?

2. If other than natural person, does Seller validly exist and is Seller in good standing?

3. Does the Seller own the Property?

4. Does Seller have authority to convey the Property?

• Board of Director Approvals?

• Shareholder or Member approval?

• Other consents?

• If foreign individual or entity, are any special requirements applicable?

• Qualification to do business in jurisdiction of Property?

• Federal Tax Withholding?

• US Patriot Act compliance?

5. Who has authority to bind Seller?

6. Are sale proceeds sufficient to pay off all liens?

III. THE PURCHASER:

1. Who is the Purchaser?

2. What is the Purchaser/Grantee’s exact legal name?

3. If Purchaser/Grantee is an entity, has it been validly created and is it in good standing?

• Articles or Incorporation – Articles of Organization

• Certificate of Good Standing

4. Is Purchaser/Grantee authorized to own and operate the Property and, if applicable, finance acquisition of the Property?

• Board of Director Approvals?

• Shareholder or Member approval?

• If foreign individual or entity, are any special requirements applicable?

• Qualification to do business in jurisdiction of the Property?

• US Patriot Act compliance?

• Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering compliance?

5. Who is authorized to bind the Purchaser/Grantee?

IV. PURCHASER FINANCING:

A. BUSINESS TERMS OF THE LOAN:

1. What loan terms have the Borrower and its Lender agreed to?

• What is the amount of the loan?

• What is the interest rate?

• What are the repayment terms?

• What is the collateral?

• Commercial real estate only?

• Real estate and personal property together?

• First lien?

• A junior lien?

• Is it a single advance loan?

• A multiple advance loan?

• A construction loan?

• If it is a multiple advance loan, can the principal be re-borrowed once repaid prior to maturity of the loan; making it, in effect, a revolving line of credit?

• Are there reserve requirements?

• Interest reserves?

• Repair reserves?

• Real estate tax reserves?

• Insurance reserves?

• Environmental remediation reserves?

• Other reserves?

2. Are there requirements for Borrower to open business operating accounts with the Lender? If so, is the Borrower obligated to maintain minimum compensating balances?

3. Is the Borrower required to pledge business accounts as additional collateral?

4. Are there early repayment fees or yield maintenance requirements (each sometimes referred to as “pre-payment penalties”)?

5. Are there repayment blackout periods during which Borrower is not permitted to repay the loan?

6. Is a profit participation payment to Lender required upon disposition?

7. Is there a Loan Commitment fee or “good faith deposit” due upon Borrower’s acceptance of the Loan Commitment?

8. Is there a loan funding fee or loan brokerage fee or other loan fee due Lender or a loan broker at closing?

9. What are the Borrower’s expense reimbursement obligations to Lender? When are they due? What is the Borrower’s obligation to pay Lender’s expenses if the loan does not close?

B. DOCUMENTING THE COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE LOAN

Does Purchaser have all information necessary to comply with the Lender’s loan closing requirements?

Not all loan documentation requirements may be known at the outset of a transaction, although most commercial real estate loan documentation requirements are fairly typical. Some required information can be obtained only from the Seller. Production of that information to Purchaser for delivery to its lender must be required in the purchase contract.

As guidance to what a commercial real estate lender may require, the following sets forth a typical Closing Checklist for a loan secured by commercial real estate.

Commercial Real Estate Loan Closing Checklist

1. Promissory Note

2. Personal Guaranties (which may be full, partial, secured, unsecured, payment guaranties, collection guaranties or a variety of other types of guarantees as may be required by Lender)

3. Loan Agreement (often incorporated into the Promissory Note and/or Mortgage in lieu of being a separate document)

4. Mortgage (sometimes expanded to be a Mortgage, Security Agreement and Fixture Filing)

5. Assignment of Rents and Leases.

6. Security Agreement

7. Financing Statement (sometimes referred to as a “UCC-1”, or “Initial Filing”).

8. Evidence of Borrower’s Existence In Good Standing; including :

(a) Certified copy of organizational documents of borrowing entity (including Articles of Incorporation, if Borrower is a corporation; Articles of Organization and written Operating Agreement, if Borrower is a limited liability company; certified copy of trust agreement with all amendments, if Borrower is a land trust or other trust; etc.)

(b) Certificate of Good Standing (if a corporation or LLC) or Certificate of Existence (if a limited partnership) or Certificate of Qualification to Transact Business (if Borrower is an entity doing business in a State other than its State of formation)

9. Evidence of Borrower’s Authority to Borrow; including:

(a) Borrower’s Certificate

(b) Certified Resolutions

(c) Incumbency Certificate

10. Satisfactory Commitment for Title Insurance (which will typically require, for analysis by the Lender, copies of all documents of record appearing on Schedule B of the title commitment which are to remain after closing), with required commercial title insurance endorsements, often including:

(a) ALTA 3.1 Zoning Endorsement modified to include parking [although if the property is a multi-user property, such as a retail shopping center, an ALTA 3.0 Zoning Endorsement may be appropriate]

(b) ALTA Comprehensive Endorsement 1

(c) Location Endorsement (street address)

(d) Access Endorsement (vehicular access to public streets and ways)

(e) Contiguity Endorsement (the insured land comprises a single parcel with no gaps or gores)

(f) PIN Endorsement (insuring that the identified real estate tax permanent index numbers are the only applicable PIN numbers affecting the collateral and that they relate solely to the real property comprising the collateral)

(g) Usury Endorsement (insuring that the loan does not violate any prohibitions against excessive interest charges)

(h) other title insurance endorsements applicable to protect the intended use and value of the col- lateral, as may be determined upon review of the Commitment for Title Insurance and Survey or arising from the existence of special issues pertaining to the transaction or the Borrower.

11. Current ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey (3 sets), prepared in accordance with the 2011 (or current) Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys

12. Current Rent Roll

13. Certified copy of all Leases (4 sets – 1 each for Buyer, Buyer’s attorney, Title Company and Lender)

14. Lessee Estoppel Certificates

15. Lessee Subordination, Non-Disturbance and Attornment Agreements [sometimes referred to simply as “SNDAs”]

16. UCC, Judgment, Pending Litigation, Bankruptcy and Tax Lien Search Report

17. Appraisal -complying with Title XI of FIRREA (Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989, as amended)

18. Environmental Site Assessment Report (sometimes referred to as Environmental Phase I and/or Phase 2 Audit Reports)

19. Environmental Indemnity Agreement (signed by Borrower and guarantors)

20. Site Improvements Inspection Report

21. Evidence of Hazard Insurance naming Lender as the Mortgagee/Lender Loss Payee; and Liability Insurance naming Lender as an “additional insured” (sometimes listed as simply “Acord 27 and Acord 25, respectively)

22. Legal Opinion of Borrower’s Attorney

23. Credit Underwriting documents, such as signed tax returns, property operating statements, etc. as may be specified by Lender

24. Compliance Agreement (sometimes also called an Errors and Omissions Agreement), whereby the Borrower agrees to correct, after closing, errors or omissions in loan documentation.

* * * * *

It is useful to become familiar with the Lender’s loan documentation requirements as early in the transaction as practical. The requirements will likely be set forth with some detail in the lender’s Loan Commitment – which is typically much more detailed than most loan commitments issued in residential transactions.

Conducting the Due Diligence Investigation in a commercial real estate transaction can be time consuming and expensive in all events.

If the loan requirements cannot be satisfied, it is better to make that determination during the contractual “due diligence period” – which typically provides for a so-called “free out” – rather than at a later date when the earnest money may be at risk of forfeiture or when other liability for failure to close may attach.

CONCLUSION

Conducting an effective Due Diligence Investigation in a commercial or industrial real estate transaction to discover all material facts and conditions affecting the Property and the transaction is of critical importance.

Unlike owner occupied residential real estate, when a house can nearly always be occupied as the purchaser’s home, commercial and industrial real estate acquired for business use or for investment is impacted by numerous factors that may limit its use and value.

The existence of these factors and their impact on a Purchaser’s ability to use the Property as intended can only be discovered through diligent and focused investigation and attention to detail.

Exercise Due Diligence.

If you need assistance, please ask for help.

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