Our Contributing Authors

Brent Pace

Brent Pace is currently an MBA candidate at University of California at Berkeley. Originally from Salt Lake City, Brent's experience is in commercial real estate development and management. Brent will have tips for small business owners as they negotiate their real estate needs.

Articles written by Brent Pace

Brent Pace is interested in entrepreneurship as it relates to commercial real estate.

  • 1031 Exchanges - If you are looking to expand your real estate holdings you should be aware of the options afforded you under USC 1031 which allows for a tax-free exchange of properties under certain circumstances.
  • Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) - If you are looking to invest in real estate as part of your entrepreneurial plan, you should be aware of the adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) as a financing tool.
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Mixed-Use Development - Whether you are leasing space in a mixed-use development or developing it, you should be aware of the general advantages and disadvantages of mixed-use development.
  • Alta Survey - When purchasing a property, one essential piece of information you need is an ALTA survey.
  • Amenities to Help Lease Your Office Property - To help you lease your office building in a tight market, you might want to consider adding a few amenities to your building. These could include a locker room and showers, bike lockers, bike racks, a cafeteria, and/or vending machines.
  • Amortization in Real Estate - When buying real estate, most investors specify a holding period. To determine your potential profits at sale you will need to build an amortization table.
  • Appealing Property Taxes on Commercial Real Estate - Property taxes can be a big concern for the entrepreneur real estate owner. They vary widely by location, but no matter where you live you have a mechanism to appeal those onerous taxes. Here's a guide to figuring out how to handle that appeal.
  • ARGUSS for Real Estate Entrepreneurs - If you are considering getting into the commercial real estate business, you need to be aware of a software program that is quickly becoming the industry standard: ARGUS. ARGUS is a program that helps you create complex cash-flow models with ready-made sensitivity analysis that will facilitate your decision making
  • Basic Terms of Real Estate Debt Financing - If you use debt financing on your next real estate purchase, you should be familiar with some of the basic terms your lender may use.
  • Basics of Valuing and Acquiring Commercial Real Estate - This article teaches the budding real estate entrepreneur the basics of valuing commercial real estate properties. Four methods of valuation -- direct cap value, discounted cash flow, cost per square foot, and replacement cost -- are discussed to provide the entrepreneur with a balanced approach to valuation.
  • Broker Listing Agreements - Enlisting an experienced broker can help you lease space in your property. Here are a few things to think about when you draw up a listing agreement.
  • Budgeting for Capital Repairs - One of the pitfalls of real estate ownership is a failure to plan for capital repairs and replacement. Here's an easy way to prepare and plan for capital repairs.
  • Build to Suit Option - As your venture grows, you may find yourself leasing larger and larger spaces. When the time comes that you need your own space, you may want to consider a build-to-suit option.
  • Change Orders - Change orders are a reality of construction, but being prepared for them and knowing how to deal with them can save you a lot of money.
  • Components of Leed - More and more office spaces are marketed as green spaces. Many are LEED certified. What does that even mean? In this article we explore what it means to be LEED Certified and discuss some of the key components of LEED (v2.2).
  • Considerations in Selecting a Joint Venture Partner - When you form a joint venture on a real estate project, you are picking a partner that could last a very long time. Here are a few things to think about as you select a joint venture partner.
  • Considerations in Signage - When negotiating for space, don't forget to negotiate for proper signage for your office and retail location.
  • Contingency in Construction and Development - When you are constructing real estate, contingency is an important part of protecting yourself against construction risk. Both the general contractor and the developer should carry contingency in their budgets.
  • Creating a Real Estate Operating Budget - A realistic operating budget is absolutely essential if you are going to own and operate real estate. Here are a few suggestions for improving your budget.
  • Dealing with Architects and Engineers - This article is to help entrepreneurs work seamlessly with architects and engineers on building projects. It is important to learn to speak their language as well as keep them under control and aligned to your vision for the building project.
  • Dealing with Commercial Real Estate Brokers - Entrepreneurs leasing their first real estate space can use the help of expert brokers. Commercial real estate brokers know the market well, and can provide advice to make sure you get the best deal. This article explains how to pick the right broker for the job.
  • Dealing with Legal Counsel in Real Estate - It's important for an entrepreneur to get good legal advice prior to signing a lease for space. But how do you deal with the legal counsel? How do you choose a good lawyer? Once you have chosen them, how do you manage them? Here are a few tips for the entrepreneur to help you keep your legal counsel in line.
  • Defeasance - Refinancing your home is a relatively simple process because there is rarely a pre-payment penalty. Many commercial loans don't offer prepayment, so defeasance is something you often see instead.
  • Depreciation in Commercial Real Estate - If you own real estate, one of the big benefits is that it is a depreciable asset. This means that you can record an expense each year for the wear and tear on your building. Let's take a look at how depreciation of your real estate can help you.
  • Due Diligence for Real Estate Purchases Part 1 - After finding what you think is the perfect location and property for your company, you will probably be very eager to purchase it quickly and get moving. Tread carefully, however, there are scores of due diligence items that you will want to check before closing on that transaction. In part I we discuss tenant information items, property operations items, and property ownership items.
  • Due Diligence for Real Estate Purchases, Part 2 - In this second installment we discuss more important due diligence items relating to the purchase of a new property. This edition focuses on property physical characteristics as well as title and zoning due diligence. Checking-up on these items can help you avoid making a catastrophic error in your real estate purchase decisions.
  • Earnest Money - Looking to buy some real estate for your small business? Then you'll need to learn about the earnest money deposit.
  • Eminent Domain - Before getting into the real estate game, it is important to understand the concept of eminent domain. This piece of constitutional law could impact your property if the government deems it necessary to take it from you. Here's a look at the history of eminent domain and its uses.
  • Environmental Issues in Real Estate - If you are considering a development or renovation project, don't forget to understand the environmental issues involved. This article highlights basic environmental issues that most development projects face.
  • Escrow and Real Estate - Escrow is a term that can have a wide variety of meanings in real estate. Whether it's an escrow account to help you prepare for taxes, or closing funds held in escrow, you should understand this term as it relates to your real estate transactions.
  • ESTOPPELS - As you lease office space, there is a chance that your Landlord will sell the building you are in to another company. This means that you will have to sign an estoppels certificate. In this article we discuss what an estoppel certificate is and why it's nothing to be afraid of.
  • Far - Floor To Area Ratio - If you are purchasing land for development, there is one very important zoning restriction you ought to look into. It's called FAR, or floor to area ratio.
  • Government Approvals for Real Estate - Getting through the red tape of government approvals can be frustrating for an entrepreneur who just wants to run his business. Here we discuss some things to focus on as you try to get approvals for your next building project.
  • Holding Over - Sometimes you need to stay in your current office space after your lease has expired. Real estate professionals call this "holding over." Here's what you need to know if you end up having to hold over in your current space while waiting to get into a new one.
  • How Much Parking Does My Property Need? - Whether you are leasing or managing a property you own, parking is an important issue. So how much parking do you need for your property? It depends on a few things: clientele, proximity to transit, and -- as always -- location, location, location.
  • How to Build a Real Estate Pro Forma - In order to evaluate your real estate decisions you need to make a pro forma. Using a spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft's Excel, you can create a simple pro forma to analyze your revenues, expenses, and returns for any real estate project.
  • How to Choose a Retail Location - If you are an entrepreneur with a venture that requires retail locations, choosing the right locations can be the key to your success. This article will teach you how to pick the right retail location for your venture.
  • How to Get Government Real Estate Work - For the real estate entrepreneur, stability is the key to surviving the first few years of operations. One of the best ways to gain stability to is to get government work. The government provides stable revenues, and government projects are generally easier to finance. This article discusses strategies for securing government work to stabilize your company.
  • How to Pick an Office Location: Suburban or Urban - As you search for your first office space, the big question becomes location. Will you seek a space downtown or are the suburbs just fine? This article will help you decide.
  • How to Select a Retail Location - There are many different types of retail locations that you could choose to lease for your retail venture. Here is a quick run-down of the different types of retail centers and their attributes.
  • Impact Fees in Development - When you are budgeting for your next development, don't forget to include the impact fees.
  • Industrial Properties for the Real Estate Entrepreneur - Many businesses require a lot of back-end space for storage and shipping functions. If your venture requires you to lease or buy an industrial property, you should learn about the different types of properties and which may suit you best. Here is a quick run-down of industrial property types.
  • Keys to Financing Your Development Project - As you work on your latest real estate development don't forget to think about these four keys to successfully financing your project: equity, pre-leasing quantity, pre-leasing quality, and guarantors.
  • Liability Insurance for Real Estate - As an entrepreneur and owner of commercial real estate, you will want to protect your investment. One of the most efficient ways to do that is through buying the right liability insurance.
  • Liquidated Damages - If you want to protect yourself during the construction process, a solid liquidated damages clause is a good way to do it. Read here to find out what liquidated damages are and how they work.
  • Loan to Value Ratio - If you have a project you want to get financed you will need to understand the loan to value ratio.
  • Managing a Construction Budget - This article is to help entrepreneurs learn how to manage a construction budget in order to avoid surprises. Budget over-runs in construction can be fatal to a start-up or small company with limited resources. Learn how to manage the budget and avoid some of that uncertainty.
  • Managing Construction - This article is to help entrepreneurs learn how to manage the construction process itself. Included are techniques to manage the construction draw process, change orders, and site meetings. In addition, managing hard vs. soft costs is discussed.
  • Managing General Contractors - This article is to help entrepreneurs learn how to manage general contractors. Whether it's an office space build-out, or a special building project related to a new venture, dealing with general contractors effectively can make or break a company. Here we focus on four key actions that will help an entrepreneur hold their own when dealing with a contractor.
  • Managing Utilities and Submetering - If you are looking to lease an office building out to multiple tenants, you will want to make sure you have sub metered the space properly to give yourself maximum flexibility.
  • Market Analysis - If you are considering a retail venture of any kind, you will want to get a good market analysis before picking your location. Here are a few ideas for a do-it-yourself market analysis as well as options for purchasing one.
  • Modeling Your Real Estate Loan in Excel - Whether you are buying a car or a piece of real estate, brokers are always trying to get you focused on your loan payments. Focusing on payments alone, however, is a mistake. In this article you will learn how to create an Excel model for your loan to help you understand what is going on.
  • Move in Date Issues for Office Leases - As you get close to finalizing negotiations for your office lease, don't forget to pay attention to the passages that involve your move-in date.
  • Negotiating Office Leases (1 of 2) - This article is to help the entrepreneur learn what a Landlord is looking for during a lease negotiation process. By learning the Landlord's point-of-view, an entrepreneur can negotiate good lease terms with greater success. Part I emphasizes credit quality of the tenant and length of term.
  • Negotiating Office Leases (2 of 2) - This article is to help the entrepreneur learn what a Landlord is looking for during a lease negotiation process. By learning the Landlord's point-of-view, an entrepreneur can negotiate good lease terms with greater success. Part II emphasizes lease rate and type (NNN, Full Service, Base Year), Tenant Improvements, and Options.
  • Notary Public - If you are looking to close a real estate transaction of any kind, you will want to know what a Notary Public is and learn why it's important to have one notarize the documents to your transaction.
  • Office Amenities and Features Your Employees Will Love - If you want your new office space to appeal to employees of all ages, you need to build in some of these amenities if possible.
  • Office Furniture and Your Tenant Improvements Project - Beware of possible issues in coordination when you are buying systems furniture (cubicles etc) from a furniture vendor while working with an architect to build out the rest of your Tenant improvements.
  • Office Leases: Important Terms and Conditions - A good office location is only the beginning of renting your first office space. The lease negotiation itself will have many important twists and turns. Good legal counsel is always recommended. However, you should understand some of the important terms and conditions yourself. In this article we present some of those key terms and conditions that relate to office leases.
  • Office Location, Access, and Traffic Patterns - Three considerations in leasing office space that go together are: location, access, and traffic patterns. Here's why.
  • Parties Involved in a Development Project - In order to develop real estate you need a team of professionals who can handle all aspects of the job. This article discusses the various parties that are typically involved in a development project and discusses a few of their roles and responsibilities.
  • Planning Your Office Space - Believe it or not, laying out your new office space, and figuring out how much space you really need, can be one of the hardest tasks you deal with when moving. Read here to find out how to ease those moving pains.
  • Private Equity in Real Estate - Most the time you think of private equity groups that buy up companies. In real estate, private equity groups buy up buildings and invest in properties for preferred returns.
  • Property Insurance for Real Estate - As an entrepreneur and owner of commercial real estate, you will want to protect your investment. One of the most efficient ways to do that is through buying the right property insurance.
  • Quit Claim Deed and Warranty Deed - If you are purchasing real estate you will want to be sure to get a quit claim deed and/or a warranty deed to help ensure that your purchase is valid.
  • Real Estate Owned and Short Sales - If you are in the market to purchase real estate for your new company, you will need to understand what the terms real estate owned and short sale mean.
  • Reasons Not to Select the Low Bidder - As you bid out your next construction project, you may be tempted to simply select the contractor who submits the cheapest bid. Here are a few reasons to be wary.
  • Recourse in Real Estate Financing - When you are financing your real estate purchase, pay close attention to the section on recourse. This article describes more about what recourse is.
  • Rent to Own - Looking to purchase some real estate, but can't get financing? Don't worry; renting to own is another option you can explore.
  • Rent vs. Buy - This article is to help entrepreneurs make the all-important decision of whether to rent or buy office space. The decision hinges largely on the length of stay in the property and your opportunity cost of capital. This article helps the entrepreneur evaluate this decision from a quantitative rather than qualitative viewpoint.
  • Residential Leases - As an entrepreneur, your real estate portfolio will likely change drastically over time. There may be times when you are forced to lease or sub-lease some space. If you end up leasing a piece of residential real estate, you will want to know some of the important terms to include in the lease.
  • Retail Leases: Important Terms and Conditions - Finding a good retail location is only the beginning of renting your first retail space. The lease negotiation itself will have many important twists and turns. Good legal counsel is always recommended. However, you should understand some of the important terms and conditions yourself. In this article we present some of those key terms and conditions that relate SPECIFICALLY to retail leases.
  • Retention's Role in Construction - Retention is an important aspect of managing a construction project. This article teaches entrepreneurs what retention is and why it is useful as they construct their project.
  • Security Systems for Office Spaces - In order to protect your business, you need to have secure office space. Here are a few things to think about when you are deciding what kind of security system to use for your space.
  • Should I Rent a Green Space? - Green building is all the rage in today's development world. So if you're an entrepreneur looking for space, should leasing a green space be important to you? Here we discuss some of the key issues to think about when deciding whether or not to lease a green space.
  • Should My Real Estate Venture be a REIT? - As a real estate entrepreneur, one of the first questions you face is structuring your business. Will be you be a corporation? An LLC? A REIT? This article discusses what a REIT is, and the advantages and disadvantages of forming your company as a REIT.
  • Site Acquisition for Development Entrepreneurs - If you are looking to get into the commercial real estate development game, one of the first things you will need to find is a site for your first project. In this article we take a look at some of the considerations for acquiring land.
  • Sub-Leasing Your Space - There may be an occasion where it makes sense to sub-lease some or all of your current space. Before you try to market your excess space, however, take a look at a few of these considerations.
  • Subordination - In tough economic times it can be difficult to finance a project. One loan may not be enough; you may require several loans and equity partners. If you are looking at multiple loans for your property you should familiarize yourself with the concept of subordination.
  • Taking Space As Is - When you lease a space "as is" from a Landlord, you are probably trying to save money. You should beware of these potential pitfalls to achieving your savings goals.
  • Tenant Screening for Credit Worthiness - One of the main risks in leasing office space corresponds to the credit risk of individual Tenants. Here are a few things to think about to help you make a good decision.
  • The Hidden Expenses of Real Estate Ownership - If you are considering owning commercial real estate, you should be aware of the hidden expenses of owning that real estate. Be on the look-out for these items, including capital expenditures, credit loss, tenant improvements, broker's fees, and general vacancy.
  • The Importance of Equity in Real Estate - Purchasing real estate can be a complicated and expensive process. A key feature of most commercial real estate deals is an equity requirement by the purchaser. This requirement is essential for markets to function well, here's why.
  • The Importance of Lien Waivers - As a real estate entrepreneur, managing construction effectively is paramount to your success. Although it seems trivial, getting signed lien waivers as you pay contractors could be critical to your success.
  • Title Reports and Title Insurance - Title reports provide essential information for any entrepreneur looking to purchase and/or develop a piece of ground. Title insurance is a necessary protection as you enter into this transaction. Here's a quick look at the basics of these two important items.
  • Transit Oriented Developments and Parking - If you are thinking about leasing office space in an urban area, one of the issues you will have to deal with is parking. This article discusses transit oriented developments and how to weigh the decision to lease in a transit oriented development versus a typical drive and park building.
  • What is a Cap Rate? - A simple method for valuing commercial real estate is to take the year 1 net operating income (NOI) and divide it by the cap rate to get a value. So what is a cap rate? Where do they come from? Why are they useful? Keep reading to find out...
  • What is Highest and Best Use? - Highest and best use is a concept that is often misunderstood. This article discusses the several alternate meanings of highest and best use, and also suggests the definition that entrepreneurs should rely on when making real estate decisions.
  • Why to Hold Your Real Estate in an LLC - Limiting your own liability is the name of the game for entrepreneurs. One key consideration in owning real estate as an entrepreneur is your ability to further protect yourself by creating a limited liability company (LLC) to hold your real estate assets.
  • Why You Shouldn't Out Build Your Local Market - There are several reasons why you should build a project similar to your surroundings. Here are just a few of the main reasons.
  • Writing a Letter of Intent for Property Purchase - As you begin to negotiate a real estate transaction, a first step toward closing is signing a letter of intent (LOI). In this article we look at the anatomy of an LOI, and consider the points that ought to be addressed therein.
  • Zoning Considerations - Commercial - If you are considering a development project, you should be aware of the many types of zoning categories that exist. This article highlights a few of the most commonly used commercial zoning ordinances.
  • Zoning Considerations - Residential - If you are considering a development project, you should be aware of the many types of zoning categories that exist. This article highlights a few of the most commonly used residential zoning ordinances.


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