CEG "shorts" are Jeff's career and industry tips and advice as well as answers to common questions written in short form. Read our blog for more in-depth information about the commercial real estate business. Blogs and shorts alternate Fridays. Subscribe to our blog to receive both via email.

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We Can Save You Money 👨‍🚀

At CEG, we know space. When we say that, we mean more than finding, leasing, buying, selling, and investing in space. Let me explain.

I got into commercial real estate being thrown into the fire, learning every aspect of the business including property management, construction, maintenance, and tenant improvements. I was even the snowplow guy for many years while learning my craft!

This gives me unique insight and experience to work with owners, architects, and tenants to create win-win space plans. Clients often “wish” or say they want a sink but have no idea the plumbing is on the other end of the building. A part of our involvement at CEG is to sort these things out, saving our tenants and owners often unnecessary costs.

We can help owners and tenants decide where the best place to put their money. What changes are really necessary for functionality? What’s the best way to use your budget?

Helping is one of my missions in life, professionally and personally. Reach out to our team if you want us to help you save money.


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T-Minus 10, 9, 8… 👨‍🚀

As an owner, tenant, and client, what do you need to do ahead of time to be prepared to launch a deal? When the time is right, will you start from a strong position?


Wanting to move on a deal without being prepared, means you could miss a beneficial opportunity. Preparation puts you in a much better position to reach your business and investment goals. In business, time is money, and being prepared helps you manage issues within the deal more quickly and efficiently. You want to have solutions and necessary information on hand, so you can easily implement or access them.


An experienced broker can walk you through the steps to get prepared. However, it’s important to start a conversation early before you get to the launch pad. Our role is to help you meet your business goals. So, if you are thinking there might be a deal in your future, reach out now. Don’t wait to text, call, or email. You need to be completely ready for "3, 2, 1 lift off!"


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Show It 👨‍🚀

Tomorrow begins a long weekend. On Monday, we pay tribute to American workers for all their contributions and achievements. There are three ingredients to achieving these successes – skills, knowledge, and attitude.


Typically, we spend Labor Day with our families – at the State Fair, grilling food outside, or some other event. But as we enjoy the day off, remember how critical purpose, productivity, and contributions are for each of us. Remember the importance of a positive attitude and the essential need to increase skills and knowledge along the way.


On Tuesday, as we get back to work and our kids to go back to school, we unofficially mark the end of summer. It’s time for us to unite as Americans, and as American workers, and show our persistence, grit, and ingenuity. It’s time to show what we’ve got.


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It's Risky 👨‍🚀

My advice has to do with those tenants that think they’re special. They might just find out they’re not. Hear me out…


Many tenants think that because they have been leasing their space for years, they’re safe. Or, if their landlord is their friend, it’s all good. Some of these relationships mean that the rent agreement may be month-to-month or perceived as easily renewed. Some tenants have no lease at all.


These relationships are risky for the tenant. In this current market, owners are being approached by buyers with record high offers, leading to new buyers taking over. New owners are then looking to increase rents to get a return on the price they paid. They may even want to go in a completely different direction, like move into the property over time or redevelop the site. These situations leave the tenant hanging with no recourse.


Tenants should always talk to a broker before engaging with their landlord. They need to have someone on their team when there’s a shift, and they're no longer that special.


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Why Are Rents Getting Higher? 👨‍🚀

Construction costs and interest rates continue to go up. These rising costs affect buyers and tenants as well as owners and sellers. In this hot market, more and more multi-tenant properties are being sold at record prices per square foot. These record sales often cause an increase in a property's operating expenses, and many times, its assessed value and taxes. So, between the increase in expenses and taxes, rents are getting higher.


I’ve been receiving calls from tenants who are struggling to understand why their rent continues to increase. In a triple net lease, tenants pay their prorated share of taxes, insurance, and common area maintenance costs (CAM). If taxes and other costs associated with the property go up, tenants will see the total of their prorated share cost more.


Understanding your lease is one good reason to know a broker. They’re a great resource. If you need help understanding your current lease, give me a call. I’m here to help.


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Distant Galaxies & Sharp Focus 👨‍🚀

This week we saw the release of images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. They’re fascinating! We’ve seen nothing like them, as they are the deepest and sharpest infrared images of the distant universe. Amazing. I find it challenging to take a picture 3’ away with my iPhone at times. 😉


It makes me wonder what the future holds. Will we start selling land on Mars? Another planet? Will my son, Levi, be brokering deals in another galaxy?


Seriously, the phrase “distant galaxies into sharp focus” makes me think about possibilities. And in some ways, it makes me think of Commercial Equities Group. Yes, of course, I automatically think about our tagline, “At CEG, we know space.” But I’m thinking more about endless options. Also, the willingness to imagine something different for yourself and then look from far out and bring the details into sharp focus.


I took the jump to go full time with Commercial Equities Group almost two years ago. I wasn’t sure exactly how it would develop, but I was open to possibilities and absolutely driven to make it happen. As our team grows and more and more deals get done, I see the company more clearly and the results in sharp focus. They’re not quite as visually spectacular, but it’s nonetheless meaningful, and I’m pretty humble you are all part of it!

7-15-2022 (NASA Image)

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Fireworks or Duds? 🎆

I was watching a post on YouTube this week called, “Get Rid of Your Friends” by David Goggins, Andy Frisella, Jordan Peterson, Les Brown, and Jocko Willink. It’s about surrounding yourself with people that move you forward and not hold you back. It’s the difference between anchors and propellers. Or, fireworks in the air and the duds on the ground.


Coming off last week’s blog about the CEG team, the post made me think again how fortunate I am with the people I have around me. Our team is loyal to who we are trying to become and that propels us forward. And I'm not just talking about our small CEG team, but also the extended CEG network made up of industry greats. They’ve all pushed me to take advantage of my time and create opportunities for myself and others. I, in turn, do the same. We are driven, and that means we provide the best service, share insight grounded in experience, and get each deal done.


Finally, I’ll leave you with this advice from the post –– only make friends with people that want the best for you. I’m lucky to have friends on my team that do just that.


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Get Smart 🧑‍🚀

This week has been all about working smarter, not harder. It's been busy – a full calendar, deals getting done, meetings, and new processes being developed. As the owner of CEG, I don't pretend to know everything. I do know there are always ways to work smarter.


Just like a motorcycle 😉 needs a tune-up, so do the systems and processes in an organization. I have found it beneficial to listen to people new to the industry or young entrepreneurs. They come to me for advice/mentorship, but I usually walk away humbled. I find I've learned a lot from them. One suggestion to do things differently – a new technology, approach, or skill – can make the whole organization run more smoothly. This week several of my conversations have changed the way we do things for the better. And, that means more deals done and more smooth rides.


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Easy Access 🧑‍🚀

The majority of calls I get are from mobile numbers, especially since COVID hit. I have a stack of my traditional business cards that I rarely use. Although my number travels, it's not from people sharing a small piece of cardstock. Those mainly end up in the trash.

We use our smartphones so much, from ordering food and watching stocks to listening to podcasts and checking emails or sending texts. They are a vital tool to get deals done. They are also the perfect way to keep track of our network and refer the people we know.

I had a conversation this week with some guys new to the business. My advice was if anyone contacts you with business questions or potential leads, most likely they are calling from a cell. Immediately text them a vCard to follow up, and if they inquire about a property, attach a digital brochure or link. Virtual cards are an easy and organized way for these potential clients to store and quickly access your contact information. That also means, they will be more likely to use and share it when another opportunity comes up. It keeps your name relevant and your phone number spreading, and that's essential for success.


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Question 🧑‍🚀

I mentioned The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M. R. Covey, two weeks ago in my short. I’m not done talking or thinking about it.


He asked the question, “Have you been in the business for 15 years or one year 15 times?” It’s the difference between investing in yourself to stay current and relevant or doing the same thing over and over. I’ve been thinking about his question and the impact of intentionally adding value vs. just coasting on your business.


As a person who likes adventures, I approach my business the same way as life. I don’t want to be stagnate and do the same thing over and over again. I want to continually challenge myself. So, I read books, listen to podcasts, try different experiences (like writing a blog), and most of all, get out there and meet new people.


Sometimes growth comes from meeting people just starting in the business. My experience and their new perspective end up being a win-win. It benefits the industry when the new ask for help and the more experienced are open-minded about another way of doing things. The mentor/mentee relationship can be energizing for both careers. So, I wonder, how do you push yourself forward?


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It Changes Everything 🧑‍🚀

I’ve been thinking about trust––both as an economic driver and how it affects relationships. A while ago, I read the book The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M. R. Covey. If you haven’t read or listened to it, I highly recommend it.


If you get good at trust, everything else gets better. Innovation, collaboration, and partnerships flourish when there is high trust. High trust is a dividend, and low trust is a tax. In the CRE business, trust is critical. Tenants, owners, and investors need to trust brokers, and brokers need to trust them.


Credibility is the base in which to build trust. It’s about being honest, walking the talk, and doing the right thing when there is a cost. The successful brokers and business partners I know enjoy that dividend, and they stake their reputation on it every day.


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What's the Price? 🧑‍🚀

I've been thinking a lot this week about pricing. I have a new 5,300 SF industrial listing in the Minneapolis-Bloomington area. It used to be that there were many small to mid-sized industrial buildings in the metro. Not so anymore, making them are harder and harder to find. Many of these properties were bought up and then redeveloped or repositioned into something bigger.


So, how do you put a price on an existing building whose size and type  won't be built in Minneapolis again? What's the value for something that's disappearing but still in very high demand? The market's moving fast, and pricing always depends on supply and demand.


That's my week. Hope yours went well.


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Shifting Gears 🚘😎

As a broker, I spend a lot of time in my car. I find it's a great place for me to think and reflect. One of the things I thought about this week was my Friday blog. I started them back in October 2021 to share my experience as well as opportunities, perspectives, and thoughts about the CRE profession.


After seven months, I've decided I need to downshift a gear. My "official" blog will come out every other Friday instead of weekly. On the alternate Fridays, I'll email shorter career and industry tips and advice as well as answers common questions. One of my favorite things about Blog Friday has been reading responses from those who have reached out. We'll keep that communication going, just with fewer words to read. 🙃