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28 Jan 2017
commercial property value

How to Increase (and Preserve) the Value of Your Commercial Property

Simple Ways to Maintain or Add Value to Your Commercial Real Estate Property

Commercial real estate is arguably one of the most lucrative investments around, especially when approached in a wise and strategic manner. Whatever your plans are for the property, whether you decide to rent it out to tenants or use it to house your own business operations, putting some time, effort, and perhaps cash on it will certainly help increase commercial property value that will be beneficial to you in the long run.

So exactly, how do you increase the value of your property without breaking the bank?

There is a myriad of ways to improve the value of a commercial property without spending a ton of money. The key is to make the property appealing to potential tenants, increasing rent, while minimizing its operation or maintenance cost.

The crucial steps that will be covered in this article involve the structural and cosmetics elements of the commercial property and operational costs.


Key Considerations to Help Increase Commercial Property Value

1. Make the essential changes in the structural and cosmetics elements of the property.

Adding more square footage to the property can sometimes be more economical.

Depending on how the property is being used, adding more square footage to meet the needs and demands of clients, or to increase the number of tenants, is really a practical option at times. If adding square footage laterally isn’t possible, then doing it vertically by constructing additional floors is certainly a possibility that may cost you extra, but will be profitable in the long run.

If your commercial property is in high demand, then it may benefit you to add more rentable units such as offices, storefronts, storage facilities and warehouses, and parking space. Again, this all depends on the type of commercial property you have.


Make some improvements on the exterior elements of your property.

The point here is to catch the attention or pique the interest of potential tenants. The best way to do that is to make the exterior of your property more appealing to your target clientele. You should also remember that the external appearance of any property can influence its overall value.

Luckily, there are a few low-cost solutions to help improve the appearance of any commercial real estate property:

  • Look for local cleaning and garbage pickup services to take care of the cleaning and garbage needs of your tenants and the entire property. It may not be obvious, but a clean property often presents a significant impact on its value.
  • Making sure that the common areas in your property, such as the parking lots, bathrooms, walkways, and the yards are clean is also the easiest and cheapest way to add value to your commercial property.
  • Update all exterior furnishings like doors, windows, lawn ornaments, and even security cameras and the paint of the building. This will help improve the overall appearance of the property.
  • Invest in landscaping and professional Arborists. Believe it or not, planting trees in your property will not only enhance its visual appeal, but it adds to its value as well. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that your lawns are regularly trimmed and well maintained.


2. Try to improve efficiency and minimize operational costs.

The fact is the reason you want to increase the value of your commercial property is to hopefully increase your profit/income. Now, one way to boost profit is to demand for more rent. But you can’t do that until you increase the value of the property.

There’s a possible easy solution though.

In addition to increasing the property value, you could also try decreasing operational expenses, of course, without sacrificing the safety and security of your tenants. You need to understand that in a commercial property, its value mainly depends on how profitable the property is. Now, profits may increase through raising rents or by reducing the overall operational cost.

And here’s how:

  • Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs throughout the property.
  • Contact your local utilities company and see if they can individually meter units. This way, you can pass on some of the utility expenses to the tenants.
  • Consider investing in modern heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to further optimize your property’s energy consumption.
  • Make sure to apply regular maintenance throughout the property. Consistent maintenance is a proactive prevention solution that you should never take for granted.


Questions? Comment below!


More info: photo by Leeroy

23 Jan 2017
Winter Mulch

Why Winter Is a Wonderful Time to Use Mulch for Soil Protection

Winter is a stressful time for plants and trees. The soil condition and the extremely low temperatures are detrimental to the health and development of plants. Regardless of the type of garden you have, whether it’s a small one that consists of a few potted plants or an acre of vegetable or flowering plants and trees, the best thing you can do is to prepare them for the coming winter season.

This means taking care of all their nutritional and hydration needs. For trees and shrubberies, using the right amount of winter mulch can go a long way in maintaining optimum soil temperature and preserving moisture in the root system. For seasonal crops, the best thing you can do is harvest those that are ready and prepare the plot for planting for the coming spring.


But what makes mulching so important?

Spreading the right amount and type of mulch in your garden plays a significant role in maintaining the health and development of the crops, as well as the viability of the soil they stand in. during the cold winter months, a layer of mulch on the top soil will provide the ground with adequate insulation and protection against the elements.

The roots of trees and shrubberies can be prevented from completely freezing over by simply adding a layer of mulch around the plant.


The Different Types of Mulch for the Yard or Garden

Gardens come in many different sizes, shapes, and characteristics in terms of the type of plants that are growing in them. There are gardens that house flowering plants that add aesthetic charm to one’s front yard, while there are those that grow vegetable plants and crops for household consumption.

But regardless of the type of crops or flowering plants you have growing in your garden, they all can benefit from the use of mulch, especially during the harsh winter months.

Although there are a wide variety of mulch types available out there, this can be divided into two key categories, the organic and inorganic mulch.

  • Organic or Natural Mulch – This category typically includes wood chips, grass clippings, crushed leaves, pine straws, and hardwood shavings in the mixture. This material is available from garden centers, Arborists, power companies, and municipal yard waste facilities. It is very durable and makes an excellent material for covering paths and walkways. If used on landscape beds, nitrogen deficiencies will develop if fertilizer is not periodically applied.
  • Inorganic or Synthetic Mulch – This mixture generally has components like crushed rock, pebbles, plastic chips, and rubber shavings.

By comparison, natural or organic mulch is much cheaper than synthetic or inorganic mulch. However, because organic mulch is subject to decay and deterioration, it has to be replaced more frequently compared to inorganic mulch.


The Benefits of Using Mulch in the Winter Season

Mulch can actually be used all year round due to its ability to provide insulation and soil protection. But the process of mulching is especially effective during the winter months because it is the time of year when plants and trees need the most insulation.

  • Mulches that are specifically designed for the fall and winter seasons help create an insulating barrier on the ground, between the warmth of the soil and the harsh cold air. The mulch effectively protects the plant roots from intermittent fluctuations of temperature in the soil.
  • Specific types of mulches also prevent soil erosion and compaction caused by heavy rains and snow, thus preserving good soil condition when spring arrives.
  • Because of the insulating properties of mulches, they also help preserve moisture in the soil, ensuring proper hydration of the root system of the plant.
  • Since natural or organic mulches slowly break down over time, these types also contribute to the enrichment of nutrients within the soil. This can be a huge advantage for ground soil that has low or poor fertility. By spring, you will have a healthy and fertile soil ready for planting new crops.
  • Winter mulch also helps minimize mechanical and winter injuries that are often sustained by exposed roots and trunks. They play a role in weed control as well as protect the plant from injuries caused by lawnmowers and weed eaters.
  • Certain types of mulch, such as cedar, pinewood, and cypress chips have characteristics that help repel ticks, fleas, and gnats.


The Bottom Line

If you want to preserve the health of your garden soil or protect the growth and development process of your trees and shrubberies, you will need the right kind of mulch to apply in your yard or garden. Keep in mind that winter is especially challenging for your plants and trees, so make sure to prepare their beds with the appropriate amount and the right kind of mulch before winter comes.


Stocksnap photo by Les Anderson


How are you protecting your soil this winter? Comment below. 


16 Jan 2017
watch out for improper practices

Watch Out For These Improper Practices Used By Untrained Tree Companies

Did you know that even with advanced knowledge, recently developed techniques for proper tree maintenance and the vast amount of information we have at our disposal, there are still a lot of tree companies out there that call themselves “professionals” who practice outdated and harmful tree care practices?

And here’s the thing . . .

These improper practices are sometimes so common in certain areas that most people, homeowners to be exact, believe that the methods these so-called tree professionals employ are harmless and accepted by the community.

Take for example the use of spikes or spurs to climb trees that are about to be pruned—there are a lot of safer and more harmless ways to climb trees without poking or stabbing them with spikes from your boot. You just have to take the time to do your research and learn.

But no, a number of tree companies still adopt this method of climbing trees. It’s a shame to say, but some of these companies are quite established and have been in operation for decades.

Improper Practices Still Being Adopted by a Number of Tree Arborists in the Industry

If you think that climbing trees using spikes is a problem, hold on to your hat; there are a lot more harmful practices that many untrained Arborists still employ today.

Not considering overhead and underground obstructions when planting trees.

Believe it or not, a lot of professionals don’t really think enough about proper spacing when moving or planting trees. These people fail to grasp the importance of spacing to avoid overhead and underground obstructions.

So what happens when spacing is disregarded?

Trees grow, and sooner or later they will outgrow a small space. As a result, tree canopies could reach power lines; root systems could reach pavements or any man-made structure and cause damage to that structure, as well as to the roots.

Before planting, the type and size of the tree when fully grown should be considered when determining the appropriate amount of spacing to be allotted.

Incorrect application of mulch to insulate the soil around the tree.

Every professional, every tree company appreciates the value of mulch in providing appropriate insulation for the tree’s root system. But not all of them are aware of the proper way to actually apply it.

Are you aware of the term “mulch volcano”? Mulch volcano refers to mulch that is piled up against the trunk of a tree, making it look like a volcano. This is a practice that can damage, sometimes even kill, trees. Unfortunately, a lot of untrained tree companies still observe this practice for aesthetic purposes.

So what’s the correct way to apply mulch?

We can all agree that mulch is very important, especially when preparing the tree for the cold winter months. The right amount of mulch and the proper way to apply it depends on the species of the tree.

The safest way to apply the mulch is to place it around the tree, 3-4 feet in diameter, without the mulch ever touching the trunk. And as far as the thickness of the mulch being applied is concerned, it should be around 3-4 inches deep.

Improper pruning of trees, particularly the practice of topping.

Topping is a pruning practice that is widely rejected by reputable tree companies and professionals in the industry. In fact, topping is illegal in some states.

So, what is topping?

Topping is a pruning practice that refers to the indiscriminate removal or cutting of branches and limbs in order to shorten the height of the tree. Also known as a tree haircut, this lazy and inconsiderate practice actually creates more problems instead of providing an aesthetic appearance to your trees.

Tree topping creates large wounds on the tree that could result in decay, and eventually, the death of the tree. The decay can spread quite quickly over time and will compromise the structural integrity of the limbs and branches.

A small gust of wind and the weight of ice or snow can cause the limbs to break and fall off, which may result in unfortunate accidents, especially if the tree is in an area with heavy pedestrian traffic.

These improper tree care practices are just a few of the many incorrect methods and techniques being used by a number of so-called tree professionals. The sooner you learn about these kinds of practices, the better you are at choosing the right tree company to handle all your tree care needs.


Comment below and share your thoughts!


More info:


Wikimedia Commons photo by Kenneth Allen

12 Jan 2017

Uh Oh. Are Homeowners Liable for Tree Care Accidents?

Know Your Responsibilities and Liabilities: Why DIY Tree Care is Always a Dangerous Proposition

Homeowners are responsible for whatever happens inside their property. And with that being said, they are potentially liable for whatever mishaps or accidents that occur within the property grounds. If you have trees inside your property, and you don’t take care of them regularly, if a branch breaks and land on someone, hurting them in the process, you will be held liable for the injuries that person may have sustained.

In addition, if you have professionals working on your property and they get hurt while pruning one of your trees, you may even be held liable for whatever tree care accidents that occur, especially if the company’s credentials and paperwork are not in order.

So what does this mean?

To avoid getting sued or get slapped with a fine, you need to pay closer attention to the trees that grow within your property. To make sure that the trees are in good condition, you may want to consider doing regular tree care maintenance. And for that, you’re going to have to hire a professional tree care service.


Not All Tree Service Companies Are Equal

Before you decide to hire any particular tree care professional or company, you need to do some research to make sure that they meet the following standards:

  • Insurance – Tree care companies must have liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance if they’re going to work in their client’s property. Otherwise, you the homeowner, will be legally liable for any accidents that take place in your property while they are in your employ.
  • Good Reputation – When you do your research, you should also make sure that the company you want to hire has a good reputation within the industry. Try to verify any professional affiliations they might have. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau for more information about the company.
  • Local References – You should always ask for references before you decide to hire the company. This will allow you to check the quality of their work and whether or not previous clients were satisfied or disappointed with their service.
  • Knowledge and Expertise – Check to see if the company has up-to-date knowledge and expertise regarding proper tree care and safety protocols. This is very important as it ensures safety and limits the occurrence of workplace accidents.
  • Contracts – Make sure to carefully check the contract so will know what your responsibilities are as the homeowner and what your liabilities might be. Never hire a company without a written contract.


Why Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Tree Maintenance Is Not a Good Idea

If you’re worried about homeowner liability when it comes to tree maintenance, then you should probably think twice about DIY tree care, especially if you have no experience whatsoever in this kind of work.

That’s not all . . .

Sure, pruning tree branches and cutting off rotten tree limbs sounds simple enough. In reality, it actually isn’t. In fact, working with trees, specifically the bigger ones, is extremely complicated and dangerous without the appropriate knowledge or expertise.

Accidents and injuries can occur, improper handling of cut tree limbs to faulty pruning equipment. And if a neighbor happens to walk by as you were sawing off a large branch, and it hits the person on the head, you would be in serious trouble.

Accident factors that are commonly associated with DIY tree care work:

  1. The use of extension ladders.

If you’re doing your own tree maintenance work, at some point you’re going to need an extension ladder in order to reach the upper portions of the tree. You might want to think carefully about how you’re going to use the extension ladder. A lot of DIY tree care accidents have occurred because of the improper use of extension ladders.

  1. Sharp, heavy, or faulty equipment.

Chainsaws, pruning shears, hand axe—these are tools that require some form of mastery before they can be operated safely. And even then, accidents may still happen, especially if the equipment is faulty. Professionals have years of training trying to operate such equipment. And because they’ve mastered the use of the equipment, they make it look easy. Assuming that operating a chainsaw is easy would be your first mistake.

  1. Inadequate knowledge about the physics and biology of trees.

Simply sawing or hacking away branches and limbs with your chainsaw and axe is really foolhardy and dangerous. Proper calculations, sufficient knowledge about tree biology, and common sense are important when it comes to tree care safety and avoiding unnecessary accidents.


What are your thoughts? Comment below!


Stocksnap photo by