Checklist For Starting Your Own Business

If you’re ready to take the leap into starting your own business, you’re in good company. In Mississippi alone,  nearly 40,000 new businesses have been formed in the first half of 2021. Nationwide, over two million business applications have been filed. 

Business owners who stay organized and take planned steps have the best chance of long-term success. In fact, 71% of fast-growing companies utilize detailed plans. That’s why we put together this short 5-point checklist for starting your own business and making the most out of your new venture’s “honeymoon period.”

1. Set Up Your Finances

Finances are the backbone of any business because they allow your products, services, teams, and ideas to stand tall and grow. 

Decide on a Business Structure

How your business is structured determines your liability, taxes, the paperwork needed to register, and funding. Corporations, limited liability corporations (LLCs), and some partnerships all offer varying degrees of protection from personal liability for business debt, while sole proprietorships don’t separate personal and business financial responsibility. You can learn more about the perks and drawbacks of each type of business here.    

Decide on a Financing Option

There are several options available to secure funding when you’re starting your own business. Depending on which one you choose, you’ll likely need to write a business plan, which can be optimized using business planning software

Most financing options require several financial statements, including a startup budget, costs worksheet, P&L statement, break-even analysis, and a sources and use of funds statement.

Here are seven top ways your new businesses can be financed:

  1. Loans
  2. Investors
  3. Grants
  4. Subsidies
  5. Crowdfunding
  6. Family and Friends
  7. Self-Funded

For those interested in purchasing rather than leasing commercial property, you can take a look at the types of loans available in the commercial space.  

2. Register Your Business

In each state, the Secretary of State (SOS) office has the forms, regulations, and guidance available to ensure that your new company is properly registered. Below are some of the key highlights to check off your registration list.

Pick a Business Name

The SOS office can typically tell you whether any of the names you’re considering are already in use in your state. This is especially useful to know when dealing with your competitors.

Register Your Domain Name Online

While your favorite business name may be available in your state, it may already be connected with a popular website. You can do a quick google search to find out. Then, do a domain search to choose a web address.

Register with Federal, State, and Local Agencies

Besides being the source of your business registration forms, the SOS office is also where you typically file the required paperwork to register your business. Some cities, counties, and municipalities may also require separate registration. At the federal level, you can file to register your business tax ID, trademarks, patents, and certain types of corporate status.

Register with the IRS and State Offices

To open a bank account, file taxes, pay staff, obtain permits, and various other operational functions, you’ll need your federal tax ID. Certain states require a separate tax ID as well.

Open a Business Bank or Credit Union Account

There is a slew of benefits to creating a separate bank or credit union account when starting your own business. These include an emergency line of credit, access to secure merchant services so you can accept credit cards, and establishing a favorable credit history for your company.

A woman smiling while shaking hands with a person across a table while three more people sit around the table smiling.
Business owners who stay organized and take planned steps have the best chance of long-term success.

3. Choose a Business Location

Perception is reality. That’s why your physical locale affects all aspects of your operation, from branding and visibility to attracting the right talent and growing your customer base. In fact, deciding where to locate your new business is one of a handful of decisions that can have the largest impact on your success.

Take a look at our top five “to-do list” items for choosing an ideal locale.

Get to Know the Zoning Requirements

The type of space you need may be available in some parts of a city or region, but not others. That’s why it’s important to ask yourself, “How will my business be zoned?” While many businesses are zoned commercially, others are considered multifamily, office, industrial, or mixed residential and commercial. Within the commercial designation, there may be several subcategories, such as is the case in Jackson, Mississippi.

Knowing where you can legally locate your business is a necessary first step. Then, compile a list of properties that catch your eye and make your shortlist of desirable buildings.

Decide if You’ll Lease, Buy, or Design and Build

Most businesses lease or even purchase the commercial real estate where their company resides. However, if your business happens to be Commercial Real Estate (CRE) investing (or if you’d like to expand outside your traditional business parameters) designing may be the best option.

Whatever your decision, it will affect where you locate your business. For instance, if no land is available in the Central Business District (CBD), those interested in designing and building a space there may need to consider other options, such as a redesign of an existing space or choosing a different locale. Likewise, business owners interested in leasing a building with LEEDEnergy Star, or other environmental certifications might look outside any “Old Town” sections of the city. Landlords in those areas could have a difficult time meeting both green and preservation standards.

Consider Your Customer Base

Here’s where the market research from your business plan comes into play. Who is your ideal customer and what demographic are you targeting? Restaurants, for instance, would do well to locate within walking distance of residential or business hubs. Corporate offices may be more tailored to upper-level management and HR activity, and therefore can be located away from pedestrian traffic lanes.

Align with Your Budget

Your business plan financial statements let you know which location options best match your available finances. In many cities, more popular neighborhoods like the CBD may bring in lots of traffic, but they also tend to cost more. If your finances are relatively strong, this can be a great space for starting your own business and quickly growing it. Even if you have limited funding, finding a real estate agent with a reputation for locating needle-in-the-haystack deals could land you in your ideal spot. In the meantime, consider the locales that match your current budget. Set yourself up for success early on.

Check out the Neighborhood

“Farming” the neighborhood allows you to check it out firsthand to find out the market value of properties, and also if there are any nearby competitors. Depending on the type of company you’re starting, you can also ask around about the neighborhood’s reputation for drawing in business. Ask about any regulations that may add or detract from the value of the property.

4. Apply for Operating Permits and Licenses

Once you know the location where you’ll be setting up shop, your next step is obtaining any necessary federal, state, city, or industry-specific operating permits and licenses. Some of these require passing certain testing and certifications, especially at the federal level. Others charge fees, require proof of registration, and focus on product and service quality standards.

Here are a few examples of common permits and licenses:

5. Consider Your Building Needs

Here’s where the big picture really meets the minute details. Taking time to dig deep into your building criteria ensures that when the ink is dry on your contract, you’ve covered all your bases, your needs are met, and you can relax into comfortably doing business.

12 Top Space Needs to Consider

  1. What spaces and equipment do the day-to-day activities require? For instance, some examples include technology build-outs, worker break rooms, retail space, warehouse space, back-up generators, drive-through lanes, AC units, showrooms, elevators, offices, and delivery zones.  
  2. How much space in square feet do you need for each activity? This can be dependent on the number of employees, customers, products, and equipment that will occupy each area.
  3. How much parking will you need? If there’s no parking lot on-site, check to see if one is nearby or if there is a parking garage within walking distance.
  4. What are your storage needs?
  5. What amenities will be offered and how will this impact your building needs? For instance, do you want tall windows to let the light in, meeting rooms for employee/client conferences, or an on-site cafeteria?
  6. Do you need traditional or flex space? The latter can be quickly (and legally) converted to serve different activities as your business changes and grows.
  7. Are you willing and able to share space in order to save on costs?
  8. What are your electric power needs? Determine the number of outlets and their power capacity, and compare this against your equipment’s power requirements.
  9. What are your communications technology needs? Ask whether the space is wired for high-volume internet if this is one of your needs.
  10. Can the building be altered? Examples include adding ventilation and soundproofing.
  11. Should your building be green-friendly?
  12. What is your building budget?

Starting Your Own Business? Contact a Commercial Real Estate Agent

Once your checklist is complete, you’re ready to connect with a professionally trained commercial real estate agent to transition from “brand new” to a brick-and-mortar business. A Tenant and Sales Representative from Speed Commercial Real Estate can guide you through the various costs and considerations associated with a CRE lease for your new business. Additionally, we offer real estate guidance for those interested in purchasing.

Contact us today to get started on one of the most important steps of your entrepreneurial adventure.      

What is Tenant Representation?

For some, finding the commercial real estate (CRE) that best fits their space needs, location, price point, and amenity wishlist may seem daunting. Others throw themselves into this process head first, excited about the prospect of discovering a new space for their business endeavors, and then sealing the deal. Whichever group you’re in, having tenant representation on your side to guide you through property comparisons, needs assessments, and detailed lease negotiations is not only invaluable – it’s been shown to save lessees thousands of dollars.

What is Tenant Representation?

When CRE landlords lease space, they hire a leasing group (brokerage firm) to represent their best interests. These include marketing, negotiating, and securing a lessee under contract. This is done to ensure that landlords’ costs are covered and that they profit from lease agreements.

Tenant representation, on the other hand, is about representing the tenant who is looking for office, warehouse, manufacturing, or other commercial space. Tenant representatives serve tenants for free. This may seem too good to be true, but in reality, the process is set up to protect the tenant. Here’s how it works: the listing brokerage firm signs a contract with the property landlord. If no tenant representative is hired by a tenant, that listing broker gets the entire negotiated commission fee when a lease is signed.

However, when a tenant representative is present, the commission is split with them. In other words, your landlord pays for you to be represented by an industry professional.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of hiring a tenant representative.

Benefits of Tenant Representation

Works for You – and Only You

Tenant representatives are solely there to protect your interests. They help you avoid leases that work great for your landlord but leave you stuck with a less-than-ideal contract.

If you decide to go it alone, landlord representatives are incentivized to negotiate a lease that benefits their boss but may include terms that are bad for you. These may include hidden fees, above-market pricing, and space specifications that don’t fully align with your business needs.

Your tenant representative, on the other hand, only has you and your business in mind. This means that they work with you to get the best lease terms, options, and space to meet your needs. For instance, if you’re considering bringing warehousing in-house, your tenant representative may recommend a multi-functional flex space so that your space needs are met for the entire duration of the lease, even if you haven’t made a final decision on the matter prior to signing the contract.

A hand holding a pen against the date field of a lease agreement on a clipboard.
Everyone’s financial plans and situations are different, and that’s why it’s important to get expert guidance that’s personalized to you.

Negotiates to Save You Thousands

Saving just a dime per square foot on a 5,000 square foot facility puts over $10,000 in your company’s pocket for a two-year lease. Direct savings like this can be the outcome of your tenant representative’s market research. This gives you valuable leverage in the form of alternative leasing options. They can be brought to the negotiation table to get you the best deal.

Just as importantly, your tenant representative understands all the hidden costs of leases, such as:

  • Overage Fees if building operating expenses exceed the projected building budget
  • Load Factor Fees for areas that don’t actually meet the criteria for rentable square footage
  • Excess Administration Fees that are often tacked on to Common Area Maintenance (CAM) fees

Tenant representation informs you of all your lease obligations so you don’t have any surprise expenses. Whether you’re new to leasing or are interested in relocating, expanding, renewing, or taking advantage of your current lease options, having an advocate negotiating on your behalf is invaluable.

Provides Expert Space Needs Analysis

More than any other area, tenants miss the mark when assessing their actual space needs. They do tend to consider the desired environment and locale of the commercial space they’re seeking. However, they fail to apply deep analytics of business processes, staffing, clients, and future plans. A tenant representative will use interviews, company data, and software tools to look at:

  • How your company functions
  • Expansion or contraction plans
  • Your workforce
  • Your customers
  • Space criteria you have
  • Your location criteria

This space needs analysis provides a much more sound strategy for moving forward in finding an ideal property for your business and negotiating the best lease agreement.

Researches Multiple Space Options

The creative space where you build and grow your products, services, sales, and systems is an integral part of what keeps your customers coming back for more. Tenant representatives understand this dynamic, and they are always on the lookout for exceptional leasing opportunities for you.

Another key part of their job is to find multiple properties that meet your business needs. They then perform side-by-side comparisons using market analytics to help rule out spaces that aren’t ideal, such as those that are above market value. Providing you with similar options is also a key way to optimize negotiations in your favor.  

Offers Industry Expertise

Perhaps the most valuable skill tenant representatives offer is their industry knowledge. Navigating the world of leasing types, options, amenities, space configurations, costs, hidden fees, terms, and market trends can be overwhelming. Here are a few ways a tenant representative helps give you peace of mind during this process.

Guidance on Lease Types

Rent is one of the biggest expenses many businesses face each month. Managing this recurring financial obligation can be helped along by the right type of lease. For instance, while a full-service lease provides the most tenant protection by bundling all costs into one payment, it also offers the least flexibility. There’s no way to save on items like utility bills by cutting back on usage. A percentage lease, on the other hand, offers a more flexible option. It allows tenants to pay a lower base rent plus a percentage of sales. This makes it an attractive choice for those in financial recovery.

Everyone’s financial plans and situations are different. That’s why it’s important to get expert guidance that’s personalized to you.

Guidance on Lease Options

Just like with lease types, there are various lease options that can be written into your lease. They address different elements for which a lessee may require flexibility due to the unpredictable nature of business. Some of these include the options to:

  • Renew
  • Extend
  • Expand or contract
  • Purchase
  • Terminate

The space needs analysis that your tenant representative performs is a great tool to guide you through the options you’d like to include in your commercial lease.

Guidance on Local CRE Trends

Trends in regional CRE can have a big impact on the price you pay for properties. For example, tenants looking for office space who are willing to sublease will do particularly well due to the large number of corporate lessees looking to unload space that was previously occupied by staff who are now working remotely. Tenant representatives keep on top of these market patterns. They use them to connect you with properties that meet your space needs while giving you the most bang for your buck.

3 Things to Look for in a Tenant Representative

1. Local Experience in Property Design, Sales, and Marketing

The more involved your tenant representative’s brokerage firm is in the design, sales, and marketing of commercial property in your community, the better they can guide you to CRE that best fits your space needs. Experienced local tenant representatives are able to quickly and accurately analyze and compare the needs assessment they perform for you against available local properties because of their insider expertise.

In other words, they are familiar with the properties that are on the leasing market.

Pro Tip: Ensure that you are well represented. Ask to see the sales and design portfolio of your prospective tenant representative’s brokerage firm.

2. Proven Negotiation Skills

While local market connections and expertise are important, the bottom line happens at the negotiating table. Ask about the latest deals your tenant representative has closed, and how many of those were in the type of commercial space that you’re interested in. You can also have a discussion about the various points of focus that will be discussed during negotiations so you get a better feel about what to expect.

Pro-Tip: Find out your prospective tenant representative’s relationship with local landlords; good relationships can be a negotiation plus.

3. Employment of Market Analysis Tools

A skilled negotiator’s best friend is market analysis. It provides them with the detailed information needed to successfully advocate for you. Your tenant representative decides what information to input into analysis software, but the tools themselves fine-tune these inputs and create outputs that allow for side-by-side property comparisons utilizing the most up-to-date prices, upgrades, features, and lease inclusions.   

Pro-Tip: Ask what market research tools a tenant representative employs.

Whether you’re leasing your first property or are interested in moving into a space that better suits your needs, Speed Commercial Real Estate offers advanced market analytics, expert space needs assessments, and 17 years of experience in the Mississippi commercial real estate market. Contact us today to work with one of our local tenant representation professionals who will support, guide, and advocate for you through every step of the commercial leasing process.

How to Invest in Commercial Real Estate

Commercial real estate investments are among the investments with a high ROI. People who invest in commercial real estate have financial and psychological rewards as many of them see their investments as a fulfillment of their dreams. 

Commercial real estate includes all properties constructed or used for business purposes. The properties may be owner-occupied, meaning the owners operate their businesses on the properties. Some owners opt to lease the property to tenants to run their businesses on the property. 

These properties range in size, from small neighborhood stores to city skylines. They include all the income-producing properties and those with the potential to generate income.

However, deciding to invest in commercial real estate comes with its fair share of challenges, especially for beginners. In this guide, we will take through how to invest in commercial real estate. Let us begin by discussing the types of real estate investments you could consider.

Types of Commercial Real Estate Investments


This investment is popular with investors transitioning from residential real estate investments. They range in size from small properties with two tenants to those with hundreds of units. They include:

  • Garden Apartments

These are usually a collection of apartments spread out within one property and sharing amenities and a yard. They are common in suburbs, with about three to four-story walk-ups housing about 50-200 units.

  • Mid-Rise Apartments

These have about 4-11 stories with 30-200 units. You are likely to find them closer to the urban centers and may have elevators and garage parking.

  • High-Rise Apartments

These investments are common around the Central Business District of large towns and market centers. They offer amenities such as garage parking and elevators and may house hundreds of units.

  • Senior/Assisted Living Properties

These are the properties built to provide housing for the aging and senior citizens. They offer more support to tenants than other multifamily properties. Tenants are likely to get in-house or on-call medical care, meal service, and housekeeping.


Offices may be among the most capital-intensive commercial real estate investments, but they also have one of the highest ROIs. They include:

  • Central Business District (CBD)

You are likely to find them housing the largest organizations such as banks, supermarkets, and telecommunication companies. Most organizations prefer them due to their convenience in location. Clients can find and walk to them easily. They vary from mid to high-rise apartments with controlled parking and building naming rights.

  • Commercially Zoned Homes

These are usually stand-alone properties. They are popular with law firms, medical practitioners, and accounting firms. Commercially zoned homes allow them to escape from the frequent interruptions associated with apartment-like office spaces. 

  • Medical Offices

These are among the most stable and valuable office spaces designed to meet the needs of the medical field. The properties require special amenities like wider elevators, more plumbing, and standby generators. The leases are usually longer, taking between 7-10 years. They vary in size, housing any medical-related business. These range from a local dentist, optician, to a large hospital and surgery center. 

  • Suburban Offices

Suburban offices are usually mid-rise buildings scattered on a shared property with common amenities. They are not amenity-heavy. Some may offer serviced parking.


An industrial warehouse with a large overhang awning over the door at sunset.
Commercial real estate includes all properties constructed or used for business purposes.
  • Warehouses

These are the largest industrial properties. They may house regional distributors. When designing them, you have to make room for trucks that require space for entering and exiting these properties.

  • Manufacturing 

Manufacturing zones are usually isolated. They use heavy, noisy machinery, chemicals, and are heavy on power consumption. You have to customize them to fit the needs of the tenants. They also have long leases that may run for 7-15 years.

  • Showroom

Some showrooms double up as distribution centers for manufacturers. They require more visibility and should therefore be located in visible spaces with high human traffic.

  • Storage Spaces

Some tenants may require temperature-controlled storage spaces. Business owners use them to store merchandise for a short time as they look for space to set up shop. They are also popular with families that use them to keep their mementos. The storage units could be indoors or outdoors, depending on the nature of materials the tenants want to keep there. 


Retail properties vary from neighborhood shopping centers that house several retail shops to pharmacies and restaurants that may occupy stand-alone properties. Regional malls and power centers also fall under this category.


Hospitality properties include full-service, limited service, budget, and extended stay hotels. Some, like VRBO and Airbnb, offer short-term rentals.

Now that you know the options from which you can choose when you invest in commercial real estate, let us explore the steps you need to take to undertake your investment.

Steps to Take in Order to Invest in Commercial Real Estate

Study the Industry

You will rely on professionals to guide you in most of your investments. However, you should also be knowledgeable in the commercial real estate industry. Take time to search the internet and talk to professionals in commercial real estate investment. Learn as much as you can so that you can think and act like an insider when you begin your investment.

Some commercial real estate terminologies that will guide you include Net Operating Income (NOI). This refers to the balance left when you deduct expenses from your gross income on a commercial property. Understand the cap rate of the property you intend to invest in. This is the net present value and future cash flow of income-producing properties.

Develop Your Investment Plan

Your plan will be guided by the amount of money you are willing to invest. Assess your financial strength and find out how much loan you can qualify for if that is the source of your funds.  

At this stage, determine if you are investing individually or collaborating with other people. 

This is also a perfect time to decide if you want to purchase a ready property or construct from the ground. 

Your plan should also include the professionals you will be working with, which will depend on the kind of property you want to invest in. 

Decide Which Kind of Commercial Real Estate Investment You Want to Make

This is where you decide the type of investment you want, the size, and the location. At this stage, you also determine if you will make a one-off investment or spread it within a period, especially if you decide to construct from the ground.

Carry Out Neighborhood “Farming

Neighborhood farming entails visiting the neighborhood to determine the market value of similar properties in the area. In this visit, you may identify the commercial property you want to invest in and negotiate a deal. Ensure you do due diligence on the property to ensure you are getting a clean deal.

Be open-minded when searching for a property. Use the internet and classified ads to help you find properties on sale. Or, hire bird dogs to identify valuable commercial properties for you.

Hire an Agent

Whether you hire professionals like Speed Commercial Real Estate when searching for a property or after you have identified it, ensure you are in charge of the purchasing or construction process. Do some background checks on the agent to know the type of clients they have dealt with before. Also, find out how long they have been in operation and the kind of deals they have handled. 

When interviewing the agent, be open about what you want when you invest in commercial real estate. Meet with a number of them and eliminate them to remain with the one who will be the best fit. Asking around also helps in identifying the commercial real estate investment agents.

Working with an agent may help you identify the right property faster. It’s perfect for those who want their buying process to remain confidential and private. An agent may negotiate a better deal for you, especially if you are new in the commercial real estate investment game.

Understand the Underlying Risks of Choosing to Invest in Commercial Real Estate

Your risk profile will determine the best strategy to use so that you can avert losses. However, you must know that every investment in commercial real estate comes with risks.

Remain Focused

You are likely to get advice from different players. You will also learn about the latest trends, and all these may confuse you if you are not focused on your plan. 

Additionally, you may consider making some adjustments if they add value to your investment. However, do not leave too much room for that. Discuss any adjustments with the professionals with whom you are working.

Avoid Making Emotional Decisions

Commercial real estate investment is a rational decision. Avoid letting your emotions interfere with the process. If you are not sure about something along the way, take time to think through it and discuss it with other stakeholders.

Invest in Commercial Real Estate with Excellent Support

Are you looking for a reliable and affordable commercial real estate agent? Get in touch with Speed Commercial Real Estate for CRE investment opportunities. 

At Speed Commercial Real Estate, we have firsthand knowledge of the level of care our clients need when they invest in commercial real estate. We work closely with several associates and advisers to give you the best commercial real estate investment advice.  With our experience, we guarantee you the best services and guidance to ensure your commercial real estate investment is a success. 

7 Trends Influencing Commercial Real Estate in 2021

Savvy real estate investors are constantly gathering and analyzing market trends to make wise business predictions. Trend analysis provides data-based evidence to help inform your strategic decisions for a competitive edge and prosperity in the commercial real estate market.

Most businesses experienced a rough time through 2020 as COVID-19 disrupted almost all sectors of the economy. The pandemic has a significant influence on today’s commercial real estate market. However, some of the changes we are seeing began several years back.

We’ll look at the latest trends in commercial real estate and suggest some investment opportunities you can seize.

7 Trends Influencing Commercial Real Estate in 2021

If you’re looking to invest in commercial real estate this year, below are some vital things to know.

Interest Rates are Low in 2021

The Federal Reserve will maintain low short-term interest rates throughout 2021. According to officials, interest rates will remain near zero until at least 2023. At least for now, no major bank has expressed an intention to hike interest rates in the United States.

This deliberate action will hasten the country’s economic recovery and encourage commercial borrowers to continue investing. Consider borrowing at this time to purchase commercial real estate to enjoy low annual percentage rates.

Distressed Property Sales and Rent

Most people thought that 2021 would be better economically than 2020, but the year hasn’t been promising for everyone. If you look at history, you’ll realize that recovery from a recession takes time.

As such, borrowers, especially those in the hardest-hit groups, will have a hard time getting back to business. For instance, the hotel industry will remain unattractive for the best part of the year as people continue social distancing. It will reduce the demand for such business premises.

Additionally, the lowest social-economic groups will struggle to recover, forcing some of them to close down. Large retailers like Walmart will have better chances of survival than small shops and local restaurants.

This disparity has spilled over to the commercial real estate market. Currently, there are many vacant mom-and-pop shops, leading to a downward trend in rent prices.

Plenty of Cheap Office Space

COVID-19 contributed to an influx of teleworkers as companies encouraged employees to work from home. A 2020 survey by Gartner revealed that a whopping 74 percent of CFOs were planning to shift some workers to remote work permanently.

Further, employees seem to be happier and more engaged since they started working from home. According to a recent study, 70 percent of workers reported more job satisfaction when working remotely.

With employees opting to work from home, there has been an increase in unutilized office spaces in many organizations. CoStar Group found that corporates added a record 42 million square feet of office space in the commercial real estate market within the second and third quarters of 2020.

Many corporate tenants are subletting their unused office spaces to reduce wastage. Consequently, office spaces have become readily available and relatively cheaper than in the past. It may not be the best time for investors to engage in the business.

Homeowners Want the Suburbs

COVID-19 has also accelerated the real estate market in the suburbs. One reason is the adoption of remote workforces by many organizations.

Traditionally, workers chose condos near their office buildings in cities to avoid long commutes. With the flexibility of working from home, employees are leaving smaller city dwellings for more spacious homes in the suburbs.

Pandemic-related lockdowns have also contributed to the rising demand for suburban homes. Families are finding downtown apartments congested and unsafe since they are spending most of their time indoors. They want more space and affordable amenities for their loved ones.

Besides being relatively larger and cheaper, suburban homes offer more outdoor space. Homeowners have also lost interest in some city attractions like malls and restaurants because they are either closed or running at partial capacity. 

Affordable Housing Still a Concern

Millions of Americans can’t afford safe housing. According to the latest census data, the United States had about 580,466 homeless people in 2020. While homelessness was steadily declining since 2007, the numbers started rising again from 2019.

The condition may have worsened due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the National Apartment Association, owners of smaller and Class C apartments have reported increasing delinquencies in their properties over the COVID-19 period.

Overall, many low-income earners are in dire need of better housing. You can consider investing in affordable dwellings for the community.

Endless Commercial Real Estate Opportunities in Sustainable Building

Many nations consider sustainability integral in propelling the planet toward green recovery sustainable wealth. According to the IEA’s report on world energy investment, the world injected $240 billion into energy efficiency efforts in transport, buildings, and industry sectors in 2019.

Sustainable building will intensify in 2021 and the years to come. Experts predict that the United States green building market will reach $99.8 billion by 2023.

Socially responsible investors can consider venturing into the green building market. If you don’t know where to start, try the education sector. It owns 17.2% of green buildings in the country.

SMEs to Present Commercial Real Estate Investment Opportunities

While some organizations are busy cementing work-at-home formulas, others want their employees back to the office the moment it’s safe. Examples are businesses that thrive on in-house operations. 

The government is also keen to see small and medium-sized businesses back on their feet. The House passed the American Rescue Plan in March 2021, a coronavirus relief law that will benefit small businesses with $1.9 trillion. 

Some SMEs might utilize the stimulus to expand their business premises. Industrial sectors like life sciences, warehouse operations, and network infrastructure have been doing well despite the pandemic.

If you’re a commercial real estate investor, stay hawk-eyed on businesses that might need new buildings and grab the opportunity. Consider leasing office space toward the end of the year or work with a real estate investment trust (REIT) for long-term gains.

New Commercial Real Estate Business Ideas

The economic disruption witnessed in 2020 introduced innovative real estate solutions that caught many by surprise. Let’s highlight a few business opportunities that real estate investors can implement this year.

Commercial PropTech

Also known as PropTech, property technology focuses on digital innovations that ease asset management and increase efficiency in properties. As a real estate investor, you can use PropTech to research, purchase, sell, and manage real estate.

A warmly lit dining room with four chairs around a wooden table and a digital overlay smart home concept with a house icon surrounded by home automation icons
There are near endless applications of property technology.

You can also upgrade buildings to make them more marketable and comfortable for users. For instance, a smart thermostat can learn your room temperature preferences and adjust the heat automatically when you arrive in the office.

On the other hand, smart locks allow you to lock your building and walk around without a key. You don’t need to worry about losing your keys.

If you rent vacation homes, keyless locks allow smooth check-in for guests. Give your clients a unique code to unlock doors and change it as soon as they check out.

Explore the latest property technology and adopt what makes your life easier.

Last-Mile Distribution Outlets

Last-mile distribution hubs existed before, but they became more popular than ever amid the COVID-19 due to increased online shopping. 

Essentially, these are the last stop points for goods before merchants can ship them to the buyers’ homes and offices. The buildings are usually in strategic areas in populous cities like Jackson for a broader customer reach.

Many merchants, including large-scale retailers, are converting their stores into last-mile distribution centers. You can acquire brick-and-mortar stores and retrofit them to become last-mile product distribution hubs.

Ghost Kitchens

If you haven’t heard about ghost kitchens, these are catering kitchens designed to fulfill food delivery orders. They are a new concept that commercial real estate investors can implement this year. How do they work?

A catering team rents a kitchen space from a landlord, preferably in a densely populated area. They list their brand on an online platform and start getting orders. From there, they prepare meals and deliver them to customers.

Micro-Unit Apartments

A micro-unit is a small suite, usually a single room unit designed to provide the bare essentials of an apartment. They often come with a living-cum-bedroom area, a kitchenette, and a small bathroom.

The houses are ideal for low-income individuals looking for a safe dwelling. Due to the compact size, micro-units are cheaper for tenants than ordinary, single-family units. The owner can also charge a relatively high price per square foot.

You can develop micro-units as single-room apartments or convenient guest rooms for businesses such as restaurants.

Multi-Family Conversions

Another real estate trend an investor can consider is the fabrication of business buildings into multi-family rental complexes. It has become increasingly accepted due to the rising construction costs.

Target large properties like hotels, factories, malls, and office buildings that have closed down. The advantage of such facilities is that they are often in strategic areas for homes. Additionally, you can modify them at a considerably lower cost than erecting a new construction.

Find Commercial Real Estate Help in Jackson, MS

Are you a commercial real estate investor in Jackson, MS looking for help with property acquisition, sale, and management?

Speed Commercial Real Estate is a seasoned property sales and management company that has served Jackson, MS area for over 17 years. We can devise a well-thought-out marketing and leasing plan for your property to maximize profits and give you an edge over competitors.

Contact us for commercial real estate help tailored to your needs.

The Current State of the Commercial Real Estate Market: Everything CRE Investors Need To Know

We can all agree on one thing: 2020 was a wild year by any standards. 

The global pandemic brought the world order to its knees, and the US economy suffered its biggest recession since the Great Depression in 1929. Some would even say that without psychic powers, it would have been impossible to predict the events that unfolded in the past 12 months.

Yet, the commercial real estate market stood its ground. 

Who could’ve guessed that a killer pandemic, record unemployment rates, and statewide lockdowns would pave the way for a housing boom in mid-March 2021? And with over 37 million Americans fully vaccinated so far, there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel.

As a CRE investor, we know you’re asking: “Was my previous investment a mistake?” “Is now a good time to put my hard-earned money in real estate?” These are all valid questions, and we’ll try to answer them all below. 

This article will take a closer look at the current 2021 CRE market and how you can capitalize on it to drive ROI.

Numbers Don’t Lie

  • A total of 5.64 million homes were sold in 2020, up 5.6% in 2019 and the most since 1929. (Pr Newswire)
  • The typical US home was worth $266,104 in December 2020, up by $20 587 (or 8.4%) from a year ago. (Zillow)
  • Sales rose 22.2% over 12 months leading up to December 2020. (National Association of Realtors)

If anything, these statistics show that the CRE market is very much enjoying a purple patch. There’s a good reason for CRE investors to remain optimistic as the 2021 investment year continues to takes shape. 

Will Real Estate Prices Continue Rising?

Yes. Many experts predict another strong housing market in 2021, with home prices set to rise by a whopping 5.7%. 

Expect increased housing demand from three sets of people:

  • Existing homeowners who need more space to accommodate parents working from home
  • Buyers who delayed purchasing new homes because of the uncertainty brought about by COVID-19
  • The urban population who continue to choose to rent over homeownership

As prices keep hiking month-after-month, it goes to show the sheer resilience of the US housing market. 

Despite highly controversial elections, lingering economic uncertainty, and the aggravated spread of COVID-19, buyers are rushing to secure the few houses listed for sale. This, of course, is good news for a savvy CRE investor like you.

Is Now a Good Time to Invest in Real Estate?

In case you didn’t know, we’re right in the middle of a sellers’ market. This is essentially a market offering more demand than supply and where inventory is low. So, this means buyers will have no option but to accept high-priced homes as there aren’t many houses to choose from.

This sort of market often leads to multiple buyers bidding on a single home. So, that’s great for sellers, but not necessarily buyers since they’ll need to dig deeper into their pockets to get what they want.

Back to our question, “Is it a good time to invest in a sellers’ market?” Going by predictions, it will not be a buyers’ market anytime soon. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot buy. It does, however, mean looking for that “juicy” deal won’t be a walk in the park. It’ll take more time and effort than ever before.

One thing to remember is that real estate varies from city to city, state to state, and even county to county. So, take your time to weigh up your options before pulling the trigger. Below are hacks you can use to thrive in the ongoing sellers-friendly market:

Don’t be tied down by boundaries

To find the best investment deals, you might need to get out of your comfort zone and explore markets outside your locality. 

While Mississippi is ideally a sellers’ market, that doesn’t mean every city shows the same numbers. Now is the time to be bold and chart new markets that might prove profitable down the road. If, for instance, you ply your trade in Saltillo, you can try your luck in Jackson (where the Zillo Home Value Index is actually $52,434 and the highest in the entire state).

With that in mind, investing in new markets means that you’ll need to be extra-vigilant in researching projected rental income and local competition to ensure viability and longevity.

Dive deeper into the numbers

Savvy CRE investors know it all comes down to the hard figures. In the current investment climate, where margins are super tight, ROI is extremely vital. 

Thoroughly assess the average home prices in your locality, current rental market conditions, and job growth potential. Once you’ve got all these figured out, enter into a deal, knowing what margins you need to meet to hit your ROI ceiling. 

Preparedness is the name of the game.

It’s common knowledge that in the real estate realm, hard numbers almost always trump emotions. In the existing CRE climate, you have to react swiftly. Else, you’ll be left chasing shadows and counting losses. 

Know your budget and do your research, so when an investment presents itself, you’re ready to pounce. Even the slightest hesitation could see you losing out on highly-profitable deals. 

Now is not the time for unrealistic offers and low-ball tactics. Make sensible offers that fit within your ROI and budget requirements. If the deal is sedentary or if the figures don’t add up, be quick to move on. Better opportunities await.

Seek out the help of real estate professionals

Even for long-serving CRE investors, navigating the waters of the ongoing sellers’ market can be tricky. And at a time when the market is experiencing cut-throat competition, it can be all the more daunting to remain profitable.

With deals flying off the market quicker than ever, you need a competitive advantage. What better way to get the upper hand than with a real estate expert? Enlist the assistance of an experienced commercial real estate professional to help you locate, negotiate, and close any deal on your radar!

Where Should You Focus? CRE Sectors to Keep an Eye on Right Now

Sharp-witted investors like you are constantly looking to reassess the sectors in which they channel their money.

After all, if grass is greener in a different sector, wouldn’t you want to know?

So far this year, we’ve already seen some positive shift towards three sectors in particular. These include:


Subsections of retail are performing pretty well, not just in Jackson but in the larger Mississippi area. 

Neighborhood retail continues to stand strong, despite the advent of online shopping and prolonged shutdowns. This is because it provides the day-to-day conveniences of nearby residents.

While it’s true that neighborhood retail properties will continue to experience a drop in prices in the coming months, you can use this drop to your advantage by strategizing on one key thing: how safe it is. 

Given that most retail centers were shut down at the height of the pandemic, you can expect that potential tenants today will look for neighborhood retail areas that are large enough to provide social distancing markers, physical barriers, HVAC systems, outdoor spaces, and air filtration. 

If your neighborhood retail can provide such, rest assured that your investment will return in the next year or so.

Class B & Class C Office Space

While Class A office space tries to pick itself up from the repercussions of COVID 19, Class B and Class C are performing extremely well.

Micro-office units and coworking space (although controversial) continue to grow in popularity as more and more entrepreneurs launch online businesses and seek a physical location where they can work without distraction.

Modern office interior with daylight and city view. 3D Rendering

For starters, you can purchase a Class C office space and spruce it up, transforming it into a Class B office space. By updating its aesthetics and providing better management and security, the value of your space can instantly soar.

Again, office space continues to be an important show of status, pandemic or not. We as the Mississippi society simply don’t take businesses without physical locations as seriously as those that do. That might change in the long run, but for now, it remains an undisputed fact.

Industrial Property

Let’s face it, someone has got to fulfill all of the logistics, warehousing, and distribution for all the online shopping going on at the moment. Industrial real estate continues to fill that void superbly well.

Now more than ever, customers are craving same-day and next-day shipping. This means online retailers have no option but to rent warehouses or distribution centers within close proximity to their customers. They also need to have more stock on-hand, which potentially increases their renting needs.

This presents you with the perfect investment opportunity.

An important thing to remember with industrial real estate investing is that you should never put your eggs in one basket. 

Buying or leasing industrial property means that you’ll have your hands full with plenty of different options, so use this to your advantage. 

Final Thoughts

As CRE investors, sellers, and buyers continue to wade the murky waters of a pandemic-ridden world, one thing is clear—we’re right in the middle of a sellers’ market, where inventory remains low, and demand is at an all-time high. Only those CRE investors who are bold, proactive, and meticulous enough in their ventures will succeed in the current conditions.

Here at Speed Commercial Real Estate, we would like to encourage you to take advantage of eager contractors and cheap commercial property prices to take the next leap in your CRE journey. If you’d like to learn more about Mississippi’s commercial real estate opportunities, feel free to contact us today!

Commercial Real Estate Terminology

If it’s your first time entering the commercial real estate market, you’ve likely been confused by a number of terms that you’ve heard. Like any profession, the commercial real estate world has its own set of lingo. You’ll need to understand it if you’re going to get the best deal. This is true whether you’re looking to acquire a new space or lease out one that you already own. In this post, we’ll cover the commercial real estate terminology that you need in order to make informed decisions. Use these terms to have meaningful conversations with commercial real estate professionals.

Commercial Real Estate Terminology

This first set of terms will include all of the most common words and phrases you’ll hear when discussing or researching commercial real estate investments. We’ve broken them down into logical groupings to make it easier to read. You can also find what you are looking for quickly if you are here for a specific term. 

Financial Terms

Some of the most confusing parts of real estate terminology are those related to finances. Although several of these terms are familiar to anyone who runs a business, there are some that are unique to real estate.

Net Operating Income

This is a simple valuation metric for a property. It consists of the property’s income minus its expenses. When counting expenses, mortgage payments and other debt service fees are not included. It is a metric purely of property expenses, so the NOI of a property does not change when the underlying loan does.

Capitalization Rate 

The NOI metric makes it easy to determine how well a property is doing independently of factors that will change when ownership does, but it doesn’t provide a full picture. By dividing the NOI by the market value of the property, the capitalization rate gives a better picture of what a potential investment is worth. You may also see this term abbreviated as cap rate.

Cash Flow 

Sometimes, you want to know exactly how much money a property is generating. While the NOI metric we’ve discussed so far leaves out mortgage and debt expenses, cash flow adds those expenses into the equation. NOI is used to remove the previous owner’s loan information from the equation, and cash flow is used to account for that of the new owner.

Cash On Cash Return / ROI 

Once you have your cash flow figured out, you can use it to calculate how quickly you’ll get your investment back. Your cash on cash return, or return on investment (ROI), is the cash flow of the property divided by the total cash you’ve invested. The cash invested includes the down payment and any additional fees that were paid.  

Cash Out Refinance 

By increasing the NOI on a property, investors can refinance the property at its new, higher value. Doing so allows them to pull out the original down payment, so they can pay off investors while still retaining ownership of the property. This is a common technique in the commercial real estate market. 

Debt Service Coverage Ratio 

This is also called the debt coverage ratio or debt to income ratio. This is a metric used by banks to determine how much money you will have leftover after you’ve paid them. It is calculated by dividing your NOI by your annual debt. A DSCR of 1.0 would mean every penny of your income is going to cover your debt. To ensure that a loan is lendable, banks like to see a DSCR of 1.2 or higher. This lets them know that you will be able to easily afford your payments and not just be skating by month to month.

Building Classes

As you search for your commercial property, you’ll come across buildings rated by class. These rating will let you know what kind of condition the building is in.

  • Class A — These are top-of-the-line buildings. They are newer construction in high-value areas of town. You can be assured that a Class A building will be in pristine condition, but the price will be high.
  • Class B — These buildings are a little older and may need some minor upkeep. But, they are sound properties that you can expect to be in passable condition.
  • Class C — These buildings are fixer-uppers. They can be expected to be older buildings that need work done to restore them to their former glory. 

Types of Lease

Learning the terms and conditions of a lease is an important part of understanding commercial real estate terminology. It will help you be able to compare the options available to you. 


Full-Service Lease 

With a full-service lease, the tenant will pay the landlord a single fee and the landlord will pay for everything else. This includes taxes, utilities, repairs, insurance, and other expenses.

Triple Net Lease 

The various net leases shift some financial burden to the tenant. Under a triple net lease, tenants must pay taxes, insurance, and maintenance. The other types are grouped together under modified gross lease below.

Modified Gross Lease 

This is an umbrella term for double net leases, single net leases, or any other type of lease where clients and landlords split responsibility for payment. With double net leases, landlords pay for maintenance, and single net leases are when landlords pay for everything except taxes.

Ground Lease

This is a leasing arrangement where the tenant owns the building, but leases the land that it is on. Because of the unique situation these leases present, they often have very long terms and options to renew.

Other Real Estate Terminology: Lease Terms

Understanding your leasing options will require more than just knowing what the type of lease is. The terms below explain what you are expected to pay and what you’ll be getting in exchange for that payment. 

Base Rent

As seen above, some leases require additional fees to be paid by the tenant. The base rent is the amount you’ll be paying solely for rent. Any taxes, insurance, or maintenance fees that may be applicable are not included in this figure. 

Usable Square Footage 

This is often used in relation to office space. This figure tells you exactly how much space will be exclusively for you. Lobbies and other common areas are shared commercial space that you’ll technically have access to. However, they aren’t very useful in knowing what you can do with a space. The usable square footage figure excludes those areas.

Per-square-foot Rent 

When looking at properties of varying size, comparing base prices is a lot like comparing apples and oranges. Divide the rent by the square footage. This way, you’ll have a more accurate picture of how the different properties compare in price. This figure is almost always provided for you, so you won’t need to do the math yourself.

People to Know

Being able to use this real estate terminology doesn’t mean a lot if you aren’t talking to the right person. There are a number of professionals involved in the commercial real estate business. This list will help you figure out which ones you need to be talking to for your specific goal. 

Property Manager 

Landlords rarely handle the day-to-day operations of managing their properties themselves, especially if they own many properties. A property manager is someone who is paid by the landlord to handle those responsibilities. In addition to the day-to-day operations and maintenance duties, property managers will find renters for vacant space and ensure that prices are competitive with the market.

Real Estate Agent 

A real estate agent is a real estate sales professional that has passed the certification in their state to use the title. Each state has different requirements before someone can use the title of real estate agent, but real estate agents in all states are licensed professionals.

Leasing Agent 

When a property owner decides that they want to lease out their property, they need a real estate professional to help them through the process. This is the job of the leasing agent. They help determine an optimal price for your property, work on your behalf to collect rent and provide customer service, and facilitate sales by posting listings and giving tours.

Real Estate Broker 

If a real estate agent wants to take the next step in their career, they can pursue further training and become a real estate broker. Again, each state’s requirements are different, but real estate brokers have a more in-depth knowledge of the real estate business than agents do. The extra training includes topics such as real-estate law, insurance, and ethics. You may hear the terms principal broker, managing broker, and associate broker. These terms represent a broker’s rank at their brokerage, in descending order. 

Tenant Broker

Just as a listing agent helps people seeking to lease out their properties, a tenant broker helps people looking for properties to lease. They will be able to explain the current real estate market, help you find properties that match your needs, and negotiate the best deals for you.

Real Estate Terminology is Easier with Professionals

Even when you know the common commercial real estate terminology, dealing with real estate can be confusing. The complexity of commercial real estate makes it even more confusing. Whether you are using your new property as an investment or as your next headquarters, getting the right deal can make a big impact on how successful you are. If you need advice for your next real estate deal, we invite you to contact a representative from Speed Commercial Real Estate today. 

Top 5 Mississippi Commercial Real Estate Trends in 2021

Mississippi is expected to be a commercial real estate investor’s best friend in 2021 because the state has managed to “buck”  the national trend and attract buyers to invest in the area’s affordable real estate, particularly in the Jackson area. This is in large part due to attractively low interest rates, which have dipped to levels rarely seen since the 2008 financial crisis. This is helping shape some very lucrative commercial real estate trends for 2021. Take a look at the top 5 investment strategies to yield an optimal ROI for the upcoming year. 

1. Warehouse Space

In a typical year, stores house a lot of inventory, yet 2020 was anything but typical. Social distancing has completely altered the market landscape, and now people are buying online in droves. In fact, e-commerce sales rose 30% during the first half of the year as compared to the same period in 2019. This shift in how consumers spend their dollars is helping drive businesses to move inventory from retail shopping complexes to warehouse storage spaces in order to quickly ship to homes and businesses without breaking health distancing guidelines. 

While we predict some decline in online sales during 2021 as social distancing restrictions begin to lift, there are still millions of people who are limiting their in-person retail shopping while COVID-19 treatments are being developed and delivered. This means that the main focus in 2021 will continue to be at-home web purchases until treatments become widely available and the growing number of cases begins to decline.


This is why warehouse space is already in such high demand across the country, especially for essential businesses such as groceries and distribution conglomerates. The Jackson, Mississippi market is an ideal locale for investors looking to take advantage of the latest commercial real estate trends because of our large commercial warehouse inventory that helps keep prices highly competitive. We also have a centralized location for optimized regional distribution that’s highly attractive to potential lessees.

2.  Manufacturing Space

Similar to the warehousing sector, commercial manufacturing space is expected to be a prime investment strategy as production needs increase due to the large volume of online purchases. People are spending much less on activities such as travel, and much more on health and wellness products, food, and home goods like furniture and kitchen appliances.  Online auto sales have also been a large contributor to the growth of e-commerce in 2020, and this is expected to continue into a new wave of growth.

In Mississippi, the greater Jackson community is home to nearly 500 manufacturers, and the city and state have set in place marketing incentives aimed at attracting additional auto, food, furniture, and other producers to the region. These incentives include wages that allow for both high profit margins and a good standard of living for employees due to the area’s competitive cost-of-living. Mississippi also offers same-day driving access to over 50% of the country and a sophisticated distribution network.

The best news? Completed industrial space is expected to increase by 29% in 2021, making it the perfect time to invest in manufacturing property in the state.  

3. Flex Space

Flex Space is perhaps the biggest of the commercial real estate trends sweeping the 2021 market. According to JLL, it could account for one third of commercial real estate portfolios by 2030.  Many businesses have transitioned their teams to at-home roles due to COVD-19 social distancing restrictions. Because of this, leaders are now beginning to understand the cost-saving benefits of moving out of traditional office leases and into shared spaces that reduce company overhead. 

With Flex Space, businesses share square footage with other companies in order to save money on the lease, as well as to reduce property tax, insurance, and repair costs for single, double, and triple net leases. The terms for this type of lease are typically shorter than traditional office agreements, and shared amenities include WiFi, meeting rooms, lounge, kitchen, and warehouse space. The spaces themselves are multi-functional, and may incorporate an office, warehouse, manufacturing space, research center, and retail store. 

Likewise, multi-functional businesses that weren’t considered essential during 2020, such as salons and personal services, are expected to make a comeback in 2021 as social distancing restrictions are lifted.  In addition, those in emerging industries such as cannabis providers often find sharing space with fellow tradespeople appealing because it allows them to pool their resources while providing a sense of community. The newly formed Mississippi Cannabis Trade Association is one such example of a group of community advocates leading the way in forming a more cooperative way of doing business that allows for higher profit margins and greater ROI for investors.

Any properties with flexible space are seen as ideal for leaders in such organizations, as they allow for a quick redesign to accommodate shifting business needs, and provide the opportunity for cooperative environments that help cut costs for those in the launch or recovery phase of production.

4. Modifiable Restaurant Space

Because full-service restaurant operators took such a hit due to the social distancing shutdowns, many restaurant spaces with kitchens, check-out counters, display cases, and full-service dining rooms are sitting empty. Entrepreneurial-minded food industry professionals are expected to make their move by re-imagining these spaces as carry-out havens, with plenty of parking spaces for the now booming curbside crowd, and drive-thrus that take advantage of the double-digit increase in these types of visits, even as dining rooms began to reopen.

The added benefit of modifiable space is that, once restrictions lift, restaurant managers can again provide customers with a full-service dining experience. Jackson is already known as a culinary mecca,  with a well-deserved reputation for sumptuous Southern fare that will continue to attract visitors and locals alike to its charming restaurant scene in 2021. This will help make the area’s restaurant space one of the most exciting commercial real estate trends of 2021 for investors willing to include modification clauses in their leases.

Your best bet for success? Offer flexible percentage leases that allow restaurateurs to pay you a percentage of their sales each month as the economy recovers.

5. Small Office Space

Different from Flex Space, small office space allows one company or group a high degree of privacy and quiet, while still providing a professional environment for conducting business. Many professionals who have been juggling multiple responsibilities at home, including home-schooling, additional cooking due to restaurant shutdowns, and transitioning to a home office, are eager to move back into a dedicated space of their own that allows them to put maximum focus on their clients and workload.  

Combine this with the fact that employers are now more willing to allow staff members to work from anywhere in the country, and you’ve got a recipe for investing success when it comes to small office space. Many of these business leaders are seeking a centralized place for regional staff members to work in order to increase productivity and create the kind of face-to-face collaborations that breed innovation.

Three regions in Mississippi are considered especially attractive to new residents, including Jackson, Memphis, and the Gulf Coast. Each had sizable population increases due to the advantageous cost of living in these regions. Focusing on properties in these parts of the state is a great strategy for discerning investors looking to take advantage of commercial real estate trends. 

Top 3 Tips to Take Advantage of 2021’s Top Commercial Real Estate Trends

1. Offer short-term leases. Many people are still recovering from the economic downturn, and short term leases allow for re-entry into the market while also protecting everyone’s bottom line. In other words, it lowers your risk for long-term losses. Because it’s also an attractive option for the thousands of business owners who are in economic recovery, you shouldn’t have any issues extending the lease once it expires, or finding another short-term lessee for your property if the original lessee’s financial situation changes.

2. Allow for subleases. This helps ensure that you’ll continue to collect funds outlined in your agreement, even if the initial lessee can no longer pay the whole amount themselves. More importantly, if your lessee finds they need a larger space to expand, they’ll be more likely to look to you for a better option if they know that you’ve included a sublease clause that ensures they won’t be financially tied to two spaces.

3. Be sure to find a reputable real estate agent. Having a savvy marketing plan in place that takes into account local industry trends in order to attract just the right clients to your space is vital. An established agent will also provide you with a well-organized portfolio of up-to-date repairs, service contracts, and warranties for any building or space you invest in. This allows you to provide lessees with attractive options such as a triple net contract to help save them money on monthly rent costs, while also mitigating their risk of costly repairs to the property. 

Speed has over 17 years of experience serving commercial real estate investors in the Jackson area and beyond. Contact us today for assistance in securing, developing, marketing, and managing the best properties to optimize your profits.

Your Choice in Office Space Will Impact Employee Retention in 2021

Offices in Jackson and around the nation have been evolving for decades. First, the cube farms of the 1990s were replaced by an open floor plan and surrounded by smaller office space plans. 

Then, in a new trend following Google’s example, we saw ping pong tables, stationary bikes, and bean bag chairs arrive at work. Recently, the stand-to-work movement took hold, and everyone needed the appropriate desks for that. 

We’re coming to the end of a truly bizarre year in 2020, and we can predict more changes happening in office layout and design in 2021. Your ideal new office space in Jackson will be easy to clean, socially distant, and well lit. Ideally, you’ll have access to some opening windows and natural light. Grubby ping pong paddles are outsneeze guards are in. And top talent is sure to have some caveats as they return to the office in 2021.

Today, we’re going to talk about the things great employees are looking for as they return to work. And for many, cleanliness trumps a steady paycheck. If you’re wondering how to select and design the best office space in 2021, read on. 

On the Future of Office Space Hygiene and Visitor Behavior

If you’re in the market for office space in the wake of COVID-19, know the best employees are going to have a different set of standards this year. The team at Speed Commercial Real Estate is two steps ahead of the game. We know what your staff wants more than anything this year: a meticulously clean office.

Frequent, professional office space cleaning is crucial this year. 

Schedule professional cleaners at the end of a shift, rather than on the weekends. This way, they’re arriving as employees leave. This will boost your staff’s confidence in a clean environment. Also, know that:

  • Office employees will be looking for designated workspaces — phone sharing is out.
  • They’ll also appreciate a hand sanitizing station in the lobby for visitors and gentle reminders (signage) that support social distancing. 
  • Therefore, new lessees should closely examine their office space options with a proper lobby in mind. 

Returning to work in an office space after a long time working from home (WFH), your employees will be less fit. They’ll have shorter attention spans in the beginning. Even though they’re excited to be back in the game, don’t expect a blast of high-productivity immediately. Spend a few days reviewing updated employee handbooks and post-pandemic best practices to help them get back in the groove.

And, you can boost their mood and morale by offering some new perks this year. 

A Focus on Employee Wellbeing in 2021

In 2019, Forbes Magazine published some interesting statistics provided by a Fellowes Workplace Wellness Trend Report. We find them even more poignant today:

  • 87% of employees surveyed would prefer an employer who offered wellness-focused perks. These could manifest as gym memberships, workout rooms (frequently disinfected), healthier lunch options, and sit-to-stand desk space. 
  • 93% of tech employees said they’d stay longer with employers who offered those types of perks. 

But there’s more to employee health than cardio! Noise issues and lighting are two more examples. 

Noise Pollution and Worker Productivity in “The New Normal”

Some of your staffers have been multi-tasking throughout the pandemic. They’ve somehow managed to homeschool children, be with their family 24/7, and still get their jobs done. By now, they’ve mastered the skill of focusing in a disruptive environment. 

What a relief it will be to work in a wholly professional environment, free of outside distractions and noise! You can take advantage of that feeling by creating a quieter office space, free of noise pollution


Naturally, a bustling office is going to have a certain amount of background noise. Phones and faxes ringing, visitors chatting, the occasional rumble of a truck outside lends a certain “buzz” to an office that customers will respect. 

But excessive or continual sounds do affect the mental health and stress levels of your employees. Noise pollution can lead to an increase in disturbing emotions and a reduction in productivity. In the long term, it can cause headaches, increased stress, and higher blood pressure. 

If you’re re-homing your business in 2021, your goal should be a less disruptive office space.

By this, we mean the sort of place staff can arrive a little early and stay a little late, rather than checking the clock every five minutes of the day. From the employee perspective, constant disruption might be managed easier at home — which could drive them to seek a WFH position.

  • Pro-tip: ask the lessor or property manager to turn on the HVAC systems when you visit an office. A roaring AC might feel wonderful, but ask yourself if it will disrupt work.

Another aspect to consider is natural light and fresh air. 

On Sunlight and Employee Retention

Per the Harvard Business Review (HBR), the number one perk in any workspace is natural lighting

In 2018, HBR published findings by HR firm Future Workplace titled “The Employee Experience.” In a research poll of 1,614 employees, they discovered that access to natural light and picturesque views of the outdoors are the primary attributes employees seek in a workspace.

They found that sunlight and a view is more valuable than other highly-prized perks, including on-site daycare facilities!

Furthermore, they found that an absence of natural light and outdoor views in an office space damages the employee experience:

  • More than one-third of employees surveyed feel they don’t get enough natural light in their workspace.
  • Nearly half of them (47%) claim they feel tired or exhausted from the absence of natural light or a window at their office.
  • 43% report they feel “gloomy” because of the lack of sunlight. 

Research at Cornell corroborates these findings.  

Research by Professor, Dr. Alan Hedge of Cornell University, reinforces the connection between natural light with wellbeing and staff retention. His study found the optimization of natural light in an office significantly improves health among staff. Workers in office environments with plenty of sunlight reported a 51% drop in eyestrain incidence, a 63% drop in headache issues, and a 56% reduction in drowsiness.

Ultimately, we know that 2021 will be an unprecedented year for businesses. We’d suggest that companies take advantage of commercial real estate availability and seek the very best office space for their dollars. It will pay off in increased productivity among your staff and better retention rates. This is more important than ever this year, as we all know how difficult (expensive) it is to hire and train top talent. 

3 Exterior Upgrades to Reduce Turnaround Time at Commercial Properties

For CRE owners and investors, nothing is more important than a fast turnaround time between tenants. Let’s take a look at how exterior upgrades can help you achieve that.

Here at Speed Commercial Real Estate in Jackson, we work with commercial property builders, investors, and owners. We know vacant spaces burn resources. Today, we’ll take a closer look at those losses.

Then, we’ll show you the benefits of some finished exterior upgrades. Because an updated look (and an outdoor workspace) can help you keep CRE leased all the time, to the right sort of tenants, with only the shortest of turnaround times.

We’ll cover aluminum railings, wood-alternative columns, and outdoor pergolas (to bring the office outside.) But before we get into any of that, let’s get a clear understanding of the actual costs associated with vacancy.

How Much Does it Cost to Maintain Vacant Commercial Space?

CRE costs vary state to state, city to city, and even within a neighborhood. A vacant high-rise in Los Angeles is undoubtedly going to cost more to maintain than an empty space in Nebraska. Here in Jackson, we’re lucky to have some of the most reasonable CRE in the nation. 

Regardless of location, CRE investors are all going to face the same types of overhead costs associated with vacant units:

  • Property Insurance & Liability — Whether currently leased or not, you’ll need adequate insurance coverage in case of fire or other perils. From your insurer’s perspective, vacant properties bring added risks (like squatters), which in turn, bring an increased risk of fire, vandalism, malicious mischief, and injury. If a commercial space is vacant for more than a few months, your commercial property and liability insurance rates are likely to increase substantially!
  • Property taxes — Whether it’s leased or not, your state will still be looking for property taxes. 
  • Utilities — Vacant CRE still requires minimum utility costs. Water, electricity, gas… utilities add up! Most landlords can’t turn off utilities at a commercial unit, because this brings a risk of other maintenance issues like frozen pipes or vandalism in an unlit space.
  • Security — Depending on your location, security services at CRE locations can cost well over $1 per square foot every month.
  • Vacancy fees to property management  Not all property management companies charge a vacancy fee, but according to Upkeep Media, those that do usually charge an average of $50 per month, per unit. These add up quickly. Five vacant spaces would cost you $250 a month. 

As you see, vacant CRE costs landlords more than just the loss of rent.

Now, let’s switch gears and talk about updating your exteriors. 

How Quality Exterior Upgrades Reduce Turnaround Time at Commercial Properties

In the US, the commercial real estate industry is worth about $1 trillion. It was a hot market before COVID-19, and this time last year we expected the CRE market to grow about 4% annually for the next few years.

Obviously, things have changed. COVID has struck down many small businesses and forced them to shutter their doors. But remember, there is always a Renaissance after a pandemic. Rather than spending time chasing the almighty dollar running loops in the rat race, future entrepreneurs are sitting at home, honing their skills, imagining new concepts, products, and services to bring to the world.

When this pandemic situation is finally over, you can expect a surge in artisan works and entrepreneurship. These folks will be a whole new generation of entrepreneurs. They’ll need CRE.

And these young businesses will be choosy about their space! American consumers are better educated than ever before. We have technology at our fingertips 24/7, and can do the initial research for office space or warehouse space from our living rooms.

In such a “techy” and artistic climate, young business will make significant investments in their company image. And both the neighborhood they choose and the commercial buildings they ultimately select will speak to their uplifted ideas.

What Will Commercial Tenants Look For After COVID-19?

When shopping for a new location to lease, most business owners consider details like:

  • Location & accessibility to infrastructure 
  • Operational costs and utilities
  • Usable square footage and a pleasing layout (both inside and out, more on that in a moment)
  • Affordability and fair rental value 

Furthermore, tenants are more concerned with the environmental aspects of their location than ever. They’re likely to ask questions about water usage, energy efficiency, recycled building materials, and anything else that reduces their organization’s carbon footprint


Ultimately, prospective tenants are looking for commercial real estate that will uplift their image, for the sake of both employees and customers.

For all these reasons, it’s time to give your CRE some exterior upgrades. Even if you just renewed the five-year-lease for a quality tenant, exterior upgrades are sure to help keep them around.

After all, the best tenant turnaround time is none at all!

The Best Exterior Upgrades For Commercial Real Estate

We’ve put together a list ranging from basic exterior upgrades to the more luxurious architectural finishes. 

1. Updated Aluminum Railings: Affordable Exterior Upgrades For Beauty, Safety & Code Compliance

New aluminum railings should feature clean and classic lines that enhance any CRE. We suggest you select an American-made aluminum railing extruded from 6063 aluminum alloy, as they never rust. 

  • Black aluminum railings will provide a subdued, professional appeal in any commercial setting.
  • Or, choose lighter neutral tones for an uplifting, outdoorsy appeal.

2. Non-Wood Columns: Stately Style With a Limited Carbon Footprint That Appeals to Tenants, Their Employees & Customers

Solid wood columns are a beautiful way to uplift your building’s appearance instantly. Your tenant and their customers will appreciate the notion of luxury and quality. This translates to improved branding and enjoyable customer experience. (The things that matter to your tenant.)

But green-minded organizations might be concerned that wood columns increase your property’s carbon footprint. After all, it isn’t just the use of wood to create the columns, it’s the ongoing treatments and paint that could potentially affect a consumer’s opinion.

From a landlord’s perspective, the continual investment — both funds and maintenance man-hours — to keep wood columns looking their best isn’t appealing either. That’s why the staff at Speed would suggest you look into wood alternatives. 

Wood and Stone Alternatives — Columns for Commercial Property

Columns are a gorgeous way to instantly uplift your CRE’s curb appeal. You already know that better curb appeal equals a better class of tenant and higher rents.

The Benefits of Architectural Fiberglass Columns 

Fiberglass columns are an outstanding one-time investment for Jackson-area commercial property owners because they are:

  • Lightweight
  • Water resistant
  • Rot resistant
  • And they require no special maintenance

Architectural FRP Fiberglass Columns

For larger commercial applications, FRP fiberglass is used for load-bearing exterior columns that are 16″ or greater in diameter. They are also rot and water-resistant, and require no extra investment in maintenance. They might seem expensive now, but FRP fiberglass columns will last a lifetime.

Polymer Stone Columns

Polymer stone columns have the look and feel of real cast stone, but they weigh about 50% less than standard stone columns. 

We know the choices in architectural columns can be overwhelming. Check out this column builder tool to explore your design ideas. 

3. Pergolas Create Usable Outdoor Space for Offices, Restaurants, and Retail Settings 

We’ve already touched on the importance of a quality work environment within your CRE. Your tenant needs to hire and retain employees. Know that your best prospective tenants take work environments very seriously. In the wake of COVID-19, more people will be attracted to outdoor workspaces.

  • The CDC says Coronavirus spreads much more slowly outdoors
  • Employers will be eager to use outdoor workspaces as a perk to poach top talent

So, the next hot trend in CRE design is workable outdoor office space. Across the nation, architects and organizations are already seeking ways to encourage employees to work productively outdoors. Exterior upgrades in the form of open-air spaces at your CRE are the next evolution your commercial real estate should undergo!

We think Amanda Bahn and Dawn Reinard of Workspace Interiors / Office Depot say it best: “Aside from providing a breath of fresh air to traditional corporate settings, the concept of working outside also ‘works’ from a wellness perspective… outdoor workspaces literally bring the office outside.”

So bring the office outdoors to attract quality tenants next year.

In closing, the CRE market in Jackson, MS is experiencing the calm before the storm. When it comes to COVID-19, know that this, too, shall pass. And once we’re on the other side of this experience, the market will be bursting with fresh new entrepreneurs who need top-notch CRE. 

How a Post-COVID Economy Affects the Commercial Real Estate Market

Commercial real estate (CRE) is an investment. And like most other long term investments, CRE investors will experience exuberant heights and terrifying lows over a long enough time. The plunging economy brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with civil unrest and political concerns of a historic election year in the US, is an example of one such valley. 

But all is not lost. 

While closing businesses and reducing tenancy is a hard strike against our bottom lines and limits our cash on hand, it offers unique opportunities for cheap growth for savvy investors. Opportunities might manifest as extremely affordable property available on the commercial real estate market. Or, this might be an ideal time to make building upgrades and increase the value of your CRE, as contractors are bidding quite competitively for your business. 

Today, we’ll explain how the invisible hand of the market affects commercial real estate values, with a particular look at our local market in Jackson, MS. We’ll start with a light review of how COVID-19 affected business overall. We know it’s still fresh in your mind, so we won’t bore you with repeat information. Instead, we’ll focus on the most significant changes and some noteworthy details.

As always, if you’d like to know more about commercial real estate in Jacksoncontact us

How Quickly COVID-19 Hammered Businesses Around the Globe

In December 2019, scientists identified an outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei, China.

  • It rapidly grew from regional outbreak to epidemic, and was recognized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020.
  • The pandemic led to socioeconomic disruption on a global scale, as infection numbers and deaths ballooned.
  • Drastic action was taken to suppress the outbreak.
  • Here in the US, many states issued shutdown orders, social distancing requirements, quarantines, and isolation. 

It was this forced shutdown that struck our economy hardest. And while it’s difficult to qualify (annual reports aren’t available yet), it seems like the most significant downturn for commercial real estate occurred during the summer. This makes sense, as an estimated 20 million Americans had lost their jobs by April, per Only a month had passed since COVID-19 had been declared a pandemic.

By summer, many CRE investors were feeling the slump. Ron Derven of The Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP) said “The pandemic directly impacts the demand for space through quarantines, social distancing, shutdowns, supply chain disruptions, employment loss and a shattering of consumer confidence…”

Industries Hit Hard by COVID-19

The industries hit hardest in the US were:

  • Travel, hospitality and leisure
  • Personal care services, like salons and spas
  • Full-service restaurants

And many other sectors felt the impact negatively — ranging from dentists to movie theaters.


However, a few industries were able to capitalize on the pandemic. Warehousing, logistics and transportation companies did well, and online retailers continue to make a killing. Online entertainment, forums, social media, and games have experienced tremendous leaps in business since the pandemic began — to the tune of a 71% increase in online ordering.

So, while commercial real estate for day spas and restaurants sits unused, warehouse space and manufacturing operations are booming.

Now that we’ve cycled through the highs and lows, let’s take a closer look at the invisible hand — and how it’s affecting commercial real estate prices in a post-COVID world.

The Invisible Hand of the Market says it well: “The invisible hand is a metaphor for the unseen forces that move the free market economy. Through individual self-interest and freedom of production [and] consumption, the best interest of society, as a whole, are fulfilled.”

“Seeing” the Invisible Hand 

The invisible hand manifests as price changes that affect consumer behavior. When gas prices soar, commuters buy fuel-sipping vehicles, limit their driving, and combine trips to save gas. Suddenly bicycle sales increase and traffic is less congested.

Or, let’s imagine your favorite brand of coffee is on sale. You might be motivated to stock up your supply. If the price of your favorite coffee increases drastically, you will eventually face a point where you feel forced to say “that’s too expensive” and buy another brand. So we can feel the invisible hand at work when a product becomes too expensive or when we pay more for a product that we perceive to be better. 

The Invisible Hand at Work in Commercial Real Estate

In the realms of commercial real estate during an ordinary year, we can imagine the invisible hand affecting prospective tenants’ choices as they:

  • Negotiate price per square foot of office space for rent
  • Rush to accept “first month free” deals, or move-in specials
  • Move from one commercial location to another for the sake of upscale appearance or branding

We can also imagine commercial real estate owners hoping to lure a better grade of tenant or higher rents during a typical year. They might look into landscaping improvements, a security service, a fresh coat of paint or new architectural elements. Any time you’re adding perceived value to a commercial property to attract business, you’re attempting to sway that invisible hand. 

Looking Ahead: How a Changed Economy Affects the Commercial Real Estate Market 

Here in Jackson, salons, restaurants and retail boutiques have shuttered since the pandemic. Once-coveted restaurant space is now overabundant. However, when social restrictions and shutdown orders finally lift for good, there will be a leasing rush as newly unemployed individuals become entrepreneurs in the food industry.

Online retailing, on the other hand, has blown up! It won’t stay that way forever, though. After the 2020 holiday shopping rush, we suspect a significant slump in online sales. We believe that the American consumer will finally have had enough come 2021.

Here are a few more post-COVID CRE notes you should know:

  • Warehousing space is at a premium. So are small office spaces and shared office space.
  • Major employers who pay a homebound workforce are pleasantly surprised by their lower overhead costs. They will be looking for more shared office space opportunities than large office spaces. 
  • We can expect to see a reduced market for massive conference rooms in the wake of social distancing. It might be time to split up large meeting rooms into smaller, socially distant, individually affordable offices for now. 

Is Commercial Real Estate a Good Investment After COVID-19?


Just know that every investment comes with a certain amount of risk. Commercial real estate is so attractive because it has a history as a steady earner and insurable against many loss types.

We know that 2020 has been an unprecedented year in the world of CRE, but there’s still more to come. The Speed Commercial Real Estate staff would encourage you to take advantage of cheap commercial property prices and eager contractors to build your CRE empire. Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about commercial real estate in Jackson, MS, as an investment for your future. 

Related Reading & Resources:

Fraser Federal Reserve: Timeline of Events Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic The Consequences of Making Real Estate a Commodity