How Chicago Commercial Property Managers Help Investors Succeed

Investing in commercial real estate can offer great financial rewards, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges — and a lot of work. The dynamics of the real estate market and its management can be overwhelming, especially in a vibrant city like Chicago.

That's where Chicago commercial property managers come in, offering a suite of services designed to help investors succeed in this challenging market!

If you're considering commercial properties in Chicago or the city's submarkets, you'll also want to consider an experienced property management company specializing in CRE. With the right partner, investors can find the right properties for their portfolios and succeed in commercial real estate!

Table of Content

What to Expect as a Commercial Property Owner in Chicago

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As a commercial property owner in Chicago, you can expect to wear many hats.

These hats may include being a landlord, a business manager, and an investor. You'll have to ensure your property is in good condition, manage relationships with tenants, deal with contracts and legal issues, and keep an eye on your property's financial performance.

As many seasoned investors will tell you, working with a professional commercial property manager can make these tasks significantly easier. They bring their expertise to handle the day-to-day operations and challenges that come with commercial real estate investment.

Property managers that also serve as brokers can also help you build a successful portfolio with retail, office space, industrial, or multifamily properties that fit your goals.

What Does a Commercial Property Management Company Do?

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A commercial property management company handles a broad range of responsibilities, all aimed at ensuring the property operates smoothly and helping real estate investors reach their goals. Some of their key roles include:

  • Tenant Management: This includes finding prospective business tenants, negotiating leases, managing tenant relations, and dealing with evictions if necessary.
  • Building Maintenance and Repairs: The company ensures the property is in excellent condition. This includes regular maintenance, addressing immediate repair needs, and planning long-term improvements.
  • Financial Management: This encompasses collecting rent, paying property-related expenses, budgeting, and providing the owner with regular financial reports.
  • Legal Compliance: A good commercial property manager stays up-to-date with the latest local, state, and federal regulations, helping property owners avoid potential legal issues.

Experienced property managers know the Chicago real estate market and can also help investors find commercial properties to add to their portfolios.

What Are the Benefits of Using a CRE Property Management Company?

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Commercial property management companies in Chicago provide numerous benefits to property owners.

A skilled management team will help you maximize your return on investment by keeping occupancy rates high, tenants satisfied, and properties well maintained. Moreover, they ensure that your property is in compliance with local regulations and that leases are structured optimally to secure your interests.

Beyond managing day-to-day tasks of operating buildings and managing business tenants, commercial property management services can include market research, financial management, and strategic planning.

The best property managers give you the peace of mind that your investment is in good hands, freeing you to focus on other aspects of your business or personal life.

Property Managers Help New and Seasoned Investors

If you're new to CRE, you'll quickly find that the world of commercial real estate has its unique language. Understanding key terms can help you navigate this field more confidently, and a property manager is an ideal resource to learn crucial terms and how they impact your investing success.

Some important terms to know include Capitalization Rate (Cap Rate), Net Operating Income (NOI), Gross Rent Multiplier (GRM), and Vacancy Rate. Even if you're a seasoned investor, the right property management team can help you buy and manage properties and navigate crucial terminology for success.

How a Commercial Property Manager Helps Investors Find the Best Properties

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Choosing the right commercial real estate opportunity can be daunting. Some factors to consider include the location, property type, potential return on investment, and the amount of management needed.

Here is where a commercial property manager can provide invaluable advice. They can help you analyze market trends, perform due diligence, and make informed decisions.

As seasoned experts in the Chicago commercial real estate market, property managers are well-positioned to help investors find the most promising opportunities. They leverage their extensive knowledge and network to identify properties that fit an investor's criteria, whether location, property type, budget, or return on investment.

Property managers can also help investors target buildings up to date on the latest CRE trends, including green building practices utilizing sustainable building elements, flexible office spaces accommodating remote work and coworking, and tech integration.

Then, once the perfect property has been identified, they assist in negotiating the best possible terms for the purchase.

What to Look for In a Property Manager for CRE

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Now that you understand the importance of an expert property manager for your commercial properties and success, what should you look for when choosing the right one? The best property managers have proven experience in the Chicago market and submarkets. They will expertly deliver services in the following areas.

Commercial Real Estate Lease Agreement Management

A commercial real estate lease agreement is a crucial document that outlines the terms of a tenant's occupancy. Some key elements your property manager will include are lease term and renewal options, rent amount and adjustment mechanisms, tenant's and landlord's responsibilities, details about the security deposit, policies on lease termination and breaches, and specifications about property improvements and modifications.

Managing the Landlord-Tenant Relationship

In commercial property management, maintaining a positive landlord-tenant relationship is critical.

Your property manager fills the role of "landlord" when you partner with the right experts. They will communicate regularly with your tenants, address their concerns promptly, and maintain the property to their satisfaction.

Additionally, property managers often field questions from potential and current tenants. Some common questions include inquiries about rent price, lease terms, property amenities, and maintenance responsibility. Property managers can help answer these questions clearly and professionally, ensuring tenants understand their rights and obligations.

Your management company also collects the rent and enforces the lease to ensure business tenants comply with the rules for their rented spaces.

Applying Technology to Streamline Commercial Property Management

Technology plays a crucial role in modern property management. To help your properties stay competitive and reduce vacancy rates, your property manager must apply technology to automate tasks, enhance communication, streamline financial management, and improve building efficiency.

For instance, property management software can automate rent collection and maintenance requests, while IoT devices can monitor energy use and improve security.

Execute Best Practices for Property Maintenance

Regular and proactive building maintenance is a key strategy to maximize your ROI. It can help prevent costly repairs, enhance property value, and keep tenants happy.

Some best practices your property managers should deliver include regular inspections, immediate repairs, and planning for long-term improvements. To stay competitive in Chicago's commercial real estate market, your building must remain in top condition, meet aesthetic demands, and adapt to changing tenant needs.


Get More Insights Into What To Look for In Commercial Property Management Services

The world of Chicago commercial real estate can be complex, but with the right guidance and management, it offers excellent opportunities. With the help of professional commercial property managers, you can navigate this landscape successfully and achieve your investment goals.

We're here to help! Reach out to Brian Properties to learn how commercial property management services help investors take advantage of Chicago's CRE. Or, download our free resource, "The Ultimate Guide to Commercial Property Management in Chicago," to learn more about what to look for in a property manager!

What's Happening in Chicago Commercial Real Estate?

Chicago Skyline With Blue Clear Sky

The Chicago commercial real estate market continues to show resilience and growth despite some economic uncertainties. Some notable trends and developments include:

  • Adaptive Reuse: Redevelopment of underutilized properties, such as converting old warehouses into trendy office spaces or repurposing historic buildings for mixed-use projects, is gaining popularity in Chicago.
  • Tech and Innovation Hubs: Chicago is establishing itself as a leading hub for technology and innovation, attracting startups and companies in sectors like fintech, biotech, and logistics. This demand drives the need for flexible office spaces and coworking environments.
  • Industrial Expansion: The e-commerce boom has increased the demand for industrial spaces and warehouses near transportation hubs. Investors are exploring opportunities in the logistics and distribution sectors.
  • Sustainable Development: Chicago emphasizes sustainable building practices and green initiatives. Investors are incorporating energy-efficient features and obtaining LEED certifications to attract environmentally conscious tenants.

Knowing the landscape for CRE in Chicago, let's focus next on some essentials for investing.

Commercial Real Estate Investing 101

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Before diving into the commercial real estate Chicago offers, it is essential to understand the fundamentals of CRE investing.

Key considerations include:

  • Market Research: Analyze market trends, vacancy rates, rental rates, and demand for various property types in Chicago.
  • Financing Options: Explore financing options such as traditional loans, private lenders, crowdfunding, or partnerships.
  • Due Diligence: Conduct a thorough analysis of property condition, potential income, expenses, lease agreements, and legal obligations.
  • Investment Strategy: Define your investment objectives, risk tolerance, and time horizon. Determine if you aim for long-term appreciation or immediate cash flow.
  • Network Building: Establish connections with brokers, property managers, attorneys, and other professionals in the Chicago CRE industry.

With this foundation, let's look at some of the risks and rewards you can expect when choosing commercial investments in this market.

Rewards and Risks You Can Expect With CRE Investing

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Investing in commercial real estate offers numerous rewards, such as potential cash flow, long-term appreciation, tax advantages, and diversification.

Cash flow from commercial rental income can provide a steady stream of income, while property value appreciation can lead to substantial returns on investment. Additionally, CRE investments offer tax benefits through deductions for expenses, depreciation, and tax-deferred exchanges.

However, CRE investing also comes with risks. Market fluctuations, economic downturns, vacancies, and changing regulations can impact the profitability of commercial properties. Therefore, conducting thorough due diligence, understanding the market conditions, and having a comprehensive investment strategy to mitigate risks are crucial.

What Are the Commercial Real Estate Types?

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Commercial real estate encompasses various property types. In Chicago, the five primary categories are:

  1. Office Space: This includes buildings used for professional services, corporate offices, coworking spaces, and medical practices.
  2. Retail Space: Consists of properties where businesses engage in the sale of goods or services to customers, such as shopping centers, malls, and standalone retail buildings.
  3. Industrial Space: Encompasses warehouses, manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, and logistics hubs.
  4. Multifamily Residential: Refers to apartment buildings, condominium complexes, and other residential properties with multiple units.
  5. Hospitality: Involves hotels, resorts, motels, and other properties offering accommodations and related services to travelers.

As you can see, there's something for just about any investor when considering commercial property investments!

Tips and Tricks for Success When Choosing Commercial Real Estate for Sale

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Investing in a building is a big commitment. Investors should apply expert tips and tricks to improve their chances of financial success with CRE!

Build a Strong Network

Cultivate relationships with brokers, property managers, lenders, and other industry professionals. Attend networking events and join real estate associations in Chicago. Even if you aren't local to the market, you can connect with commercial investors as part of your network.

Never Skip the Due Diligence

Conduct comprehensive research on properties, tenants, market conditions, and potential risks. Verify financial statements, leases, and property documents.

If you invest with a partner, don't skip the due diligence on potential partners before choosing an investment together.

Location, Location, Location

Choose properties in prime locations with high demand and growth potential. Consider proximity to transportation, amenities, and target demographics.

Investors should also look at the commercial real estate Chicago suburbs offer.

Conduct Cash Flow Analysis

Perform detailed financial analysis to assess potential income and expenses. Factor in maintenance costs, property taxes, insurance, and vacancy rates.

Apply Your Long-Term Vision

Before choosing a property, make sure it fits your goals. Develop a clear investment strategy and focus on long-term goals. Consider factors such as property appreciation, rental income growth, and market trends over time.

Embrace Diversification

Spread your investments across different property types and locations to mitigate risk. Diversification helps balance your portfolio and reduces exposure to fluctuations in a specific segment of the market.

Stay Informed

Keep up with the latest trends, regulations, and market conditions in the Chicago commercial real estate industry. Attend seminars, read industry publications, and stay connected with local news.

Navigating the Permit Process for Commercial Real Estate

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Navigating the permit process is a crucial aspect of commercial real estate development and renovation projects in Chicago. To successfully obtain permits, investors should research zoning regulations to understand requirements and restrictions for their specific property and intended use.

Investors should also consult with experts, architects, engineers, and property management companies who are familiar with Chicago's permit process. They can help navigate the complexities and ensure compliance with building codes.

A commercial property management company can also help you prepare application documents, then submit applications and pay appropriate fees for permits.

Should You Invest In Chicago Suburb Commercial Real Estate?

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While Chicago's downtown area is known for its bustling commercial real estate market, the city's suburbs also offer significant investment opportunities. 

Suburban commercial real estate benefits from lower costs, ample parking, and access to a broader customer base. Investors should consider factors such as population growth, transportation infrastructure, and proximity to amenities when evaluating suburban locations.

The Top Chicago Suburban Neighborhoods for CRE

Several suburban neighborhoods in Chicago offer promising opportunities for commercial real estate investors. Some top neighborhoods include:

  1. Oak Brook: Located in DuPage County, Oak Brook is known for its upscale commercial properties, including office buildings, retail centers, and hotels. It is home to prominent corporate headquarters and offers a prestigious business environment.
  2. Schaumburg: With its strong business community and strategic location, Schaumburg has a thriving commercial real estate market. It boasts a diverse mix of office spaces, retail centers, and industrial parks. The Woodfield Mall, one of the largest shopping malls in the United States, is located in Schaumburg.
  3. Evanston: Situated along Lake Michigan, Evanston is a vibrant suburban community with a thriving downtown area. It offers a mix of commercial properties, including office spaces, retail storefronts, and mixed-use developments. The presence of Northwestern University adds to the appeal of the area.
  4. Naperville: Known for its strong economy and quality of life, Naperville attracts businesses across various sectors. The city offers a range of commercial properties, including office spaces, shopping centers, and industrial parks. Its well-educated workforce and proximity to major transportation routes make it an attractive location for businesses.

While these are just a few of the ideal suburbs for commercial investing, a local CRE property manager can help you learn more about specific areas around Chicago.

What About New Construction?

The Chicago suburbs are experiencing significant new construction activity in the commercial real estate sector. Developers are capitalizing on the suburban growth and demand for modern, well-designed spaces.

Key sectors witnessing new construction include office buildings, mixed-use retail centers combining shopping, dining, and entertainment options, and industrial parks.

Do You Need a Commercial Property Management Company?

Buildings with Shops and Restaurants along the Naperville Riverwalk with a Covered Bridge in the Distance

Hiring a commercial property management company can offer several advantages for CRE investors.

Property managers handle day-to-day operations, including tenant management, rent collection, maintenance, and repairs. This frees up your time and ensures smooth operations. Experienced property managers also know how to attract and retain high-quality tenants, reducing vacancies and maximizing rental income.

Your property management expert also keeps a pulse on the local market, enabling them to set competitive rental rates and adjust them based on demand and market conditions. Additionally, they stay up-to-date with local laws and regulations, ensuring your property complies with safety codes, lease agreements, and tenant rights.

The Future of Commercial Real Estate in Chicago

The Chicago Loop is the historic commercial center of downtown Chicago

The future of commercial real estate in Chicago is influenced by various factors and trends.

The demand for mixed-use developments combining residential, commercial, and recreational spaces continues to grow. Developers are focusing on creating vibrant, walkable communities that offer convenience and a live-work-play environment.

Commercial properties are also becoming more technology-driven, incorporating smart building systems, energy-efficient features, and advanced connectivity infrastructure to meet the evolving needs of tenants and businesses.

Additionally, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of flexible and adaptable spaces. As a result, commercial properties that can easily accommodate changing tenant requirements and support hybrid work models are expected to be in high demand.

Lastly, environmental sustainability is a growing priority in commercial real estate. Investors and developers are incorporating green building practices, renewable energy sources, and sustainable design principles to attract environmentally conscious tenants.