3 Questions Featured

8:00pm EDT September 25, 2009

Howard Rambin III is the CEO of Moody Rambin Interests and co-founded the company in 1969. Rambin oversees the office services team that includes project leasing, property management, tenant representation and investment services. Throughout his career, he has developed, owned, operated and sold 25 suburban office buildings in the Houston area.

Q. What are the challenges and opportunities in commercial real estate today?

The challenge is the general economic condition in the country, which is causing tenants to contract. The other challenge is that there is very little financing available for new projects or even acquiring existing projects. The opportunities are that there will be a lot of projects that are going to be foreclosed on and the prices will go down. If you can find the money, there might be some pretty good buys if you are a five or 10-year investor.

Q. How can a business save money on real estate?

You have to hire a professional. People that try to do real estate find it is a very complex transaction, and if they don’t have an agent that represents them, they are going to pay a lot more money. That’s my best advice on how to save money on real estate.

Q. Are there ways to renegotiate a lease before the term is up?

There are. In this marketplace, what you don’t want to have is vacancy. It’s what is called ‘blend and extend.’ If the rates are lower now than what you have in your lease, then you could extend your term. Let’s say you have two years left, and you can extend it for another three years at a lower rate. The second way is to have a broker or an attorney read your lease and see if the landlord has made any errors over the term, and that can give you more leverage. You could also get leverage by saying, ‘I’m moving.’ The landlord absolutely doesn’t want you to move.