Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Year of the I-Pad

Last week my sister and brother-in-law visited to help celebrate my father's upcoming ninetieth birthday (you read that right--90th!). My brother-in-law brought along his I-Pad. I looked at it, touched a few screen icons, watched him and my sister play Scrabble. The next morning I woke up with this strong urge to own one.

I titled this post, "The Year of the I-Pad' in reference to my post a couple of years ago, "The Year of the Blackberry," my first foray into smart phone territory. The phone has proved to be an indispensable work tool, but it hasn't evolved. I didn't even get a new phone at the beginning of the year when my plan allowed because there was no phone to upgrade to. I've been thinking of the I-Phone but have been advised by my trusted adviser (my son) to wait for the newer version, rumored to be out soon.

The newer version of the I-Pad, however, is out now. I must say Apple does it right. Their sales people not only know their products, they can place your order and deliver it right to where you are standing, playing with a display model. You don't even need to weed your way through the crowded store to the cash register, stand in line, etc., all those distractions that make you change your mind and leave. They keep you focused on the product and the excitement of owning it. All of us in sales should learn from this model.

I am finding my new I-Pad extraordinarily easy to use (including typing on the touch screen), offering great visual displays, loads of apps--both fun, work-related and all around useful. Makes my PC (although still invaluable) seem . . . well almost . . . outdated. It is no longer on the leading edge of computing. I am not the only one who feels this way. I came across an article: IBM Inventor: PC is Dead. Mark Dean is quoted, "My primary computer now is a tablet. When I helped design the PC, I didn't think I'd live long enough to witness its decline."

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Good Time to Buy Commercial Property

It is a good time to buy commercial property. Loan rates are low; pricing is all over the place but deals can be had. With depreciation in value, those who purchased in 2005-2006 real estate boom years are motivated to sell. Some of these were investors who purchased with cash looking to pull their money out. Others are near the end of a loan which needs re-financing. And others may be in default of their loans, under pressure from their banks to sell even if the sales price will not fully pay off the debt ('short sale' scenario).

Are you considering buying a commercial property?

By purchasing commercial property, you build equity in an appreciable asset that also offers multiple tax advantages and income-sheltering opportunities not available with leasing. Below is from a blog I previously posted, but still relevant today. In light of current market conditions, well worth a re-post.

Here is a list of factors to consider when evaluating the purchase of a commercial property.


Location/Site Considerations
  • Is it in a thriving neighborhood?
  • Is it in a commercial district that's popular and full of tenants, or half empty?
  • Are prices trending up or down?
  • Has the building been well-maintained?
  • What business image equity does the building offer?
  • How long you plan to stay in the space; will it be long enough for the property to appreciate in value? If not, could you easily rent it out to a tenant if you move?
Property Management
  • Will you hire out property management or do it yourself?
Opportunity Cost
  • What is opportunity cost of money used as deposit to purchase a building?
  • What return would you expect to receive on that money compared to the return you would expect to receive if you invested the money back into your business or other investments?
  • Cash Outlay - Down payment of approximately 25% of the purchase price, depending on the lender and buyer’s credit, vs. lease space with good credit, typical outlay is the security deposit and first month’s rent
  • Fixed vs. Variable Cost – With purchasing, costs more stable over long run, especially with long-term, fixed-rate mortgage. With leasing, the market dictates rent costs over the long term.
  • Growth Considerations – Leasing allows more flexibility and fewer growth constraints for newer companies or those in high growth mode. If company is mature and stable, or buys bigger building and rents out additional space, buying can not only meet future space needs, but offers another source of income.
  • Appreciation – In purchase, generate long-term increase in value through market appreciation.
  • Tax Factors - Lease payments are usually fully deductible, but many expenses of owning office space must be written off over longer periods of time of up to 39 years. Depreciation on the improvement portion of the property and can usually deduct all interest payments. When considering the tax factors it is essential to consult an attorney and tax professional about the legal and financial considerations of owning office space.