Thursday, December 30, 2010

Counting Leases Before They Hatch

A proposed accounting change will dramatically affect how landlords and tenants treat leases.


Source:  CCIM Institute
by Tom Muller
The accounting profession is currently evaluating a proposed new standard that promises to fundamentally change the ways landlords and tenants account for — and negotiate — leases.
Under review is a proposed rewriting of the Financial Standards Accounting Board’s Accounting Standards Codification Topic 840, which before 2009 was known as FAS 13. This topic, "Accounting for Leases," is one of many standards that together comprise generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, in the United States.
The draft standard has drawn much heated debate for its potential to fundamentally change the leasing market, likely shortening lease terms and dramatically reducing the apparent value of properties with traditionally long lease terms, such as office buildings.

 

What Is Being Proposed?

According to FASB, the proposed new rule responds to dissatisfaction with the way that operating leases are disclosed on companies’ financial statements. Current financial standards draw a distinction between operating leases — the standard landlord/tenant relationship — and capital leases, typically used as an alternative form of financing. Current rules effectively ignore the documented structure of capital leases, instead treating the leased property as if it were owned by the tenant and financed by the landlord.
FASB notes that many companies have carefully structured their leases in view of the current rules to achieve characterization as either operating leases or capital leases, resulting in strikingly different effects on the company’s financial statements. The proposed rules to a large degree would prevent this by treating all leases with a term over one year as capital leases.
The proposed new standard treats the execution of a lease as the conveyance to the tenant of an asset — the right to use the property — and the creation of a liability — the obligation to pay rent over the term. The standard creates one analysis for the inception of the transaction and a slightly different one for ongoing reporting. It also requires both landlord and tenant to adjust underlying assumptions about the future of the lease as facts that might affect those assumptions change.

Tenant Changes

 

For the tenant the new standard would require the following considerations.
  • At the beginning of the lease, the tenant must recognize as a liability the present value of all lease payments it is obligated to make, taking into account any extension or termination options it is likely to exercise, and estimating any contingent rent or termination payments it expects to make. The discount rate to be used for the present value calculation is the interest rate the tenant would have to pay a lender for a comparable real estate secured loan.
  • The tenant recognizes the right to use the property for the term of the lease as an asset, measured, at the beginning of the lease, at the present value of the lease payments, plus the “initial direct costs” it incurs in negotiating the lease, for example, broker’s commissions and legal fees.
  • During the term of the lease, the tenant amortizes the right to use the property over the shorter of its remaining useful life or the term of the lease.
  • During the term of the lease, the tenant must reflect any changes as they occur. For example, if, a few years into the lease, a tenant’s business changes so as to make it likely that it will pay more contingent rent over the term of the lease, its financial statements must immediately reflect that change. Or, if a change in the tenant’s business makes it more likely that it will not exercise an extension option it previously expected to exercise, it may be required to adjust its financial statements to reflect that.

 

Landlord Changes

For the landlord the situation is a bit more complex. The new standards call for the landlord to determine whether, given the term of the lease and the terms and conditions of the lease, it has retained “significant exposure to the risks and benefits” of the leased property. For example, if the rent is largely contingent rent or if the tenant has a kick-out option after just a few years, then the landlord is well exposed to the vagaries of performance of the tenant’s business. Or, if the lease is fixed rent but the term is only three years and the leased improvements have a much longer useful life, the landlord still retains most of the risks and benefits of ownership of the leased property.
If, under the soft tests proposed in the draft standard, the landlord determines that it does retain significant risks or benefits associated with the asset, then, at the inception of the lease, it will recognize the right to receive lease payments, by calculating the present value of the stream of expected lease payments using several possible discount rates, in particular, the yield that the rents represent on the value of the real property, which is the annual rents divided by the value of the property.
After inception, the landlord must continually evaluate the lease and leased property based on its amortized cost, and the corresponding lease liability based on the “pattern of use” of the property by the tenant. And, like the tenant, the landlord must adjust its financials to account for such items as changes in the tenant’s business, whether, in the landlord’s judgment that the tenant will or will not exercise any extension or termination options it may have or will pay more or less contingent rent.
If the landlord comes the conclusion that it does not retain significant exposure to the risks and benefits of the leased property, such as where it has leased the property for most of the improvements’ remaining useful life, then it may no longer recognize the property as its asset, but instead may recognize only the rental stream, calculated at present value as described above, plus a factor for the residual value of the property at the end of the lease. In making this calculation, the landlord must make various estimates of the probability of various lease terms where the tenant has options to extend or terminate the lease, as well as the probability of receiving various imagined levels of contingent rent.

 

Criticisms

As noted, the proposed standard has come under a number of criticisms. For one thing, it assumes a level of information, certainty, or ability to calculate probability simply not present in the real world. Both landlords and tenants will be put the to burden of calculating probable future contingent rents and probabilities of exercising future options that real estate practitioners will recognize as at best wild guesses, not necessarily leading to more reliable financial statements.
The standard in many respects converts operating lease rentals, which are based on very specific and changing supply and demand factors relating to local real estate conditions, into fictional interest rates, likely to lead to some very apples to oranges comparisons.
Many commentors believe that the proposed standard would create strong incentives for tenants to prefer shorter leases, with more options, which they already prefer for business flexibility. Property types with traditionally long leases, which are therefore viewed as stable and good investments and good collateral for loans, will thus become substantially more volatile, negatively affecting value and financeability — and just at a time when values are starting to recover.
In corporate real estate, the trend over the past decade has been to move real estate off the books so as to enhance return on assets. If the new guidance requires that a leasehold interest be on the books, this trend may reverse.
One highly predictable result of implementation of the new standard is that there is going to be a lot more accounting work. The proposed guidance calls for substantially more data management, complexity, guesswork and analysis than the existing standards for leases. For that reason, one can expect strong support for the new standards from manufacturers of lease management software, and, of course, accountants.
FASB is accepting public comments on the proposed standard until December 15, 2010.
Tom Muller is a partner in the Real Estate & Land Use Practice Group at law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, in Los Angeles. Contact him at tmuller@manatt.com.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Starting A Business - Step 2: Obtaining A Business Tax Receipt a/k/a Occupational License

Occupational License

(Now Called a "Business Tax Receipt")


Click Here to read our prior blog post on Step 1: Obtaining a Certificate of Use and Occupancy
Before you can begin operating a business, you must go through the permitting process to obtain documents such as a Business Tax Receipt ("Occupational License"). Following the steps below in order will hopefully prevent you from running back and forth between City and County offices because you lacked the necessary paperwork.
After you obtain a Certificate of Use and Occupancy as discussed in our prior blog post for Step 1 (Click Here to view it), the following is the next step:

STEP 2: OBTAIN AN OCCUPATIONAL LICENSE
(a/k/a "BUSINESS TAX RECEIPT")

What do I need to apply for an Occupational License?

Once your Certificate of Use and Occupancy Permit is approved, you may apply for an Occupational License. You must have the following documents:
  • Drivers license or form of picture identification
  • Social security card or federal id card
  • Copy of your fictitious business name or corporate papers
  • Address of your business
  • Copy of garbage contract (depending on type of business)
  • Zoning approval (depending on type of business)

How much does a Business Tax Receipt ("Occupational License") cost?

The amount of the Business Tax depends on your type of business. Click the following links to determine your rate:
Broward County Tax Rates
Miami-Dade County Tax Rates

How do I apply for a Business Tax Receipt (a/k/a Occupational License)?

Click the following links to obtain the Application for an Occupational License:
Broward County Application for a Business Tax Receipt (Formerly Occupational License)
Miami-Dade County Application for a Local Business Tax Receipt (Formerly Occupational License)
City of Hialeah Application for Occupational License

Where do I apply for a Business Tax Receipt (a/k/a Occupational License)?

IMPORTANT:     If your business is located in a City (i.e, Miami, Hialeah, or Hollywood), you will need TWO (2) Occupational Licenses – ONE (1) from the City, and ONE (1) from the County. If your business is located in unincorporated Miami-Dade or Broward County, you will only need ONE (1) license from the County.
Broward County:
115 S. Andrews Avenue, Room A-100
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301
Phone: (954) 831-4000
Miami-Dade County:
140 West Flagler Street, Room 101
Miami, Florida 33130
Phone: (305) 270-4949
Hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm
City of Hialeah:
501 Palm Avenue
Hialeah, Florida 33010
Phone: (305) 883-5691
Hours: 8:00am – 4:00pm
City of Hollywood:
2600 Hollywood Blvd., Room 103 (first floor)
Hollywood, Florida 33020
Phone: (954) 921-3225
Hours: 8:00am – 5:00pm
City of Miami:
444 SW 2nd Street, 6th Floor
Miami, Florida 33130
Phone: (305) 416-1918
Hours: 8:00am – 4:30pm
City of Tamarac:
7525 NW 88th Avenue, Room 206
Tamarac, Florida 33321
Phone: (954) 597-3530
Please contact us if you would like further information on tips obtaining A Business Tax Receipt a/k/a Occupational License.

Starting A Business - Step 1: Obtaining A Certificate of Use And Occupancy

Obtaining a Certificate of Use In South Florida


Before you can begin operating a business, you must go through the permitting process to obtain items such as a Certificate of Use. Following the steps below in order will hopefully prevent you from running back and forth between City and County offices because you lacked the necessary paperwork.

STEP 1: OBTAIN A CERTIFICATE OF USE AND OCCUPANCY (C.U.)

What is a Certificate of Use and Occupancy?

The Certificate of Use and Occupancy is also called a “C.U.” and sometimes a Zoning Permit.  Prior to occupancy of any commercial, industrial, or office location, this certificate is required. If you are doing interior remodeling or alterations that require a permit, you will need to complete the work and obtain all final inspections prior to applying for the Certificate of Use and Occupancy.

Why do I need a Certificate of Use?

The Certificate of Use and Occupancy assures you that your business is allowed in the zoning district where it is located.  It also verifies that the structure you are occupying has been built for your type of business activity.

What do I need to apply for a Certificate of Use?

In order to apply for a Certificate of Use and Occupancy, the following information is necessary:
  • location, address, suite or bay number (if applicable)
  • name of the business
  • corporation name
  • corporate officer, title
  • type of business
  • square footage of space being occupied
  • folio number of property

How do I apply for a Certificate of Use and Occupancy?

The Application for Certificate of Use is short and easy to fill out. Application can be made in person at the Zoning Permit Section. The quickest way to get your certificate is to walk the application through in person.
Click the following links to obtain the Application for Certificate of Use:
Broward Application for Certificate of Use
Miami-Dade Application for Certificate of Use
Miami-Dade Application for Certificate of Use for Liquor/Beer/Wine


Where to apply for a Certificate of Use and Occupancy?

For Broward County:
Permitting, Licensing & Consumer Protection Division
1 North University Drive
Plantation, Florida 33324
Phone: (954) 765-4400
For Miami-Dade County:
The Miami-Dade Permitting & Inspection Center
11805 SW 26th Street (Coral Way)
Miami, Florida 33175
Phone: (786) 315-2666
Related Post:
Click Here to read Step 2: Obtaining A Business Tax Receipt ("Occupational License)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Entrepreneur's Top 50 Franchises for 2011

Source: Entrepreneur

2011 Franchise 500 Rankings


Rank Franchise Startup Costs

1 Hampton Hotels
Mid-priced hotels
$3,716,000 - $13,148,800
2 ampm
Convenience store & gas station
$1,786,929 - $7,596,688
3 McDonald's
Hamburgers, chicken, salads
$1,057,200 - $1,885,000
4 7-Eleven Inc.
Convenience store
$30,800 - $604,500
5 Supercuts
Hair salon
$112,550 - $243,200
6 Days Inn
Hotels
$192,291 - $6,479,764
7 Vanguard Cleaning Systems
Commercial cleaning
$8,200 - $38,100
8 Servpro
Insurance/disaster restoration & cleaning
$127,300 - $174,700
9 Subway
Submarine sandwiches & salads
$84,300 - $258,300
10 Denny's Inc.
Full-service family restaurant
$1,125,609 - $2,396,419
11 Jan-Pro Franchising Int'l. Inc.
Commercial cleaning
$3,145 - $50,405
12 Hardee's
Burgers, chicken, biscuits
$1,182,000 - $1,583,500
13 Pizza Hut Inc.
Pizza, pasta, wings
$302,000 - $2,149,000
14 Kumon Math & Reading Centers
Supplemental education
$36,538 - $145,250
15 Dunkin' Donuts
Coffee, doughnuts, baked goods
$358,200 - $1,980,300
16 KFC Corp.
Chicken
$1,309,900 - $2,471,000
17 Jazzercise Inc.
Dance fitness classes
$2,980 - $75,500
18 Anytime Fitness
Fitness center
$44,074 - $300,074
19 Matco Tools
Mechanics' tools & service equipment
$79,926 - $188,556
20 Stratus Building Solutions
Commercial cleaning
$3,450 - $57,750
21 Liberty Tax Service
Individual & online tax prep
$56,800 - $69,900Request Info
22 Circle K
Convenience store
$171,000 - $1,403,000
23 Papa John's Int'l. Inc.
Pizza
$98,823 - $528,123
24 Snap-on Tools
Professional tools & equipment
$17,906 - $278,492
25 CleanNet USA Inc.
Commercial cleaning
$6,655 - $92,950
26 Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership
Furniture, electronics, computer & appliance leasing & sales
$233,870 - $607,580
27 H & R Block
Tax preparation & electronic filing
$34,438 - $110,033
28 InterContinental Hotels Group
Hotels
$5,135,940 - $93,855,035
29 Great Clips
Hair salon
$108,250 - $203,000
30 Jiffy Lube Int'l. Inc.
Fast oil change
$194,000 - $323,000
31 Ace Hardware Corp.
Hardware & home improvement store
$238,500 - $566,250Request Info
32 Papa Murphy's
Take-&-bake pizza
$195,655 - $380,225Request Info
33 Snap Fitness Inc.
24-hour fitness center
$79,428 - $195,828
34 Dairy Queen
Soft-serve dairy products & sandwiches
$382,002 - $1,828,460
35 Baskin-Robbins USA Co.
Ice cream, frozen yogurt, frozen beverages
$46,450 - $401,000
36 Bonus Building Care
Commercial cleaning
$9,020 - $41,919
37 The Maids
Residential cleaning
$106,645 - $157,395
38 Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwich Shops
Gourmet sandwiches
$305,500 - $460,500
39 Midas
Auto repair & maintenance services
$126,500 - $386,560
40 GNC Franchising
Vitamin & nutrition store
$128,650 - $260,850
41 System4
Commercial cleaning
$5,460 - $37,750
42 ServiceMaster Clean
Comm'l./residential cleaning & disaster restoration
$47,072 - $141,303Request Info
43 Merry Maids
Residential cleaning
$52,550 - $70,450
44 Miracle-Ear Inc.
Hearing instruments
$122,500 - $570,000
45 Super 8
Hotels
$163,070 - $3,135,924
46 The UPS Store/Mail Boxes Etc.
Postal, business & communications services
$150,984 - $337,946Request Info
47 Carl's Jr. Restaurants
Hamburgers
$1,315,000 - $1,811,000
48 Auntie Anne's Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels
Hand-rolled soft pretzels
$197,875 - $439,100Request Info
49 Edible Arrangements Int'l. Inc.
Floral-like designs from sculpted fresh fruit
$146,856 - $260,604
50 Fantastic Sams Hair Salons
Full-service hair salon
$115,000 - $228,600

Top 50 Franchise List provided by Entrepreneur

To view the entire franchise list created by Entrepreneur, click here

Entrepreneur's Franchise 500® is not intended to endorse, advertise or recommend any particular franchise. It is solely a research tool you can use to compare franchise operations. Entrepreneur stresses that you should always conduct your own independent investigation before investing money in a franchise. Read the FDD and related materials carefully, get help from an attorney and a CPA in reviewing any legal or financial documents, and talk to as many existing and former franchisees as possible and visit their outlets. The best way to protect yourself is to do your homework.

Riding the unlikely commercial real estate rebound

For years commercial real estate has been billed as the next big train wreck.

So why are some investors shouting all aboard?

A slowly recovering economy is part of it, though no one expects to make a quick killing on loans and securities tied to office buildings, hotels, shopping malls and the like. The bigger drivers of this rally are the low rates pushing investors to reach for yield by taking on more risk, and the wide open junk bond market that has allowed lots of companies once left for dead to refinance loans and trudge forth.
Those trends made commercial real estate debt and commercial mortgage-backed securities, or CMBS, among the top-performing asset classes this year. Buyers aren't banking on a repeat of the past year's mega-returns, which were driven by the sector's stubborn failure to collapse and by a surge in bond prices fueled both by liberal government buying and fear that the economy was turning Japanese.
But at a time when investors feel the powers that be are forcing them to take on more risk, some strong supply-and-demand factors appear to be on CMBS investors' side, at least if they keep their wits and stick to higher-quality deals.

IS COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE A GOOD RISK?

"Commercial real estate is one of our favorite risk assets," said Christine Hurtsellers, chief investment officer for fixed income and proprietary investments at ING Investment Management. She said the firm has 10% of assets in whole commercial loans and is also overweight CMBS.
Greg Michaud, who is the head of real estate finance at ING, said CMBS values have been especially aided by loose Federal Reserve policy because they are priced against Treasury bonds, which until recently were trading at yields near longtime lows. The yearlong decline in Treasury yields helped to bring in CMBS spreads as well.
"If you can give it some time, employment will bounce back and then commercial real estate will start rising," said Michaud. "And you're getting paid enough that you can afford to wait for a bit, because it's not going to happen tomorrow."
No indeed. A recent Deutsche Bank report notes as "headwinds" the continued weakness of household balance sheets, the rising number of underwater mortgages, the lack of corporate pricing power and the unhappy fiscal outlook for all levels of government. So it's pretty windy out there. Add to that the recent back-up in bond yields, and you have a good, stiff breeze blowing in your face.
"Investors should be cognizant of the impact downside risks could have on their portfolio," Deutsche Bank analyst Harris Trifon counsels.
Even so, many investors are crossing their fingers and hoping for a low double-digit return in 2011, on the assumption spreads will further tighten. CMBS spreads have narrowed sharply over the past year in part because the worst case scenario widely discussed in mid-2009 failed to materialize, and more of the same is expected for 2011.
"A year or two ago these were priced for the second Depression and then some," said Arne Espe, vice president of fixed income research at USAA Investment Management in San Antonio. "We haven't seen the huge defaults a lot of people were expecting."
Bank of America analysts say the high-yield default rate should fall to 2% in 2011 from 13% or so at the worst of the 2008-2009 crisis. Meanwhile high-yield issuance could hit $300 billion, in line with this year's record performance.
Yet CMBS issuance remains deeply depressed, an artifact of the near total collapse of this market after the bust of 2007. New bond sales are expected to rise for the second straight year to a range of $40 billion to $50 billion, yet are likely to remain some 80% below the 2007 peak. As long as the bond market stays open, it appears there will be deals to be had.

What's The Future For Commercial Real Estate?

 

No one can guarantee the slow moving commercial real estate recovery won't jump the track, obviously. Deutsche Bank's Trifon warned this month that while banks have managed to slash commercial real estate exposure by $150 billion over the past 15 months, the sector still poses "a systemic risk to the banking system if the economic recovery falters."
What's more, the flood of high-yield issuance creates the prospect of a refinancing cliff in coming years. Deutsche Bank points to $700 billion of high-yield refinancing obligations coming due this year, though it sees that sum as eminently manageable.
Less optimistically, Moody's warned in a recent report that while the wave of extend-and-pretend deals in high-yield land "has allowed many to avoid default and continue to ride out the halting economic recovery, it has built a towering debt obligation in the years ahead."
That doesn't sound healthy. Even so, some bond buyers say the deleveraging and property price declines of recent years make both commercial loans and CMBS a decent relative value at a time when value plays are few and far between.
"With low yields, people are sniffing around everywhere," said Espe, who helps run funds including the USAA Cornerstone (USCRX) fund, which invests up to a fifth of its money in real estate related plays. "There is some risk, but it is hard to stress super seniors enough to lose money."
And while it may seem like everyone and his brother is piling into high-yield this and mortgage-backed that, the lesson to skeptics from the past decade is that the market can stay irrational far, far longer than you can stay solvent.
"Yes, I'm worried about herding," said Espe. "But I think the move into these assets is just beginning to happen."
Source: Fortune
Posted by Colin Barr

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sharpe Properties, a Miami-Dade and Broward Property Management Company, Launches 3rd Party Property Management Division

THIRD-PARTY PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

Property Management
Leveraging 50 years experience in the real estate industry, Sharpe Properties is now making their expertise available to other property owners through their new 3rd party property management division. Priding itself on property management through the owners perspective, the full-service real estate company has managed a diverse portfolio of over 20 income-producing commercial properties, encompassing over 400,000 square feet of retail centers, residential apartments, office, and industrial warehouse properties throughout Miami-Dade and Broward County. Sharpe's new 3rd party division will enable the company to share their expertise and years of experience with other owners who are looking for assistance in effectively managing their properties.
"We have experience managing and leasing retail, office, and industrial warehouses," said Mason Sharpe, Vice President of Property Management and Leasing at Sharpe Properties. "We can use our knowledge and experience to help property owners save time and money."

Property Management Benefits 

Sharpe Properties' new 3rd party division offers a variety of benefits for property owners who are looking to outsource management. Sharpe offers:
  • In-House management and maintenance services provide efficiency, decrease overhead expenses, and provide a centralized place for one to contact.
  • In-House General Contractors help oversee and perform various maintenance and construction projects.
  • Financial and Accounting Services streamline accounting and reporting for each property.
  • In-House Legal Services can assist in areas such as preparing tenant correspondence,lease preparation and negotiation, lease terminations, litigation support, evictions, and garnishments.
"Our company is unique because we have the training and relationships to keep the property management and maintenance in-house," said Brian Sharpe, Vice President of Leasing and Construction at Sharpe Properties. "Whether you need help with construction, electrical, or legal matters, we can offer quality service with reliable people."

Property Management Website

The Sharpe Properties website, www.sharpeproperties.com, is also a comprehensive tool for property owners. Visitors are able to utilize the site as a resource when looking for places to rent. The website is also available in Spanish at www.sharpeproperties.com/espanol, or by clicking the "En EspaƱol" tab located on the upper right-hand corner of every webpage.

The success of Sharpe Properties has been built upon the development of longstanding relationships with tenants, vendors, brokers, lenders, and local governmental officials. By doing so, Sharpe Properties is able to react quickly to the ever-changing events within the local and national markets, and provide professional advice and services utilizing cost effective methods through its Third-Party Property Management Division.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Miami Dade and Broward Property Management Company, Sharpe Properties, Uses Technology to Teach Business Basics

SHARPE PROPERTIES HELPS SMALL BUSINESS

The Small Business Association estimates that only 7 out of 10 new businesses last at least 2 years, and half survive 5 years. For Sharpe Properties, a Miami Dade and Broward Property Management Company, these statistics confirm that properly structuring a business from the beginning is essential to success.

Catering to Businesses in Both English And Spanish

With over 60 years experience running a full-service real estate company, Sharpe Properties found that while most small business owners can run a business, they don't necessarily understand what's needed to start it. To bridge the gap and assist business owners in saving time and money, Sharpe Properties enhanced their website,www.sharpeproperties.com, to serve as a portal for entrepreneurs looking to obtain key information on what is needed to start a business, including proper licensing and beyond. The same information can be found in Spanish at www.sharpeproperties.com/espanol, with links to the Spanish versions of the governmental websites, if available.

Website Used as a Tool For Small Business

"To run a successful business, a proper foundation is vital," said Mason Sharpe, Vice President of Sharpe Properties. "Knowledge and business experience are important, but if the business owner doesn't obtain the appropriate licenses and documentation ahead of time, the government could shut down their business with little or no notice. Our website is a tool they can use to obtain information in one place, rather than spending their time calling and driving all around town."
Via their website, Sharpe Properties has pared down start-up information to offer step-by-step instructions on how to obtain a Certificate of Use and Occupancy, and how to obtain a Business Tax Receipt, also called an Occupational License. Their website,www.sharpeproperties.com, lists relevant contact information and provides direct links to the actual forms and applications needed by each agency. Sharpe's easy-to-follow steps are designed to streamline the paperwork process and alleviate the need for business owners to run back and forth between City and County offices.
"Information leads to efficiency," Sharpe continues. "Our goal is to simplify the permit and licensing process so that business owners can quickly focus their attention on opening and running their business."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sharpe Properties Speaks the Language of Their Customers

SHARPE PROPERTIES KNOWS SPANISH


You might know who your customers are, but does your website? With the rapid growth of the Hispanic population in the U.S., why are businesses slow to make their websites bilingual? Sharpe Properties, a commercial property management company located in Hialeah, Florida, where over 90% of the city speaks Spanish, wanted to make sure that the Hispanic customer was not forgotten.

The Internet is Spreading Rapidly to Spanish Speaking Users

United States Census Bureau statistics show that Hispanic-owned businesses increased by 43.6 percent between 2002 and 2007, more than twice the national rate of all U.S. businesses. Moreover, a study by Internet World Stats shows that from 2000 to 2010, while the number of Internet users in English grew 281.2%, users in Spanish grew an overwhelming 743.2%. Despite such findings, it appears that most English based websites fail to provide an equivalent website in Spanish.
For Sharpe Properties to effectively lease locations at its retail, office, warehouse, and apartment locations throughout Miami-Dade and Broward County to the Hispanic-owned businesses, it needed its website to speak their language.

How to Reach The Spanish Speaking Communities?

As a founding member of Sharpe Properties, Barry Sharpe knows the importance of being bilingual. As the complete opposite of a typical Cuban-American that left Cuba to become an American citizen, Sharpe left America as an infant, and quickly became bilingual by being raised in Havana, Cuba for 15 years. Based upon his surroundings, Sharpe believes that "As a landlord who interacts with tenants and vendors that speak little to no English, it was imperative that our company website have everything in Spanish as well."
By creating the new web design, Sharpe Properties implemented a robust website in which with a click of the mouse, any page on their website will seamlessly swap from their version in English, www.SharpeProperties.com, to the Spanish version,www.sharpeproperties.com/espanol.  Sharpe Properties also implemented a Blog at www.SharpeProperties.com/Blog As a result, Sharpe Properties has a website that clearly knows its customers both in English and in Spanish.