Commercial Real Estate Blog by Madison

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Professional Developmemt

Off-the-Wall Savings – How Businesses with Demountable Walls are Saving on Taxes

By: Eli Loebenberg, CPA, Chief Executive Officer, Madison SPECS

The traditional office workspace has come a long way since the classic mahogany desk in a corner office. Thanks to technological advances, many employees can and do work from anywhere, which makes creating a vibrant and thriving office a new challenge. Today’s leading companies are creating office space that encourages collaboration with an interactive atmosphere. The modern office environment focuses on the employee experience within the company culture.

Many times, this environment is created with moveable office space made from demountable walls. Demountable or moveable walls are partitions that are pre-engineered and manufactured. Demountable walls offer businesses a simple way to build out and customize their work space.

Companies opt for walls that can be configured with customizable panels and different options for desk and storage spaces. These flexible interiors allow organizations to change the aesthetics, functionality and size of various office spaces in order to suit changing needs. Demountable walls also come with technological add-ins, such as plug-and-play power and data, so there is no need to rewire cables every time there is a change.

This trend in demountable walls has spread to corporations, educational institutions, health care and government organizations. While the initial project costs for demountable walls are higher than standard construction, this cost difference can be offset by major tax savings. Continue reading

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Let’s Go CFPB!

By Sam Shiel, Esq., Director of National Title Services and Senior Underwriting Counsel, Madison Title Agency

At the time of this writing, the Green Bay Packers are heading to the NFL playoffs with a record of 10-6. While the team’s record is reason for most Packer fans to rejoice, certainly there are some fans with more on their mind. Specifically, members of the Orlando-based fan club, the Central Florida Packer Backers (CFPB). But for those members of the CFPB purchasing a home in Florida, “fun” is hardly the word that comes to mind these days.

Since September 2, 2014, home purchasing members of the CFPB, along with all other Florida home purchasers, have been subject to an additional title charge of $3.28. Why? It is to pay for the multimillion-dollar collapse of an Orlando title company.

Back in 2007, a Florida law firm formed a title company by the name of KEL Title Insurance Group (KEL) headquartered in Orlando – much like the CFPB. The company had written in excess of 10,000 title insurance policies. However, in October 2012, KEL was ordered into receivership for purposes of rehabilitation by the Courts. The partners of the law firm have denied any wrongdoing, blaming KEL Title’s problems on a fraud scheme by an unidentified rogue agent in South Florida who allegedly fabricated sales and stole escrow money. While KEL is no longer writing new or renewal insurance coverage, the company’s existing policies are not cancelled by the rehabilitation order and will continue in the ordinary course of business.

The result. Just months after the takeover by the state, KEL policy claims are skyrocketing and its cash is nearly gone Claims soared as homeowners discovered flawed sales closings and bogus title insurance sales. When the state took over in 2012, KEL had claim liabilities of $12.8 million and cash of $2.7 million, according to state records.

The solution?…. Continue reading

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Happy Anniversary to the Trusted Advisor Blog

By: Elliot Zaks, Principal, MCRES

We are pleased to celebrate the anniversary of the Trusted Advisor blog. It’s been four years since our first post entitled “Two Recent Court Rulings Impact Related- Party 1031 Exchanges.” Since September 2010, the Trusted Advisor has consistently published informative and helpful articles. Topics have touched on such diverse topics as crowd sourcing, mortgage fraud, real estate easements and development rights. We’ve blogged regularly, averaging 32 posts per year. In that time, we’ve had 104,917 page views and 38,002 readers.

Read on to find out our top ten posts! Continue reading

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Hot Definitions – Trending Words Every Real Estate Professional Should Know

By: Lainie Goldberg, Director of Education

As societies evolve, language and word usage changes to reflect new trends and the reality of our ever-changing world. Did anyone know what carbon footprint or best practices meant before the 1990s? Did the terms crowd funding or tweeting even exist a decade ago? New words and phrases often help to define a generation, a society, or a movement. Staying current of the new lingo and phrases in real estate helps professionals stay up-to-date.

The Trusted Advisor brings you three new terms to add to your real estate vocabulary portfolio. Use them now in day-to-day conversation, or stow them away for your next meeting with a new client or business prospect. Knowledge and usage of these new words and phrases will grow your real estate expertise and keep you on the cutting-edge of industry jargon. Continue reading

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Structuring the Beginning, Middle and End of a Business: Ethical and Legal Issues of Civil Operating Agreements

By Moshe Becker, CPA, Director of Operations, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services

Business partners who casually enter into a business relationship may later find themselves in a tangled mess of disagreements. Many partnerships form without any written agreement. Some use a standard template contract. This results in businesses relying on statutory or common law to govern their affairs.
State default rules can be easily avoided, however, by crafting a partnership agreement tailored to the needs of the specific business. Since many business agreements come to an end one way or another due to time and circumstances, a suitable operating agreement can put in place a peaceful dissolution process that satisfies both parties.

In a recent seminar hosted by Madison Title, the ethical questions of organizing and dissolving partnerships were discussed. The presentation included several key issues and questions to consider when drafting a civil partnership agreement. Answering these questions will help configure an agreement best suited for the needs of a particular business. Continue reading

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Developing Soft Skills

By Lainie Goldberg, Director of Education, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services

If you ask a group of attorneys, accountants and other professionals what it takes to succeed in business, you will likely receive answers such as:
-Strategic planning
-Organization and time management
-Persuasive sales and marketing
-Familiarity with new technologies
-The art of negotiation

While these business skills are important, there is an essential ingredient to professional development that is often overlooked. Continue reading

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Effective Business Networking

By Lainie Goldberg

Continuing education seminars are a valuable way for professionals to brush up on current events and new practices. Aside from the education aspect, continuing education seminars also offer the opportunity for industry networking. A seminar’s ten minute intermission should be used to do more than just stretch your legs and grab another cookie. Once in a room with a group of attorneys, accountants or other colleagues for two hours, it just makes sense to maximize the opportunity by speaking with peers and developing stronger business relationships. Utilizing break time to interact with other colleagues will give you an opening to build a stronger, expanded network.

Here are some tips on how to make the most of networking opportunities at seminars. Continue reading

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