There’s a hefty amount of paperwork involved in commercial property management. As challenging as it can seem sometimes, it’s important to be thorough.
Having all the right documents easily accessible can help you deal with an audit or a tenant dispute. It’s also helpful if you choose to sell your property in the future. By keeping all these important documents handy, you’ll be able to finish the audit, solve the dispute, or close the sale quickly and smoothly. Or, help speed up the next loan or appraisal process.
Keeping your paperwork organized will make your life as a property manager or owner so much easier! Here’s an overview of the most essential records for any commercial real estate owner. Know where these documents are at all times, and you’ll be much better equipped to manage your CRE business.
1. Financial Records
Financial records are one of the most vital aspects of running any business. Many of your important financial documents should be kept for several years. Make sure this information is safe and accessible.
You should always have your profit and loss statements, your balance sheet, and your rent roll handy. Your tax returns and payroll register are also vital to successfully managing your commercial real estate. We suggest keeping utility bills for at least two years. And, if you’ve had a financial audit, you should save that paperwork and file it away.
Similarly, you should maintain all related loan documents and appraisals.
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2. Deeds and Other Property Documents
If your property is a mortgage investment, you’ll need the property’s deed and the deed of trust on file. You should also maintain any relevant licenses or permits, including zoning compliance certificates. Keep track of insurance paperwork as well as your property’s current title search and policy.
3. Inspection Paperwork
Make sure you save the paperwork from any inspections that are conducted on your commercial property. This could include fire inspections, environmental inspections, engineering inspections, and others. You should also keep the most recent environmental and engineering surveys of all your properties on file.
Any time a third-party tests your property for some kind of problem (like termites or radon), you should keep the results of the study. Soil tests are also common for commercial properties. Whatever the outcome is, make sure you save those test results as well.
4. Maintenance Documents
It takes some outside help to keep your commercial real estate in the best shape possible. For example, you might use a snow and ice removal company, landscape management, and/or janitorial services. Keep all receipts, invoices, and other paperwork that relates to these services. Whenever you have a maintenance update, you should also save the resulting paperwork. Not only does this help during tax time, but it is also handy for monitoring equipment performance. If you notice a negative trend with a supplier (or tenant), you can take corrective action.
Warranties are particularly important. Roof installations are a significant investment and if there is a failure due to workmanship you need to be able to go back to the installer for repairs. Moreover, this same valuable information should be transferred upon sale.
5. Property Management Paperwork
If you use an outside property management company, you’ll have even more paperwork to keep track of. This includes your business license and a copy of all your leases. Also, make sure you have an inventory and a litigation history (if applicable). If you use any outside services for things like advertising, you should also keep those contracts on file.
You’ll need any paperwork for your phone and/or computer systems. Finally, you’ll need paperwork that explains how ownership of the property will be held. This could be in an LLC, S-CORP, C-CORP, Trust, or 501 C.
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The Best Way to Keep Track of All these Documents
We know—this is a lot of paperwork to keep track of. One of the easiest, most efficient ways to monitor all these documents is by using QuickBooks to track your financials and STRATAFOLIO for all other record management. You’ll never have to worry about misplacing vital information.
When you use our STRATAFOLIO software in conjunction with QuickBooks, you’re gaining valuable insights about your commercial properties that you might otherwise miss. You can turn those insights into more dollar signs!
Finally, if you keep track of your paperwork now, you’ll save yourself time and stress in the future. If you’re interested in using STRATAFOLIO to help you manage your commercial real estate, give us a call. We’d love to get you started with a free consultation and software demo!
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