Friday, April 29, 2016

Asset Due Diligence on Rental Properties

A former real estate asset management intern at Henderson Global Investors Ltd., Maxine Marie Hepfer currently serves as a senior in Ernst & Young’s Transaction Real Estate group. The group provides a variety of real estate advisory services, not limited to strategy and feasibility advisory, transaction advisory, and asset due diligence.

Due diligence in property transactions encompasses multiple activities, the most important of which is the business and legal review. Here, the buyer should evaluate all of the property’s essential financial and legal ingredients before finalizing the sale.

The first element to review is the tenant leases. Ensure the rent roll reconciles with the tenant leases. A review may expose glaring discrepancies such as a misstatement of base years and a difference between the recorded current income and the actual income.

Tenant interviews should follow. Here, the aim is to find out the tenants’ needs as well as their leasing expectations. This will reveal any repairs needed to be done on the asset.

Third involves obtaining tenant estoppel certificates. Tenant estoppel certificates harmonize the facts of the lease according to the buyer and the existing tenants. They state the economics of the lease such as rent and future escalations, the amount of the deposit, terms for lease renewal and termination, and a statement absolving the buyer of any amendments to the lease of which he or she was never informed.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Kitchen Dog Theater in Dallas Offers Unique Performances

Maxine Marie Hepfer works with the Transaction Real Estate group of Ernst and Young. In her free time, Maxine Marie Hepfer enjoys attending theater pieces at the Kitchen Dog Theater. The small-scale, independent venue in Dallas presents shows that tackle themes other playhouses would not dare touch.

Kitchen Dog Theater aims to provide a place where human freedom, morality, and justice are questioned. The theater brings in thought-provoking, challenging plays that fight against the grain of social convention.

One performance that Kitchen Dog Theater brought in was called Gideon’s Knot. This play dealt with suicide, bullying, and culpability. DC Theatre Scene called Gideon’s Knot a heart-stopping show filled with suspense and questions about parenting. The play tells a funny yet sad and disturbing tale by way of a difficult, true-to-life storyline.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Impact of Increasing Interest Rates on Commercial Real Estate

A senior at Ernst & Young, Maxine Hepfer has been a member the company’s Transaction Real Estate (TRE) group in Dallas, Texas, for several years. At the direction of Partner Steve Rado, TRE published an article in late 2015 that discussed the effect of rising interest rates on the commercial real estate industry in the face of imminent rate increase by the Federal Reserve (Fed).

When the Fed considered raising interest rates at the end of 2015, people generally assumed that lenders, investors, and developers in the real estate industry would suffer. This made sense, at least intuitively, because any boost in benchmark interest rates, such as Treasury bonds, typically makes all yield-oriented investments considerably less attractive.

Ernst & Young thought leaders Steve Rado, Thomas Dudney, Dan Jensen and Peter Brogan, however, determined that rising interest rates should not immediately threaten commercial real estate values for a number of reasons. Firstly, there has been no strong historic correlation between the yield on 10-year Treasuries and commercial real estate cap rates. Secondly, any federal rate hike will improve economic conditions, and improved economic conditions should drive stronger commercial real estate fundamentals. Thirdly, an increase in the federal funds rate may not have a significant near-term impact on many types of commercial real estate debt. And finally, current capital flowing into domestic commercial real estate continues to be strong.                            

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Fed's Interest Rate Increase - Predicting Impact on Real Estate


As a senior analyst at Ernst and Young (EY), Maxine Hepfer has been involved in the multi-national company’s market research since 2014. In fall 2015, EY submitted a well-received report, prepared by Maxine Hepfer’s team, predicting the consequences of an interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve. The rate increase did indeed take place on December 16, 2015. What were some of EY’s key conclusions?

EY anticipated a moderate rate increase that would result in minimal impact on commercial real estate investments. The actual rate increase was just 0.25%, proving the EY experts correct. EY also stated that commercial real estate would continue to be a worthwhile investment option because there was room for yield compression. The National Real Estate Investor organization confirms the likelihood of this prediction, in part due to U.S. market transparency and the ease with which foreign investors can input capital.

Those interested in more information like this should consider following the EY newsroom at