While getting through 2009 is going to be a challenge, we still need to plan for 2010 and beyond. Here are a couple of thoughts to get prepared for the future.

Reevaluate Your Portfolio

Throughout 2009, take time to reevaluate your leases, locations and operating expenses.

If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, ask for help. Enlist the help of a company that does property management to set benchmark measurements. Choose a firm that works with a diverse group of customers—they usually can command the best economies of scale and tend to have good data bases.

It’s also a good time to take a closer look at excess land and space as potential opportunities to boost the balance sheet or income statements.

Assess Your Real Estate Taxes

The slow economy is also a good excuse to assess your current real estate tax situation. Assess your taxes compared to market comparables and since property tax assessment laws differ from state to state, it is important to learn as much as possible about your jurisdiction. Protesting taxes is a common practice and expert help in this area can yield good returns.

There are a couple of easy ways to ensure you’re not overpaying. For starters, instead of automatically rolling-over your personal property report, conduct a thorough itemized review. Secondly, be sure to document any property changes made throughout the year. Significant changes can dramatically affect the market value of real estate.