Shopping Centre Shootings Require Risk Management Controls

shopping centre people
Protect your Retail Tenants and Shoppers with a Emergency Evacuation Process or Crisis Control Plan

As recently as the last 24 hours I have read and seen reported a shopping centre shooting where two people were injured.  Fortunately both people will recover from their injuries, but the event brings into context the need for retail centre managers to have a crisis management plan for their managed properties.   Here is a note I sent out on our newsletter.

As it happens, I know the particular shopping centre in question quite well, and can relate to the problems that evolve in the event.  The shooting happened on a Saturday afternoon around 2pm when the Robina Town Shopping Centre was at its busiest.  Families and children were in close proximity to the event.  It was a wet day outside and raining spasmodically; families in the area headed to the shopping centre for ‘retail therapy’ and fun.

The Robina Shopping Centre is very large regional centre in the Gold Coast Australia with well over 200 specialty shops and 4 anchor tenants.  The retailers in the tenant mix are of high quality and the rents paid in the property are significant given the status and quality of the property. Apparently one person hit by a bullet was the target of the shooting, and another person was an innocent bystander hit by a stray bullet.

This is a Centre Managers worst nightmare.   In the property at the time there were thousands of people; tenants, customers, contractors, families, tourists, and children.  The malls were busy and it was peak shopping time. All of this brings home the key fact that a shopping centre is a challenging place to manage.  You have all types of people coming and going through the property all day long.  Security, control, and response are critical factors of shopping centre performance when something goes wrong.

If you are the property manager for a retail centre (large or small), it is up to you to control events and get the emergency authorities to the problem as soon as possible.  When the authorities arrive on site, they take control, but you and your management team are the first on the scene or are the first to be aware of the problem.  The tenants and visitors to the property look to you for help and guidance.

This problem could have happened in your retail property (large or small).  How would you have handled it?  Could you have handled it?

Here are some questions for you to consider in your managed shopping centre or retail property:

1. Do you have a crisis management plan that all tenants, and staff can implement as soon as a crisis is identified?

2. Has your insurance company checked and approved your crisis management plan?  What do they want of you when something of a risk nature happens in the property?

3. Have you involved the local emergency services in overseeing your crisis management plan?  How will you contact the emergency services?  Who will do that?

4. Exactly what happens when people are injured and how can you get a response underway to protect the public and the tenants?

5. What records of events do you have now and what is your record keeping process with shopping centre injuries, threats, robberies, death, and security issues?

6. Do tenants know what to do when emergency or risk events happen?

7. What does the landlord want you to do?  What does the landlord want to know?

8. How will you control the tenants?

9. How will you help the customers in the property?

10. Where will you be and where will you go when things happen?  Do your staff know how to find you?

Every situation has to be catered for as a potential problem within your property.  Some of the big ones that come to mind are explosions, earthquake, fire, floods, slips and falls, injury, missing people, gas, death, and emergency evacuations.  Some tenants will also bring you factors of risk that also have to be catered for (such as banks with the threat of robbery).

If you manage a retail property with customers, tenants, contractors, and interaction with the community, you have to expect major problems and unexpected events.  Preparation and process are critical factors when it comes to responses from Shopping Centre staff at the time of crisis.  There are some more ideas for commercial and retail property managers on our website http://www.commercial-realestate-training.com/

You can join our newsletter here for Commercial and Retail Property Agents.

Tips for Lead Generation in Commercial Real Estate Agency

Office buildings in city
Prospecting for leads in commercial real estate requires a systemised approach.

When it comes to commercial real estate sales and leasing, you as the local property agent really do need a lot of leads and opportunities flowing to you on an ongoing basis.  You need to know the tenants, investors, the property owners, and the buyers that are seeking to acquire, change, or relocate to and from quality commercial property.  Here are some prospecting ideas from our Newsletter articles for Commercial Real Estate Agents.

We all know that the commercial property market is highly competitive and forever changing.  Seeing the opportunities as they arise will always give you the edge above and beyond the other local property agents. So the commercial salesperson with the systemized approach to lead generation will always produce more personal opportunity.  This will mean better commissions and listings.  Here are some ideas that you can systemize into your business diary each and every day.

  1. Given that the local property market revolves around the business community, you should be connecting regularly with a lot of business owners and proprietors.  These people are easy to find given that the local telephone book will have a business segment relative to your local area.  With the right questions these people will tell you if they own their property or rent the property from an investor.  Either way the information is invaluable to understand the opportunities you can explore.  They are also likely to tell you who the property owner may be and how to contact them.
  2. Tenants in the local area will from time to time seek to relocate premises as part of a business adjustment plan.  This is where the local real estate agent can provide real service.  The tenant will want to understand the available levels of property supply and demand.  They will also need to know the going rentals in comparable properties and the cost of relocation.  Some agents will choose to act as a tenant advocates in this process and that in itself is a good source of commission opportunity.
  3. Given that the lease occupancy and documentation involved in a property lease is typically for a duration of a number of years, it is fairly easy to determine lease expiry dates and network the relative tenants in the 18 months leading up to lease expiry and potential relocation.   In this time frame they will make choices regards premises and business operations.  Market knowledge will be of great interest to them as they ponder their next business change.
  4. Given the points mentioned above in item three, a similar contact process can occur with landlords of commercial, industrial, and retail real estate.  Invariably these landlords may need assistance in finding tenants to fill the pending or upcoming vacancy.
  5. Commercial property ownership for investors is usually undertaken for reasons of investment performance and gain.  Typically the investor will be suitably placed for further property activity at around about year four and beyond.  They may choose to purchase another property, refinance, or sell and change their property investment.

All of these factors are leverage points for the real estate agent to take action.  Network the property owners and investors in your local area to ensure that you are suitably placed for this cyclical activity. The best real estate agents keep closely aligned to the local business community.  It is this knowledge that is of value to the property owners as they seek to sell, buy, and rent their commercial property.

Need to know more?  Join our Newsletter here, or check out our main website for Commercial Real Estate Agents here.

More Tips for Inspecting Commercial Property Today

Commercial Office Building outside view
Commercial Real Estate Agents should comprehensively inspect all properties before listing and marketing.

This subject has proven so relevant for some commercial agents I have decided to write some more about property inspections in commercial real estate and how you can do the inspections efficiently and thoroughly.   When you correctly inspect a property you minimise the threat of problems later in the marketing and negotiation process.   Here are some ideas from our Newsletter for Commercial Real Estate Agents.

As a general rule, believe only what you get in writing or in hard copy evidence.  If something is advised to you, then go the extra step and get a copy of the relevant documentation as proof of the key facts.

So here are some more ideas and issues to add to the property inspection process:

  1. Information is the key to property investigations and listing creation.  Sometimes the client will know about most issues and current facts although you cannot rely on this.  Whatever the clients tell you about the property should be written down for use and investigation later if anything is missing or not fully understood.
  2. Verbal comments should always be supported by written 3rd party evidence.  This means getting in touch with the local authorities and other organisations that can complete the information with some detail in written form.  It is likely that the information will be needed later in due diligence issues and negotiation towards contacts.
  3. Check out the property ownership and title detail.  If the property is owned by a Trust or Company, you will need to go the extra step of identifying the structure within that group.  You should be sure that the person talking to you has all the relevant authority to do so.
  4. If a building exists on the property, ensure that the use and occupation of the property is legal given all the current building codes and rules.  Visit the local council to ensure that you have a good idea of any current orders or notices that could apply in property occupancy today.
  5. If the property is impacted by environmental, heritage, or energy issues, you will need detail.  Many property buyers or tenants are sensitive to these factors and they will ask for more information.
  6. The outgoing for the property are those costs that apply to the property operating the way it is currently.  Get a copy of the outgoings so you can identify those extra costs of property usage and see how they compare to other properties in the same area of similar type.  A history of outgoings over the last few years will also be useful.
  7. If the property is occupied by tenants, get copies of all leases, licences, and other agreements so you know exactly what terms of occupancy and rent are today.  Look for outstanding issues with tenants that have not been attended to on time or are still in limbo.  They can normally include rent reviews, options for a further term, lease renewals, refurbishment matters, insurance notices, lease negotiations, make good provisions, arrears matters for each tenant, permitted uses of the premises, and the list goes on.  Importantly you will need to read these documents and interpret them.
  8. Any extra areas or spaces that apply to building usage should also be found and investigated.  They are typically car parks, signage, naming rights, storage, extra areas of property occupancy, plus more.
  9. Be aware of the property zoning that applies to the premises and the property usage.   The property and the tenants should comply with this zoning category.  Legally correct occupancy is a big thing today and property orders and notices can result from an illegal property usage.
  10. Ask the client about the property history and the reasons why they purchased it.  It is remarkable how much information will be gleaned by these questions.

Matters of risk in the property can be many, so inspect the property with care and attention to detail.  When in doubt ask more questions.   Only when you have all the property information should you take the property to the market publically. The subject property may have been on the market before, so ask questions about this to see if other agents have tried to market the property and what may have happened in those circumstances.

One good thing that can be done in addition to these things above is to walk around the local area and talk to the local business owners (if possible).  They will tell you so much about the local area and the matters of change or threat.  They can also tell you things about the property that you are to inspect or potentially take to the market.

You can get our Newsletter here or more free tips for Commercial Property Agents at our parent website http://www.commercial-realestate-training.com/

Commercial Real Estate Agents – How to Inspect Commercial Property Today

Prospects Inspecting Commercial Property
Be prepared to get all the commercial property facts before you go to market.

When you work in commercial real estate agency sales and leasing, the inspection of commercial and retail property is a frequent event.  In some cases you will be inspecting the property for a potential sale or leasing situation.  In just a short period of time during the inspection you need to gather all the critical pieces of information that could impact the marketing, inspections, and subsequent negotiations for the property.

Here is an article from our Newsletter to help Commercial property agents and salespeople.

It should be said that the property owner may not necessarily be totally open and frank when it comes to the details of the property that you are inspecting.  It may also be the case that the property owner will not understand certain elements of the property performance and legal title.  For this reason, the number one priority of inspecting commercial and retail property centres around the requirements and your ability to take notes of all discussions with the property owner and your attention to detail in the gathering of property information.

Frequently you have to refer back to your notes as part of your negotiations with tenants or buyers as the case may be.  Incorrect or missing information can get you into trouble as the real estate agent marketing the property and potentially bring on a legal action; take care with your efforts here.

Here are some ideas to help you with preparing for the commercial or retail property inspection process:

  1. Get a copy of the property title before visiting the property to know who the legal owners are.  As part of that process you can also obtain a copy of the survey plan to delineate the boundaries.  The survey plan will give you some understanding as to where you could find the survey pegs and when the last survey was undertaken.  You will be looking for situations of property or boundary encroachment.  If the property is part of a sale and purchase strategy, the boundaries will be an important factor of the property inspection.  If the original survey is very old, it could be necessary to get a new survey undertaken based on the existing drawings.  The boundary pegs can then be resited or relocated so that all potential purchasers understand where the boundaries are.
  2. Visit the local council or municipal authority to get details of the property zoning relative to the location.  As part of that process, you can then understand if the property complies with the local property zoning.
  3. The local council or municipal authority should also be able to provide you with details of property approvals, notices, and orders.  Some of these may have relevance to the potential marketing campaign to be undertaken.
  4. If the property is leased as an investment, get copies of the leases and licences relative to each tenancy.  These documents will need to be reviewed to ensure that you completely understand the rental and cash flow coming from existing tenants.  If any leases are soon to expire, that impact will need to be assessed as part of the pricing of the property or the marketing strategy.  Vacancies may or may not be acceptable in the sale of the property; form your own opinion based on local enquiry and property availability.
  5. Look around the local property area to understand if the subject property is competing with any other properties nearby.  The supply and demand for commercial premises will be part of that precinct assessment.  You will have some impression as to the type of enquiry existing in the prevailing market conditions.  Property buyers and tenants will be looking for properties in particular rental and price ranges.  Your database will help you with the relevant facts and decisions here.
  6. The history of the subject property may be relevant as you take it to market.  The history can sometimes provide challenges or opportunities that have impact on the marketing campaign.  If the property has been occupied for a number of years by a particular business or tenant, then the local history will have some use in the marketing of the property and perhaps even feature as a point of difference or identity.
  7. Today the purchasers and occupants of commercial and retail property are very sensitive to matters relating to energy, the environment, and heritage.  Your investigations and questions relating to the subject property should include these categories of property performance.  When in doubt visit the local authorities to identify any and all orders and notices that may apply.
  8. The operational costs for the property are generally known as outgoings.  When you take the property to the market for sale or for lease, the outgoings should be similar to or comparable to other properties of similar nature in the same location.  Tenants and buyers will understand the acceptable levels of outgoings as part of the purchase or rental decisions that they make.  Get a copy of the current outgoings budget for the property and if possible seek details of previous financial year’s performances.
  9. Investigate other recent sales and leases in the same location.  They will have relevance to the pricing and leasing estimates that you put on the subject property. Inspecting commercial or retail property is a detailed process that needs care and attention to detail.

Over time you can create a checklist to help with the process of property inspection.  The checklist will help you ask the right questions and drill down on matters of real importance.

Join our Newsletter here, or check out our Commercial Real Estate resources here http://www.commercial-realestate-training.com/

Building Market Opportuntity for Your Commercial Real Estate Agency Team

Commercial real estate in city
Commercial Property Market opportunity can be optimised by Agents

We all know that the commercial real estate market is quite competitive today.  Whilst the number of agents in each area will vary, the factors of territory domination become really important in attracting the right levels of enquiry and target market for each listing.  Essentially your agency team needs to build market opportunity continually and constantly in and around the other agents with whom you compete.  Monitoring your market share will become part of the process.   Here are some tips from our Newsletter.

There are some key factors in growing your market share and here are some of the main ones:

  • The signage profile in the area needs to be significant and strong.  This means that every listing should feature a suitably placed signboard wherever possible.  Most property enquiry comes from the local area.  The signboard on the property has significant leverage in attracting this enquiry; all signboards should be kept up to date and damage free from vandalism.
  • Every property enquiry can and should be captured into your database for future use and opportunity.  The accuracy and up to date nature of the database will have direct impact on the deals and enquiries that you can convert.  Salespeople should be held accountable for database entry and maintenance with all their listings.
  • The agency branding for your office should be suitably consistent across all marketing material.  This will include contacts for salespeople, office detail, and telephone contact details for the office, website, and e-mail contact.  As part of that process it is wise to make some early decisions regards the ownership of the mobile phone number associated with each and every salesperson.  We all know that salespeople do move on or leave the industry given that the industry is very volatile.  It is wise for the real estate office to own the mobile phone and the mobile phone number.  When people leave, the enquiry from existing listings and previous client based contacts can still be captured from the mobile phone by other salespeople.
  • When you list a property locally, it is very important to take the property listing detail into the local business community through direct mail, direct flyers, and personal contact.  When this is done correctly, you will gain significant market intelligence and future listing opportunity.  This local contact process will generally optimise the price or rental outcome and shorten the time on market.  Regrettably a lot of salespeople do not do this local marketing coverage process well enough.
  • From the outset of your agency establishment and operation, it pays for your agency and its individual salespeople to specialise within certain property types.  Specialisation always provides better levels of enquiry and helps with your branding.  By a specialisation, we mean Industrial Property, Retail Property, and Office Property.  Certain members of the agency team can specialise in each segment and also the process of Sales, Leasing, or Property Management.  As experts you can then attract more enquiry to your business.

It can be said that a large agency team presents special challenges in managing these factors above.  The greater the number of salespeople, the more complex the management system required to optimise territory promotion and penetration.  Nevertheless these four factors have to be optimised wherever possible.  They can become part of your weekly office meeting agenda and strategies.

Track these numbers below with each member of the sales team:

  • New signboards placed on listings and in the territory
  • New listings for the week
  • Controlled listings for the week
  • Open listings for the week
  • Auctions coming up
  • Time on market per listing
  • Enhanced or exclusive listings on the Internet portals

To track the results that you set and obtain, it is wise to compare and monitor the number of advertisements, signboards placed on other properties, and Internet listings for each competitive agency.  A good commercial real estate agency is one that completely understands their market and their current position within it.

You can more tips like these in our Newsletter.

Our main portal for Commercial Real Estate Agency Tips and Ideas is at http://www.commercial-realestate-training.com/

Commercial Property Today – Tenants Give Agents Key Market Intelligence

sales people prospecting
Visit buildings and tenants to get the market intelligence you need as Commercial Property Agents.

When you are working in commercial sales or leasing, the tenants in buildings and in properties locally can give you so much information.  It’s a fact that tenants know the area better than you; they have worked it for some time and can understand intimately what is going on with other property owners and businesses nearby.  With the right questions you can open up some real tips and ideas to tap into.  Starting the right conversation is the key to the process.  Here are some tips from our recent newsletter.

These are the things that I would be looking for using this process of tenant contact:

  • Who owns the property next door?  They are the landlords or investors that you can track down.
  • Do they have a lease and when does it expire?  Would they like you to contact them towards that date to help them with market information?
  • Do they know much about the local property market and can you help them with some prices and rent information? • Who runs the business next door?  They are the tenants that you can talk to for future leasing opportunity.
  • Have other businesses been in the street for a very long time?  They could be the next ones to move or expand.
  • Have any nearby businesses indicated change in any way?  They are opportunities to be tapped.
  • Are any local businesses showing pressure or problems of occupancy?

As to how you ask these questions is up to you, but asking is the key. To really get a grip on the local business community for leasing opportunities, so much good work can occur on the telephone from the comfort of your office.

Good leasing agents will spend about 2 or 3 hours on the telephone each day as part of the process. To build better market share as the local commercial real estate specialist agent, here is a contact process and model that you can adopt.

  1. Research your area on a street by street basis.  Visit all the businesses to leave a card and see if the boss will talk to you.  As a bare minimum you should be able to get the name of the business proprietor for a later call.
  2. Document all information that you get into a database so you can follow up on matters.
  3. Spend at least 50% of your day out of the office in your territory talking to people.
  4. Look for properties and businesses that are under pressures of change.
  5. Contact property owners that purchased about 3 years ago and beyond as they will be the next ones to look for more property or change property.

Commercial real estate is a great business.  It just takes dedication and focus for results to be achieved.  So many agents struggle with that discipline.  The small percentage of agents that handle it well soon rise to the top of the local market and do the larger share of the deals.  We have got lots more tips in our newsletter if you find this of use in your property market.

You can also get lots of free articles and information at our website http://www.commercial-realestate-training.com/

Commercial Real Estate Agents – Finding New Business Opportunity Today

Commercial Office Buildings
Listing opportunity exists with commercial property today.

When it comes to leasing and selling commercial property today, the market is really quite a challenge.  Only the best property agents do really well and that is because they have a specific process of prospecting and networking that they maintain.  They prospect every day at the same time and nothing, not even the boss, can derail the process.  Here are some thoughts from our Newsletter.

Prospecting and networking is such a simple and basic fact of the business.  You would think that most salespeople would accept and optimise the process.  That being said, there is a massive opportunity out there for the salespeople that really get their prospecting organised and do it every day.

Now some salespeople will say that it is a lot of work to find the owners of property and then chase them down to make a contact call.  I would agree, however I would say that these property owners are not the only people that you should be making contact with.

The easiest way to build your contacts in commercial property sales and leasing is through talking to all the business proprietors in your local area.  The simple fact of the matter is that these people either own the property that they are located in or they rent it.  Either way you want to know the facts relating to their property holding or occupancy so you can help them.

The other issue here to remember is that they will likely tell you who the landlord for the property is.  On that basis they have saved you a lot of time.   Put the information gained into the database.  Your database is the most important tool in your office.   Make the database a personal process so you can build a group of loyal followers in your local market.

The best agents in this market are those that know the local area and everyone that has property issues on the agenda now or in the future.  That can be as landlords, tenants, business proprietors or developers.  Just how many of these do you know?

Here are the rules for prospecting for new business today.

  1. Research 40 businesses to call.  You can do that easily from the telephone books in your area.  The research is best done in the evening in preparation for the next day.
  2. Create a standard form to use in the call process so you are simply capturing the conversation onto paper and then putting it into the database each evening.
  3. Contact people in your database each 90 days to keep up the personal profile that is so important in business.
  4. Get to know the local area and property trends so you can provide interesting conversation with property owners and tenants when you talk to them.

I hope that the message here is quite clear.  Your success in the industry is really up to you in all respects.  Do you have what it takes?

Get more tips for commercial real estate agents right here at our parent website http://www.commercial-realestate-training.com/      Or you can join our Newsletter here.