Time Management Tips for Commercial Real Estate Agents

Business man with finger tips pointing upwards
Manage your time, maximise your results.

Without a doubt, time is the most difficult issue to handle in commercial real estate.  Everybody wants some part of your time on a daily basis.  If you respond to all the requests and interruptions that come your way, you will simply get nothing done of any importance.  Here are some tips for commercial agents from our regular bulletin.

Most people that struggle in the commercial real estate industry are those that have not systemised their day and defined the essential and most important tasks.  They simply move from job to job in a random way, achieving very little.

It’s a fact, that these are the challenges that are quite typical in the industry today:

  • The office meetings occur on a regular basis
  • Sales and listing presentations occur on a regular basis
  • Inspections of properties need to occur with the team as part of the office marketing process
  • Clients want to meet with you to discuss the marketing of their property
  • Prospects ring you to inspect properties at short notice
  • The marketing of a new listing has to be created and lodged with the media in a short amount of time
  • Negotiations with current listings are protracted and detailed
  • Documentation has to be created to support recent activities with listings, contracts, and leases.
  • The boss wants your weekly sales report on his or her desk by the end of the day
  • Prospecting has to occur on a regular basis
  • All of your current listings require regular client briefings and updates

So here is the good news; every top agent has the same problems to deal with.  They simply understand how to deal with them and create a system to support the process.

The reality of the above issues is that they will not go away.  They will exist and will require attention.  Your response processes are really important and will help you break through the barriers.

To deal with this productively, determine the three or four things that are really important to your career and job.  Those three or four things will make or break your success in the industry.  When you know what they are, they will need to be merged into your diary on a daily basis.

The number one issue on the list will be prospecting.  Regardless of how long you’ve been in the industry and how much you know about commercial and retail real estate, prospecting should always take up 20% of your business day.  Working on a standard assumption of the hours that you normally commit to the job, your prospecting should therefore take up two or three hours every day.

In some real estate offices you will see sales managers and salespeople excessively plan their activities, budgets, targets, and strategies.  The common reality of most of those plans is that they will finish up in the bottom drawer of the desk; they will be overlooked or ignored.  On a monthly or quarterly basis the plans will likely be pulled out for some lengthy discussion on performance and KPI’s.  If that is what occurs now, you will need to make some changes.

Excessive planning doesn’t work

Excessive planning only works for those people that require excuses, and excuses don’t pay the bills.  In this industry results matter far more than excuses.  Take steps to become an action person rather than an excuse person.  Formulate simple plans and avoid excessive planning that will tie you up in knots.  Be flexible to the industry and situations around you on a daily basis.  See what can be done and take action.

Successful commercial real estate salespeople (the top agents) build the career on simple regular actions.  Decide what those three or four things are that can make a lot of difference to your results, and take action towards them every day.

Get some more free tips for commercial real estate agents right here.

Commercial Property Agents – How to Do a Lease Audit in Property Management Handovers

High rise office buildings
Always do a lease audit at property handover

When you take on a new property management listing, one of the key things that must be done very soon is a lease audit.  Without a lease audit you really do not know what you have in the tenant mix and how the property is performing with the existing tenants.  Here is an article from our bulletin for Commercial Agents.

The audit process will help you understand big and important issues including the following:

  • Tenants by name  and location
  • Rental conditions from the lease
  • Upcoming options and rent reviews
  • Arrears and current rent charges
  • Risk and Liability that can apply to each lease
  • Tenant and Landlord covenants that must be complied with
  • Special terms and conditions in the leases that could apply to the tenant or the landlord
  • Permitted use provisions of the premises, etc

So, the audit process will tell you a lot about the property and its current status.  Checking leases against the events that are applicable to the tenants now will let you know if all lease matters are up to date.

It is interesting to note that far too many property managers will accept the detail of a tenancy schedule without checking the leases for each tenant.   It is so common to find that tenancy schedules are not up to date or are incorrect.  That then is a recipe for disaster and errors with the property.

Here are some tips to do a lease audit with your new commercial or retail property management appointments.  You can add to the list so you create a checklist that can be used over and over as you bring in new properties to manage.

  1. Inspect the property so you understand what it looks like and just where everything is.
  2. Make a list of tenants as you inspect the property, so you can cross reference that information later from the leases.
  3. Get plans and drawings of the property that show you the layout of the common areas and the leased areas.
  4. Check out the boundaries of the property so you know what other businesses or property owners are adjacent.  Look for any issues of conflict in boundaries and property usage.
  5. Go through all the leases with reference to the information that you gained in your property inspection.
  6. Create your list of information from the lease review, with particular attention to rent reviews, options, end of lease dates, tenant names, locations, and rentals paid.
  7. Get an up to date list of rent payments for each tenant.
  8. Check for arrears with each tenant.
  9. Split the rent charges into rental (all rents for the premises), outgoings, recoverable charges, and any other miscellaneous charges.
  10. Look for supplementary information and documents of occupation such as naming rights, car parking, common area usage, storage, and other charges.

All of this information must be cross referenced against what you see in the property, the rent invoices today, the discussions that you have with the tenants, and the handover information that you may have been given by the previous property manager or landlord.

If you need more ideas and tips to help your commercial real estate activites, join our community right here.

Commercial Leasing Agents – Strategies for Finding New Tenants Today

business man thinking
You can plan your commercial property leasing strategy.

When the property market slows or changes, you need to develop specific strategies for finding new tenants in commercial and retail property.  Specialist leasing agents have ongoing tenant connection strategies for this very purpose.  Here are some tips from our bulletin for Commercial Agents.

As business and economic cycles change, tenants will come and go from the local business community.  Importantly you really do need to understand the changes and opportunities that are occurring locally.

Regular contact with business leaders and business proprietors will give you greater leverage in future tenant placement and lease negotiation.  Every day you should be talking to more tenants in the local business community.  Once the door of contact has been opened, it is wise to speak to these business leaders at least once every 90 days.  Potentially they will at some stage require some property assistance and a new lease or lease occupancy.

Here are some strategies for finding new tenants in this property market.  Given the volatility of your business community and local area, you can add to this list as appropriate.  The resultant checklist becomes very powerful in finding the right tenants for the right property when circumstances require it.

  1. When it comes to a particular listing that has remained vacant, check out all other adjacent properties in the local area.  There will be successful businesses nearby that may need to expand premises for a particular business reason or business unit change.  Use your current vacancy as a reason to talk to other local business proprietors nearby.
  2. The local accountants and solicitors are a good source of business intelligence and leasing change.  They work with the successful business proprietors needing property assistance and property adjustment.  They are more likely to know those local businesses that need leasing help over the coming 12 months.  If you can establish your reasonable level of trust with these professionals, you will find leads and opportunities being fed back to you.  The way to open the door here is to provide local market information relative to commercial and retail property.  Regular contact will see the levels of trust being established.
  3. The business franchise groups in your city may have a need for another business location.  Check out all the franchise groups and understand who their property decision makers are.  Speak with them regards the typical property needs that apply when they lease new premises.  Also ask them for a summary of the standard terms and conditions that apply in any new lease negotiation.  These facts will help you with positioning and negotiation with your landlord clients and their properties.
  4. Some tenants need to consider expansion or contraction of the business operation.  On that basis you can be contacting the business proprietors throughout the local region.  When they get to the last 18 months of their current lease, they are quite likely to be receptive to discussions on the current property market and lease or rental issues.  Providing them with a monthly update on the property market is a sensible strategy.
  5. Check out the decision makers in all the large local businesses.  They are likely to be looking for property change, expansion, contraction, or investment from time to time.  They may also purchase a property for future expected business needs.
  6. Understand the lease renewals and lease cycles that apply to all the major properties in your local area.  Tenants will seek local property information before they make choices regards moving or relocating.  Constant contact is part of the process to open the door on a potential new lease.
  7. Look for sale and lease back opportunities with those businesses that own their premises but want to release some capital from their property ownerships.

It is quite possible to find new tenants even in the toughest of property markets.  The process requires strategy and system on the part of the leasing specialist.

When the property market appears slow and sluggish, you really should look at it in reverse understanding that you have an abundance of quality listings to put to the potential tenants looking to change location.  Lease opportunity is always out there and will be a great source of commission when sales slow.

Need some more tips on how to do leasing of commercial or retail property?  Try our regular bulletin right here.

Traps in Leasing Commercial Property and How to Avoid Them

Office property lift foyer
Leasing commercial property needs strategy and control.

When you lease commercial property you want things to run smoothly so you can get the tenant into the premises as soon as possible and have the rental and income flowing.  Now all that is just fine, but the leasing process is quite complex and a few unexpected problems usually arise as you proceed through the leasing stages.   Here are some tips from our bulletin for Commercial Real Estate Agents.

It is best for the property manager or landlord to develop a checklist to help lease negotiations and keep matters under control.  In a complex property the lease matters are numerous and can slow down the final agreements and access to the premises.  That being said, there are no short cuts when it comes to leasing, and the best lease agreement is one that has been well controlled from the start.  Never let a tenant have access to the premises until they have fully complied with the terms of the lease agreement and lease.

To help your checklist creation and process for the leasing of the premises here are some things to consider.

  1. Get the lease document created as quickly as possible.  The lease should reflect the essential main terms of agreement between the parties that arose in the negotiations.  The landlord’s solicitor should prepare the lease in accordance with the factors of the property and the instructions of the landlord when it comes to standard leases for the property.  Some solicitors can take an unacceptable length of time to create a lease document to be signed by the parties.  A lease document should be created and presented to the parties for signature within 48 hours of the initial lease agreement.  From that point onwards the discussions and debate between the parties can slow things down, so stay on top of all issues and pressure the parties to keep things moving.
  2. The lease document should always be signed, deposit paid, rent paid, and guarantees lodged, before any premises access is given to the tenant.  Everything from the initial lease agreement should have been satisfied and signed off before keys are given to the tenant.
  3. Fit out plans, drawings, and approvals are required before any tenant fit out works commence.  The approvals for such works should have been correctly obtained from the landlord and the local building regulatory authority.
  4. The finishes and types of materials to be used in the fit out should be approved by the landlord so that the building maintains a level of consistency in presentation.
  5. Security systems and locks on the premises should be maintained to the building master key system.  In this way the landlord and the property manager can access the premises in times of emergency or when and if a lease default occurs.
  6. The permitted use of the premises should be in accordance with the planning regulations and the lease as signed by all parties.

The process of putting a tenant into a property is complex, and every step of the process should be carefully managed.  Keep notes on any discussions and actions taken by all parties.

If you need some more tips on leasing for commercial and retail real estate agents you can get our bulletin here.

Commercial Agents – What Should You Do in Slow Leasing Markets?

commercial office tower and leasing market
Leasing strategies in city office towers

The leasing market will become difficult and slow from time to time.  It really doesn’t matter what property type you work on, you simply need to be sensitive to the pressures of supply and demand that impact your local area.  Here are some tips from our bulletin for commercial property agents.

As property leasing experts, we need to see the rental and leasing market changes before they take a real hold and then impact our clients property.  That foresight would normally involve ongoing research with rental levels, lease incentives, tenant enquiries, property improvements, and new developments in the local area.

So if you are experiencing a slow property leasing market the following strategies will be very useful.

  1. Local businesses will always be a valuable source of market intelligence and future leasing needs.  Business people talk to each other and share information about property changes, business pressures, and landlords.  When you connect with the local businesses on a regular basis you will see and experience a goldmine of opportunity and information.
  2. Competing properties exist in your local area and will have impact on the marketing of your listings.  When you are marketing a property or tenancy for lease, you really do need to know about the competition that you are up against.  Compare the rentals, the lease terms, and the property improvements.  Advise your landlord accordingly so they can make adjustments in their marketing of vacant space.
  3. Tenancy schedules should be obtained for as many large quality properties that you can get your hands on.  The quality properties will contain larger and successful businesses.  Over time you can build your own tenancy schedules within the targeted buildings by talking to the tenants and inspecting the properties.  Enter the information into a database so you can maintain ongoing contact in a relevant way.
  4. Accountants in the local area will normally serve the local business proprietors when it comes to issues of business performance and taxation.  On that basis you will find that accountants are very good sources of lease leads and opportunities.  Build relationships with these accountants so they come to respect your skill as a leasing expert.  Very soon they will let you work with the business pressures of occupancy that can apply to some of their clients.
  5. Franchise groups are always looking for new space to occupy subject to their business type and lease requirements.  Get to know the franchise groups that are active in your area and location.  Further to that you can identify franchise groups that have not as yet moved into your territory.  They will all require particular property types and lease terms and conditions.  You simply a matter of understanding the needs so that the appropriate properties can be provided at the right time.

Database tools and technologies are integral to making inroads into the local business community.  Prospects and business proprietors should be entered into the database given their property types and needs.  Over time your database should grow to at least 1000 qualified people.  When you grow the database through continual daily effort, the leasing opportunities will start to grow, as will your commissions.

Commercial Property Agents – How to Get Comparable Market Evidence

woman using computer
Do comprehensive market research on comparable properties

The commercial and retail property market is changing frequently and in different ways.  This is always relevant to your location and particular property type.  That being said, you really do need to know the current comparable market information when it comes to the listing of any property.  The clients that we work with should be suitably primed and briefed with the right information so that they can make correct choices when it comes to prices, rentals, and marketing.

Experts

So we are the experts when it comes to marketing and transacting commercial and retail property.  If we are recognized as such, the enquiries and the referral business will come to us; in an ideal world, this is a great way you to work in the industry.

What we can do here is show the clients and prospects that we work with our comprehensive knowledge of the marketplace and the current property activity.  This gives us a huge advantage when it comes to negotiating with both parties in any sale or lease situation.  The market evidence can be used to negotiate through hurdles and create agreement.

Here are some categories of comparable market analysis that will help you in your knowledge:

  1. Competing properties should be identified for each and every listing on your books.  The clients in each case should be advised of the prices and marketing strategies applying to those other competing properties.  It may be necessary for you to adjust your marketing recommendations based on the pressures that the competing properties create.  When it comes to very unique property, you can remove your listing from the market until such time as the competition has been reduced.
  2. Sale prices will always change.  Getting to the real facts of each and every transaction can be a challenge however many other commercial agents will share price information after the transaction has been completed and closed.  The industry is rather specialized and good agents will normally share market intelligence within reason.  Accurate price information will be useful when it comes to the next listing within the property type.
  3. Rental evidence is required to support the prices and returns for good investment property.  When the property market gets tougher, or enquiry becomes limited, the buyer expectations will change to an increased yield or return.  You never really tough market, the price fall compared to the income return can shift by as much as two per cent or more.  This shift is in the percentage return on investment.  Whilst Sellers may not like to accept the real facts of the market, as the expert commercial real estate agent, you need to convey the facts from closed transactions, rentals, and prices.  There is no point taking on an overpriced listing that can waste your time and take you away from other more realistically priced and or rented properties.
  4. Time on market will change constantly and seasonally throughout the year.  You will need to differentiate between property types and property quality.  There is a marked difference between the time on market for quality property verses that which applies to an ordinary or below average property.  Allowances should also be made for the chosen method of sale or rental as the case may be.  Some clients may have been influenced by other agents giving poor information.
  5. Methods of marketing during the year may need to change subject to the expectations of the prospective buyers or tenants.  Seasonal festivities such as extended public holidays should delay the promotional of particular properties.  Start the campaign when you know that the prospective buyers or tenants are looking around.  Choose the methods of marketing that can reach the target audience efficiently and effectively.
  6. Supply and demand for property will change throughout the year based on prevailing economic circumstances, the sentiment of the business community, and new property developments in the location.  Monitor the trends of property development at the local planning office.  Get updates regards new developments under construction or consideration.  Be aware of the construction costs of different property types and the consequential viability as it applies to new property developments.  From time to time, the expectations of return on investment in a new property development together with the impact of the actual construction costs will limit the viability of any project.  Property developers work on margins and levels of profit before they will commit to a project.  They also seek to understand the pressures of growth as they apply in the local business area.  You also can monitor these things.
  7. Changes to business sentiment and the community will always shift due to the changes in the local, national, and global economy.  That being said, there are always segments of the business community that are successful given that they serve and act within different market demographics or segments.  Understand who or what they are, and tap into them for the opportunity of a property transaction.

Enquiry types come and go throughout the year in commercial real estate.  If you maintain a good database, you will understand the types of enquiry coming in now and what those people or businesses are looking for.  You can advise your client accordingly and help them match their property to those requirements.  You can also shift your prospecting efforts accordingly to get better results from your listings and transactions.

Need more ideas to help your commercial real estate listings and commissions?  Join us here.

Copywriting Strategies for Commercial Real Estate Marketing

Businessman reading newspaper
Advertising copy in commercial property has to attract your target audience

When taking a commercial property to the market for sale or for lease, the marketing campaign will be significantly impacted by the quality of the advertising copy used in the various channels of media.  Many property agents are not good at writing advertisements and therefore the marketing campaign suffers from the very start.

Before commencing the drafting of advertising for any property, it pays to thoroughly inspect the property and the surrounding area.  This simple process will give you many ideas and concepts to feed into your advertising layout and design.  You will also get some perceptions of the features of the property and that are important to the target market.

So to get the matter under way, it is important to understand exactly who or what the target market is for the chosen property.  In commercial real estate, the target markets are usually subsets of the following categories:

  1. Property Investors in the local area
  2. Business owners and proprietors in the local area
  3. Property developers
  4. Tenants needing to move into their own premises

Within each of these categories there will be subsets of criteria such as the required cash flow, timing of the property release, the availability of the property, the location of the property, and the types of improvements.

So the best strategy in working towards a drafting of advertising copy is to review the property personally with due regard to the particular broader target market that will be attracted to it.  When you then walk around the premises and the general location, you can detail the features that will be attractive to the target audience.  Take many photos of the property from various locations around the site so you can revisit the property presentation and improvements at a later time.  These photos can also be used in any discussions with identified and qualified prospects in the future.

It pays to develop a list of four or five items that are considered the features of the property itself and the campaign.  They should consistently flow through all the advertising material and be placed towards the top of all the advertising copy.

If the property has any form of identity, brand, or name in the local area, then it should also feature in the advertising copy.  Most property purchasers and tenants relate to the building brand, identity, and location.  At least 75% of properties that are sold or rented today are transacted with local property investors or business owners.

It is a known fact that the most effective advertising in commercial and retail real estate is simple and short.  Most adult readers prefer dot points and photographs to attract their interest.  Any written paragraphs should then be short and to the base of the advertising copy.  At the base of the created property advertising and any editorial, ensure that you place the necessary contact detail of the relative salesperson and real estate agency business.