When you work in commercial real estate brokerage, the local business community can be a great source of leads and opportunities at a personal level. Use that fact as a point of leverage in getting your brokerage business underway or at the times when you require more clients and listings.
It is a simple fact that local businesses are very close to or aware of the activities of property owners and property investment. Those local businesses will hear about things and see things before you do. They will know about changes and pressures; that is where they can be of help to you. In saying that, you really do need to approach them in the correct way.
So what can you do with this?
Consider your current area and city. Understand where things are changing and what the local business owners think about that. Try these ideas and strategies for starters:
- Businesses under pressure – given the changes in the economy in most countries, some business segments are looking to adjust. Property occupation or use can be part of that adjustment. Ask questions locally of all the local business owners and occupiers; read the local newspapers. You will find those businesses thinking about change.
- Higher occupancy costs – when the rents go up, some businesses will start to look for other locations and other buildings to occupy. Pay close attention to the levels of occupancy cost, rental, and outgoings as they apply to property occupation locally. Different building types will have different cost averages to watch and work with. That is where specialization can help you move into a market share and find the new business.
- Expansion or contraction – when you look at single businesses in particular locations, you will see the physical signs of space and occupancy pressure. Perhaps those businesses with little or no storage capability, or not enough space. When you see the problem, make the call with some direct questions.
- Landlord difficulties – some landlords are really challenging for their tenants from an occupation and lease position. Some landlords try to squeeze the maximum rental from the asset without due regard for property performance and presentation. When this becomes a factor of property occupation, then the tenant will soon be thinking about moving.
- Property failure or age – older buildings create problems for tenants and customers. That pressure will bring about business frustration and movement. The same can be said when a new property development is evolving in an area. The older properties will start to feel the restraints of redundancy. That’s where you can get involved.
- Vacancy factors – you will see precincts where the vacancy factors are rising. The same can be said with particular buildings. Some buildings will always be hard to lease. Some property precincts will become less attractive to business owners and investors. That being said, there are factors of change and redevelopment that will provide brokerage opportunity.
- Strengths and weaknesses – when you look into a location you will see certain factors of strength that attract new tenants and occupancy. Those strengths can always feature in your property prospecting activities. Use of the strengths of a location and or property type to put some momentum and activation into your prospecting activities. Watch out for the weaknesses that apply to any zone or property type. The weaknesses in a property zone can give you some leverage, as people move and change out of the area.
So the message here is that you can use the local business community to find the opportunities relating to commercial property investment and brokerage. Ask plenty of questions, capture the information into your database, and keep in regular contact with the right people.