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The Ultimate Checklist for a Tenant Database in Commercial and Retail Property Leasing

city buildings on river

When you work in commercial or retail real estate leasing, your tenant database is critical in your business processes and ultimately the lease conversions.  It must be separated from everything else as there are special issues and situations to track with all tenants.  A good quality tenant list will help you find and win more landlord clients.  It is hard for a landlord to ignore a comprehensive list of tenants in a location or across a property type.

leasing system for brokers
Commercial Real Estate Leasing System

 

Database Structure

So, what do you track in your database?  You track future business and tenant changes as well as property and lease requirements.  Here is a list:

  • Location preferences – that will be the precinct or zone of the city or suburbs. Some tenants need to be near main roads, transport hubs, other businesses, customer bases, or city zones.  Ask questions when you talk to a business owner about location priorities and put that information into your tenant list.
  • Size of premises – understanding the different types of buildings and businesses, there will be factors of focus with office area, warehousing, showroom, car parks, and common areas. A specialist leasing person will probe into those factors and questions.
  • Lease expiry dates – ideally, it pays to work with tenants at least 12 months out from a lease expiry date. In that way, you can prepare them for premises change, budget, and the logistics of changing a building.
  • Special needs – some businesses have unique requirements of building choice and layout. The best way to investigate that is to know where they are coming from now and how they operate as a business unit through the year.
  • Improvement requirements – staff and customer activities will impact improvement locations and fit out design. Differentiate between the customer and sales areas of a business, and then look at the way in which staff and business processes occur.  Typically, a business will have ‘pods’ of focus such as sales, service, administration, storage, technology, and production.  A good architect should be consulting with the business owner to advise on how those zones are positioned and how they operate in a building and new lease situation.
  • Expansion and contraction – know that most businesses are going to change operations over the coming 2 to 5 years. Given that most leases are between three and five years long, the requirements of expansion and contraction should come into the discussion with business owners.

So, a tenant list and database should have the capabilities of storing and tracking this information.  One of the quickest, cheapest, and easiest ways to set up a list that contains the information that you seek to track is to use Microsoft Access or similar.  YouTube offers plenty of free instruction on Access Databases and how to build them.

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There Are Big Opportunities in Making Cold Calls in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

hong kong harbour

When you are looking to grow your real estate business in a substantial way, the outbound calls that you make will help you find more people and create more meetings.  In this video, I share the system behind telephone prospecting in commercial real estate brokerage.

Build your real estate business the easy way, and grow your skills in making outbound calls.  Watch the video here.

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Effective Marketing Rules in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

ebook of marketing ideas for commercial real estate

Sometimes we have lots of properties to list and market.  That is when systems of promotion will help your focus and your outcomes.

 

A question always arises here.  How many exclusive listings are ‘too many’ for an individual broker or agent?   There is a physical limit as to how many listings a broker can act on with reasonable focus and action.

 

Exclusivity demands more time and more effort, and rightly so.  Open listings should only take a small amount of your time.   If you have the luxury of a ‘personal assistant’, then it is arguable that you can handle 50% more than your standard allocation of listings.

 

How Many Listings are Too Many?

 

So let’s go back to the question of just how many listings are ‘too many’.  The answer depends a bit on the size and complexity of a property.  It is easily the case that a very large investment property such as a shopping centre could very well take all of your time and effort for some months or at least weeks when the marketing, inspections, and negotiations are underway.

 

If you are working on ‘average’ properties of say a few tenants and small configuration, then it is likely that you can handle up to about 15 properties exclusively at any one point in time.  Remember, however, the requirement for quality in what you list.

 

Promotional Rules in Brokerage

 

Here are some marketing reminders to work with here when you list properties for sale or lease:

 

  1. Check out the listing first in all respects so you can understand all the strengths and weaknesses of the property. The preparation here will help you with your advertising copy, defining the target market, and the timing of the marketing campaign.
  2. When you know everything possible about the property, then you can look at the competing properties locally and within the targeted segment of buildings. A ‘competitive awareness’ will help you with positioning the marketing campaign in so many different ways.  How can your property ‘stand out’ as the better choice locally with buyers or tenants?  That question has to be answered with all listings and exclusive appointments.
  3. Set a defined target marketing campaign for tenants or buyers so that the marketing can be specified in message and timing. Certain times of the year will be better for marketing, so take steps to understand the promotional ‘seasons’, and how your properties will fit into that.
  4. Reach, and media choice will be the next factor to consider. Today we have so many effective and efficient marketing systems to use.  Traditional newspaper marketing has fallen back on the ‘promotional scale’.  Online and direct marketing has taken its place; that is certainly the case with exclusive listings.  Determine how you can get the message out to the local area of buyers or tenants.  Spread the promotional word efficiently.

 

Taking these points to finality, the marketing process is so critical in commercial real estate today.  Don’t take the generic approach, but be specific in all your exclusive real estate campaigns. 

 

Spend more time spreading the word about the property and the opportunity that the property presents.  A comprehensively marketed property will help you greatly in your real estate brand and personal reputation as the ‘industry specialist’.  Here is the marketing ebook for Brokerage.

 

city building hi-rise
eBook of Effective Marketing Ideas in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage
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Client Contact Management System for Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

businessman and client meeting,

In your role as a broker or agent, your client contact model will be indispensable to your business growth plans.  Client and prospect contact is necessary and crucial to your attraction of listings and eventually the commissions that you require.

The primary focus of your business day should be to talk to the people that you know now, and those that could be clients over time.  There are no shortcuts to that requirement.  Conversations create leads and the interest of other people in your real estate services.

 

Smart Contact and List Building Ideas

So, I call these the ‘smart contact ideas’ for brokers and agents.  These are ways of connecting with people regularly and not being ‘excessive’ and overdone in your commercial real estate prospecting or client communication.

Help people to understand the property market; that is a good way of approaching contact and prospecting activity.  These are the ‘smart contact ideas’ that you could merge into your business model:

  1. Examples and Case Studies from property activity in the local area – a successful transaction is a good story to share. Providing you are not breaching any client confidentiality, a sale or lease transaction is worth talking about and communicating to other interested local people.  You can also do an article or press release and publish it on your blog, website, and or in the local newspapers.  You can add to those alternatives, your social media channels.  Spread the word about property activity; show the people in the property market that you have plenty of coverage and activity now with good quality listings.
  2. Listings in the zone or precinct – break your local area and your listings down into groupings so you can look at the momentum with inspections, enquiries, and marketing choices. Local listings will be attractive and interesting to investors or other business leaders.  Share the information about the properties on the market now.
  3. Review of supply and demand for buildings and land – as the local economy changes, there will be requirements for land and developments. What is happening with land supply that could impact future construction and the availability of quality buildings?  Look for the land and consider the zoning issues that will strengthen or weaken property construction and supply.  Talk about the supply trends of local property.
  4. Changes to cap rates and yields – some towns or cities are ‘better performers’ when it comes the cap rates and yields on a commercial and or retail property. There will be ‘averages’ to look for when it comes to the sale and leasing of investment properties.  Most properties will have factors of attraction and some weaknesses when it comes to investment.  What are the indicators that apply now to purchase and ownership of local investment property?  What could a property owner expect from the purchase of a property and its retention for several years?

So, these are valuable things to talk to your clients and prospects about as you connect in regular ongoing ways.  Provide locally based sales and leasing information comprehensively; that is the foundation of client contact and professional services as a broker or agent.

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Sales Territory Planning in Commercial Real Estate

City buildings on Hong Kong harbour. Cranes in the foreground. Buildings in the distance

When you work in commercial real estate as a broker or an agent, undertake a regular assessment of your territory and designated listing area, so you know what is happening and where the opportunities are coming from.  You need to understand what is happening when it comes to time on market, listing activity, enquiry, and property opportunity.  Things change in commercial real estate brokerage, and that change is always a point of leverage for any agent or broker with both clients and listings.

 

In your area or territory, there will be investors to identify, clients to serve, tenants to track, enquiries to satisfy, and businesses to connect with.  A defined area or precinct will help you do that effectively and to do so under some form of a system.

 

Set your geographical boundaries so that you can build some specific momentum and logical accuracy in prospecting on a street by street basis with property owners, businesses, and tenants in occupation.

 

 

Precinct Assessments for Brokerage Coverage

 

Here are some ideas to help you assess your precinct accurately and efficiently:

 

  1. Identify the number of properties within the precinct by type and by location. Get to know the locations and the streets and make a list the property owners and local businesses.  The greater your depth of ownership and investor knowledge across the location, the easier it is to find opportunities in property sales and leasing.  The local businesses may also own the properties in which they are located.  Questions and connections will help you find the information you need for future ongoing property opportunity.
  2. Do a signboard count across the area and in all your targeted precincts. Differentiate between open listings and exclusive listings.  Split the signboard count into agent groupings and property types.  Identify the agents that have the market dominance and understand why that is the case.
  3. Do an advertisement count on the Internet of all relevant and current listings. Split those listings into locations, property types, and brokerages.  Throughout the year, those listing numbers will change seasonally, as will any property pressures that apply to the economy and the town or city.  In some respects, you need to be a good predictor of market circumstances and changes to find the best listings and clients that you need.  Work the opportunities and the changes that can provide you with listings.
  4. Given the three factors mentioned above, it is necessary to understand time on market by precinct and by region. Some properties will stay on the market longer than others.  Get to know why that is the case and develop some marketing strategies to position your properties and listings more favourably from a promotional perspective.

 

All these numbers will help you with your market awareness and future property opportunities.  In assessing these situations, you will find new people and business owners to connect with.

 

Systemize your real estate business in all respects so that you can grow your opportunities and grow market share.  Luck has nothing to do with commercial real estate brokerage today.  Deliberate effort and logical systemization will help you get to the market penetration that you need.