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Purpose Built Office Leasing Tactics and Strategies for Agents

city buildings on skyline

The client or the owner of a commercial office building wants to know that you have a definite plan and a ‘toolbox’ of strategies that you can apply to their leasing challenge.  The ‘generic’ approach to office leasing doesn’t work anymore.  You are the leasing ‘strategist’.

Be more specific with your leasing engagements with properties and clients.  Put the client’s property leasing requirement firmly into the property market in your location and build your leasing stories and tactics around that.

Asking the Right Leasing Questions

There is no ‘one fits all’ approach to finding tenants and filling any vacancies in office leasing.  Be specific when you try to help your landlord clients with their leasing challenge; put some ‘purpose’ into your leasing plan and provide ‘clear strategies’.   Here are some ways you can do that:

  1. Know the major buildings locally – As part of any leasing project, be aware of the other buildings in the location that could have an impact on your client’s property and the known or upcoming vacancies.  There will need to be a ‘point of difference’ to help your property with its leasing requirements stand out as relevant and valuable to tenants and local businesses.  How can you do that?
  2. Target tenants and businesses – Certain tenant types will match your vacancies in your listed property.  The marketing of the vacancies then becomes more direct and specific.  Build a plan of specific marketing to reach out into the best tenants and businesses that you think would be good candidates to occupy your listed property.
  3. Risk reduction is important in what you do – This means that you can and should be part of the property improvement plan by providing better tenants and creating quality leases.  How can you do that? The answer will help you engage with your clients with their investment requirements and strategies.
  4. Vacancy reduction is normally achieved through tenant attraction and retention – Every exclusive leasing appointment should have a tenant attraction and retention plan.  That will involve some specific rents and lease offerings with existing tenants.  Each year those plans can be modified as part of the property strategy and plan. You can do that with or for the landlord.
  5. Incentives and benchmark rentals should be set – The property market will change, and with that change will come variations with supply and demand impacting your lease listings.  The enquiry that you want or get with your property listing will be reflected from the rents you are asking for, and incentives that you are providing.  Understand what other tenants are being offered currently in the local property market, and then package your property and its vacancies to have some advantage in rental and or incentive offerings.  Make your property the ‘best value’ in office leasing locally.  It doesn’t matter too much where you start with rentals, but it does matter where things finish.  Your rent review strategies will be a useful way of improving things from the starting rent.
  6. What are the improvements and fit-outs possiblities to apply? – Prepare your vacancies for leasing by considering the improvements, the services and amenities, and the fitout configurations.  The size of the floor plates will also have an impact on fitout design.

These office leasing strategies will help you build some purpose and momentum into your professional leasing services for your clients.  Be comprehensive in how you build a lease strategy for your clients and their property vacancies.  Be all-inclusive in how you look at attracting potential tenants to the asset and its vacancies.  These are the qualities of a professional leasing agent in office property today.

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How to Change Your Leasing Results with a Local Tenants List

boat on hong kong harbour

A local tenants list will help your commercial real estate leasing business thrive.  It is such a simple idea, and yet many leasing agents overlook the value and the creation of a leasing register for their territory and buildings.

Activate your leasing market with better tenants and landlords.  Think about these questions relative to your location or allocated precinct of properties:

  • How many businesses are in the zone?
  • What do local businesses expect when it comes to leasing occupancy?
  • Who are the larger landlords for the location?
  • Why will tenants and landlords use your services in leasing?
  • What is the future of space supply in your zone?
  • How many older buildings do you have that need renovation or demolition?
  • What are the rents and the incentives today when it comes to new leases in modern premises?

These questions and the answers will help you move into productive tenant discussions through a canvassing activity.  Make your canvassing calls every day to the tenants of the local area and in your priority buildings.  Know what they are thinking and what they need to move to other properties.  Understand why they may stay in their current premises.  You can negotiate either way depending on who your client is in the leasing activity.

Leasing Questions that Get to the Facts

These are the questions that you need to address talking to tenants and in leasing property:

  1. Where are they located? Understand the location from the tenant’s perspective.  They may have transport requirements, a client base nearby, or some property use factors of a critical nature.
  2. What is the type of building are they situated in now? Know the property in which they are located, and the services and amenities therein.  If necessary, visit the building yourself and do some preliminary checking.
  3. What are the types of improvements that they require? Understand the floor area, the floor plates, how a property or tenancy is used currently, and what could be the critical services of the building for a tenant in new occupancy decisions.  Questions like security, car parking, client access, climate control, and signage rights can be examples of special requirements.
  4. When does their lease expire? A simple date like this will allow you to predict leasing change and or a future negotiation opportunity.
  5. Who is the decision maker in the business? There is always a series of managers in a company or corporation.  The leasing research activity for a business is usually delegated to a junior manager to ‘gather the property market facts’.  If you are working with a person of lower rank in the corporate or company chain, ask the questions and provide the answers that they need, however, selectively get to the real facts of the final property leasing decision.  Who will be making that decision?

So, these five simple strategies will help you match your leasing services to the tenants and companies in your location.  These strategies will help you change your leasing successes.

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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.

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