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Career Tips and Advice for Commercial Property Managers

City buildings on the edge of a river. Commercial high-rise buildings and bridge.

The levels of knowledge and the professional skills required in commercial and retail property management are unique and deep.  They are quite different to the skills required in a leasing or sales situation.  A property manager is a differently skilled person, and they need to look at the big picture and remain focused on their properties and clients for months if not years.

 

That long-term focus allows the managed investment to improve over time through changes to the tenancy mix, the cash flow, and the property function.  The investment process is lengthy; the investment requirements of clients will be individually unique.  That is why and where professional service and property manager performance will underpin client attraction, retention, and engagement.

 

If commercial property management is a career for you, then there are some things to learn and disciplines to implement for the long term.  Expect to be very busy as you embark on your career and remain in it as a professional.

 

What do you need to know?

 

You will need to learn about the legalities of occupancy, investment performance, leasing, cash flow strategy, and property documentation.  Control systems will be at the centre of your property management career and portfolio control.

 

Every day there will be pressures on your portfolio and your properties with tenants, maintenance, landlord focus, reporting, and risk management.  As part of your career, you will be at the centre of many events, requests, and communications.

 

If your properties and workload pressures are excessive, you will lose control of the ‘property management process’; that then leads to unhappy clients and out of control tenants.  There is a balance between quality property management services and a sensible workload of tenants and landlords.

 

Typically, the landlord will be your client, and you will be the main controlling factor to property performance and investment outcomes.  That is why the skills of the property manager are so important.  The days of collecting rent and maintaining the property are well gone.  The strategic approach to property management is now well established and evolving in new and different ways with efficiencies in building technology and the requirements of local business.

 

What do you need to do?

 

Are you ready for the property management challenge?  If you have a large portfolio or a long list of tenants, the complexity of the daily workload just gets deeper and more challenging.  There will be plenty of work to control and direct.  Here are some rules to help you with that approach:

 

  1. Knowledge – get to know everything possible about your location, the leases, competing properties, business activity, rents, and investment priorities. Through a substantial level of knowledge, you will see how you can improve an investment situation for your clients.  That is where tenant mix changes and leasing strategies will help with property performance.  That then becomes an important part of your professional services.
  2. Complexity – there are many variations to tenancy mix control, lease negotiations, rental cash flow, and property performance. The decisions of today with a tenant or lease matter will impact the investment for the long term.  Understand your decisions and how you can improve the investment outcomes for your client.
  3. Clients – every client will have different pressures and priorities when it comes to property performance. Get to know those factors with your clients, understand their portfolio activity, and look at the life cycle of their investments.  Don’t just manage a property but understand the asset and the focus of the client.
  4. Controls – there will be different systems that you can use to help you in providing services to your clients. Software programs will cover the facts and variables of lease management, rent collections, maintenance, and facility management.
  5. Reporting – report about your managed properties in the ways that the landlords require. Information will help them make choices with rents, occupancy, and expenditure spending.
  6. Tenants – expect the tenants to be pressuring you on their issues and their occupancy. A retail property is a prime example of that pressure with many tenants positioning for better sales, lower rents, and a successful business.
  7. Property performance – every property should have a business plan and a budget to work to over time. The client or landlord will be setting investment priorities and cash flow controls.   If you manage properties for many clients, the issue gets deeper and more challenging.

 

Through all these pressures and strategies there will be opportunities for a professional property manager to excel in skills and career development.  Are you ready for the challenge?

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Ways of Building Tenant Mix Strategies that Work in Retail Shopping Centers

shopping center mall

In a retail shopping center, there are key factors to watch that can impact the shop tenant mix and the vacancy factors.  (NB – you can get plenty of retail shop leasing tips in our Snapshot program – its free)

As a leasing expert in retail you really do need to balance all of these issues mentioned below in any shopping mall and the shopping center, particularly when placing a tenant:

  • Positioning a new tenant in the retail cluster of tenants
  • Choosing rents that aligned to the local market and that are achievable for the long term
  • Lease documents that build the landlords investment position over time
  • Lease clauses that encourage the tenant to build their successful retail business

So there are things to do here.  I have said many times that ‘retail’ is perhaps the most unique and special part of investment property performance.

In this audio program, I talk about the special factors of retail leasing and tenant mix establishment.  You can get the audio here below:

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Commercial Property Management Questions to Use in a Handover

City buildings on Sydney Harbour

When you take over a new commercial property as part of a management strategy for a new client, you should ask specific questions relating to the asset, its history, and the tenancy mix.

You can get plenty of commercial property management tips and ideas as part of our regular online coaching right here.

There are many things to explore as part of a new property management listing on your brokerage books. In this audio program, John Highman talks about the factors to question and review. Most particularly key matters to look into will include:

– lease documentation
– tenancy mix
– property maintenance routines
– risk matters
– rentals and rent recoveries
– critical dates
– vacancy factors and pressures

You can listen to the audio program here to understand exactly how you can approach the handover process in commercial property management today. It doesn’t matter whether you are managing a retail shopping centre, or a commercial office tower. The same strategies and processes apply. Attention to detail will help you with the fact review and gathering process.

You can get the audio below:

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Commercial Property Management Skills Start Here

City buildings on rivers edge

In commercial property management today there are plenty of things that you can do to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Make no mistake, managing a commercial or retail property can be quite a challenging process. (NB – you can get plenty of commercial property management skills and ideas in our Snapshot program right here – its free)

Real skills are required and special people should be dedicated to the process of providing specialised services to investors and company owners.

In this audio program, John Highman talks about the special and unique skills required to manage a commercial or retail property today. Learn how to grow your brokerage business from a base of management activity and property management clients.

 

Property Facts and Controls

 

When you completely understand the strategies behind property management, you can develop special services across asset performance including the following:

– tenant retention
– income enhancement
– lease negotiation
– expenditure management
– net income generation and cash flow control
– lease administration
– maintenance management
– risk minimization
– renovation and refurbishment activities
– vacancy minimization

So there are many concepts and strategies within this list. If you take each individual concept, there are many specialised services that can be provided to your clients and customers.

In this audio program, John Highman talks about the importance of commercial and retail property management in brokerage performance today. Learn how to improve your brokerage business and the future commission opportunities available in your town or city.

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6 Tips for Pricing Your Commercial Property Management Fees and Services

shops in retail mall

The services that you provide in commercial property management are quite special and should be costed accordingly. Care and consideration is required when you are considering establishing a new fee or quoting on a property management service. There are variables at play that could have an impact on your fees suitability and amount.

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

So what is the problem?

If you set the wrong fee in quoting on a property management service, you could position yourself for loss of income over time when compared to the time you are committing to the property and the client. Under resourcing is a big problem in our industry.

 

Don’t provide the client with a low fee quotation simply to win the new business opportunity as a property management appointment. Understand the property, the client, and the tenancy mix before you set and finalize the fees for service.  Look at the ‘big picture’.

 

So what do you do here?

You should understand all of the property issues that may put pressure on your management services. Many an agent has lost a property management client and property appointment simply because the agent has been unable to control the property efficiently and improve performance over time; under quoting the fee will very likely create that issue.

 

So what do you need?

You need the right people and the right processes to manage a complex office or retail building today. Don’t underestimate the required skills of the process and the demands of the property.  Match the people and the processes to the property.

 

Here is another error that is all too common.  As a general rule, don’t set your fees based on a percentage of passing income. Whilst that may percentage approach be an industry standard in your location, it is only an indicator and should be compared to many other factors and choices. There are other things to look at and consider before you finalize your fee structure and client services.

 

Assess all the factors

Consider the following factors as you work through this process of property management assessment and opportunity:

 

  1. Landlord requirements – some landlords are unique and special when it comes to property management requirements and services. The complexity of the property and the cash flow can very likely create pressures on reporting and financial controls. You could find yourself generating many variations of reporting to satisfy the challenges of the property and the clients requirements for information. Interview the client as the landlord before you quote on the final fees for service.
  2. Property complexity – inspect the property completely and thoroughly. There may be issues in the property to control and manage over time. Look specifically into the issues relating to maintenance, rentals, vacancies, lease management, tenant volatility, and property performance. Every property will have certain strengths to work with, and weaknesses to work through and resolve. The weaknesses are the ones that will challenge your task and time management. The weaknesses will also threaten the cash flow and property occupancy over time. Create a business plan for the property to address the known and upcoming weaknesses.
  3. Tenant mix – review the tenancy mix as you inspect the property. Understand the tenants that are trading well and those that are struggling. Identify the tenants that may be under some form of pressure and develop a base plan as to how you may manage that occupancy and improve the overall results. It is a good idea to incorporate a tenant retention plan into the property performance strategy.
  4. Time based comparisons and assessments – when you first take on the property under management, it is likely to be a busy period of time for the first few months as you work through leases, tenants, and maintenance issues. The question to consider here will be how you can get the property under control effectively and efficiently. Some properties can take months to reshape and control. If you are about to commence management of that type and intensity, be very careful as to how you set your fees for service.
  5. Lease review – look at all the lease documents for the property and the tenancy mix. To do that you will need to read the documents comprehensively and thoroughly before you make your choices on fees and management strategies. Look for the weaknesses in lease structure, property occupancy, and tenant performance. The leases will also show you the occupancy challenges in the property with fresh vacancies potentially coming up. You will need a strategy to work with those potential vacancies and optimize the result for the landlord client.
  6. Income and expenditure review – the history of the property can tell you something about financial management and cash flow. Understand how the income has been changing over time and if there are any weaknesses in market rental currently. Rental and income weaknesses need to be identified and addressed quickly and efficiently. Comparisons to the prevailing market conditions will be required, and negotiations will need to be commenced as soon as possible. Seek your landlord instructions and comments as part of an income review and opportunity assessment.  Know all the facts.  Also review the expenditure within the property and the history of net income. Has the property being improving through good financial management or are their hurdles to address? Are there issues or weaknesses of current and future income, and will there be expenditure volatility to be dealt with?

 

So there are many things to look at when it comes to pricing your commercial property management services. Understand the client, the property, and the tenancy mix before you set the final fees and commence your professional services.  Build your brokerage portfolio with care.