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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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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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Things I Have Learned About Database Systems in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

city buildings at sunset

When you work in commercial real estate, you really do need a good quality database that you can rely on to find the right people and properties as part of a matching process.  Whilst it seems so logical, most agents struggle with the discipline of a database.  They have issue with things like:

  • Finding the time to make the calls
  • Capturing all of the information from meetings and calls
  • Keeping up the call momentum
  • Integrating the client list with emails and brochure dispatch systems, etc.

So the list can go on.   The database is the prime way to find real estate opportunities and do something with them.   Today there are plenty of options with software brands, data collation methods, and pipeline tracking, for some positive results to be achieved by any broker or agent in commercial real estate.  Everything comes down to personal application and effort.

You don’t have to pay a lot of money to have such a program helping you grow your real estate business.  One key decision in all of this is whether you should go ‘cloud based’ in your data storage.  Common consensus says you should, given that most people like to access their client and prospect information from a variety of devices when they are away from the office.

In this audio, John Highman talks about the client list processes and how you can work the data that you gather from your clients today.