In commercial real estate brokerage leasing, you need plenty of tenants to fill the vacancies that you will work with and will identify. At least half of your database should be filled with business based tenants and their leasing requirements. (NB – you can get our free Commercial Real Estate Course here)
Given that your brokerage zone will be a section or a segment of the city, in a logical and direct way connect with all the tenants in the zone. Understand what the tenants are thinking and doing when it comes to property occupancy and change.
Relevance of Database and Location
As a special note, the size and the relevance of your leasing database as it applies to the location and the property types will be a major point of leverage in winning new business.
When it comes to attracting landlords and property owners to your services, you will need some form of differential.
To achieve that ‘difference’, consider the following questions:
How big is your database currently and how relevant is it to the location? The businesses within the list should be locally based and or regionally connected. Split that database list into major corporations and smaller businesses.
Where are the good quality buildings in your town or city? Review the tenancy mix in each case. Understand exactly who is occupying the major properties locally and for what reason. When you know the top tenants, the better buildings, and the top corporations for the area, you can hone your prospecting efforts accordingly. You can drill down into the businesses that have the capability to grow and relocate as company profits allow. You will also understand the buildings that are best suited for some companies and corporations from a branding profile and operational perspective.
Have you been keeping your database list and its contents up-to-date? The data within the database will be important in several different ways. At the top of that assessment will be accuracy and timeliness of the information you have gathered. Spend time each day connecting with the people within the list to see how business pressures and changes are impacting their occupancy decisions.
Have you been connecting with new people in a regular and ongoing way? You will always need fresh contacts and connections to grow your real estate business and the leasing opportunities available. You will need high quality clients and particularly the local companies and corporations to work with from a leasing perspective.
If you know about the supply and demand for property locally, you will understand just how to connect the right tenants to certain vacant properties in your city or precinct.
In this audio program, John Highman talks about the market trends that you can work with in commercial real estate today. Understand that the best properties to lease will always be the better quality ones in the locations that are attractive to businesses.
In commercial property management and leasing, you have to closely watch the tenant mix and the leases for any upcoming vacancy risk and or tenant in distress. The property market changes all the time, and each city will have unique pressures that can set the momentum to move tenants around and impact business performance.
So what is happening locally for you in your location? Do you have clients and properties under vacancy pressure? It’s an opportunity to resolve. You really do need to know why vacancies are happening and then work on a strategy to resolve them.
Before I go too far into this concept, I will say that the leasing market is lucrative from a commission perspective, if you focus on one or all of the following:
Quality properties – some properties are better than others. Look for the differences in local properties and buildings in your location. Choose the better properties from a leasing perspective.
Larger tenancies – the size of the tenancy will dictate more rental and therefore more fees per transaction.
Corporate tenants – the companies and corporations in any town or city tend to need property help in relocating and expanding or contracting. You can have an appointment to locate their next property lease.
Particular property types – when you look at the rents per unit of area per property type, you will soon see the property types that create better interest from tenants and better rents. That is where you should focus your leasing efforts.
Given these 4 facts, you now know what types of leasing factors should feature in your prospecting model. Take deliberate care to stay within your set leasing criteria. You will then find the tenants and the better properties.
What value do you bring?
So why are vacancies happening in any building or location, and how can you help? To get to the answers, you really do need to look into the following factors and do the appropriate assessments:
Rental pressures and shifts – rents that are consistently climbing will reach a plateau where business owners will resist leasing. In a city where rents are escalating, understand the realities of a business paying higher occupancy costs. What are the limits?
Competing properties – other properties locally are likely to be competing for your tenants so watch the problem and intervene where necessary.
Occupancy costs – rent and outgoings all add to the cost of occupancy; a tenant has to be able to afford the total occupancy package.
Tenant mix problems – some tenants have issues with being close to others and other business types; look for those problems.
Permitted use or exclusivity – in a larger building where you have multiple tenants, ensure the balance of tenant mix, and avoid giving away exclusivity (retail properties in particular).
New properties being developed – any new property will shift the balance of supply and demand, thereby pushing businesses out into the leasing market.
Landlord issues – some landlords are very difficult to work with, and will give tenants a good degree of frustration as part of lease negotiation and occupancy.
Quality of services, amenities and improvements – buildings age as do the services and improvements.
In commercial real estate leasing today, the first tenant that you find to fill a vacancy in a property may not be the best tenant for the investment over the long term.
Ultimately you need to consider first and foremost the future of the property, the improvements within the asset, and the investment targets of the client. You can then choose the best tenant by type and market the property accordingly.
The marketing strategy behind the leasing requirement will allow you to drill down into the factors of attraction that apply to the vacancy. You want to attract the best tenants for the location.
So you will need some information to assess about the property, the client, and the local area. The depth and the strength of your research will help you match your services to the requirements of the client and the property
Before you lease the property and the vacancy understand the client first and foremost. The client as the landlord owning the property will have certain targets to recognize including the following:
How long do they wish to hold the asset?
What are the requirements of cash flow from the lease?
Are there other tenants within the property to support the rental return?
In any medium to large property, you will need to review the lease expiry dates, rental structures, and occupancy pressures before you lease any vacancy to a new tenant.
Are there factors of renovation that need to be incorporated into the tenant mix and the lease structure?
Are there factors of risk that need to be incorporated into the property performance plan and the overall leasing strategy?
Has the client diversified their property portfolio across a number of different locations? Diversity brings with it other strategic factors to consider.
In answering all of these questions, you will have a reasonable idea of the best tenant by type and by location. Understand how the tenant will fit into the tenancy mix to strengthen the overall property profile and income return.
Subject to all of the previous questions raised, you can drill down into the best types of tenants that suit the asset and the investment targets of the client. A good tenant for an investment property will usually bring the following factors to the asset:
Stability – Every tenant should be assessed for stability before you commit to lease negotiations. You will need to review their business history, other locations of occupancy, and talk to the key people.
Income – Look at the levels of rental that apply in the local area. Will you be leasing the property on a gross or a net rental basis? What are the market rentals that apply respectively? How can you improve the income over time through rent review structures and strategies? How long should the lease be? All of these questions will impact the income for the asset. Answer the questions before you negotiate with the tenant.
Profile – Some tenants will bring with them a business profile that is attractive to the property. A business brand or a business profile can bring a marketing advantage to the property. Some franchise brands also achieve the same enhancement.
Taking these three elements into account you can do something with your lease negotiation. You can give the landlord some solid reasons to negotiate effectively and directly with the chosen tenant. Most landlords will cooperate when it comes to attracting a new tenant in a stable and strong lease arrangement.
Most commercial investment properties will have vacancy pressures to deal with from time to time. The larger the property, the greater the potential for vacancy issues to frustrate rental cash flow. If you are involved in the management or lease of any large investment properties, it is essential that you understand the intentions of sitting tenants when it comes to future occupancy. The concept is called tenant retention.
Tenant Retention Plans
In an ideal world, vacancies should be resolved quickly and effectively for any landlords that you act for. The only way to achieve that level of control will be through a mix and match of the following strategies:
Understanding the intentions of sitting tenants when it comes to lease expiry
Monitoring the upcoming lease expiry dates approximately 18 months in advance
Negotiating any lease expiry’s early so you can deal with the vacancy in a timely way
Keeping in close contact with all of your sitting tenants within the tenancy mix so you know what they are thinking when it comes to occupancy
Understanding the local business sentiment applies to rents, relocation, and property requirements
Keeping in close contact with all local businesses to attract new tenants to your property when required
Understanding the requirements of the landlord when it comes to market rental, cash flow, outgoings recovery’s, and lease documentation
Any leasing agent providing a specialised leasing service locally should satisfy and engage in all of these mentioned issues. All of these issues can be merged into a tenancy mix plan and a tenant retention plan for a major investment property. Large office buildings, and large retail shopping centres would be suitable for those control processes and plans.
To provide a top-quality leasing service, any vacancies currently or into the future should be controlled and filled. A top leasing agent will stay in contact with the landlord and all the tenants to ensure that vacancy downtime is minimised.
Any vacancy in an investment property can be a significant drain on cash flow over time. Not only is there a loss of rent, but the outgoings for the vacancy will become a landlord cost and therefore not recovered. Any property with a high vacancy factor will find it difficult to negotiate rent reviews and options with sitting tenants. Market rentals will also be hard to establish and maintain because of the high vacancy factor.
If you are involved in the management and leasing of any complex property with multiple tenants, it is essential that you track and control vacancies as they apply to the tenancy mix. Work well in advance to negotiate existing lease options, minimise vacancies, and attract new tenants that could be thinking about coming to the property. Why is your property more attractive than others in the area to tenants? When you know the answer, you have the basis of your lease marketing campaign.
In commercial real estate today, the leasing process will offer a typical agent or broker with many leads and opportunities servicing local landlords and property investors. Over time that leasing arrangement can be the precursor to selling properties for the same client.
So the smaller commissions earned in the leasing process, can give you the opportunity to move on to a sales commission with the same client in the future. One thing can lead to another when it comes to working with different clients and high quality properties. Be selective when it comes to choosing the right properties to lease.
Establish long-term relationships
Commercial real estate is all about building relationships with the right people, and the leasing service that you offer today can help you start that. Be selective when it comes to establishing long term relationships with the right property owners. It stands to reason that the quality of your leasing service can help you convert more clients over time. To find those clients in the first place, it is a matter of understanding the factors of attraction when it comes to office leasing. Why will someone use you as a local property leasing expert?
Here are some ideas to help you build on that opportunity cycle in a professional leasing service; to help you work for those high quality for property owners and investors in your local area:
The size of your tenant database – It is a fact that the size of your database of tenants will help you attract landlords when they require a vacant property filled. Market your services to landlords using your database as a factor of attraction.
Property pressures – Some tenants and businesses will be put under pressure when it comes to property occupation; changes in the economy or business sentiment can do that. You can find those tenants by staying in constant contact through a direct approach, be it in cold calling or door knocking. Look for those businesses that are under pressure.
New People – Generate leads and opportunities every day in your local area; make it a priority to meet new people in your territory. When visiting one property or business in any location, leave your business card with nearby businesses inviting future contact if they have a property pressure issue or need to relocate.
Lease expiry – As part of building your database, track the upcoming lease expiry and option dates in every major office building and with every good quality tenant. The only way you will know those dates is in making the regular cold calls to local businesses. When you know an upcoming lease expiry or option date, you can work the tenant in the 12 months leading up to the critical date. Relevancy is a way of attracting their interest; they will have a need to understand market rents, vacancy factors, new property developments nearby, and lease incentives. A tenant will seriously consider relocation if the current pressures of occupancy are high; that can be in rent levels, available space, car parking, transport, customer locations, and occupancy costs. Ask the right questions and you will soon find some pressure points that may interest them.
Current vacancies – Some landlords will have a problem with current vacancy levels or upcoming vacancies. Look for properties that appear to be under vacancy pressure; contact the owners directly to see if you can help.
Rental and leasing strategies – When you know a lot about lease and rent structures you can offer real strategy as part of leasing a property. Some landlords have little understanding of the ways to improve property returns and cash flow through a lease; they will just focus on finding a tenant. You can explain to the landlords that you serve how a gross or net lease can bring benefit to their property returns, and you can add some strategy around rent reviews, options, relocations, renovations and occupancy costs.
So as you can see it’s quite easy to offer a professional leasing service to landlords in your area. Lift your leasing skills and market yourself as the property expert that the landlords and property owners require.