7 Ways to Get Ahead of the Competition in Commercial Property Leasing

In commercial real estate leasing, the competition that exists in your property market will very likely be talking to the same very people and businesses that you are.  In saying that, the quality of the connection between agents and businesses or landlords can sometimes be of poor quality, so you have something that you can work with and improve.

(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)

Focus on the Right Things

If you are going to stand out as a top agent in the leasing market, then you have to do the right things with real focus and control; and then you should work on the good quality buildings or locations from a leasing and vacancy perspective.

Stand out as the agent of significance for the location and property type.  When you work the better buildings, more inquiry will come your way.

Drill Down into Facts

To get ahead in the leasing market, here are 7 points of focus to drill down into with your landlords and tenants:

  1. Know who you are talking to – Always get to the facts when you are talking to someone new, be that across the telephone, in a meeting, or through a door knocking process in the local area. The people that you talk to will give you the momentum in your leasing business, but understand who they are before you say too much about the property or give out information.  If a person is slow to introduce themselves, then you should also be slow to give out the property facts. There is no point in wasting time on someone that is not fully honest and open with you.
  2. What do they need and when? – Get to the core facts of their property situation. What do they want from a leasing perspective and what will be the critical timing?  Ask about their critical points of choice or need with any property they may find or want to inspect.
  3. Where are they now? – If they are in business now, seek out the facts of that occupancy. It is also valuable to see their current location and how they use premises as part of a business operation.  You can see the interaction between staff, customers, business operations, and layout of the current property.
  4. Exactly what can they afford? – Rents change by location, not just by property type. Tenants don’t fully understand that fact, so a market rent awareness for a new location and property type is valuable.  Help them understand net rents, outgoings, and other operational costs such as water, electricity, and gas.  Those services will be consumable within the property, and the tenant will have to pay as consumed.  How will that happen?
  5. Business requirements for the change – When you ask about their current business, there will be many things to explore in property layout, configuration, improvements, access in and around the premises, and special zones such as showrooms, administration, sales, and storage. See how they are using their current property with these factors in mind.
  6. Staff and customer requirements – How will the balance between staff and customers be accommodated within the building? There will be special zones to consider such as car parking, customer service, customer sales, and showroom access. Remember also the factors of parking that may apply in the precinct and on the street. At certain times of the day there may also be issues with access from busy roads and freeways.
  7. Timing for the change – The timing of property change will be variable and will likely be impacted by individual business activities and seasonal business fluctuations. It takes time to move business into a new building and location. There will be a crossover of time that applies to the relocation into the new property. You may be able to help the tenant in understanding how the new occupancy can commence with rent-free periods and early access being given to the new property and location.

 

There are some quite specific things that you can look into as part of the leasing services and solutions you provide to tenants today. Ask the right questions and go deeper into the issues that really impact the relocation for the business.

The deeper that you can go into the tenant’s situation will show a degree of professionalism that other agents may struggle with. Be special, real, and relevant when it comes to the commercial property leasing market today. Show that you are the best agent or broker to assist when it comes to business relocation and leasing resolve.

(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)

Commercial Real Estate Leasing Vacancy Solutions and Strategies

Large entryway with tiles and plants
Vacancies in office property can be resolved through strategy.

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.

(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)

Local Issues?

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:

  1. 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?
  2. Competing properties – other properties locally are likely to be competing for your tenants so watch the problem and intervene where necessary.
  3. Occupancy costs – rent and outgoings all add to the cost of occupancy; a tenant has to be able to afford the total occupancy package.
  4. Tenant mix problems – some tenants have issues with being close to others and other business types; look for those problems.
  5. 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).
  6. New properties being developed – any new property will shift the balance of supply and demand, thereby pushing businesses out into the leasing market.
  7. 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.
  8. Quality of services, amenities and improvements – buildings age as do the services and improvements.

From these things, you will find the properties and the businesses needing leasing assistance. At that point you have some advantages to work with.

(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)

Commercial Real Estate Brokerage – How to Help Your Clients with Leases and Tenants

man standing by arrow
Help your clients with their leased investments and tenants.

It is one thing for your client to purchase a property with the tenant in occupation. It is another for them to purchase a high quality investment with an excellent lease covenant and a high quality tenant.

The fact of the matter is that lease documentation will support the investment and on that basis the lease documentation should be analyzed for opportunity together with the tenant(s) before your client purchases the property.

What do they want?

Most clients looking to purchase a property will focus on a property and its location first and foremost. They may look into the basic facts of the lease structure and strategy across the tenancy mix, but rarely will they read the lease document itself as it applies to each and every tenant. That is where you can add value and provide commentary relating to the investment over time as that investment may be supported from and through the lease documentation. In a complex property with plenty of tenants in occupancy, that is then a real service and something that should be provided to your best clients.

So the message here is that you can find the right property for your clients in your local area taking into account the complexity of the tenancy mix and the lease documentation. You can determine and understand the investment benefits that the lease documentation in any property will provide to your clients over time.

Lease Facts to Know

Here are some ideas to help you do exactly that:

  1. RENTS: Understand the rental structures and strategies that apply to the lease document. Compare those rental structures to the prevailing market conditions. The type of rental will also have an impact on the outgoings recovery be that as a net rent or as a gross rent. Exactly how can the landlord recover the outgoings from the property given the prevailing market conditions and the existing lease documents? Should any of the existing leases be replaced with better documents when the next lease negotiations arise?
  2. RISKS: Are there any risk exposures within the tenancy mix? Risk will usually be created through a future threat of vacancy, or an existing vacancy exposure. You can deal with these problems through planning tenancy placement and negotiating leases well in advance prior to expiry.
  3. COSTS: Assess the levels of outgoings as they apply to the particular property under consideration by your client. How do those outgoings compare to the industry averages for the property type in the location? Look at the history of outgoings expenditure within the property over the last few years. Look for patterns of expenditure and make sure that the costs to run the building are genuine and real.
  4. MAJOR CAPITAL COSTS: Whilst ordinary running costs will likely be recoverable through the various types of lease rental and documentation, major capital expenditure items will not be recoverable in that way; they are a property owner cost. On that basis you can review the property for upcoming items of major capital cost outlay. Will your client have sufficient funds to cover such a capital expenditure in the timeframe required for renovation or rectification?

So there are some good things that you can do here when it comes to helping your clients with lease documentation and property selection. You could help them understand the way each and every lease document will work as part of their overall investment performance and result.

Look for the strengths and weaknesses in lease documentation as it applies to investment property today. Show your client exactly how they can benefit from a well negotiated lease and a high quality tenant.

(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)

Commercial Real Estate Snapshot Podcast 225 – A Focus on Commercial Real Estate Leasing

audio headset
Commercial real estate training MP3

In this podcast I thought I should spend some time focusing on Commercial Real Estate Leasing.  That is for a number of reasons, the most important of which is that property leasing introduces you to the landlords and property owners who will eventually need more help in the future with things like sales and property management.  In other words a simple lease transaction can lead to other things.

I have split the audio program up into a number of  segments.  The summaries of the program are below:

  1. Why you should not let your tenants get out of control – in any property containing a group of tenants, the communication and control process is very important.  Tenants talk to other tenants and that can be a problem if issues exist in the building.  So this is all about those buildings with multiple occupants and how to connect with them.
  2. How you can be a commercial real estate leasing expert – you can do so much with your leasing knowledge.  You can establish tenant advocacy services, landlord leasing services, tenant mix advice, and basis brokerage leasing.  What sections of the leasing market can you see reasonable leverage and commission activity evolving from?  This part of the audio program will help you with ideas.
  3. How to work with franchise tenants and why that is a good idea – the franchise section of the commercial property market today is forever evolving and growing.  If you connect regularly with local franchise groups you can help them with property selection choices and any required relocation’s.   Get to know a few franchise tenants locally and come to understand what they need by way of property and when that is likely to occur.
  4. Some simple ideas for qualifying industrial property tenants – the industrial part of the property market is generally the first to respond in an upturn and also a downturn.  That being said it is a reasonably uncomplicated part of the industry.  Get to know a number of industrial tenants and businesses locally; see if you can help them with current and future property needs.

These are parts of the audio podcast by John Highman.  You can listen to the audio below.

The Core Principles of Lead Generation in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

business man talking on cell phone.
You can create plenty of leads in commercial real estate brokerage.

In commercial real estate leasing, there are plenty of lead generation opportunities to be had when it comes to tenant placement and leasing activity.  In any town or city at any time, there are usually plenty of tenants looking to move for a number of different reasons.

Your job is to locate those tenants at the earliest possible time before they consider moving and changing premises.  The relationships that you strike with tenants locally will help you grow leasing activity and opportunity.

There are two sides to the levels of new business that you create as a property leasing specialist.  Firstly you should be working with landlords helping them with vacancy problems and tenant mix strategies.  That in itself is quite specialised process.  Secondly you should be working with local businesses and tenants to help them relocate at the right time as part of their business activities and growth strategies.

What’s it all about?

So the message here is that you should be focusing on lead generation with both landlords and tenants.  Separate strategies are required.  You should be connecting with these two groups in a regular and ongoing way.  That is why your database and your prospecting activities are fundamentally important to lead generation in commercial property leasing.  Tenants and landlords should be segmented within your database, and relationships should be growing with each qualified lead or prospect.

Specialist leasing services for a location and property type are always in demand.  Consider your answers to these questions:

  • What is your specialist service?
  • What values and opportunities do you bring to the landlords and tenants that you serve?
  • How can you improve your professional service offering to both landlords and tenants?
  • Why are you the leasing expert for the area and the location?
  • How can you market vacant premises more directly and effectively?

An important factor to remember?

It is an interesting fact that your database and the people within it are perhaps the most important factors of leverage that you can apply to the lease negotiation process.  If you are growing your database daily and regularly, the landlords and the tenants within your list will allow you to quote any property, vacant premises, or a new leasing opportunity quickly and directly.

If you are struggling in the property market now with leasing activity, take a serious look at your database and start to improve it and grow it through regular contact with new people.

When you know lots of people, you can create leasing churn and activity.  Here are some ideas to help you improve your listing conversions and leasing results:

  1. CONTACT SYSTEMS: Keep in contact with all local businesses. You will find that businesses are moving and changing premises for many different reasons.  Make sure that they remember you at the right time when it comes to changing location.
  2. QUALITY CONTACTS: Network the tenants in high quality buildings. The tenants in high quality buildings are generally those businesses that can afford better quality occupancy and longer term leases.  The commission you achieve from such a high quality property leasing transaction will generally be higher per unit of space under lease.  Many corporate tenants today require the services of a tenant advocate to help them find new premises and other properties.  You can offer comprehensive and specialised tenant advocacy services.
  3. LOOK FOR CHANGE: Look for tenants moving premises or those that are under some form of business pressure. When you canvass through an area or a location, look for the signs of change. You will see some businesses that are under pressure to relocate.  Levels of stock, lack of parking space, lack of storage, and growth of business activities are all signs of a tenant or a local business needing help.
  4. SERVICE OFFERING: Establish some comprehensive tenant placement services. As mentioned before, tenant advocacy can be part of the services that you offer.  In other words you will be locating a tenant into a new property.  In that case the tenant will be paying your commission and they will be your client for the purposes of the transaction.  The larger corporate tenants are generally quite comfortable in seeking out and using the services of a specialised tenant advocate.  They are also prepared to pay the necessary fees for service.
  5. FRANCHISE BUSINESSES: Establish contact with local franchise businesses. Many franchise business models focus on factors of location first and foremost.  They generally need to locate a new franchise business into a zone or precinct after they have undertaken the necessary market research and study.  Make direct contact with local franchise businesses to understand the preferred business locations and lease circumstances that they prefer.  They may also share with you the terms and conditions of the typical franchise agreement at they use.  The franchise agreement will need to be integrated into the lease terms and conditions that you may negotiate.

So there are some things that you can do here when it comes to lead generation in commercial real estate leasing.  Understand the differences between landlord activity and tenant activity.  You can offer specialised services in each case.

You can get plenty more lead generation tips and ideas in our eCourse right here.

Tips for Conditioning Your Client on the Commercial Real Estate Leasing Market

two business men in car talking
Working with clients in commercial real estate leasing.

When it comes to leasing commercial property today make sure that you understand the current market conditions, and that you convey those market conditions to your local clients, landlords, and the tenants that you serve.  Our industry is not an experiment; it is a very specific process and it is established on set investment, marketing and negotiation principles.

Help the Client Understand the Facts About Leasing

Any misunderstandings or missing information when working with tenants and landlords from a leasing perspective should be realigned to current day market conditions with clear market evidence and relevant supporting material.

Your job is to have that ‘comparable’ material available and handy solve any negotiation, listing, or leasing challenge.  Condition the people that you work with in the correct and the most professional way; use market evidence.

Your Message on Leasing?

The concept here is that you are the best person to ‘recondition’ your property market and the people that you work with; you understand the realities of the property market far better than they do.  Help your clients and prospects realize that the real market conditions are here to stay and brief them on those conditions.  Explain the prevailing market conditions comprehensively.

Gather the facts and then help the landlords and tenants that you work understand the prevailing market conditions across:

  • Rental activity – track and measure the levels of rental activity across all recent leasing transactions. Compare the differences between net and gross rentals in each case.  Understand how they relate to the location and the property type.  Provide the rental details to those that do not fully understand what is happening locally with property segments.
  • Market rentals – real market rentals are determined as a result of negotiation between willing and committed tenants and landlords. Some of those rentals will be impacted by local vacancy factors, the available competing properties, and the asking rentals applicable to each property and landlord.
  • Competing listings – where appropriate take your clients to see competing properties in the location. The visual approach will help them understand the influencing factors that impact levels of enquiry and offers.
  • Property improvements – with older properties there will be issues with the standards of property improvements. Do assessment of improvements, services, and amenities when it comes to every leasing vacancy.
  • Industry enquiry – understand where the levels of enquiry coming from today when it applies to particular locations and property types. If you are marketing effectively in an ongoing way then the enquiries coming to you should show trends and opportunities.  Every inbound call generated by a quality listing should help you understand what tenants are looking for today.  You can chart those requirements and provide recommendations to the landlords that you work with.
  • Methods of marketing – certain methods of marketing in commercial real estate will be more successful than others. A lot depends on the target market that you are chasing however choose the right marketing solutions to suit the situation, the current market conditions, and the target audience.  The Marketing Solutions that you adopt will be somewhat subject to the amount of available funds and the prevailing market conditions.  +
  • Inspection processes – some properties require specific inspection strategies allowing for the improvements, the property layout, the strengths and weaknesses of the listing itself, and the landlord. As part of every exclusive property listing process, establish the inspection processes that will feature the property correctly and directly at all times.  In a complex property, establish the track or route that you will take across floors and through common areas.

So, all of this is informational and helpful when you are working with property investors, business owners, landlords and tenants today.  Are you prepared to provide and explain all the elements of the property market to those people? Have you got all of the information to help ‘close’ on a leasing transaction?

Recondition the clients thinking and perceptions in leasing properties and premises locally.  You are the specialist to do that.

Need help with commercial real estate leasing?  Get our free eCourse here.