Prescription for a Healthy Database in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

address book rolodex
Use your address book as a foundation for new business growth in Commercial Real Estate.

If you’re going to get anywhere in commercial real estate brokerage you need a comprehensive database that covers the marketplace for you. In simple terms, you need a healthy database that is up to date and growing in a regular and ongoing way.

(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)

It is very hard to establish a career in commercial real estate today without a reasonable database to support ongoing contact and listing opportunities. The people that you know today are the sources of future opportunity if you work them correctly and directly; the need to be nurtured and shaped into the next sales, leasing, or property management appointment. Strategy and effort will help those outcomes.

Assess What Clients and Systems You Have Now

Look at your database activities as they exist today and decide how you can improve the depth of the data and the quality of the clients in the list. Understand where the next opportunities are within that list. Start talking to the right people in an ongoing way.

Here are some specific rules to help you establish a healthy database in your commercial real estate business as a broker or an agent:

  1. Segmentation – split the database into zones, price ranges, customer types, and property types. In that way you can successfully use the search facility to put together people and opportunities.  Make it easy to find the right people when you need them or when you have the right property to market.
  2. Up to date information – the data that you put into your list today is to be shaped and maintained over time. That information will change as will the property requirements of the clients and prospects that you know. Establish a contact program that allows you to maintain relevant and real information relating to each person and their current property situation. Look for pressures and the changes that they could be experiencing.
  3. Location based – in most towns and cities, property requirements will be centralized into particular streets and property types. On that basis you should focus your prospecting activities into a defined and active geographical zone. Assess your territory for the pockets of priority and property change. Look for the next levels of activity that you can tap into within the location.
  4. VIP Clients – some clients are better than others. Understand what a client should be for you and rank your clients on the basis of price sensitivity, timing, and location. When you find the right listing, you can make the direct contact in a relevant and real way.
  5. Email and Document integration – a good database will integrate into e-mail messaging, and document storage. Every communication and every document involving each and every client should be suitably stored and referred to through the database. Ideally, you want to access previous communications, messages, and documents easily and effectively.
  6. Marketing integration – when you get an enquiry for a particular type of property or perhaps a listing, that enquiry should be entered into your database. The subsequent dispatch of marketing information should occur from the database. Every brochure, listing, campaign, and method of sale or lease should be accommodated and managed through the database software program.
  7. Remove redundancies – don’t let redundant information destabilize your database. Every person and entry in your client list needs to be maintained for accuracy and relevance. Remove the redundant information in a continual and ongoing way. Enter new information daily from every meeting, conversation, listing enquiry, inspection, and negotiation.
  8. New information – given that you should be focusing all of your client contact and prospecting into a particular zone of your town or city, there will be new parcels of information that you can capture every day regards business owners, investors, developers, and owner occupiers. Carefully consider the categories, the segments, and the contact processes within the database that can then allow you to effectively capture the new information as you receive it.

If you are serious about commercial real estate brokerage, then you will be needing a database to support your activities in a regular and ongoing way.

Don’t take too long to understand that basic fact and the importance of creating your client list; start building your list and the necessary new relationships with valuable property people locally. That’s how you will grow your market share across sales, leasing, and property management.

(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)

Tips for Inspecting Commercial Properties for Sale or for Lease

commercial agent holding folders
Prepare for the property inspection with all of the relevant information. Take plenty of notes.

In commercial real estate you will be inspecting many different properties for many different reasons.  Over time this can become second nature, however complacency in the property inspection can see you overlooking an important item or fact that can have a real impact in your property transaction.

Given that there are a few different property types that you will work on, you can have a checklist approach to all of them.  In other words you can a specific checklist to work on each property type.  For example:

  • Office property single level and or single tenant
  • Office property high rise with multiple tenants
  • Retail property single shop
  • Retail property multiple shops on single level
  • Retail property medium to larger size with multiple tenants
  • Industrial property of various sizes including warehouse and office configurations

All of these property types can be quite specific when it comes to inspecting and listing.  Respect the differences and have a selection of listing checklists and questions that you would ask relative to the property type.  When you do this it sends the right message to the client that you really do know what you are doing and that you have the knowledge to handle this property well.

In many situations you will be inspecting the property with the client in preparation for potential listing.  For this very reason it pays to have a comprehensive approach to documenting and questioning as you move through the property.

Here are some things to incorporate into your inspection checklist:

  1. Get the title search and legal property description before you meet with the client.  This will help you will the facts of what the property is and how it is positioned in the location.
  2. Check out the zoning and the permitted use of the property relative to the existing local development plan.  If you are going to sell or lease a property, it pays to know that it is ‘legal’ in its function.
  3. As you move through the property with the client, take notes of what is said as you may have to fall back on those notes later in evidence or in support of key negotiations.  Some clients are well known for selectively telling you things about the property, and not all the issues that you should know that could impact the sale or lease.  Look at the property with a questioning mind; look for the issues and the problems that a property presents to you in marketing and negotiating.
  4. Take digital photographs as you move through the property as this will help you remember the conditions and configurations of the improvements.
  5. Services and amenities should be documented as tenants or buyers to the property will want to know those details.

As a general rule, you should not ‘price’ a property until you have had time to consider the property detail, reviewed the competing listings, and looked at comparable sales or rentals.  If you do this effectively it will help make the listing of the property more relevant to the market and the current levels of enquiry.