Commercial real estate leasing is quite special in a number of ways. There are pressures to work through with tenants and landlords. In this audio program by John Highman, you can learn how to optimise the leasing process for better results. (NB – you can get plenty of leasing ideas in Commercial Snapshot right here – its free).
John talks about the property leasing market today and what needs to be done to convert better enquiries from tenants. There are some other ideas in the audio program about listing, marketing, and negotiating.
In every town or city there are things that you can find that relate to commercial property sales, leasing, or property management. You can get plenty of leads if you drill down into the location. Meet people and ask questions. A good conversation will take you closer to a property activity.
Having a good database will always help with new business generation. For the new people in the industry, the priority to establish a good database is high. Three to six months of effort will usually get a contact list established; from that point on it is a matter of keeping the data fresh and accurate.
To help my friends in the industry get established and stay on top of the right market trends, this audio will probably help. It talks about who you should know and why that should be done. Enjoy.
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:
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?
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.
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.
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.
Like it or not some commercial investment buildings will age and factors of change consequently occur in property appearance and performance. When that happens, tenants are commonly attracted to newer properties in the same location. Landlords can be under threat of a declining tenant mix and marketing rental.
Local property developers
It is a fact that property developers for any new project are likely to be offering incentives and relocation strategies to pull across tenants and businesses to boost their project cash flow and occupancy. If you are a leasing expert or property manager for your location, you will need some real strategies to underpin property performance for your clients.
Maintain the mix and the rent cash flow
As any investment property ages, a renovation strategy is a wise solution to maintain tenant occupancy and net income. Such a plan should be incorporated into the annual business strategy for the property and the associated capital works programme. The leasing and or property manager for the asset should be part of that assessment process.
Property performance strategies
So the message here is quite clear for any property owner and or property manager. To sustain reasonable levels of property performance within any investment building, a real initiative needs to apply when it comes to property upkeep and occupancy.
There is a balance to consider here between the incomes achieved or achievable for the property, the regular maintenance required within the asset, the prevailing market conditions, the cash flow requirements of the landlord, and the demands of the occupants. Are you ready to balance the equation?
Why does this happen?
It is worth understanding why these problems evolve and then taking action accordingly. Some of the older investment buildings struggle for a number of reasons such as:
POOR SPENDING: Insufficient spending on property upkeep over a period of time can be a real challenge. Some landlords are too tight when it comes to property cash flow and maintenance costs. They hold back on discretionary issues relating to maintenance. Over time the property then degrades and the visual appearance suffers. As tenancies move towards lease expiry, they are quite likely to reconsider occupancy costs, and look after moving into other more modern assets locally. Protect your tenancy mix and lease income. Understand what the tenants require to run a successful business. Understand the needs that they have when it comes to staff, customers, occupancy, and business activities.
LACK OF MAINTENANCE: Poor quality maintenance routines and poorly selected contractors are an all too common problem. Building design and layout will dictate particular standards of property maintenance and upkeep. The plant and equipment will also have maintenance upkeep requirements. Establish a routine of property maintenance review and risk controls. On a quarterly basis assess property performance and degradation. The larger remediation items of a capital expenditure nature can be programmed into the property cash flow and budget process. If
NEWER COMPETITION: An abundance of newer properties coming into the market can change future supply and demand; the older properties are likely to suffer. Property developers will always study market conditions and the opportunities for a new project. They will predict occupancy into the future.
All of these issues are simply structured around asset positioning. If you are working with the property owner in a regular and ongoing way, and you understand the opportunities within the property tenancy mix, you can make the right choices when it comes to property rehabilitation and upkeep.
When you optimise the net rental income and the tenancy mix, monies are usually available to sustain property presentation and maintenance. It is a fine balance but it does work. Get involved with the assets that you lease and manage.
In commercial real estate brokerage, the use of prospecting letters will help boost your networking and new business efforts. New clients and listings can be generated by a good prospecting letter system. That being said, it is not just a matter of sending letters and hoping that results will occur; you need to develop a real logic to the process. You should also follow up the letters with a telephone call whenever possible.
Why would you send these letters? In most cases it is to achieve one if not all of the following:
More Sellers as listing prospects
More Landlords for leasing services
Better enquiries from the market
Buyers and tenants for your listings
Establish your brand as an industry expert
Looking at these things very simply, it is essential that you design your prospecting letters in separate ways for the market that you want to tap into; understand the new business that you are looking to attract back to you. Write your letter accordingly.
Here are some rules to creating a marketing system of letters for commercial real estate brokerage:
The letter process is a repeated system. In each period of 12 months the letters should be sent every 2 or 3 months. Each letter sent should have a separate message and theme.
Understand the ‘pain factors’ that apply to the market today and reach into those issues as part of the letter layout and message. Establish your brokerage as the ‘solution’ for all the pain and discomfort that a landlord or property owner could be experiencing.
Focus on listing stock. When you control the listings you control the market. Exclusive listings should be part of your proposal and presentation process.
Any of your competitors listings will be a trigger for prospecting letters in the same location. Any other property owners looking to sell or lease may like to compete with the other property.
Write ‘success letters’ for every sale or lease that you achieve. Send them into the immediate vicinity of the successful transaction.
Follow up all letters with a telephone call whenever you can. The personal approach is really important to conversions.
Purchase a good book on ‘copyrighting’ and ‘words or phrases that sell’. These simple books are invaluable when it comes to attracting the eye of the reader in your message.
Your marketing letters should be simple and composed over 3 or 4 paragraphs on one page only. Enclose your business card with each letter. Make it easy for people to get back to you.
If you want more listings in commercial real estate brokerage today, this strategy of sending prospecting letters really does work beyond the all too convenient ‘email’ strategy used by many. Most agents only rely on emails for prospecting communication; in those situations the client or prospect will usually not even read the content. The ‘delete’ button is all too convenient.
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