In this slower commercial property market, there is a lot of pain and discomfort being experienced by some of our commercial real estate clients and local property investors. That being said, we as the local agents and realtors are the ‘pain relief’ behind the equation. We can solve a lot of problems for our clients. We have the market processes and tools to do that.
Here are the typical frustrations of property investors in commercial and retail property today:
- Higher vacancy factors and selective tenants
- Protracted vacancy periods
- Poor tenants in the tenant mix and unstable market rents
- Less quality enquiry for a property that is taken to the market for sale or lease
- High property outgoings in maintaining the property for occupancy
- Extended time on market when it comes to selling or leasing a property
- Reduced price or rent outcomes from a contract or lease
- Difficulties with finance requirements and lenders
Rest assured that the property market does change and will get better. Remember that just 5 or 6 years ago we had just come through a huge boom period of commercial and retail property sales and leasing.
In these more challenging times, we as the local commercial agents and realtors are best placed to solve property problems for our clients. We have the tools and the ideas to move some of these challenging properties over a slump or hurdle.
Top agents can thrive in this market because they have the contacts and the database to do a lot of good things for their clients and property listings. When the market gets tougher, the top agents simply focus with more action and relevance; they know what is required to help their clients and they set about doing just that.
So here are some tips to work with focus in this property market today:
- Work with a focus on the local business community. They are likely to need property change or relocation. Some businesses will be more successful than others; sort through the local businesses to see who wants help with expansion, contraction, or relocation.
- Some local property investors will be needing help with tenant retention plans and occupancy changes. Your database of tenants will help them.
- Look at the older buildings that tenants are leaving. Those buildings may be a case for renovation or redevelopment.
- The methods of sale or lease in this market should be carefully considered with due regard for the property and the surrounding area. Exclusive listings for a lengthy period of time are the norm and not the exception.
- Vendor or client paid marketing should be obtained for every listing that is made exclusive.
- Take every listing into the local area personally to the business proprietors within regional proximity. A current listing is a reason to talk to others.
In this property market, we are the specialists that can solve many issues for our clients. It is just a matter of how that is to occur.
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When it comes to managing commercial and retail property, it is very important to optimise the income for the landlord. The income for the property should be looked at both individually with separate leases, and across the entire property and the tenancy mix.
At the beginning of every financial year, there should be some form of budget created for the tenancy mix and the potential property income. All of the leases currently existing will have rental strategies and rental increases to merge into the income budget. This income budget can be incorporated into the business plan for the property for the upcoming year. The best time to do the budget is in the months of April and May, just prior to the beginning of the financial year.
Here are some tips relating to income optimisation in commercial or retail property management:
- Always allow for some measure and method of adjustment given that the property market is always changing in your local area. When you set a property income budget, it should be reviewed on a monthly and quarterly basis. Any established trends in the local area should be tracked and then be used as a form of rental adjustment for the landlord if those trends are firm and established.
- The vacancy factor in your local area will change based on the supply and demand of available property. To monitor this process, you should track down the changes to the property development plan in the region. Look for any new developments that could have an impact on your property. Those new developments will have a timeline of construction and occupancy; it is likely that those developers will also have an allowance for rental incentive to attract tenants into their property. That incentive will have an impact on your property leasing strategies.
- Market rentals will change from time to time. They do not always go upwards, and more commonly will stagnate or slightly reduce when the property market slows. To help you with the levels of market rental, you will need to understand the impact of incentive in the market rental structure as it exists today. If an incentive exists in any market rental negotiation, it creates what is called a face rental. That face rental will be discounted by any property valuer back to a level that is truly aligned to the effective rental and the market. Incentives create a false level of rental.
- Business sentiment will change from time to time based on the local and regional economy. Some business segments and business types will be more active and successful than others. Track those business segments and monitor the needs for property change or occupancy. Some of those tenants could be relocated to your property if the opportunity arises.
- Existing tenants in the property should be categorised into long-term tenants and short-term occupants. Some tenants will be more attractive to the landlord and the performance of the property over time. They may have a tenancy profile or business identity that encourages other tenants to the property. Reviewing the tenancy mix is called tenant retention. You can create a tenant retention plan as part of your business planning model.
- Pressures of expansion and contraction will change from time to time with all other tenants in your tenancy mix. Look for those changes, and keep close to those issues through the business year to identify any pressures of change that may need to be accommodated in the building. It is better to have a tenant in your property that you understand and appreciate, than find a new one that is unproven and costly in occupancy changeover and leasing costs.
The income for a commercial or retail property can be enhanced when you fully understand all of the above factors and adjust the property accordingly. It is not unusual to adjust the business plan or for a property three or four times during the financial year.
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