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Branding Solutions for Commercial Real Estate Leasing Agents and Brokers

In commercial real estate leasing you want the tenants and landlords to remember you as a leasing specialist, and thereby use you at the times when they have a leasing challenge.  On that basis you really should know lots of people locally that own or occupy investment properties. Your database should be the lifeblood of leasing commissions and vacancy opportunities. Your brand and your image should feature in your professional leasing marketing plan.

 

You want the tenants and the landlords in the local area to remember you as the industry specialist at the right time and in the right way. The best agents and brokers have a reputation for resolving leasing challenges effectively and directly. The understand how to shape the lease and rental transactions for the best outcomes possible for their clients.

 

Whats happening?

 

Consider the leasing market over the last 12 months. Think about how the rents have changed and the enquiry rates similarly so for the different property types. Somewhere within that change and churn you will have the opportunities for tenant placement and vacancy resolve.

 

The local leasing market will always be under change and churn, and the commissions can be found when you tap into the changes in the property market.  Rents will alter, as will the vacancy factors throughout the year.  An active leasing market will have plenty of opportunities for commission growth. Look for the tenants that need help when it comes to occupancy and premises expansion or change. Ask the right questions, and comprehensively talk to all of the tenants through your business zone or precinct.

 

Know the tenants

 

So the message here is that you can and should talk to plenty of tenants each and every day. Understand what the tenants are thinking and doing when it comes to lease occupancy and rental intentions. Some of those tenants will need to expand or relocate their business operations. Other tenants will be coming to the end of lease occupancy and will be looking for better value from a rental and occupancy cost perspective.

 

The agent or the broker with a comprehensive tenant database will be of great value to the landlords that they serve. Market your leasing services accordingly, using your database as part of your lease listing pitch.

 

Your database rules

 

A good leasing agent will have several thousand local businesses in their database, and that database will be fresh and up-to-date. All of the tenants and business owners in the list will be contacted in an ongoing and complete way. Their leasing status will be changing in the database over time.  Track and measure the changes and the challenges of local tenants.

 

Here are some other ideas to help you build your brand awareness with the tenants in the landlords in your investment leasing market:

 

  1. Comprehensively canvass all of the local businesses within your territory – take an organized approach to buildings, streets, precincts, and property types.
  2. Connect with all of the landlords within the region – some landlords will have a valuable portfolio of prime properties to lease. Work with the landlords that have or offer the most opportunity for you over time.
  3. Offer specialized vacancy resolution services – develop some unique and valuable leasing services to help resolve vacancy challenges and local leasing requirements fast and efficiently. Tenant retention plans, tenant advocacy services, and lease negotiation services are all valuable services to offer to the local area and the people therein.
  4. Provide tenant mix strategies and clustering solutions – office buildings and retail shopping centers have unique challenges when it comes to tenant mix strategy and clustering. The mix of tenants in the building can make or break the growth in market rental over time. The types of tenants can also strengthen or weaken the occupancy within the building over time.
  5. Understand how to improve the value of a lease – a long-term occupancy can improve property cash flow and values over time. The rental structure can include variations in rent reviews, outgoings recoveries, and option periods. Think about how you can negotiate leases with due regard for your client and their investment circumstances.

So you have five ways here to help improve the leasing services that you offer locally.  As a direct result, your personal brand can grow in the local area with tenants and landlords.  That is the best way to build your leasing business.

 

(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)

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How to Negotiate Lease Commissions in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

If you provide specialist leasing services to property investors and landlords, you will need to be well versed in commission negotiations and commission standards. Many of the clients that we work with in commercial property today are quite experienced when it comes to commission and listing negotiations with agents. On that basis you should have some points of difference in your professional services to convince clients that you are the best choice of agent when it comes to solving a vacancy problem.

The message here is that your specialist services should be of substantial quality and complexity to support a fair and reasonable commission payment. Landlords will find easier to use your services and pay the required commission if you can prove that you comprehensively understand and control all of the following:

  • current levels of enquiry with local tenants
  • an understanding of what tenants are looking for in the property market today
  • have a major market share when it comes to leasing local properties
  • successfully transacted a good selection of quality leases in the local area
  • have a database that is up to date when it comes to tenant movement and tenant requirements

Far too many agents think that they need to discount their commission as part of winning the listing. Nothing could be further from the truth; most investors and landlords today understand that the vacancy is costing them a lot more in loss of rents and loss of outgoings, than in any minor saving to be achieved through a discounted commission.  If the landlord pushes for a low commission, they really don’t appreciate the commitment and drive that you can bring to the listing on an exclusive basis; perhaps you haven’t sold your skills sufficiently when compared to other agents.

The landlords that we serve are simply looking for the vacancies be filled professionally, that is with a good tenant at a reasonable market level rent. If you can prove that you are the best agent to satisfy the leasing requirement, then the listing will be easier to convert.

As a general rule, the leasing commissions that we negotiate should be supported by all of the following professional services:

  • Comprehensive market coverage to the targeted tenant market
  • One-on-one contact direct into the business community
  • Online and off-line unique and special marketing initiatives to attract enquiry
  • A good knowledge of exactly what tenants are looking for when it comes to the location and the property type
  • A timely approach to encourage inspections and lease negotiations
  • A good knowledge of lease documentation when it comes to improving the property for the landlord over time
  • A detailed consideration of the special strategies that apply when it comes to incentives, market rents, renovations, and lease documentation

 

So there are plenty of things can be done here when it comes to providing a specialised and professional commercial leasing service. If you can prove that you actually provide all of the points mentioned here, it will not be difficult you to convert more clients and listings as part of the lease marketing process.

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Commercial Property Leasing Handover

When you lease a property, it is not just a matter of finding a tenant and matching them to a property.  There is a lot more to the relationship and the leasing deal itself.  This is where the professional property leasing agent stands well and truly above the other competitors in the market.

So let’s assume you have found a tenant in a property transaction and that you have negotiated a deal that is acceptable to both the tenant and the landlord.  Moving the parties forward to lease finality will be part of your role and focus; if you do not stay with a property transaction to the very end, others can slow or stop the transaction without your knowledge (solicitors are good at that).  Of course that will mean loss of commission and credibility.   Top agents stay with the deal to the very end on behalf of their clients or principal; you should get in a habit of doing the very same.

Here is a leasing checklist that contains some of the main issues in a leasing deal.  You can add to the list subject to your property type and location.

  1. Make sure that the lease that is created by the clients solicitor reflects the facts that have been discussed in your leasing negotiations.
  2. Get the lease signed by all the parties.  It may be that solicitors for both parties do this, however, make sure that it is done in a timely way.  Delays create uncertainty.
  3. As part of getting a lease signed, the rent should be paid together with the required lease deposit as a commitment by the tenant.  Get the money into a trust account so that the cheques are cleared (or get a bank cheque).
  4. All bank guarantees and bonds should be lodged with the right people as part of the signing and the completion of the lease documents.
  5. Double check with all the solicitors (and particularly the solicitor acting for your client), that the correct documentation has been served and signed.  Some leases require secondary supporting documentation such as disclosures and licences.  The whole bundle of documents should be treated as one and all correctly signed.  The completed and signed documents should be in the possession of the client’s solicitor.
  6. If all of the above is in order, it will be time to allow access to the premises, and hence hand over the keys.  This should be done correctly with the receipting of the keys as they are exchanged, and the documenting of the condition of the premises at handover.  These records will be required at the end of the lease when the premises are to be made good.

You can add to these items based on the property type and complexity.  Importantly you can build a great checklist to keep you on track in finalising the lease.  In the end result you will get a good commission and have a happy client.