As you consolidate your career in commercial real estate brokerage, there are plenty of opportunities to be had across the segments of the leasing market. There will usually be a good selection of local businesses, landlords, and tenants struggling to resolve occupancy issues.
If this is the property market segment for you, then consider how you can boost leasing inquiry and provide professional services to both landlords and tenants. There are some critical steps to the process to help you build your leasing momentum.
Let me set the scene here in your local area:
- Some tenants are looking to relocate due to pressures of expansion and or contraction.
- Some landlords have vacancy issues and pressures to deal with. Look for the vacant properties and then talk to the landlords directly.
- Some properties are quite complex in tenancy mix and occupancy. The larger properties are likely to have an array of leasing challenges including variable market rentals, upcoming lease expiries, and a changing tenancy mix.
- Market rents are changing in your town or city. Track the market rentals that apply to the different property types and precincts.
- The factors of supply and demand in the local area will shift occupancy rates and market rentals. Look for the local developments that could influence future supply and demand. Adjust your marketing efforts based on the upcoming changes to occupancy supply and demand.
- Many tenants today are looking for improved conditions of occupancy and better buildings. In talking to the tenants locally, you will soon identify what they are looking for in any new occupancy.
- Some landlords are overly aggressive when it comes to market rental negotiation. The landlords that push the levels of occupancy and rental recovery are usually the landlords that lose tenants over time. They are likely to have higher vacancy factors in their investment buildings.
- Many tenants are looking for improved factors of economy and cost when it comes to lease occupancy. Understand how you can bring factors of occupancy cost improvement into the tenant lease negotiations. Market rentals, outgoings costs, and rent review processes are ways of achieving a better rental package for the tenants that you serve. If you work as a tenant advocate, this will be a big part of your professional advocacy services.
- New projects are coming onto the market, and those projects will require a professional occupancy and leasing strategy. Many project leasing opportunities are quite large and can take months if not years to complete. If this is the type of work that you are focusing on, then be careful when considering commission charges, marketing costs, and resources to be applied to the project. Many developers will look for lower levels of commission and minimized marketing costs. They will be looking to offload many of the project leasing costs to the marketing agent.
All of these things are happening in most cities at any given point in time. They are all related to leasing and property performance. You are the best person to help resolve these challenges.
So here are some of the rules that you must follow to improve your professional profile as a top leasing agent:
- Concentrate on the market segments that have the best levels of churn and opportunity. There will be certain property precincts and buildings in your town or city that are higher on the selection list for new tenancies and new tenants. Work the buildings, the landlords and the precincts that have the best opportunity for change and churn.
- In talking to local business owners and tenants, adopt a checklist approach to understand where their business is located now, what they may need for ongoing successful business occupancy, and when their current lease may expire. When talking with decision makers, understand the pressures of today that they may be experiencing, and how they are looking at their future in the location. Show them the economies of the area that could influence their choices to relocate. Most business owners and tenants will be attracted to factors of efficiency and economy.
- Track the market rentals that apply to the property types and the precincts. When any new lease transaction has been completed, seek out the facts relating the finalized lease, and the agreed rental.
- When focusing on new properties to lease, bias your activities towards the larger properties, the quality locations, and the good quality buildings. In that way you will achieve a higher level of rental and better levels of interest as you market the vacancies.
So these are all strategic issues that can easily be applied to the tenant and landlord leasing services locally. Understand the factors of attraction in the local commercial real estate leasing market. Work the factors of attraction through your prospecting and marketing processes. The better buildings, precincts, and market rentals will always attract good levels of quality inquiry. Work with your landlords and tenants on that basis.
When you are to lease a commercial property, the facts about the property and the leasing process should be at your fingertips. Tenants will ask you plenty of questions as part of the property inspection and enquiry process. Lack of information can slow down or derail a property lease negotiation.
You may only have one opportunity to convert your tenant to an inspection or a negotiation. So it is important to remember that preparation is the key to converting more leasing activity in a positive way. I like to do a lease orientation in preparation for that tenant attraction process.
Let’s face a few facts about property leasing:
- Every tenant will have different demands
- Every landlord will have specific ideas about rental, lease terms and conditions, and occupancy
- Some modern and new office or retail properties are very complex when it comes to lay out, fit out specifications, and the as built factors of design
- Property improvements, services, and amenities differ significantly from location to location
So there is plenty to think about here if you are the leasing agent. There are a lot of things to understand, look into, and review. Without capturing the interest of the tenant, they will quickly move on to another property inspection with another agent. You will only have one short opportunity to interest the tenant in the property and the vacancy.
Lease and Tenant Orientation
Here are some elements of lease orientation that I recommend you undertaken as part of every vacancy assessment and marketing process:
- Size – Understand the layout of the premises and the vacancy. The size and the configuration of the floor plate will be critical to tenancy design and business function. Some businesses require floor plates that offer flexibility in office configuration and departmental interaction.
- Tenancy use – Every vacancy should be assessed so that the ideal tenant profile and permitted use can be decided. The existing tenancy mix within the property may also have some relevance to the vacancy and the new tenant selection. Understand the pressures and the priorities that apply in choosing the right tenant with the correct business orientation.
- Access and security – Understand exactly how tenants will move to and through the property as part of their business operations. Security today is also a factor of concern for many businesses as they strive to service customers and protect staff. The tenancy itself may have proximity card access within a certain zones and certain floors. Advanced levels of security help when it comes to attracting corporate tenants today.
- Fit out standards – Within certain buildings there will be a need to establish and manage the standards of fit out construction. In that way you can preserve the quality of the property and the presentation to both tenants and customers.
- Rents and outgoings – Set some targets when it comes to market rental negotiation. As part of that, you will need to consider the incentives that apply in the leasing process for the location and the property type. Do a full market assessment of rental trends and opportunities as they exist within the property type. Advise the landlord accordingly, and set some flexible rental ranges that apply to any potential lease, the associated incentives, and the terms of lease occupancy.
- Strengths and weaknesses – Every property will have certain strengths and weaknesses to be understood and worked through. The strengths can give you significant points of difference when it comes to marketing, inspecting, and negotiating. The weaknesses on the other hand will need to be addressed prior to any lease inspection or lease enquiry.
So there are some good things to be understood and optimized as part of the lease orientation process. As the professional leasing expert, you can get these things under control at the earliest stages of lease marketing and thereby improve the levels of enquiry, and the negotiation outcomes.
When you work in commercial or retail property leasing, you need a rich source of tenants and business leads. There are a number of resources that you can use for that purpose, and on that basis it is simply a matter of selecting the ones that work for you and your property market. Develop your leasing strategies.
Here are some of the best leasing sources of business names and tenant identities:
- Check out all of the major buildings in your leasing territory. When it comes to buildings that contain multiple tenants, it is a matter of taking down or capturing the details from the directory board that is located in the property. The easiest way to do that is to take a photograph of the directory board on your mobile telephone. You can process and review the photograph later.
- From the details that you get in the previous ‘directory board’ step, it is a matter of telephoning down all the businesses in the particular buildings to discuss future leasing and occupation needs. Leases come to an end at some stage for all types of reasons. Some tenants prefer to move when that occurs, and on that basis you can be the source of market information and relocation opportunity.
- Get a copy of the local business telephone book as it applies to your location, town and city. It is preferable to use the telephone book in hardcopy rather than online. That is simply because the telephone book can be logically processed and marked off with a colored pen or highlighters as you proceed through it. Starting at the beginning of the telephone book work through every business name to find those businesses that are located in your priority suburbs and leasing territory. Whilst this process may seem tedious, it is simply a matter of reviewing one or two pages of telephone numbers each night in preparation for your prospecting processes the next day. One telephone book can take you an entire year to move through. You will however see that the system is quite easy to implement and soon you will be covering 5 to 10 pages a day as part of that process. One page of the telephone book should give you two or three numbers to call; cold calls lead to information and potential meetings with the right tenants. You may wish to choose a greater number of businesses given the filtering process and the criteria of targeted tenants locally.
- You can also get some good leads and opportunities from using the Internet methodically and specifically. In your town or city, there will be a business ‘Yellow Pages’ telephone book online that you can use for this very purpose. In most cases you can search the ‘Yellow pages’ based on targeted business types and by suburbs. From that search process you can get specific names of businesses and tenants to put into your prospecting activities and cold calling systems.
So these four strategies are quite simple. You can see why things need to be methodical and systemized.
When you create a large list of local businesses and tenants, and then take the time to understand their occupation needs from a leasing perspective, you are of high value to the landlords that you serve. Use your database as leverage in this way when it comes to winning a property leasing appointment. Tell the landlord about your database and how accurate and up to date it is. They will find it difficult to ignore an agent with a comprehensive and up to date database of tenants.