Commercial Property Agents – Inspecting Properties the Right Way

As a commercial real estate agent, you have a requirement to inspect commercial properties regularly.  The same process also applies with retail properties although in that case the information in the inspection process is far more complex and detailed.  For this very reason, it pays for you to create some checklists to use in the inspection process.

There are a number of benefits from using a checklist for this reason.  Here are the main ones:

  • The client will see you as more thorough and professional in the listing process
  • The checklist will help you identify critical factors relating to the property type and the location
  • The checklist will allow you to record and store critical information for future reference in negotiation and inspections.

The whole process sounds so obvious, and yet so many agents are very generic when it comes to the property inspection process taking notes of little substance.  At the end of the day, it is very common for us to be challenged as agents when it comes to property detail and future property inspections.  If we have correctly recorded information in the inspection process, we can protect ourselves from disagreement and legal claim.

To help you formulate your inspection checklist, here are some ideas to get you started.  You can add to this list factors relating to property type and location.

  1. Check out the ownership of the property to make sure that it is both legal and defined.  The ownership of the property will need to feature on your listing appointment form at the appropriate time before marketing commences.  It should also be said that the legal owners of the property should correctly sign the appointment to act before you do anything by way of marketing or property promotion.  Many an agent has mistakenly or not correctly signed up all the property owners on appointment to act, only to find that commission can be avoided later by those clients.  Know that you are dealing with the right people, and that they are in agreement with the property listing and marketing process.  Take special care when it comes to business owners in disagreement or properties involved in marriage disputes.
  2. Get a history of the property as that will be relevant to and useful in the future property inspections.  Many buyers like to know how long the property has been with the current ownership and why they are disposing of the property today.  Check out the history of the property independently if that can be done; many property owners will give you the convenient truth without necessarily all the facts of relevance to the property history.
  3. Work through the local development plans to identify the current property zoning.  That zoning will have relevance to property usage and legal occupation.  That will then have importance on your target market and marketing campaign.
  4. If the property includes tenants in occupancy, review the leases prior to any marketing activities.  If appropriate and if possible, talk to the tenants to get their feedback regards property performance and landlord support.  Many a tenant has derailed a sale process through negative comments regards the landlord.  If the tenants do not like the landlord before sale, it is wise to know that fact and prepare for the negative feedback that any buyer for the property may identify from those tenants.  The landlord for the property will be the client in the sale, but you are the professional that is trying to put a deal together.
  5. Understand if the property has been marketed previously or recently.  That can have an impact on your current marketing efforts and strategy.  It could be that something will need to be done regards repositioning in the new marketing campaign.  There is no point repeating previous errors or unsuccessful marketing campaigns with the same property; the buyers have long memories and will see the property come back onto the market today.
  6. Look around the local area to understand the competing properties that may be impacting the future marketing strategy for the particular subject listing.  If you are going to compete with other properties, you need to know that you are doing this on a favorable basis.  Strategy is everything, so get your marketing correctly positioned against the other properties.
  7. The rental for the property currently will include a number of factors of income recovery including outgoings.  It is necessary to review the leases comprehensively and the income that is currently passing to the landlord on a monthly basis.  Identify any upcoming vacancy factors and arrears that currently exist in the property.  They may need to be resolved prior to any marketing efforts.

So these are some other key factors to help you prepare for the property listing.  These factors can be incorporated into your property inspection process and interviews with the property owners.  Asking questions and taking notes will help you greatly when it comes to the upcoming campaign and the creation of inspections.

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