In commercial real estate brokerage, any listing process should be centred on critical areas of the property and the marketing requirement. Get the facts about the property and surrounds by drilling down on what is presented to you; ask more questions. When in any doubt ask more questions, that’s the rule. Certainly do not proceed with any inspections or marketing efforts without all of the information relating to the property. I have seen so many agents over the years make that mistake only to find a large dispute evolving.
So here is a bit of a ‘worry’ for you. Some clients or prospects will not tell you all the facts; it is an all too common problem in the property industry. That ‘fact avoidance or omission’ can be through lack of understanding or knowledge, and in other cases it can be through deliberate avoidance. Either way you as the agent working on a client’s behalf can get into lots of difficulty and trouble.
Negligence claims in our industry are far too common. They can also waste a lot of your personal time and focus. Whilst you will have professional indemnity insurance to help with these claims, the downtime and delays you will have in dealing with disputes with the parties to a sale or lease will be very frustrating. The ‘golden rule’ here is that you should document everything correctly and in keeping with the intentions of the parties. Remember the relationship that you have with your client and work within it.
So here are some ideas to help you start to focus on the critical issues of any property listing and client marketing requirement. Add to the list based on your property type and location.
- Property legal description and title ownership should be searched. Get copies of these things to understand that you are working with the right people that have the legal capability to act.
- When working with multiple people in a partnership, company, or marriage, determine that any disputes or disagreements between the parties are clearly known and declared. Internal fights and bickering can destabilise your marketing efforts and any negotiation.
- Define the property improvements, site placement, boundaries, services, and amenities. Ensure that the property complies with zoning, building codes, environmental issues, and land or building use regulations. Check these things out with the local municipal council or building approvals office. Also look for any orders or notices that could have an impact on your marketing or negotiation efforts.
- Lease documentation and factors from the tenancy mix should be cross-referenced to avoid any omission or error in handling property issues. Inspect the property with the lease information. Understand the vacancy factors and movements of tenancies.
- The facts of income and expenditure performance from the property should be checked in actual terms as well as budgetary terms. Compare those numbers to the market and the comparable properties nearby. Ensure that you are working with the industry averages and that your property listing matches or is better than those averages. When there are any discrepancies in income or expenditure in the property, check them out fully.
- Get written evidence to support any claims or comments of the client that are critical to the promotion and marketing process for the property.
So there are plenty of things to do here. Start your relationship off with your new client and property listing with valuable and accurate property information. Document and question everything that is important to the property sale or lease.