The best way to move on a property opportunity or client requirement in commercial real estate today is to comprehensively understand your client’s business and investment targets. Given that we work with most clients for the long term, that research is valuable in commissions and transaction timing; spend time in watching the client business situation, their investments, their asset performance, and the prevailing property market.
Observe the clients ‘pressure points’ both current and those that you can predict for the future. Most property transactions are created because of a pressure or opportunity factor, that being in rentals, returns, capital value, or portfolio change. Top brokers and agents look for those things.
There is nothing more frustrating for a broker than to find a client or prospect that they know, use a competing property agent or broker for a sale, lease or management requirement. Stay very close to your clients and prospects, understanding how their property situation is changing. Look for the changes before your client sees them. Offer solutions before your client has thought about them.
What is or can be useful to a client from a property information perspective? You have lots of information at your fingertips and that can be packaged for the clients that you serve; use charts, graphs, statistics, reports, case studies, and editorials for the location, and then drill down into property types. Information is a valuable commodity in our industry. You must be different if you are to attract your clients in a positive way over time.
You can tell the client what is happening around them when it comes to property ownership, yields, rental returns, and occupancy. You can tell them how the sale price ratios to rental are changing when compared to property income and lease inquiry historically and currently. You can brief them on investment performance.
Client assessment checklist
Here is a checklist to help you work closer with your best clients and prospects in commercial property:
- Current properties owned – some clients will own a number of properties in different precincts. Get a list from the client so you can check off the properties as they exist now and the pressures of each location.
- Type of property – diverse performance factors apply in leasing and sales when it comes to the different property types. If you are already specializing in a property segment, you will understand exactly what I am talking about. Some segments of property are busy when others are slow. You don’t want your clients to get stuck in a property slow down if they are highly geared financially to the rental cash flow.
- Location assessment – work specifically in limited geographic zones; that will be streets and buildings of the CBD. When you do that you can see what is happening and changing in rents and prices. You can also look at the factors of supply and demand for the region.
- Vacancy assessment – whilst vacancies are easy to see, a proactive agent or broker will be acting on vacancies before they happen for the clients that they serve. That will be through lease renegotiation, tenant movement, and incentive offerings. You don’t want to lose your good tenants from an asset. Help your clients keep their tenants by offering the specialist services of tenant retention and renegotiation.
- Lease analysis – some leases can be improved at the time of negotiation or renewal. It is a matter of reviewing each of the leases in the client’s property and or portfolio. Look at the critical dates, the permitted use factors, and the targets of the investment. How can you improve those things for the client?
- Competing properties – locally some properties will impact the immediate region. That is certainly the case with new investments and projects coming into the market. Some of your client’s investments are likely to be impacted by other properties nearby. Look for those conflicting situations. Give your client recommendations to move through the asset performance problem.
- Supply and demand – this will be how vacancy rates and leasing rates are impacting property ownership and occupancy. New projects and business sentiment will change the balance, so stay close to the approved property projects coming into the market. Understand what tenants and buyers are looking for in any relocation decisions.
All of these things are valuable to the property people in your town or city. Get to know your client’s property situation, and then be there for them as they move towards a pressure point or change point with their assets. Provide solutions and recommendations with logic to support the process; that is what the top agents do.