In commercial real estate today, the buyers and the tenants that we deal with have usually looked at a number of properties with quite a few agents before they reach us. This can create confusion and delay when it comes to getting a property offer, and negotiating.
This being said, it is also quite possible that the prospective buyer or tenant has looked at the same listed property earlier in the year through another agency. If this is the case, you need to identify the problem early, in case it could jeopardize your ability to charge commission if the deal goes through. This problem is more evident with open listings, and not as common with exclusive listings.
Here are some questions and ideas to help you with the qualifying process today.
- Understand who you are dealing with and speaking with. Get their contact details including e-mail, and mobile telephone number at the start of the discussion.
- Is the person you are talking to the actual decision maker when it comes to property matters? In some cases and particularly with businesses, you will find that a number of people will be involved in the initial inquiry before a referral is made to the final decision maker.
- Have they looked at other properties locally and if so where are those properties? As part of that process, understand their involvement with other real estate agencies locally. It is quite likely that you are not the only agent talking to the prospective buyer or tenant. Never assume that you are the single or favoured agent that they are talking to. It would be very unusual if that was the case.
- Are they coming to you from another property location in the region? Do they own or rent the property, and if so what are the details? Will their choice of a new property create the opportunity for you with a sale or a lease in another location?
- What are the critical factors when it comes to property selection? You will need to question them about critical issues such as location, property improvements, services and amenities, price, rent, budget, and the timing of the property change.
- Some businesses today take a long time to relocate. This can then have an impact on the property identification process and the negotiation. Understand those factors before you get close to the timing of the negotiation.
When you take into account the different property types and or your general location, you can create a checklist for each of the property types to be used when qualifying prospects.
Over time the checklists can be improved and help you get to the key issues of the enquiry correctly and effectively. You will then know if you are wasting your time in arranging a property inspection with prospective tenants or buyers.