Commercial Agents – Tips to Qualifying Commercial Tenants Today

When it comes to leasing commercial or retail property today, the selection of tenant will be fundamental to the quality of the outcome for the landlord. This says that not all tenants will do or be acceptable when it comes to leasing vacant commercial premises.

So the commercial real estate agent has to qualify and understand the tenant that is enquiring on the vacant property before matters proceed. Some questions need to be asked to get the correct match of property.

When fewer properties are selling, the lease activity tends to be higher. Successful businesses still need to operate from quality commercial or retail premises. This is an opportunity for commercial property agents that specialise in commercial leasing.

So let’s go back to commercial property leasing and the elements that should be considered when qualifying tenants. Here are some key factors to consider before you start:

1. Understand the capabilities of the property when it comes to tenant occupancy. Things to know will include services, amenities, and size of tenancy, improvements, fitout design, and availability, term of lease, options, rental requirements and type, and landlord plans for the property. The permitted use or legal use of the property should be understood as part of this process.

2. Get a full brief from the landlord as to the type of lease that they will do for the premises. A lease can be varied and negotiated, but you have to have the landlord’s base requirements before you start. Ask the landlord about rent levels, lease terms, option periods, preferred tenant, renovation and maintenance plans for the property. These facts should be in parity to the comparable properties in the local area that are also on the market to lease at the moment.

To qualify the tenant you can take the following approach:

  • Find out where the tenant has come from and if they are moving from another property. It is likely that the timing of the move will have impact on your negotiations and inspections.
  • What does the tenant know about rent and properties in the local area? Have they looked at anything else in the area and if so what? It is best to know what you are up against early in the inspection process.
  • Has the tenant been looking at other property with other agents and are negotiations underway elsewhere on any ‘short-listed’ property now? This will have an impact on your discussions and inspections with them.
  • What levels of rent and lease term does the tenant have in mind? Make sure you find out about the extras of lease occupancy such as outgoings payments, and consumables including electricity, gas, water, and communications.
  • Will the tenant require a long lease term and or an option period for a further term? This may not always suit the landlord.
  • The numbers of tenant staff and the type of business will have impact on the improvements and fitout in the property. Ask questions about things such as car parking, loading and deliveries, office configurations, hours of operation, security, access, customers to the property, and quality of fitout.

So you can do a lot with a tenant before you take them to a property. Importantly this information is captured into your database. As a general rule do not give out any property information until the tenant has told you everything that you need first.

If a tenant is also or has been dealing with another agent, be very careful to check that they have not seen any of your listed properties with other agents earlier.

iPhone Apps Abound for the On-The-Go Marketer

Can you use an iPhone in Internet marketing? If you spend any time on the road, the answer is a resounding yes.

With a mind boggling 140,000 apps that run on the iPhone, the device has gone from being a mere cell phone to “your computer away from the computer.” You can surf the web in brilliant detail using a version of Safari that works much like the Safari on your Mac, check up on your sales totals for the month, create to-do lists for the coming days and weeks, read and send e-mail from the same accounts as you use on your Mac, check up on the success of your current Web campaign, and more.

The iPhone has achieved a stunning success in the smart phone marketplace for a reason: it brings Apple’s  quality of workmanship, smoothness and brilliant interface design to the smart phone.

In fact, millions of people who would never think of purchasing a Mac because they are locked into the PC mindset have giddily embraced the iPhone. The iPhone (and iPod) was Apple’s brilliant “foot in the door” that got many PC users to consider the Apple product line. PC users could enjoy Apple’s quality of engineering without the hassle of learning a new computer system and transferring all their files over. In fact, many PC snobs who looked down on the Macintosh have become some of the foremost proponents of the iPod and iPhone line.

In many ways, the iPhone is like a “Mac in your pocket.” It embodies the same stunning quality of engineering and brilliantly well-thought-out interface of the Macintosh. All in a package you can carry in your pocket or hold in the palm of your hand.

Following is a tiny selection of the available iPhone apps that can be of use to Internet marketers.

Action Lists

Creating to-do lists and goals is an important daily activity for any successful business person. Action Lists is one of many to-do list managers available for the iPhone. It is an app that seems simple at first glance but reveals an impressive amount of depth once you start exploring it.

The main screen contains a list of the current to-do lists that you have set. Tapping any one of these items brings up the task details screen in which you can assign the task to a project, set the context, assign a start and due date, set repeat options, add notes, and more. Buttons visible at the bottom of the screen provide quick links to available options.

Roambi

Roambi (pronounced roam-bee) is the slickest, smoothest app for the iPhone I have found to date. It is essentially a spreadsheet program, but, rather then trying to shrink down a standard computer spreadsheet to the iPhone screen, it instead reconfigures the way the data is displayed. It can display data as a stack of cards in a card file, as a catalog of line charts, as a simple interactive pie chart  or as a detailed “super list” showing bar graphs for an extensive list of items.

Roambi doesn’t simply show a scaled-down subset of your spreadsheet data; instead, it totally reconfigures it to perfectly fit the iPhone screen and capabilities. In a Roambi data view, all of the information in a large spreadsheet is accessible, but reformatted in such a way that it is not only accessible but actually kind of beautiful.

AmbiScience Brain Power

Sometimes when you’re on the road you simply want to drown out the hubbub and noise around you. AmbiScience Brain Power can help. It plays a number of soothing sounds that, with headphones, can help you concentrate. The app claims to “sync your brain waves which leaves you feeling refreshed, peaceful and inspired.” I don’t know about that, but I do know that this app is a good way to drown out extraneous sounds.

Aji Reader

Aji Reader is an app that allows you to-get this-view full-sized PDF files on your iPhone. Simply enter in the URL at which the PDF that you wish to view is found on the Web and it will be downloaded to your device. Viewing a PDF formatted for 8.5 x 11 paper on the 2 x 3″ screen can sometimes be a challenge, but landscape mode and the high-resolution of the iPhone screen helps. The app has quite a bit of depth and itself has a 36-page user manual (in PDF format, of course). 

(Note: Apple’s new iBooks app also lets you view PDFs on your iPhone.)

ThinkingMap

Since we rarely think in a linear fashion, and one thought often leads to another in an (hopefully) endless fashion, the mind map as been developed to help us capture our thoughts.

Most people think of using a mind map on a large screen, but a number of mind map programs have been developed for the iPhone. If you’re on the go and you find yourself with some spare time when a brilliant inspiration hits you, it can be handy to have this in your pocket.

ThinkingMap displays a simple black-and-white mind map that effectively takes advantage of the small screen real estate (but does not allow you to move or rearrange topics once you have created them).

SimpleMind

This mind map app offers a more colorful but somewhat less space efficient interface that does allow you to move subtopics around By dragging them with your finger (but does not seem to let you reconnect a subtopic to a different topic if you decide it fits better somewhere else). Both apps let you export your mind map as an image that can be much larger than the iphone’s screen, although SimpleMind offers higher resolution.

Analytics Agent

If you have a spare moment while on the road, why not check up on how your websites are doing? Analytics Agent allows you to access your Google Analytics data through a slick, easy to use interface; just enter your analytics login information and connect!

This is not merely a web page shrunk down to iPhone size. Instead, the analytics data in the form of lists, bar graphs, pie charts and more is reformatted to smoothly fit the iPhone screen. Buttons at the bottom of the interface allow you to view the total number of visits, the number of unique visitors, the page views, the amount of time visitors spend on the site and the bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who view more than just the home page). This app comes in both a free and a paid version. The free version displays ads while the paid version contains more info. Analytics Agent should not be confused with an inferior app simply called Analytics with which I have experienced intractable login difficulties.

Twitter

Twitter is the micro-blogging platform of the year (or maybe the decade), and it is just as popular with Internet marketers as with the general public. The iPhone is a great vehicle to let you keep in touch with your Twitter followers, as it provides access to the service at any time of day, wherever you may happen to be.

Apple’s app store lists dozens of Twitter apps for the iPhone, including one provided by Twitter itself, called simply “Twitter” (although some screens are labelled “twittermobile.” It offers real-time search, Top Tweets, trending topics and maps that show what’s happening nearby or across the country.

Got a free moment? Update your Twitter feed, or catch up on the general Twitter stream. Your Twitter account need never be stagnant with Twitter installed on your iPhone.

Commercial Agents – Referral Opportunity for New Business and Listings

It is no secret that the commercial property market is a challenge at the moment for real estate agents as property owners struggle with high vacancy levels and unsold listings. This then says that we need to be proactive and productive when it comes to building relationships and opportunities for our clients. The referral process should be a formal part of your marketing strategy and used in your real estate business.

So many referrals can come from people that you know or have had something to do with as a specialist commercial agent. They people to provide you with leads would normally be:

  • Previous property owners that you have acted for in the sale of a property
  • Property Investors and portfolio owners that own other property in and about the local area
  • Previous landlord clients that you have supported in property leasing and or property management
  • The maintenance contractors that look after your managed properties for the landlord clients within your agency
  • Tenants that you have successfully placed into other commercial or retail properties locally
  • Tenants in your managed properties will always know a lot about the local business activity and other businesses nearby
  • Engineers, architects, solicitors, and accountants, that have something to do with property activity in the local area
  • Local councilors or members of the municipal level of government
  • Previous people that have enquired about other listings that were on your books for sale or for lease

This list can be expanded given your local property precinct. Who do you know that can be a source of leads?

Property developers that you know and have served with regard to other transactions locally will be prepared to share information with you providing you have established a good foundation of trust with them.

When you have listed a property locally for sale or lease, the other businesses nearby will be a significant source of local market intelligence and potential referral. The listing on your books gives you an advantage to network and a reason to talk to all adjacent property owners and occupiers. Ask them about the local property market any changes that they are aware of.

Property planning consultants that have been involved with property changes or challenges in some of your listings are another source of opportunity. These people understand the changes that are active in the local area and they can give you significant leads.

The local planning committee or planning authority is constantly dealing with property changes and property zoning issues. Keep close to the activities of the planning committee to check on any pending approvals or current issues under discussion. Normally there are publicly available minutes from the Planning Committee of current matters of consideration.

So this is a significant group of people to network and seek referrals from. They will all know other people that have links to property activity. The referral opportunity that exists within this list is significant. To tap into this opportunity is just a matter of asking the right questions wherever and whenever possible.

Business conversions from a referral are much higher in success than that which you get in a cold call contact. Referral opportunity is based on relationships and those relationships can help you open doors with new people. To convert more referral business, you simply need the mindset and the ability to ask the right questions in every meeting.