PROSPECTING COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE LISTINGS
Retail and Industrial Business Listings
Any real estate agent or broker who wants to have a successful career in commercial and industrial real estate should regularly obtain marketable listings. Listings are “stock on the shelf” agents and your income now and in the future depends on both the quality and quantity of the listings you get. The more listings you have, the more buyers and tenants you will attract. This makes the offers easier for you. More listings means that you dominate your market and lessen the impact of your competition.
In commercial and industrial property, listings can commonly include:
- Land suitable for commercial, industrial or retail development
- Commercial, industrial and commercial buildings for rent
- Companies that occupy premises from which they serve and supply their markets
- Commercial, industrial and retail buildings that are for sale to owners or investors, both large and small.
Develop a customer base
The secret to success in commercial and industrial real estate is having your own client base. Those clients who work comfortably with you and who respond positively to your advice in relation to their real estate requirements are the clients you need to develop. As clients pay your fees, and not tenants or buyers, they are very important people in your business life and it is essential that you represent yourself firmly to them at all times. As these individuals and organizations realign their property portfolios to meet your emerging real estate requirements, they will continue to provide you with listings. Also, if they are satisfied customers, they will refer you to other business leaders, friends, and family, thereby providing you with more business.
Knowing the real estate market
To provide effective advice to potential clients, it is essential that you know the market – commercial, industrial or retail – in which you are involved and that you have a detailed knowledge of the geographical area in which you operate. To do this effectively, you will need:
- Examine your territory constantly according to a plan and be known to businesses and people in the area
- Know all the properties that are for sale or lease in your territory
- Maintain a list of property transactions that occur and have occurred in the last 3 years.
- Be on the lookout for owners’ private transactions.
- Involve your office management and other team members in what you are doing
- In addition, you must understand the factors that motivate businesses in your area to relocate, and you must understand the forces that encourage investors to buy and sell in your area or district.
WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL AGENT OR BROKER?
So what makes a successful agent or broker from the client’s perspective, and someone the client wants to do business with and through? It is an interesting question from the client’s perspective, but history shows that the factors that stand out as being of primary importance to clients are the broker’s knowledge of the market and the quality of the advice provided. The agent’s negotiation skills and the ability to act quickly are also important and rank highly. Adherence to client instruction, property marketing skills, and confidentiality were considered to be slightly less important.
It is clear from this analysis that the factors that will have a vital influence on the successful listing of a client’s property are knowledge of the market and the quality of advice. Homeowners look for agents and brokers who know the market and have readily available registry information on businesses and investors looking to make immediate decisions about the properties they require, own or occupy. Your clients want an agent who immediately draws their attention to a listed property.
Therefore, at the time of listing, being able to effectively communicate with the owner about the commercial and industrial market and the prospects that are available in their database could certainly lead to a successful relationship and hopefully a ongoing relationship.
Where do you find new listings and how can you convert them? This list can help. As you get to know your clients and the geographic area of the market in which you operate, opportunities to obtain listings will present themselves. For instance:
- Real estate transactions. The successful conclusion of any real estate transaction in your region means that both buyer and seller may be looking for other options. Take advantage of these opportunities.
- Settlement. A failed business is a prime objective for agency activity.
- Vacant buildings Be aware of buildings that are left empty or abandoned, as they represent business opportunities.
- Intermediaries Maintain a close association with intermediaries in the real estate business. Intermediaries include people such as financiers, bankers, insurers, builders, architects, engineers, lawyers, and accountants. Your clients will sometimes require the services of real estate agents and a recommendation from these people is invaluable. You, in turn, can introduce your clients to such intermediaries and thus establish and maintain solid business relationships that benefit both parties.
- Newspaper articles. Articles prepared by you or in which you are quoted bring your name or that of your company to the public’s attention.
- Direct mail. Regular mailing of property search letters, when sent to a suitable group of potential investors or homeowners, often results in listings.
- Private ads. These can indicate properties that are on the market and owners can be encouraged to use their services if initial announcements have not been successful.
- Developers / Builders
- Neighbors in immediate area
- Property management (rental list)
- Entrepreneurial activity
- Previous Sellers and Buyers
When you discover a property that you think could provide you with a trading or listing opportunity, you need to identify the owner. The following avenues can often provide this information.
- Your own office (In each agency there is substantial information on previous transactions and property ownership that can be consulted).
- Local government records
- Property title information
- Electoral rolls
- The telephone directory (including the yellow pages for businesses)
In addition to this, there are many other sources of information that can be used to identify owners. These are:
- Property Property Lists
- Historic land sales records
- Use the signs of other agents as a reason to speak to adjacent property owners in the locality.
- Commercial property passes through an investment cycle and history shows that it is approximately every 5 years. Look at past sales records in your area for the next potential sales cycle.
- Tenants will generally tell you the property owner if you ask
- Directory boards in buildings are a great source of leasing intelligence
- Business phone lists and CEO contact names
- Information and updates from the Stock Market
- Company Search for large companies in your area
- Articles and newspaper articles
- Be willing to dare and try something new.
To undertake this process you must be diligent and meticulous in your activities so as not to leave any ‘stone unturned’. Nothing is more frustrating than another agent’s for sale or lease sign popping up in your territory that you just covered last week.
The above information may seem logical; however, it is commonly overlooked or not acted upon in most cases, as many salespeople do not have the sustained and personal discipline necessary for the task. The best commercial real estate agents and brokers use this model as their source for listing opportunities.
In closing, we must say that this prospecting process requires a good database program to record and channel your ongoing findings. The value of a good database program is high on the list of tools for a professional agent or broker working in commercial real estate. Good hunting!