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Archive for the ‘Market Research’ Category

Focus On Exclusive Listings & Control Your Destiny

July 14th, 2014

The phone rings. “Hi, I’ve got some money I need to invest into a good commercial real estate deal. I’m ready to buy right awaysays the very authoritative prospect on the other end of the phone. If you are relatively new to the business, this certainly sounds like an exciting call right? Maybe….maybe not. You begin to qualify the prospect by asking some questions about their specific needs.

“I’ve got a few hundred grand to put down, and I have a great relationship with my bank so financing won’t be a problem. I want a 20 – 30 unit apartment building within a 30 minute driving distance from my home. It has to be low maintenance and have a high occupancy. I don’t like problems and I want a nice cash flow right from the beginning. It should be located in a good neighborhood near public transportation and nice amenities like shopping and restaurants. Ya got anything like that kid?”

Pretty specific and the prospect certainly sounds real. Based on the info you’re now armed with, you set out spending your valuable time researching and tracking down qualified properties. You scour Loopnet and CoStar. You drive the market. You call other brokers who have similar listings. Maybe you make a few cold calls to owners of properties that fit the bill. Hours, days maybe a week or two of work and you’re ready to show the prospect 3 solid prospects that fit what he described perfectly. You call to set an appointment for showings.

“Oh yeah, hi kid. Hey listen, my brother in laws cousins girlfriend turned me on to a great deal on a distressed shopping center in Ohio that I could buy for cheap. Plus it’s only 50%  leased so there is plenty of upside. The market is a bit dicey but it’s turning around so I’m just in time for the upswing. And the seller will hold the financing so I don’t have to try to qualify for a bank loan. But thanks for looking….I’ll call you again if I ever want to buy something else.”  Time and effort, down the drain.

While this may be an extreme example, it happens all the time. Combing the market looking for (more…)

Proactive vs. Reactive Marketing for Commercial Real Estate

January 27th, 2014

The world of marketing has changed dramatically over the past 10 years or so. The advent of the internet, social media and mobile technology has allowed marketers to take a much more targeted approach to reaching their prospective clientele. While traditional media outlets continue to survive and in some cases thrive, marketing strategies for most industries have adjusted to more efficient methods with great success. Commercial real estate is an industry that is primed to benefit from making such an adjustment.

What is your typical marketing plan for new listings? Do you order the property sign? Do you start designing print advertisements for local newspapers, magazines, Loopnet and CoStar? Do you use the multiple listing service? Post to your company’s website? Obviously these are logical and somewhat necessary steps to be utilized in marketing your new listing. However, the nature of these marketing methods is that they are reactive outlets designed to take more of a shotgun approach for exposing your listing to potential buyers or tenants. The pertinent information is showcased through these outlets in the hopes that a qualified prospect will find it and be compelled to call you and learn more. This typically leaves the commercial real estate agent sitting at their desk in anxious anticipation of getting that call and springing to action.

Now let’s contrast these reactive marketing methods with a strategy for proactively reaching out to qualified buyers and tenants. Proactive marketing is more of a laser approach to reaching prospects for your new listing. Marketing proactively begins with prospects that are literally at your fingertips. Specifically, your own data base. Assuming you have structured your business to specialize in a property type and geographic area, the first place to expose your new listing is to the most probable prospects within your own data base. Who owns a similar property? Which prospects have defined a criteria that generally matches the aspects of your new listing? The most effective way to present your new listing to these prospects is to simply pick up the telephone and call them. Even if these prospects aren’t interested in your new listing, calling them gives you a quality (more…)

Who The Heck Is William Dawes?

July 4th, 2013

On this Independence Day 2013, I thought I’d offer up a little history lesson and how we as commercial real estate brokerage professionals might learn from it.

Have you ever heard of William Dawes? William Dawes was a tanner in Boston  and around midnight on April 18th, 1775, he rode from Boston through the towns west of the city to Lexington spreading the news that the British were coming and planned an attack the next day. He was to alert the local militia leaders telling them to gather their men and prepare to meet the British troops by sunrise. He rode through the night hitting the towns of Roxbury, Brookline, Watertown and Waltham, Massachusetts and finally meeting his counterparts in Lexington.

William Dawes

Undoubtedly you’ve heard the story of Paul Revere’s famous ride, right? On the same night, at the same time, Paul Revere left Boston taking the northern route to spread the same message to the militia leaders in Charleston, Medford, North Cambridge and Arlington, meeting up with Dawes in Lexington in the early morning hours of April 19th.

The revolutionary war started on the morning of April 19th 1775 with the British army sweeping across the surrounding areas from Boston Harbor. When they reached the towns that were forewarned by Paul Revere they were met by the full militia with fierce resistance and defeated. The British troops who reached the towns that were supposed to have been forewarned by William Dawes were met with very little resistance, very few militia men and virtually marched through (more…)

3 Key Components of a Great Database

May 24th, 2012

Ever heard the expression “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that counts”? Well in commercial real estate brokerage what you know does matter but it’s kind of useless if you don’t have a properly populated database of contacts upon which you can espouse that knowledge. Building and maintaining a solid database is arguably the fuel that drives the engine of your brokerage machine. I’m often amazed at the lengths that some agents will go to when trying to build their list of contacts. Some trudge it out looking up each property record, scouring the internet for phone numbers and scrubbing their information for accuracy. Some hire brokerage assistants or interns to do the work for them. Whatever the process, let’s examine what is really important in building your database:

1. We need client contact information. That means not just the ownership or buying entity, but the name, address, phone number and email address for a real human. Remember, a successful commercial real estate business is about person to person relationships.

2. We need lender contacts. Especially in the environment we have experienced over the past few years, it is extremely important to know who key decision makers are within the commercial real estate lending community. Opportunities about for commercial real estate agents who establish solid working relationships with key lenders.

3. We need co-brokerage contacts. When marketing our listings, the efficiencies of leveraging contacts within the commercial real estate brokerage community must be an important component. The buyer for your new listing may be in the database of a good commercial real estate agent in another area or another state. Having a database with agent contacts will strengthen the punch of any property marketing campaign.

Obviously to build and manage the above described key contact information could be a time consuming undertaking. Fortunately, in the internet age there are streamlining options that take some of the frustration out of the process. Yes, search features on some property appraiser websites are getting better. Social media and search engines improve your likelihood of finding your way to a key contact. But in these scenarios you or your staff are still the ones compiling the information and time is money.
Some technology types are figuring out ways to automate this process for commercial real estate agents by curating the data and keeping it up to date. I’ve been a subscriber to one such service for a couple of years. www.CREfirms.com is a subscription service that offers a complete database of key contacts in all of the three areas discussed above. The information is sortable and is delivered in a simple Excel format so it is easy to import it to whatever CRM system you use. CREfirms is a really affordable option to spending enormous amounts of time doing this research and it’s way less expensive than an assistant. From firsthand experience, I can highly recommend them. You can receive a 30 day free trial by going to www.CREfirms.com.
However you go about the process, never ignore the power of feeding your key contact database. Take what you know in commercial real estate and impress who you know by having those people in a well populated database.

Three Take-Aways From ICSC’s RECON 2011

June 3rd, 2011

My feet are killing me as they usually are at this time every May. A small price to pay for three and a half days of intense deal making, trend spotting and making valuable connections at ICSC’s annual convention in Las Vegas. This year’s programs were upbeat with a vibrant optimism that has been lacking in recent years for obvious reasons. My focus was on the information, trends, technologies and deals that would be of greatest interest to commercial real estate brokerage professionals. Here are three takeaways I got from RECON 2011 that every commercial agent and broker should pay attention to:

  1. THE BUZZ IS BACK – This year’s convention was attended by more than 35,000 commercial real estate and retail professionals, up significantly from last year. There was a cautious optimism throughout the convention. Deals were getting done on the Leasing Mall and in the hallways, I could hear brokers, developers, landlords and tenants burning up their cell phones talking about transactions. Ah yes, transactions….those illusive little activities that we have all missed so much over the past couple of years. There was no doubt that everyone had a bit of a bounce in their step as well as a few more smiles and better moods all around. While everyone acknowledged challenges ahead, positive momentum was in the air and that will feed on itself creating more opportunities for commercial brokers to see deal flow.
  2. THERE IS A RISING SOCIAL REVOLUTION IN COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE – If you think that Facebook and Twitter are just places where college kids tell their friends about last nights concert, you’d better think again. Social Media is the new branding mechanism for commercial real estate pros across all segments of the industry. (more…)