Contributing Author: Jay Verro, CCIM
As most of the country is finally digging out from a long and snowy winter, it’s a great time for commercial real estate (CRE) professionals to add value to their existing client base. What is the one thing that we hear so often from our colleagues and clients? Answer – “there’s not enough hours in a day,” especially with continual interruptions thanks to the growth of mobile technology.
As their trusted advisor, you can lessen their load while making you more valuable to them by doing one easy, yet often over-looked task. Each spring, I make the time to visit each of my landlord and seller client properties for the sole purpose of looking at them with a fresh set of eyes, just as a prospective tenant or buyer would do on their first time into the property. CRE professionals, landlords and sellers often get tunnel vision after pulling into their property day after day, making it too easy to overlook deferred maintenance items.
It’s an easier task to fit into your busy schedule than one might think. I combine my Spring Property 1stLook visits in conjunction with other appointments in that community. For example, I may set up a 10:00 am showing for an office suite in a particular town. I then schedule myself to arrive in that town at 8:00 am to allow time for me to visit multiple listings on my way to the appointment and prior to parking lots becoming full. Items such as the following are on my checklist:
- Cleanliness of the building façade / windows / common areas.
- Condition of the parking lot including curbing, sidewalks, striping, etc.
- Condition of property signage – both the landlord’s as well as my “For Lease” or “For Sale” signage to see if there’s a need to re-paint the posts, replace the sign, etc.
- Does the parking lot need to be cleaned after the winter’s salt and sand?
- Does any landscaping need to be replaced after the winter?
- Do any of the Handicap Parking or Tenant’s Reserved Parking signs need to be replaced or straightened up?
- Has any of the competitive landlords in the area done improvements that provide a better 1stimpression to prospective buyers / tenants?
- Do the mulch beds need to be over-turned or replenished?
- Does the lawn appear as if it could benefit from a professional fertilizer application?
- Does the common entry need additional cleaning or the walk off mat swapped out?
- Do any of the parking lot light posts need painting or straightening after plowing season?
Your checklist may vary based on climate and severity of the winter just experienced. Tweaks to your checklist aside, this practice has been well-received by my clients, as well as it being a source of referral business to other landlords / sellers. Separating your level of service to your current and future clients is essential to remain at top of mind when they need commercial real estate expertise in the future.
Granted, it’s not as easy as simply saying “here’s your spring to do list”, Mr. or Mrs. Landlord. This is where your market knowledge comes into play. For example, this advice is handy for landlords who believe their superior location is enough to stay full over their competition. While that may have been true in the past, tenants and buyers are looking at things that are important to them such as the image a property presents to its clients and employees as they attempt to recruit new talent. A property around the corner from 1stand Main with lower rent, brand new signage and landscaping often has better occupancy than the superior location should the landlord not address deferred maintenance and curb appeal.
Some items are harder sells to landlords. A specific example of this was on my 2018 list to a retail landlord whom I suggested to replace the 40-year-old dated monument sign to stay current with new retail competition that wasn’t on that block until 2016. In this specific instance, I had the knowledge that the landlord’s father built the sign 40 years ago. Balancing their sentiment and business was much easier with my long-term knowledge of the property. The next hurdle was convincing them to invest tens of thousands of dollars on a 21stcentury modern sign that would help them attract new and retain their current tenants. After showing them what their competition was providing for signage, they did a bunch of homework and now the tenants in that plaza have a brand-new LED monument sign.
As CRE professionals in 2019, we need to do more than just put up a sign. We need to remain relevant and add value to our clients in order to retain them.
Our brokers at NAI Platformpossess extensive knowledge and experience of the industry’s intricate nuances, with a singular focus of working diligently to help our clients meet and surpass their goals.
For more information and expert guidance on your commercial real estate needs, please give us a call at NAI Platform or visit our website at www.naiplatform.com.
James “Jay” Verro, CCIM
14 Corporate Woods Blvd.
Albany, NY 12211
Direct: 518-465-1400 Ext: 214
Fax: 518 465 1441