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Do you have a commercial property with vacancies, or are you expecting a space to open up anytime soon? Here are strategic ways on how you can find tenants.
Finding tenants and leasing your commercial space can be a tedious process for property owners, especially if you’re an investor that is overseeing several properties or not a full-time investor.
And it’s not just about finding a tenant – it’s important to find a good and preferably long-term one. After all, a good tenant is worth its weight in gold, while the wrong tenant can zap your time and energy and drain your resources.
That’s why it’s important to have marketing strategies in place to help you reel in the best tenants for your commercial property.
Here are some of the best ways you can find commercial tenants for your property.
Work with a broker/property manager
When you’re finding a tenant for your property, you don’t have to go at it alone.
To help speed up the process, consider enlisting a commercial real estate broker that has experience in your commercial property type.
A commercial property broker serves as a middleman between sellers and buyers of commercial real estate and guides clients to sell, lease, or buy commercial properties. They can work as an independent agent, an employer of commercial real estate agents, or as a member of a commercial real estate brokerage firm.
It also doesn’t matter what type of commercial space you have. There are commercial real estate brokerages that are dedicated exclusively to the leasing of commercial property, including office, retail, and industrial real estate.
Advantages of working with a broker
One major advantage of brokers is their ability to connect with prospective tenants. Brokers are the best resource to find out which businesses are currently on the search and which ones may be needed to relocate in the near future. They are in touch with small businesses, large firms, property management companies, and other brokers so that they know what’s happening in their market.
Additionally, a commercial real estate broker can bring new marketing techniques to the table – ones proven to work specifically in your market or niche. They also have the necessary tools and platforms that can help you in your search for the right tenant.
Another upside to working with a broker is because they have a fiduciary responsibility to you, they will be working in your best interest.
Typically, their fees are a percentage of the total lease value, so you won’t have to pay them until they present you with a fully executed lease. You can also choose to structure payments, so you don’t have to pay their fees until you have money coming in.
But before you get on the phone and call up your nearest broker, you need to do your due diligence when choosing who to work with.
Shop around and interview several brokers before deciding who to go with. Ask them about their work experience and ask for reviews from previous clients. If past customers give their seal of approval and say they’d use their services again, you’re probably in safe hands.
What marketing strategies you should expect when working with a broker
At the heart of it, you also need to make sure that they will employ the right marketing strategies in place. To have an idea of what brokers can offer, here are some basic marketing materials and marketing tactics that your broker should provide so that you can make sure your property marketing checks all the boxes and you get your money’s worth.
The first thing that your broker should provide is a flyer or brochure, which will be used for all aspects of property marketing. This marketing material should be available for download online and on property listing sites and can be given to inquiring tenant rep brokers, shared with prospective tenants, and more.
Property marketing flyers should generally include high-quality photos of the commercial property, a location map that will also highlight the surrounding amenities, access or other important information, as well as a list of the property’s features and highlights.
It can also include leasing contact information, any available site plans or floor plans detailing typical floors or specific availability. In some cases, the flyer can also include rental rates, demographic information, parking details etc.
The property listing page should, at a minimum, have all of the information that is included on the flyer (including images, details, maps, contact information etc). It should also provide a link to download the flyer and links to the leasing brokers’ emails and contact information.
Drumming up interest in your property is one of a broker’s main tasks. To actively promote your property and keep the listing top of mind amongst the brokerage community, your broker should also send out an email campaign for your property.
This campaign should be a regularly scheduled email to the local brokerage groups and individuals. A reputable broker will have a set list of brokers in the market that these emails will be distributed to.
A standard marketing email should include photos, property details, a link to the property listing page, a link to the flyer, and broker contact information for inquiries.
All major leasing agencies produce and distribute a monthly listings report that details what properties they are representing, what is available at these properties, the asking rates and more. Your broker should have your property listed in this available inventory report.
Amid unprecedented times such as a pandemic, virtual tours are especially important as some in-person property tours have been limited or forbidden. A virtual tour allows potential tenants and tenant rep brokers to tour a space on their computer or mobile device. Virtual tours allow prospects and brokers to experience your space from wherever they may be.
While all the strategies listed above are the standard marketing materials that should be provided by your property broker, their marketing team should also be available to provide ongoing support and be willing to help you execute new ideas and a number of additional marketing initiatives.
During the interviews, ask about other marketing initiatives such as custom website creation, events, social media campaigns, display ads, video promotions etc, that could help get the word out about your vacancy.
Use traditional marketing
Even in the age of technology, traditional marketing is still a viable option for owners looking for tenants.
For starters, a property leasing sign should be placed in front of your property to catch the attention of people driving or walking by.
And not just any sign – you need to be very intentional with the information included so that you hone in your target commercial tenants.
Don’t just grab a sign from Bunnings that says “for lease” with a number below it. Typically, signs from local home improvement stores are barely visible and do not give off a professional feel at all.
If you are using a broker, these are usually designed in the leasing firm’s standard sign template.
If you are not working with one, you can have one commissioned through independent contractors or freelancers. Make sure to add information about the space on the sign, such as the size and type of space or whatever you feel is appropriate. One downside to keep in mind is that you won’t be able to reuse that sign for any other properties.
Other traditional avenues for marketing, such as advertising in local magazines, newspapers, and classified sections, are also good strategies.
Use social media platforms
Social media platforms are powerful marketing tools that are usually underutilised by property owners. Aside from being free, it is also an effective way to create awareness and drive eyeballs to your commercial property.
Using LinkedIn or even Twitter and Facebook to get more attention for your listings can be a very effective tactic when used properly. The three mentioned social media networks are most relevant for commercial real estate and where you should be most actively marketing.
Expand your network
Networking events with local commercial real estate communities (many of these may be virtual right now due to the pandemic) can help spread the word that you are on the lookout for a tenant.
Building relationships with influencers, journalists and bloggers can also pay off big in the long term. While reaching out and establishing a connection takes time, press mentions can have a positive impact on your marketing efforts. Additionally, you can also ask your current tenants for referrals for potential tenants.
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List your property on a variety of platforms
Listing your property on a variety of platforms can also help you have a bigger pool of potential tenants.
There are a number of Australian platforms on which commercial properties can be listed. Make sure to check the respective website’s terms and conditions so you know which website is the best fit for your listing.
Hire a public relations representative
Commercial property owners also have the option of bringing in a PR rep or outside marketing person when finding tenants. If you have a retail or office space, this may be the best option for you, as they can help you gain publicity not only for your commercial property but also for the tenants and clients housed there as well.
Finding a tenant for your commercial property doesn’t have to be difficult. Get creative, use the virtual tools you have, and put your listing out in the community.
When in doubt, don’t be afraid to bring in someone to help you do the work in a more efficient way. After all, a long-term tenant is likely worth the small fee you’d pay a PR representative or broker to help.
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Commercial real estate or commercial property refers to buildings or land used for business activities and workspaces to generate income.