By: Steve Eisenshtadt, Senior Vice President, SIOR, CCIM, JD Friedman Integrated Real Estate Solutions CoStar Power Broker
Landlords, how has your leasing activity been recently at your office properties? Let me put it this way: What’s your batting average? If you aren’t sure, think of your batting average as showings with prospective tenants vs. signed leases. How many signed leases (hits) do you get vs. showings (at bats)? A landlord’s batting average can increase with the quality of conditions and the assistance of an expert-leasing agent. Consider these 6 tips to improve your batting average.
Office spaces need to look their best when being marketed to prospective tenants. Suites should be clean of all personal property left behind by the prior tenant. Space should be in “broom clean” condition. Lights and ceiling tiles should be bright, white and consistent.
Old School vs. New School: The “old school” office space has lots of offices. “New school” tenants want office spaces with more open space. Landlords should evaluate whether it makes sense to remove some “old school” spaces and demo them to bring in natural light. Ceiling tiles should be replaced where needed. A suite that was last renovated in the 1970’s or 1980’s is considered old and generally will not lease quickly.
Model Suite: Landlords would benefit by creating a model suite with new painted walls, new ceiling tiles and lights and carpeting. The benefit of a model suite is that prospective tenants and see a new space and smell the newness of a space. Model suites generally will lease more quickly. Once leased, moved on to another model suite.
2. Building Conditions
Much like vacant suites, the building’s common areas must be clean, newer and free of storage materials. Curb appeal is important. Your “at bat” with a prospective tenant will occur only one time for about 10 minutes. You will win or lose as soon as they walk in the door.
Renovated common areas using new lighting and flooring where appropriate are important. Lobbies and hallways make a big impression.
HVAC needs to be working well. Consider what it will take to earn an Energy Star Rating. Updating HVAC can help achieve Energy Star Rating. This is a differentiator, almost like hitting a fast-ball out of the park, as most buildings cannot make this “feel good” statement to prospective tenants. Energy Star Rating means the cost of utilities are lower than buildings that aren’t Energy Star Rated and the comfort of the environment will be superior in these buildings.
As prospects drive up to your property, the exterior grounds are the first things they will notice. Landscaping must look clean and updated. Colorful plantings and well-groomed grounds particularly near entrances are very important.
The objective of the leasing agent is to maximize the rate per square foot and to get a standard to long-term lease. Landlords should work with a leasing agent who is experienced with current lease rates in the submarket; how the building is positioned with regard to competitive buildings in the submarket; and what concessions and tenant improvements are other landlords offering.
4. Aggressive Advertising
A good leasing agent will have first class marketing materials available including a flyer, clean and accurate floor plans and digital marketing.
High-quality marketing materials go a long way to improve the property’s appeal. See my examples here:
The property should be advertised on the internet on sources such as CoStar, Loopnet, CPIX, Cityfeet and Craigslist. As more and more people search for information on the internet, it is important to post floor plans and photographs. I find I can essentially make a sale from the internet. The prospect will come to the building to see the spaces after it is satisfied that it has the information it needs.
A good landlord agent will target market to tenants located in the submarket. A dedicated marketing plan consisting of emails, direct mail, targeted prospect calls and Internet marketing to tenants in the submarket indicating the benefits of the property will keep the property front of mind with tenants.
5. Other Top Agents
Marketing to top office leasing agents is critical. Most tenants will have a tenant rep broker. Encourage agents to know of your vacancies and to show the building to their clients.
6. Excellent Presentation Skills
Is your leasing agent too busy to show space and do they call your property manager and ask to leave a door unlocked for a prospective tenant or its broker?
A good leasing agent will always be prepared and present for all property tours. This is the leasing agent’s chance to “get up to bat.” A good leasing agent will know exactly the benefits to discuss and will be cognizant of the path of travel during the tour.
6. Ability to be Agile
Offer to do a space plan (“test fit”). Engage the Tenant. Make proposals easy. Offer tenant improvements.
I specialize in leasing office buildings in metropolitan Detroit. If you would like to improve your batting average, please contact me.
Steve Eisenshtadt, CCIM, SIOR, JD