Although your leasing agent is an independent contractor, you really should think of him as an employee. When you are paying an employee, you want him to be as efficient with his time as possible. The same is true for your leasing agent. As a result of higher productivity, you increase the probability of getting more space leased more quickly to higher quality tenants at higher rents. Listed below are 10 steps that property owners can take that will make them better clients.
Lease and Zoning Restrictions: Tell the leasing agent about any known restrictions that exist. It is a waste of the leasing agent’s time to be out courting and meeting with tenants that violate existing leases, covenant condition restriction documents or zoning restrictions. Too many times, a landlord will only tell the leasing agent that these restrictions exist after the leasing agent has spent way too much time working with a tenant. Be proactive, and help prevent this from happening.
Keys: It is best if all locks in the center are on a master key. This saves the leasing agent a lot of grief from having to sort through a bunch of keys in order to figure out which one works.
Floor Plans: Hiring an architect to provide existing “as built” plans of spaces is valuable. First, it makes it much easier for the leasing agent to answer questions. Second, it avoids wasting the agent’s time because he doesn’t have to go out to the property so a tenant can measure the space. You want your leasing agent calling potential tenants, not serving as a doorman.
Reaction Time: When offers are generated, respond promptly. The quickest way to lose your leasing agent’s attention is to have them go through the effort of bringing you a proposal and then not giving him a prompt response.
Interior Cleanliness: It doesn’t help the leasing agent show your space if he has to walk through a bunch of spider webs, old mail and filth. Spaces should be periodically cleaned to make them more presentable. Ideally, the walls will be white, the ceiling free of leaks, the floors presentable and the restrooms clean.
Exterior Cleanliness: Scratched glass, trees that cover the storefronts, filthy sidewalks and parking lots that need striping are deterrents to getting your space leased. If you were a potential tenant, would you want to lease at your center? Remember that you have given your leasing agent the product that he has to sell. Don’t you want your property to show its best?
Electricity: Spaces show much better when the lights are on and everything looks clean. It really helps when the leasing agent can walk in the space and turn on the lights, especially when there are offices in the building that don’t have any natural light.
Helpfulness: For example, if the leasing agent calls you up and tells you a tenant is interested, but this tenant is having difficulty getting municipal approvals, you should be willing to call the city yourself and try to sort things out. Once again, if the leasing agent spends all his time becoming an entitlement expert, then he doesn’t have time to solicit new tenants.
Prompt Payment: When your leasing agent gets a deal done, pay promptly. Leasing agents will work the hardest for the people that pay them quickly. Also, if they have to chase you for commissions, these are phone calls that are not being made to potential tenants.
Leasing Agents are not Property Managers: Leasing agents, by their nature, are cooperative. When you ask your leasing agent to handle property management-related issues (coordinating telephone line installations, opening doors for contractors, getting insurance certificates, etc.) you are once again taking away from his sales-related activities.
Your leasing agent is balancing a portfolio of properties. Part of your leasing agent’s consideration as to how to best spend his time is working for landlords who recognize that leasing is a team effort. The more you do your part, the higher the probability that you and your leasing agent will achieve your mutual goals.
— Brad Umansky is president of Progressive Real Estate Partners in Claremont, California.