Over the past 6 months I’ve focused more of my time on running Ten Eight vs. doing office tenant rep. brokerage for SWA, and there have been many lessons over this span of time. Some of the lessons I’d heard about, but didn’t believe. Other lessons I knew to be true and they were. And of course, there have been a few lessons that came out of nowhere. Are the lessons over? Of course not. I’ve convinced that running a small business is a continual learning process. However, there are 3 lessons that I believe everyone should be aware of, if and when you decide to take a leap of faith to start a business.
Last week I wrote a blog about Virtual Tours – Good Idea or Bad Idea and it brought up some great conversations. One particular point that came up is my focus for this blog, and that is staging commercial space. One knock that you hear about commercial real estate is that the industry doesn’t provide enough information online, or to be more specific enough pictures showcasing the vacate space available in buildings. To which a good friend of mine Dominic from Lease Matrix pointed out that commercial is not residential in that owners don’t stage individual suites for photos like a homeowner stages their home. As Dominic pointed out, most commercial owners don’t want pictures of vacant space because they are tired, run down, and waiting for the next tenant to blow out walls, re-carpet, paint and generally make their own for the next 5 to 10 years. So my question is this, what if an owner “staged” or in commercial real estate terms delivered spec suites for every vacancy in their building / buildings and then had professional pictures take on the suites. Would they lease faster?
I was speaking at a NAIOP event last week about Ten Eight, and an interesting question came up. The question was “what are my thoughts about virtual tours, like View the Space“? As I mentioned in my last post, I didn’t think virtual tours helped to push out an existing relationship on the tenant rep. side of the equation. I also know that most of the companies that hired us after we’d gotten in the door utilizing the fact we had a virtual tour of every Class A building, didn’t use the tours all that often during the process. However, what I did do for a lot of my clients was a video tour of the buildings while we toured that day. See video for 1275 Peachtree. What is interesting here is that my client moved into this building and sent the video out to their employees to show them their new office location. There are over 100 views of this video. So, I do believe that my client’s employees watched the video and my client used it as a way to introduce their new home. But, does this make a virtual tour a good idea or bad idea for owners?
I recently read a post from my good friend Duke Long titled “It’s All About Relationships in CRE, Thats BS“. Now I think he was saying that a relationship does not matter to a Landlord Broker who is marketing his building to a potential buyer or lessor. For that type of relationship it is all about the data of the property that the decision maker is interested in, not the relationship with the landlord broker. Which as a person who has done Landlord Rep. work before, I couldn’t agree more. However, I would point out that I bet the Landlord Rep. has a great relationship with his owner, and the Tenant Rep. has a great relationship with the decision maker deciding whether or not to move into that location. When it comes to representing owners and tenants, I know it is still all about relationships and here are three personal examples of how I know.
First off, let me say that I’m all for free online search for the commercial real estate industry. I do believe that our industry can benefit from free online search, and honestly think it will save time for commercial real estate brokers on their deals. Personally, I’ve done a lot of searching for homes online and then called my residential agent with my top picks. Thus, saving him time spent with me, because I’ve done the initial research on my own. So in theory, I think the same could be true for commercial real estate brokers, if their clients had access to free online search. But, let’s be honest…. Do I think that free online search will replace the Commercial Real Estate Broker, as I’ve been hearing lately? HECK NO!! Sorry, not a chance, and here are 3 reasons why.