Office tenants considering a relocation or a renewal should tour competitive properties to research the market and enhance their negotiation position. For an effective tour, decision makers must attend – this is not a task that can be delegated to an office manager. Remember that you are seeking a long term relationship in the form of a lease. Take care to both form a good initial impression with your potential new landlord, while also making sure that you do not undermine the negotiation efforts of your tenant representation broker. The tips below will help ensure an efficient and product tour.
#1: Limit Your Schedule to 5 Properties
Tenants should be able to come up with list of ‘top 5’ properties they wish to tour. If you wish to tour more than 5 properties, then you break the tour into separate days. I have found that once tours drag on too long, tenants stop taking good notes and begin to lose focus.
#2: Listen to the Leasing Broker’s Presentation
On occasion, the leasing broker’s schedule cannot adjust to the tenant’s, and a tenant will tour a property without the leasing broker. This is usually a mistake. Leasing brokers tend to be some of the most knowledgeable people about a property and they can answer all of a tenant’s questions.
#3: Prepare for the Tour and Have a List of Questions to Ask
Make sure you understand why you are seeing the properties on your tour and not others – what makes these properties unique, how did your tenant representation broker pick these properties to tour? Once you understand the selection process, prepare questions to confirm the validity of the selection process. For example, if you are only Class B touring properties with asking rents below $14/SF gross that can provide you 3,000 square feet in 3 months, ask each leasing broker to confirm that his property meets these requirements.
#4: Do Not Undermine Your Negotiation Position
Keep a poker face. Once you find a compatible space, refrain from expressing your enthusiasm in either your actions or your words. Do not reveal any key information. Make it clear that you are looking at other properties, but don’t reveal which ones. When leasing brokers ask questions which may undermine your negotiation position, refer them to your tenant representation broker.
#5: Measure the General Appearance, Upkeep, and Security of the Building.
The tour gives you an opportunity to judge the building. Taking pictures may help you remember details. Check out the following as you walk the property:
– Condition and responsiveness of elevators;
– Condition and cleanliness of stairwells, restrooms; carpeting, walls, and lobby;
– Consistency of door numbering, tenant roster, signage;
– Determine the Availability and Quality of Parking.
The tour also provides you with an opportunity to judge the leasing/management staff; they will play an important role in your business over the next several years if you sign a lease at the property. Take advantage of your face-to-face time with the property staff to both form and make an impression.
If you are touring the market, you should retain a tenant representation commercial real estate broker to help you decide which properties are the best fit and to guide you through the relocation/renewal process. For more on the benefits or retaining a tenant rep broker, click here. For more on relocating your office, click How to Find the Right Office Location in 10 Steps.