How to Prospect For New Commercial Real Estate Listings


Commercial Retail and Industrial Listings

Any Real Estate Agent or Broker who wishes to have a successful career in commercial and industrial real estate must regularly obtain marketable listings. Listings are the agents „stock on the shelf“ and your income now and in the future depends on the quality as well as the quantity of the listings that you obtain. The more listings that you have the more buyers and tenants you will attract. This makes the deals all that more easy for you. More listings mean that you dominate your market and lessen the impact of your competition.

In the commercial and industrial property, listings commonly may include:

  • Land that is suitable for commercial, industrial or retail development
  • Commercial, industrial and retail buildings that are for lease
  • Businesses that occupy premises from which they serve and supply their markets
  • Commercial, industrial and retail buildings that are for sale to owner occupiers or investors both large and small

Developing a Client Base

The secret of success in commercial and industrial real estate is to have your own client base. Those clients who work comfortably with you and who respond positively to your advice in relation to their real estate requirements are the clients you need to develop. As it is the clients who pay your fees, and not the tenants or buyers, they are very important people in your business life and it is essential that you represent yourself strongly to them at all times. As these people and organisations readjust their property portfolios to meet their emerging real estate requirements, they will continue to provide you with listings. In addition, if they are satisfied clients they will refer you to other business leaders, friends and family, and so provide you with more business.

Knowing the Real Estate Market

To provide effective advice to prospective clients it is essential that you know the market – commercial, industrial or retail – that you are involved in and that you have detailed knowledge of the geographical area in which you operate. To do this effectively you will need to:

  • Canvass your territory constantly according to a plan and become well known to businesses and people in the area
  • Know every property that is for sale or lease in your territory
  • Maintain a list of property transactions that occur and have occurred in the last 3 years
  • Keep an eye out for private transactions by property owners
  • Involve the management of your office and other team members with what you are doing
  • In addition, you should understand the factors that motivate companies in your area to move to other space, and you should be aware of the forces that encourage investors to buy and sell in your area or precinct.


So what makes a successful agent or broker from the client’s perspective, and someone that the client wants to do business with and through? It is an interesting question to ask from a clients perspective, but history shows that the factors which stand out as being of prime importance to clients are the agent’s knowledge of the market and the quality of the advice given. The negotiating skills of the agent and the ability to act quickly are also important and rank highly. Adherence to client instruction, property marketing skills and confidentiality were seen to be of slightly lesser importance.

It is clear from this analysis that the factors which are going to have a vital influence on the successful listing of a client’s property are knowledge of the market and the quality of advice. Owners are looking for agents and brokers who know the marketplace and have readily available records information about companies and investors that are looking to make immediate decisions on properties they require, own, or occupy. Your clients want an agent who will immediately bring a listed property to the attention of such people.

So, at the point of listing, being able to communicate effectively with the owner about the commercial and industrial market place and the prospects that are available on your database could certainly lead to a successful relationship and hopefully an ongoing one.


Where do you find new listings and how do you go about converting them? This list may help. As you get to know your clients and the geographical area of the market in which you operate, opportunities for obtaining listings will present themselves. For example:

  • Real Estate Transactions. The successful conclusion of any real estate transaction in your region implies that both buyer and seller may be looking for other options. Avail yourself of these opportunities.
  • Liquidation. A failed business is a prime target for agency activity.
  • Vacant Buildings. Be conscious of any buildings that become vacant or derelict as these represent business opportunities.
  • Intermediaries. Maintain close association with the intermediaries of the real estate business. Intermediaries include such people as financiers, bankers, insurers, builders, architects, engineers, lawyers and accountants. Their clients will at times require the services of real estate agents and a recommendation from these people is invaluable. You, in turn, can introduce your clients to such intermediaries and sound business relationships which benefit both parties are established and maintained in this way.
  • Newspaper Articles. Articles that are prepared by you or in which you are quoted, bring your name or your firm’s name to the attention of the public.
  • Direct Mailing. The regular mailing of letters that canvass for properties, when sent to a suitable group of possible investors or property owners, frequently result in listings.
  • Private Advertisements. These can indicate properties that are on the market and the owners may be encouraged to employ your services if initial advertisements have not been successful.
  • Developers/Builders
  • Neighbours in immediate area
  • Property Managements (Rent Roll)
  • Entrepreneurial Activity
  • Previous Vendors & Purchasers

Identifying Ownership

When you discover a property that you feel could provide a business or listing opportunity, it is necessary to identify the owner. The following avenues can often provide this information.

  • Your own office (In each agency there is substantial information from previous transactions and property ownership which can be consulted).
  • Local Government Records
  • Land Title Information
  • Electoral Rolls
  • The Telephone Directory (including the Yellow Pages in the case of businesses)

Further to this there are many other sources of information to be used when identifying owners. These are:

  • Property ownership lists
  • Historic Lands Sales Records
  • Use other agents signboards as a reason to talk to adjacent owners in the locale
  • Commercial property is transacted to a cycle of investment and history shows that it is about every 5 years. Look at the old sales records in your area for the next cycle of potential sales.
  • Tenants will usually tell you the property owner if you ask
  • Directory boards in buildings are a great source of leasing intelligence
  • Business Telephone Lists and CEO contact names
  • Stock Exchange Information and updates
  • Company Searches for large businesses in your area
  • Newspaper Stories & Articles
  • Be willing to dare and try something new

To undertake this process you must be diligent and thorough in your activities so that you do not leave any ’stone unturned‘. Nothing is more frustrating that another agent’s sale or lease signboard appearing in your territory that you just covered last week.

The above information may seem logical; however it is commonly overlooked or not acted upon in most cases, given that many salespeople do not have the personal and sustained discipline needed for the task. The best commercial real estate agents and brokers use this model as their source of listing opportunity.

In closing we should say that this prospecting process does require a good database program to record and channel your ongoing findings. The value of a good database program is high in list of tools of a professional agent or broker working on commercial real estate. Good hunting!

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Makler Heidelberg

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FSBO – How to Make Sure You Sell Your Own Home Fast

Selling your house doesn’t have to be hard. Homes that are FSBO, Homes For Sale By Owner, is a great way to sell your house because you cut out the real estate agents and nasty commissions they take. However, in order to sell your house you do need to know a little about how to present your property and attract buyers. Throwing a FOR SALE listing up somewhere probably won’t stir up much interest and you’ll need to pay attention to the kinds of pictures you use and what information you put in your listing so you increase your chances of someone seeing your ad actually being interested and wanting to take a look. Don’t worry, none of this is really hard and you don’t have to be a slippery car salesman to sell your own house. All it takes is a little common sense and attention to detail.

Your listing needs to be informative. Think of what you would want to see in an ad if you were looking to buy a house. Pictures are a must in any listing and everyone knows that, but what most people don’t know is that you need to be careful as to what kind of pictures you use. You don’t have to show a picture of everything in and around your house. Show the most important and essential ones that would make someone want to come and see more of your property. Pictures of the shower or bathroom really aren’t needed. If anyone is seriously interested in buying your house, they probably won’t buy it just for the bathroom. Also be sure your pictures look good. How is the lighting? Are they too dark to make out what the picture is of? Make sure you label and give your pictures adequate descriptions. People want to know what they are looking at, it may seem obvious to you but that’s because you are the home owner.

Beyond making sure you have good pictures with good information, stop and think about what is in the surrounding area. Do you live in an area that has a famous landmark or scenic spot? If you’ve lived in the area for some time, it is possible that the tourist spots seem boring and out of date, but remember that many people looking to buy houses may not even be from your area and might be really interested when they find out what’s in your immediate area.

The key here is that you really need to try and make your FSBO as attractive as possible. Do you remember what you did the last time you went and bought a house? Did you buy the first one? There is probably a very good chance you looked at multiple homes that were for sale even before you began to decide on what you were looking for. There is probably also a very good chance that if a listing looked dull and uninteresting you just didn’t bother to call up and make an appointment to check it out. FSBO advertising can be very effective provided you pay attention to the above tips and just remember that the only way you’ll be able to create interest and sell your house is with an effective listing.

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For Sale by Owner: Off MLS Listing Is Risky Business

Since 2013, there has been an increase in sellers pre-selling properties and listing them off the Multiple Listing Services(MLS). Core Logic reported that in 2013, 53% of real estate transactions conducted in the U.S. were not listed on the MLS. Most sellers do not hold a real estate license, and are not permitted to use the MLS – the standard listing portal for a licensed real estate agent. Although buyer’s agents are willing to work with For Sale by Owner (FSBO) listings, they are not permitted to give the seller any advice or access to marketing.

Sellers who want to list a FSBO may be losing out on tens of thousands of dollars in real market value on a property, especially if they list properties without an up-to-date appraisal or current market research. Often a seller will list a FSBO based on the sale price of a neighbor’s home, which may or may not be the best choice for a comparable property. A local real estate agent lists properties continuously in their regional sales area and is best suited to offer a market comparison in the neighborhoods he or she covers. Remember, tax assessments, though readily available, are not the best tool for gauging a property’s true market value at any give point in time.

One nuance about FSBO sales that should give sellers pause is the fact that an experienced buyer’s agent may hold the upper hand in a FSBO real estate transaction. Why? The seller may not be familiar with state laws and fiduciary codes and/or ramifications of contract issues that crop up during negotiations. Even with a lawyer creating a real estate contract on a property, the final outcome of a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) real estate sale may be held up over a variety of issues. Experienced REALTORS know how to circumvent these roadblocks quickly and keep a property transaction on track.

FSBO is Not Equal to a REALTOR’s Advertising Potential

Working with a professional REALTOR is worth the commission under these circumstances. A FSBO has a limited opportunity for marketing, becoming more heavily reliant upon web real estate portal sites such as With a seasoned agent, advertising penetration for a property is far greater. For example, I list my properties for sale in Williamsburg, Virginia on four MLS websites. This gives my sellers and extensive area of coverage so that other agents can see the listing and buyers on the MLS can also see it. My MLS listings are also republished on, which is owned by the National Association of Realtors and is also a reputable website in the industry.

My broker, Coldwell Banker Traditions, also has a listing mechanism on its locally based website, where my client properties receive excellent visibility. Not all REALTORS list properties this widely on the Web, so check with individual real estate agents and ask them for specific information about advertising provided for client listings through MLS and other venues on the Web.

There are other disadvantages to listing properties without an agent. If the owner happens to miss a showing with a potential buyer, he or she may miss the opportunity to sell a property altogether. For real estate sales in my territory, Southeastern Virginia, an owner is not permitted to use legal forms created by the Virginia Association for Realtors (VAR), unless they are licensed. Real estate forms are formally copyrighted by the VAR and sanctioned for use only by membership. This puts the seller at another distinct disadvantage in the transaction. Having to create legal forms anew is not only time consuming, it may increase costs for an attorney.

Besides some of the more obvious advantages to listing with a licensed real estate agent, there is also a common misconception that the use of a real estate lawyer will save money versus paying agents‘ commissions. The seller still has to pay the buyers agent fees (which is variable by state and type of real estate transaction). All FSBO sales contracts must be created and finalized with a lawyer. The sales process involves having the buyer read the contract and make changes. The lawyer revises the contract appropriately and it is presented at closing. Lawyers in Virginia charge far more to create an original contract (in my experience) than the commission on the seller’s side – in most instances. Sellers who want to go it alone should seriously consider the lawyer’s fees may be more expensive, and are largely unpredictable, depending upon the number of legal forms needed, length of negotiations and additional contract requirements.

Sellers need to forgo the FSBO and get smart in a real estate market that is definitely on the move in many regions of the U.S. Pricing is trending higher in the 2014 market and inventories are low in many markets. So sellers need to have expert advice on pricing real estate at current market value now – more than ever. In addition to potential loss of profits from home sale, the seller may easily run up against legal and contract issues that may not be quickly resolved. Worse yet, these matters may be settled too late to adhere to the time limits on certain loans such as FHA and USDA. If the seller does not know what they’re doing and timeframes are not heeded, this can cause the buyer to forfeit a loan. In turn, the property loses a good buyer and valuable time on the market.

Be wise and don’t engage in risky business – listing a property off the MLS or without a licensed agent. It is best to have the representation of a licensed agent for a variety of reasons. The main reasons are: the seller will have expert advice, will most likely sell the property sooner and the property will command a fair market price. Say no to FSBO. Instead, seek out a capable real estate professional in your region for piece of mind.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

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