In-house due diligence and research provides little room for differentiation. That happens by the time-tested method of boots on the ground research.
Touring the property is the time where you can make personal discoveries that are difficult to find remotely, helping to formulate a more complete story. Personal experiences create emotional responses, which can fuel you with a passion that’s simply not achievable through pictures and spreadsheets.
Consider a traffic flow. You can read a table or map that says the AADT (average annual daily traffic) in front of your subject property is 35K. This should give you a good idea of what that traffic looks, sounds and feels like based on past experiences (assuming you have a reasonable understanding of traffic counts). But actually seeing it, hearing it and experiencing the types of vehicles passing by or stopping in front of your building gives context to that 35K. Context is essential in crafting a unique story that helps you connect with your prospective client, and can give you an edge over remote competitors.
Consider the following areas of discovery when touring a property, and be prepared to capture them while onsite so you can craft a better story when back at the office.
- Property condition
How is the parking, the walk to the building, the entry way, the elevators, the bathrooms? Can you envision the daily experience and translate that for your tenant, prospective tenants or buyers?
- Space condition
Are the spaces move-in ready or do they need tenant improvements? Is there adequate lighting? Do the property specs such as column spacing and clear heights actually match what’s recorded in your property record?
Are the tenants in the rent roll actually in the space stated?
- Neighborhood condition
What's it like to walk the sidewalks around the property? Is it noisy, peaceful, exciting, quiet? Are there any unsightly neighbors or NIMBYs that may turn tenants or your client off? Is there major construction going on that may have an effect on the property for an extended period of time? What will be the final outcome of that construction?
- Visibility and access
Can you see the cars entering and leaving the property? Are there accessibility issues that prohibit or deter a visit from potential customers? Can large trucks easily come and go without Steve McQueen-like maneuvering? These things may not be deal breakers, but they're important enough to build a story around.
Take the image below. What seems like a pleasant shopping center, complete with big box space and a car-less main street, becomes a bit of a traffic nightmare when you see the red lines representing major choke points that exist from lunch to early evening.
Additional observations include the prominence of the signage and how well it can be seen from major roadways that feed the property. Also, observe and consider the condition of the signage and is there room for your client’s name.
Each of the above areas of interest or concern should be recorded in your CRM. Apto enables you to capture these insights in the Apto Mobile app. Simply pull up the record and record as you methodically move throughout the property.
Snap away! Navigate to your subject property and take advantage of of the “Add Photo” option to snap images of everything from entryways, placards, tenant directories, interesting features, problems, etc. Additionally, pull up the property’s main contact and record tour notes with the “Add Activity” feature using your phone’s native speech to text feature. Everything will be immediately viewable by your team back at the office.
This is your opportunity put some space between you and your competition. Take advantage of this time to develop your story through personal experience, and then write that story in a way that speaks to your prospective client.