How to search 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 should regularly obtain marketable listings. Listings are the “stock on the shelf” agents and your income now and in the future depends on both the quality and quantity of the listings you obtain. The more listings you have, the more buyers and renters you will attract. This makes bidding much easier for you. More listings means you dominate your market and lessen the impact of your competition.

In commercial and industrial property, listings can commonly include:

  • Land suitable for commercial, industrial or retail development.
  • Commercial, industrial and retail buildings for rent
  • Companies 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 customer base

The secret to success in commercial and industrial real estate is having your own client base. Those clients who work comfortably with you and who respond positively to your advice regarding their real estate requirements are the clients you need to develop. Because your fees are paid by clients, not 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 individuals and organizations readjust their property portfolios to meet emerging real estate requirements, they will continue to bring you listings. Plus, if they’re satisfied customers, they’ll recommend you to other business leaders, friends and family, bringing you more business.

Knowing the Real Estate Market

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

  • Constantly roam your territory according to a plan and be known by businesses and people in the area.
  • Know every property that is for sale or rent in your territory
  • Maintain a list of property transactions that occur and have occurred in the last 3 years
  • Keep an eye on private owner transactions
  • Involve your office management and other team members with what you are doing
  • Additionally, you need to understand the factors that motivate businesses in your area to move to another space, and you need to be aware of the forces that encourage investors to buy and sell in your area or campus.


So what makes a successful agent or broker from the perspective of the client, and someone the client wants to do business with? It’s an interesting question to ask from a clients’ perspective, but history shows that the factors that stand out as being of prime importance to clients are the agent’s knowledge of the market and the quality of advice provided. Agent negotiation skills and the ability to act quickly are also important and rank high. Compliance with client instructions, property marketing skills and confidentiality were considered to be of slightly less importance.

It is clear from this analysis that the factors that 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. Homeowners look for agents and brokers who know the market and have readily available filing information on companies and investors looking to make immediate decisions on the properties they require, own or occupy. Your clients want an agent who can immediately bring a listed property to their attention.

Therefore, at listing time, being able to communicate effectively with the owner about the commercial and industrial market and the prospects that are available in their database could certainly lead to a successful and hopefully ongoing relationship. .


Where do you find new listings and how do you convert them? This list can help. As you get to know your customers and the geographic area of ​​the market in which you operate, opportunities for listings will present themselves. For example:

  • Real Estate Transactions. The successful conclusion of any real estate transaction in your region means that both the buyer and the seller may be looking at other options. Take advantage of these opportunities.
  • Settlement. A failed business is a prime target for agency activity.
  • Vacant Buildings. Keep an eye out for any buildings that become vacant or abandoned, as they represent business opportunities.
  • Intermediaries. Maintain close association with real estate business intermediaries. Intermediaries include people such as financiers, bankers, insurers, builders, architects, engineers, lawyers, and accountants. Sometimes your clients will require the services of real estate agents and a recommendation from these people is invaluable. You, in turn, can introduce your clients to these intermediaries, thus establishing and maintaining strong business relationships that benefit both parties.
  • Newspaper articles. Articles prepared by you or in which you are quoted draw public attention to your name or that of your company.
  • Direct mail. The regular mailing of property solicitation letters, when sent to an appropriate group of prospective investors or homeowners, often result in listings.
  • Private Ads. These can indicate properties that are on the market, and owners can be encouraged to engage their services if initial advertisements have been unsuccessful.
  • Developers/Builders
  • Neighbors in the immediate area
  • Property management (rental listing)
  • Entrepreneurial Activity
  • Suppliers and previous buyers

property identification

When you discover a property that you think could provide you with 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 of previous transactions and ownership of the property that can be consulted).
  • local government records
  • Land Title Information
  • Electoral Rolls
  • The Telephone Directory (including the Yellow Pages in the case of companies)

In addition to this, there are many other sources of information that can be used to identify the owners. These are:

  • Property Ownership Lists
  • Historic Land Sales Records
  • Use other agent’s signs as a reason to talk to adjacent property owners on site
  • Commercial property trades on an investment cycle and history shows that it is approximately every 5 years. Look at old sales records in your area for the next cycle of potential sales.
  • Tenants will generally tell the property owner if you ask
  • Directory boards in buildings are a great source of leasing intelligence
  • Business Phone Lists and CEO Contact Names
  • Stock Market Information and Updates
  • Company Large company searches in your area
  • Stories and newspaper articles
  • Being willing to dare and try something new.

To undertake this process you must be diligent and thorough in your activities so as not to leave any ‘stones unturned’. Nothing is more frustrating than another agent’s for sale or rent sign showing up on your turf that you just covered last week.

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

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

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