If you have to manage more than one or two locations, your company needs full-fledged lease administration software. While Excel and Outlook might be adequate to track one or two locations, even small commercial real estate portfolios contain too many details and too many critical dates for you to be able to trust general purpose software. Furthermore, given the increasing stringency of audits, using the right software can help to keep your books in the right shape while also maximizing your portfolios efficiency. Here are five features to look for in your corporate real estate applications.
Critical Date Management
To a large extent, the primary task of your lease administration software is to serve as a reminder system. Your portfolio runs on key dates like expirations, renewals and cancelations, and missing any of them could cost thousands or millions of additional rent as well as exposing your company's operations to major disruptions. Good software provides a central repository for all of the action dates for your leases and provides ways to remind you in advance. It should also be able to send you warning through text message or email, ensuring that you don't miss a date even if you don't log into your software every day.
Along with calendar management, administering leases requires a great deal of paper-shuffling. Your software should serve as a specialized file cabinet, allowing you to store digital copies of every document related to a given site and give you access whenever you need it. This way, you're never far from your files and you never have to worry about a mishap destroying them or causing them to get lost.
Occupancy Cost Analysis
Lease administration software can also help contribute directly to your bottom line by helping you manage your real estate expenditures. With the documents and dates that you enter, it becomes a repository of data that it can use to compare your sites against each other and help you understand what you are spending where and how you are spending it. With this data, you can make better decisions about how to spend your real estate dollar.
A select few lease administration software packages go outside your organization and also look at your portfolio in the context of the wider market. Instead of just telling you what you're spending in Norfolk relative to what you're spending in New York, a tool with market-based benchmarking lets you see what you spend relative to others in the same market. That information enables you to negotiate with landlords more confidently and, hopefully, achieve lower overall occupancy costs.
The bad old days of lease administration software that tied you to your desktop or your company's local area network are long gone. Many of today's applications run in the cloud, making them available anywhere that you can get a suitably secure Internet connection. Some are compatible with mobile devices, giving you the same access to your portfolio from a smartphone or tablet that you would get on a laptop computer. This lets you be more productive in more places.
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