Dec 21, 2012

Corporate Real Estate Tour Checklist

By Don Catalano


CRE_Tour_ChecklistAs with most things in business, having a well-defined plan makes site tours more effective. Combining planning with preparation is especially helpful when looking at competing locations. Coming with a clear description of what you need moving forward can make it easier to compare the new site to the existing ones. Here are a few things you wont find on any of thsoe property flyers, but can help make a tour more productive:

Bring an existing space "cheat sheet."

To make a tour successful, corporate real estate executives should always have information on their existing spaces handy to support quick comparisons. The information to bring varies depending on the type of property, but should include building metrics like rentable square footage, usable square footage, clear height, and the number of doors. Useful cost metrics to have handy include rents and CAMs, while performance metrics like sales per square foot or utilization can help with doing on-site estimating.  If you have a dedicated commercial real estate software, a printed report (or better yet, an iPad) should have everything you need. 

Visit at different times.

The office space that has a great buzz at lunchtime might also be a horrific snarl at 5:15 pm when everyone is trying to leave. Conversely, the retail space that you see in the morning might be busy while, in the evening hours, everyone is driving by on the other side of the street. The best corporate real estate executives try to tour spaces with an eye towards how they will actually be used.


Bring an architect or space planner.

Regardless of what the end goal is for a particular space, having an expert in space utilization can make tours much more productive. Experts with trained eyes can spot issues like a space that is too narrow to accommodate the desired number of workstations or a warehouse with docks that are inconveniently located or spaced. Given that these technical issues can significantly impact a given space's usability and cost of occupancy, including them in the tour will yield long-term benefits.


Look for reusable items.

When contemplating new space, look at its current configuration. A space that comes with pre-built systems can be much less expensive to build-out than space in cold, dark shell condition.


Focus on the condition of common areas.

Corporate real estate tenants have a great deal of control over what happens within their demising walls. The common areas of a building, however, are outside of a tenant's control even though they can have a large impact on customers' and employees' perceptions of the company.


Tour the surrounding area.

The suitability of a corporate real estate portfolio goes well beyond the actual leased spaces. Touring the surrounding area not only identifies which amenities are nearby and how easy or hard access to major roads can be, but also grants a deeper understanding of looming issues in the area related to new developments or demographic shifts changing the suitability of a space. 


Here are a few other articles to check out:

Tips Before Leasing Corporate Space

Five Practices for a Great Property Tour

Understanding Usable vs. Rentable Square Footage


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Don Catalano

Don Catalano