Six Best Practices from JLL’s Expanded Agency Leasing Team

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Feb. 12, 2016

In the fourth quarter of 2015, JLL Houston announced the expansion of its Agency Leasing group with the addition of four new professionals: John Pruitt, Eric Siegrist, J.P. Hutcheson and Jessica Ochoa.

Joining Chrissy Wilson and Russell Hodges, the addition of the four-person team raised JLL’s Agency Leasing portfolio in Houston to 13.5 million square feet.

We had the chance to ask them their top piece of advice for owners and investors. In a list of best practices from JLL Houston’s new Agency Leasing team, here’s what they had to say:

Make sure the vacant space is in excellent showing condition. You have one shot to impress the tenant while they are touring many other buildings.

A space needs to be presentation quality. If the existing improvements can be re-used then make sure the space is spotless: clean carpeting, paint the walls, replace broken ceiling tiles, and make sure all lights and blinds are in good working condition. If the space is old or shabby, then demolish it to slab and “white-box” it with fresh paint, a new ceiling and updated lighting. It does cost money, but it is better than showing an aged vacancy.

John Pruitt, EVP – Experience: 30 years – Portfolio: 5 million SF

Landlords should remain “flexible.”

Note, that doesn’t mean roll over – it means flexible. Most issues that come up during a tenant’s lease term – for both tenants and landlords – are not issues that were even contemplated when the lease was drafted. Fluctuating markets usually equate to fluctuating tenant needs, and the landlords that are able to work with their tenants most often end up keeping, renewing and expanding them.

Chrissy Wilson, SVP – Experience: 35 years – Portfolio: 2.5 million SF

Observe the Golden Rule. 

The pendulum of leverage between landlord and tenant is always in motion. So all parties should observe the Golden Rule; it helps produce a transaction that everyone can feel satisfied with. Ultimately, these are the types of transactions that result in long-term occupancy.

Eric Siegrist, SVP – Experience: 18 years – Portfolio: 7.8 million SF

Do your homework on prospective and existing tenants and expect them to do the same of owners.

Taking the time to understand the financial condition of prospective and existing tenants is an investment worth making. Knowing the intricacies of a tenant’s business and having a clear picture of their credit mitigates risk as a landlord and generally results in longer-term, mutually beneficial arrangements. This practice is particularly important in a difficult market where even companies ordinarily perceived as excellent tenants may experience undue financial stress.

JP Hutcheson, SVP – Experience: 12 years – Portfolio: 5 million SF

Communication, Communication, Communication.

Like a good location, good communication is just as important. This not only means timely responses, accurate info, and clear and simple communication; it also means being an engaged listener and being able to read your audience. Good communication improves decision making and problem solving, and helps build trust and strong connections with your tenants and prospects. These sharpened skills help you stand out from your competition.

Jessica Ochoa, SVP – Experience: 12 years – Portfolio: 5.5 million SF

Use best-in-class marketing collateral and a targeted leasing approach to differentiate your building. 

The common areas and available space within your asset should always be in tip-top form, as first impressions are everything. Poor building management is glaringly obvious and can turn prospects away even before they step foot outside their vehicles. A well-managed, well-maintained asset will show well, attract tenants and enhance the viability of your investment long term. But don’t underestimate the power of great marketing to drive traffic to your asset. Use best-in-class marketing collateral along with targeted messaging to sell the vision. Tailor your leasing and marketing approach to each tenant, clearly communicating how your building meets their business’ specific real estate needs. Focusing on this is crucial in a softening market dealing with oversupply.

Russell Hodges, VP – Experience: 11 years – Portfolio: 2.5 million SF

For more information about JLL Houston Agency Leasing, please visit the firm’s Web page: http://www.jll.com/houston/en-us/services/investors/agency-leasing

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