Site Selection Criteria Questions that Uncover What the Client Really Wants

solid_site_selection_criteria_avoids_the_wrong_choiceLocation, location, location! That has been the mantra in real estate since the industry was in its infancy. However, when it comes to site selection, choosing the site is really the final step in the process. To find the best fit location for your commercial real estate clients, start with a clear understanding of their site selection criteria, then work the process backwards. 

Unfortunately, clients are not always forthcoming about their success requirements – this is rarely deliberate and often a matter of something simple, such as focusing one important detail rather than the big picture. Asking good questions leads your clients to reveal the real criteria for site selection that guides you to the perfect site. 

The Importance of Agreeing on Site Selection Criteria
When a commercial real estate agent takes on a new client, it is only natural that they want to please them by helping find the perfect space for their needs. This process is easiest when the agent and client spend some time mapping out exactly what the client's needs entail. Here are a few key questions about site selection criteria the client must answer before the search can actually begin. And here are some tools to help select properties.

  • What Zoning Requirements are Needed? 
    No matter how perfect the building is, it won’t work if the business will not  comply with the zoning. Getting variances or changes in zoning laws can be a lengthy, expensive, and sometimes difficult task. Knowing the client’s true needs and willingness to attempt a variance are key to finding a suitable location.
  • Is Safety for Employees, Customers, Clients or Area Residents Impacted by a Particular Location? 
    Some spaces that seem perfect should still be skipped if safety is a concern. If the crime rate is unusually high, or the building is located in an area that floods, or the area is prone to other problems such as wildfires, it is doubtful that it will foster a good work or customer environment to help the business succeed over the long term. Try to estimate for the impact of the business on the surrounding area as well as the potential impact of the area on the business.
  • Will it be Possible to Find Qualified Employees in the Area? 
    This is an excellent illustration of the importance of site selection criteria. For example, if someone is looking to open up a manufacturing facility that requires hundreds of employees who must be qualified to run highly technical equipment, but the town is very small, with few available employees, the business could struggle to find skilled workers. Even though the amount of the wages to be paid out would be much less in the small town, the lack of trained workers should be factored into business plan. It’s key to understand not just the client needs, but what training programs and assistance are available from the local municipality for that laborshed. 

In addition to these questions, the site selection criteria that the agent and the client agree on should include information about their plans for the future, access to necessary supplies and raw materials, as well as considerations of competition in the selected area.

The Most Important Site Selection Criteria to Discuss When a Client Seems Evasive
The client that seems dismissive of properties that seem to meet all other basic site selection criteria may be experiencing difficulties of a financial nature. Even when they have the necessary loan guarantees to purchase or lease a building, they may lacking or trying to secure funding for the actual operating expenses.

Commercial real estate agents should be sure that sufficient information is obtained to verify the overall financial status of the client during the initial conversation to determine site selection criteria. While these questions can be uncomfortable, helping the client to be forthcoming with this information will provide the best possible option for the agent to offer helpful advice. 

Selling Commercial Property

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