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Commercial Real Estate in COVID-19 Times: Adjusting Your Sails to a Nasty Tempest

Let’s face it. These are crunch times. With no end in sight and policymakers are in a back and forth of sorts, the coronavirus pandemic is keeping us in virtual prisons in our own homes. And as the cases of those infected add up, so do the cases of business going down. So much that experts are now comparing this pandemic to the Great Depression in the 1930s. Then, over 15 million Americans were unemployed and more than half of the country’s banks were out of business.

And in the process, commercial real estate took a fall. As tenants started to feel the pinch, rentals slowly ebbed. Many businesses folded.

Knowing how to navigate the waters if you’re into space rentals is a must. While many entrepreneurs have seen their business trickle, retail is one bright spot that has grown stronger. Indeed, if you’re into real estate rentals you must take action now that things haven’t turned for the worse. Taking a page from those who have sailed fine through these rough seas should bid you well.

Adjust to the Demand

Casting your strategy in stone can be your downfall in these times. As trumpeted by such life-changing books as “Who Moved My Cheese”, you need to adjust your business to the demands of the time. Forcing the issue can only lose you more patronage as renters feel the pinch.

As the great military strategist Sun-Tzu declares one must adjust his strategy to the needs of the time. A general must avoid the army of the enemy when it is at its strongest and fight only when it is at its weakest.

In this regard, certain adjustments have to be made. For starters, adjust your rental prices. That can show your current tenant your care about their business. Additionally, that can be a come-on for potential ones.

Another route is to sit down with your clients. After they show proof of how bad business is, you may want to consider having them pay in installments. That can be a breather.

Or if they can still pay but need more time, then grant them. Just make sure you agree to a certain date. Know you could end up choking them if you insist they pay up. In the end, you could lose a captive client.

On the other end of the spectrum, this might be the best time for contract extensions. Know that with the travel bans in effect, many may not be able to leave the country. Thus, extending their contract with you will sound like a viable option.

Reach Out to Multiple Channels

You will have to widen your options, marketing-wise and business-wise.

For one, exploring more viable forms of rentals could bid you well at this stage. Government housing assistance such as Section 8 real estate investment can go a long way in propping up your cash flow problems. Know that Section 8 allows you to invest in a property and earn well even in hard times. Created by the government to fight the Great Depression of the 1930s, this program gives potential tenants a flexible program of payments while at the same time making sure you get a healthy amount of ROI over time. In short, less hassle for you.

As a real estate investor, it’s high time you break barriers and connect with more partners. So the goal is to have your listings visible in as many outlets online (and offline) as possible.

Explore housing rental platforms such as HousingAnywhere. Moreover, search for housing groups in social media. Proceed with caution though. Use platforms that do not charge an exorbitant fee. Or you could be losing precious cash.

aerial view of real estate

Embrace Wider Audience

It’s easy to lose hope when things don’t go your way. But this is the time you tighten your belt and get aggressive in finding clients. You can do that by examining your current preferences. If you’ve been targeting a specific set of clients who has the money to burn you might want to explore other clients who still can pay but may belong to other demographics such as millennials.

Additionally, expand your rental policies. Perhaps it won’t harm your business if you drop that minimum-stay requirement for first-time tenants. Instead, accept rentals from businesses who might want to stay longer or shorter than usually prescribed.

Make the most of online advertisements while you’re at it. You can ask an expert to help you with Google Ads. The good news about these target-specific ads is you don’t get to pay if no one clicks on your ad. You only pay when there’s action. Reason enough why it’s also called pay-per-click marketing.

As always, the prized catch always goes to the person who is willing to do what it takes to get it. And that’s you when you do your due diligence. Sailing on smoothly even in stormy waters.

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