The firm, operated by President Katherine Watson, is the management arm of Manakin Farms Inc., which owns retail and office properties including shopping centers and full office buildings.
Recently, Manakin Property Services sought a way to ensure their properties were managed and marketed to achieve the highest and most consistent returns. That meant finding the best potential tenants for their properties; understanding their time-on-market expectations; reporting on market conditions to tenants and the firm’s board of directors; and making decisions about competing properties based on verified data.
The company also identified a need to better understand local market demographics and competitive activity to stay on top of lease transactions.
“We wanted to be first-to-know when it came to determining retail and office movement and expansion, to identify potential lease candidates quickly,” explained Watson. “Our goal was to drive faster leasing cycles for the highest lease rate possible.”
Manakin Property Services turned to CoStar Suite®, which connects commercial real estate professionals with up-to-date, verified information on rent and sale comps, occupancies, concessions, construction plans and quality visual content.
As part of the suite, Manakin Property Services began using:
- CoStar Property®, a searchable, full-market inventory of properties and spaces of commercial real estate, including office, industrial, retail, multifamily and land;
- CoStar Tenant®, a searchable database of commercial tenant information, verified by the industry’s largest professional research organization; and
- CoStar Comps®, the industry’s largest database of commercial real estate lease and sale comparables including up to one million verified sales records, across all property types, and aerial and map overlays that provide an accurate view of market activity.
During the firm’s first month of using CoStar, they experienced an unexpected earnings of some $240,000, thanks to a new-found ability to access in-depth market research, comparables and reports.
“I was looking for a tenant for our commercial space, and I initially surmised that we could likely find a lease deal for $10 per square foot,” explained Watson. “I felt this was a bit low, so I did further research in the CoStar database.”
After compiling relevant comparables and market information herself, Watson realized that similar spaces within a three-mile radius of their property were all leasing in the $18-per-square-foot range. UsingCoStar, she created a professional report within minutes, which shethen showed a potential client – providing clear proof of what themarket was dictating.
“CoStar tracks all properties for sale and lease, arming me withto-date information I felt confident using,” said Watson. “And the custom reports I can produce in CoStar are easy to create, providejust the right mix of data, and help me present my findings in a more professional way.
The results were significant. “We were dealing with a 9,000 square-
foot space on a ten-year lease – and since we were able to clearlyshow comparable leasing activity, we were able to sign ourprospective tenant at the best price, with both parties feeling thatthey won,” explained Watson. “CoStar gave me the assurance Ineeded to show the tenant exactly what was happening in the area,speak knowledgably about current lease terms and amounts, andback the findings with a report from a trusted industry source.”
“We earned $240,000 in our first month of using CoStar,” she said. “This is unbelievable for a company with $1 million - $2 million in yearly revenue. Beyond that, CoStar has boosted my confidence – I’m quickly prepared to speak to any prospective tenant knowing I have the latest data at my fingertips.”
A True Business Investment
In addition to the increase deal value the firm has experienced, Manakin Property Services has also been able to cut its overall research time significantly.
“With CoStar, we’re empowered to do our own research quickly. For example, what previously took me one day to research takes me an hour at most,” explained Watson.
As any property management professional knows, time spent on research means time taken away from developing new business or servicing existing tenants. Watson notes that after using CoStar for a short time, she realized it was an “investment for my company, not an expense.”
“We have cut our research time by 70 percent, thanks to CoStar,” she said.
“In just one month, I was able to show my board of directors the true value of CoStar, and now they’re sold too,” Watson continues. “CoStar also gives our firm the opportunity to improve our negotiation position by connecting the most timely performance reports for rate changes, new availabilities, and construction. We can generate leads faster by understanding who’s entering the market, why dynamics may be shifting, and what’s driving supply and demand.”
In the future, Manakin Property Services plans to use CoStar to identify true owners of shopping centers and retail properties, so the firm can connect with and speak to the right people about providing property management services. The firm also plans to use CoStar to research potential commercial property purchase opportunities, to augment its portfolio and return on investment.
Says Watson: “Thanks to CoStar, I can now focus on taking our company to the next level.”