January 27, 2021

Proposals are one of the most important marketing materials in the commercial real estate industry. The goal of these documents is to convince the owner of a property to let the broker negotiate the transaction and represent the owner in the sale or lease of the property or listing.

But writing winning proposals can be a challenge. Brokers have to sell themselves personally as experts along with the business services and strategies they can provide to the client. So, here are some tips to help you put together a high-quality commercial real estate proposal that will beat the competition.

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1. Start with an executive summary

At the beginning of your proposal, after the table of contents, you need to include an executive summary that provides a high-level overview of the factors involved in the sale or lease of a property or listing.

It should be no longer than 1 or 2 pages and should be written after the rest of the proposal is completed. This is your first impression—so make it a good one.

An example Executive Summary page from a proposal created in Buildout
Example executive summary

2. Define the property

Immediately after the executive summary, you will need to detail the property information, including descriptions of the property, site, exterior and interior, and any unique features or components.

This section of the proposal should show the client that you are defining the property correctly and present opportunities and selling features for your marketing initiatives.

Pro tip: Implementing an easy-to-digest structure like SWOT (strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats) can help you quickly communicate a detailed picture of your property.

An example Property Description page from a proposal created in Buildout
Example property information

3. Provide location information

The next section of your proposal should review location information of the property or listing, including regional, location, and aerial maps.

This section of the proposal should be limited in writing and should mainly contain visuals such as maps. Be sure to note location selling features for your marketing initiatives, too.

Pro tip: Including logos of surrounding amenities that add value to the property is a nice touch in demonstrating your understanding of a location.

An example Retailer Map page from a proposal created in Buildout
Example location information
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4. Summarize the existing property market

After you have provided property and location information, you will need to summarize the existing property market. To do this, you will need to include a financial analysis, sales comparables, rent comparables, and data on demographics.

The goal is to educate your client on where their property sits with the current market conditions and set expectations in terms of interest and price.

Pro tip: Speak to trends on the submarket level. Is the area recently attractive to TAMI tenants (tech/advertising/media/information)? Why?

An example Financial Summary page from a proposal created in Buildout
Example financial analysis

5. Make specific marketing recommendations

One of the most important pieces of your proposal is the marketing recommendations, including the marketing timeline, documents, property website, campaigns, signage, and syndication information.

It is important to be as specific as possible with your recommendations, ensure they are tailored to the specific listing or property, and stick to them.

Pro tip: Provide examples of successful assets you’ve used for previous listings to give your prospect a clear understanding of how you’ll represent them.

An example Marketing Sample page from a proposal created in Buildout
Example marketing plan

6. Give some details about you and your team

While the majority of your proposal should be about the property and the client, you can use the back of the proposal to provide details on your staff and your office.

Be clear and concise in this section, include information about your fees, and make it obvious what you will bring to the table. 

Pro tip: Consider tailoring this version of your professional profile to the specific property. What similar deals have you and your brokerage closed that you can speak to in your experience?

An example Advisor Bio page from a proposal created in Buildout
Example advisor bios

7. Don’t forget to use visuals

Every proposal should include quality visuals, photos, and graphs throughout. You want to avoid using too much written content and allow the visuals to guide your client through the proposal. More than likely, the buyer or seller will not read these documents in their entirety, so visual representations are key.

An example Additional Photos page from a proposal created in Buildout
Example visuals

Create winning commercial real estate proposals and marketing docs with Buildout

To get more information on proposals or other crucial commercial marketing materials you can’t live without, check out our blog on the top 5 CRE marketing docs.

For more updates like this and future coverage of tools in the CRE industry and other brokerage insights, subscribe to our blog.

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