National Real Estate Investor recently sponsored a webinar, in conjunction with AppFolio Investment Management, to address strategies for maintaining continuity in the commercial real estate industry and to ease investor fears during the COVID-19 crisis. The following are some of the key excerpts of the session, which was led by Michael Sebastian, Industry Principal for the California-based company.
The prevailing concerns among investors during the current environment focus on the ability to maintain cash flow, the difficulty to complete on-going fundraising and the negative impact social distancing has on tenant businesses.
From an investor relations perspective, every avenue should be addressed to maintain investor confidence and reassure them during this period. Because there exists a general lack of confidence across all asset classes, owners are urged to prioritize transparency with and accessibility to all financial records to strengthen and maintain trust. This includes, when feasible, providing on-demand access to all information combined with timely and transparent reporting. Now, more than ever, owners are urged to use the white glove treatment with their investment groups.
It is vital to maintain the safe and continuous operations of assets so, especially for teams that are not accustomed to working from home, identify technology and security processes that allow this to occur and ensure productivity and continuity. Evaluate and adjust business models often. While some investors are battening down the hatches and operating in a survival mode, others are positioning themselves to pounce on opportunities in the future when the dust has settled. Above all else, asset performance and asset safety are key. Continue to collect rent, maintain close communication with property managers, communicate frequently with your tenants and share asset performance details with investors.