Translations Blog

Evelyn Ward

June 30, 2023

In 2023, a broker needs more than market knowledge and strong negotiation skills to deliver value for a commercial property: Flexibility and adaptability have become essential qualities to break through the noise and operate ahead of the curve. And that begins with a willingness to do things differently than in the past.

What the world needs now
The journey of any deal, in my case office leasing or land acquisition, begins with extensive groundwork. This ranges from scouring local government databases to sourcing off-market property options to traveling different markets, gathering insight that is distilled into a holistic client report. Although it can be arduous, investing time and effort on the front end helps lay the foundation for success, and you gain valuable knowledge and relationships along the way.

Whether at the early stage of an engagement or further into a deal, the importance of due diligence cannot be overstated. No leaf can be left unturned when pursuing a comprehensive understanding of the properties you represent and the market conditions under which they operate. Consistent, focused efforts equip you with accurate and reliable information that demonstrates expertise, value and a commitment to your clients’ interests.  

Here's an example: One of most nuanced sectors of commercial real estate is land and the entitlements required to make it usable. The knowledge of utilities, governmental controls, future roadways and environmental factors play a key role in a user’s utility of a piece of property. Sellers want to give less time for due diligence, which means more work needs to be done prior to putting a property under contract and verifying a desired use will be approved. Of course, nothing moves quickly in the municipal world, so educating both sides of what’s realistic – even if you only represent one side – is important for making and keeping deals together, as well as building trust.

Innovation, sweet innovation
Relying on traditional marketing approaches to secure and retain tenants is no longer enough. To stand out from the competition at a time when workplace strategies are shifting and the office market is experiencing a flight to quality, brokers must leverage creative and multi-channel marketing efforts.

In Houston, even the highest quality office properties face an abundance of competition because occupier preferences are met with stunning renovations and a plethora of amenities at dozens of properties across the city. When developing a leasing strategy, I work closely with my marketing team to cultivate fresh ways to capture the attention of potential tenants. We have implemented scavenger hunts to pull tenant rep brokers into touring spec suites at a property, social media challenges, giveaways, open house tours and other engaging activities that have led to signed leases.

Creativity doesn’t have to be expensive
New marketing strategies do not always equate to expanding budgets. There are strategic approaches we’ve found to be just as effective – and in some cases more effective – than traditional lavish outreach campaigns. This may involve leveraging social media platforms, creating engaging virtual property tours, or exploring other digital marketing channels. Ultimately, the goal is to reach a broader audience and showcase properties in unique and compelling ways, increasing their chances of successful leasing outcomes. That means closing major deals – even in challenging times.

The commercial real estate industry is not immune to headwinds, and negative news dominates the headlines. However, brokers who embody adaptability, grit and ingenuity can still achieve remarkable success. I like to think of each transaction as playing a game of 3-D chess – you’ll never close unless you look at it from all angles, including turning it upside down.

With nearly 20 years of commercial brokerage experience, Evelyn Ward focuses on agency leasing for office product, as well as tenant and owner/user representation throughout the greater Houston area. Her attention to detail, tenacity and passion for service has resulted in numerous long-term clients.


commercial real estate 
agency leasing
tenant advisory
consulting services

Evelyn Ward

Senior Vice President

Houston, Texas

(713) 270-3352