8 Tips to Improve Your Offering Memorandum
Preparing a professional real estate Offering Memorandum is a vital part of presenting your investment opportunity and can be a springboard to help close a deal. This may be the first time a prospective buyer or investor is viewing your company and its offerings, so its value cannot be overstated. Investing in a strong Offering Memorandum (OM) quickly establishes credibility and conveys key points about the opportunity through visual and informative content.
Although each OM should be customized to the property and the market it targets, we have drawn up a checklist of 8 tips you can use to help impress your investors and to give you an edge to quickly capture their interest on your next commercial real estate deal.
One of the most important design components of your offering memorandum design is readability; how easy it is to read your content. Nobody wants to read a wall of text-heavy paragraphs. Make your OM is engaging and accessible by paying careful consideration to:
- Font selection (this includes style, color, weight), simple fonts with good spacing work well
- Use a structured hierarchy for headings, subheadings, paragraph text, etc.
- Make sure your key points stand out with headings or bolded text
- Use bullet points to allow for quick scanning and keep readers focused on highlights that are short and snappy
2. High-Quality Imagery
People naturally pay more attention to visuals. Support your content with high-quality, professional photos that can help evoke emotion and add a “wow factor” to make for a stronger impression.
Professional photos of your property are the most important investment you can make. Make sure you have a few high resolution exterior and interior photos that can be used. If you don’t have an attractive building, you can rely on aerials, surrounding neighborhood photos and abstract stock images.
3. Writing style
Don’t neglect the writing style of your offering memorandum. It’s valuable to think about what you want to convey, and deliver the key concepts quickly, directly and clearly. Your writing needs to be articulate, informative and straight to the point.
- Eliminate fluff words (“very”, “really”) and weak adjectives
- Keep paragraphs short and get to the point quickly
- Include smart, well-written headings and supporting subheadings
- Make sure that grammar, spelling, punctuation and formatting is flawless. It’s worth going that extra mile by finding a professional copywriter or editor to review.
- Make no room for clumsy errors that can look unprofessional – edit ruthlessly and check that all the copy is accurate
4. Illustrated maps
Present the location of your property by incorporating a visual map or aerial of the property. If you customize the design with an illustrated map (rather than copy & paste from Google), it not only fits well with the rest of the design, but also looks more professional.
Use an overlay of labels or call-outs on the map to indicate nearby amenities, transportation, and corporate neighbors that surround your property.
5. Balance Your Layout
A well-designed layout can make a big impact on engaging the reader and how well your information is conveyed. The content design should not be overly complex, but rather present all of the components in an attractive and user-friendly way that “breathes” with enough space.
- Ensure there are enough margins and padding so the content “breathes”
- Use appropriate white space to keep the design uncluttered and draw the eye to the important elements
- Break up paragraphs and text with supporting visuals like photos, maps, tables.
- Include a cover page with a striking visual of the property to create a strong first impression
6. Design the Financials
It might be tempting, but don’t simply copy & paste your financials from Excel. Illustrate your tables and charts so that they are seamless and coherent with the overall look and feel of the document.
This not only makes you look more professional but often times is easier to read and access the information. These are the small details that make the difference between a good presentation and a great one, and can be the extra edge that helps you secure interest or closes a deal.
7. Optimize PDF File Size
Remember that the file you create for print should not be the same as the one you send over email or share online. The web-based version of your offering memorandum should be much lighter so your clients can download faster and avoid any frustrations of a slow-loading file.
Whether you use InDesign, Illustrator or Microsoft Word, there are settings in all of these programs that allow you to configure the exported file to make sure it is optimized for web.
8. Include a Call-to-Action
Your offering memorandum is a selling document and the primary purpose is to move your prospects to the next stage of sales cycle. What do you want your prospects to do after they have read through the OM?
Spell this out by including a clear call-to-action at the end of the document to reiterate exactly what you want them to do next, and nudge them forward.
*BONUS DOWNLOAD: OM Sample Outline (Word Doc)
Download and view a sample offering memorandum outline and table of contents here: Offering-Memorandum-Sample-TOC