Most cities are full of commercial real estate brokers that have a great deal of experience, market knowledge, tools, & resources. Many are also very busy and maybe are not as transparent as you would like them to be. Below are 5 things to consider as you interview your next commercial real estate agent.
The Experience You Need on Your Side
25 years of “real estate” experience is not the same as 25 years of experience doing site selection and negotiating commercial lease terms and contracts. For example someone with 8 years in residential real estate experience and 2 years as a commercial realtor is not the same as a person with 10 years doing ONLY commercial real estate. Additionally if a brokerage company has a combined 50 years commercial real estate experience does not mean that the person assigned to you has 50 years. That person could be new and only have 1 year under their belt. They key is to ask specifically who you will be working with and what their experience is in the niche you are looking for.
No Conflicts of Interest
Most commercial real estate companies are full service meaning they represent tenants and landlords. This has the potential to be a conflict of interest. What if the tenant representative working for you worked for the commercial real estate company who lists the property that you are negotiating for? Your agent sits in the desk next to the agent that is listing the property. Sounds a bit questionable doesn't it? As you talk to agents ask them what their niches are. If you are a tenant you should consider working with a commercial realtor that ONLY represents tenants……..not landlords.
The Ability to Ask Good Questions
No one (not even the best commercial brokers) has all the answers, which means the broker you work with must have the ability to ask the right questions at the right time. Commercial realtors that ask the right questions are able to effectively asses your current and future needs and find/create great solutions. Asking good questions is also key when negotiating with landlords. Certain information about building owners and landlords can many times have an impact on the outcome of lease/purchase negotiations. Lastly, commercial real estate agents that take the time to ask you solid questions means they value you and your company.
Commercial realtors can be busy however that does not mean they should be unresponsive. They must make themselves as accessible as possible and keep you in the loop on how the process is going. Ideally you want them to respond to you on the same day unless you leave them a message late in the afternoon. Understand that they have multiple clients however they need to be responsive.
Knowledgeable About the Market
Your broker should always have a pulse on the market. They need to be an expert in their niche(s) and be able to answer your questions quickly. Ideally you want them to have certifications such as SIOR or CCIM as this is an indication that they strive to keep up with the commercial real estate trends.
Commercial real estate is a business made up of strong, trustworthy networks so you want someone that has connections. Not just with other brokers but also a network of attorneys, architects, contractors, etc. You want access to best-in-class professionals. A commercial real estate firm that is global is not the end all be all. Thanks to the advances of technology even individual or local boutique commercial real estate companies have an unlimited number of resources for you to tap into. Industry certifications such as CCIM and SIOR allow individual brokers and small boutique commercial real estate firms the same access to global networks and resources.