When renting office space, your company has the option of searching for and leasing space on its own or hiring an office space rental agency to help in the search, selection, and negotiation. If you do a search for office space rental agencies you will find a ton of options to choose from. As a result, narrowing down your choices and picking one can be tough.
It’s important to ensure you pick the right one as they represent your best interests, not the landlords', and can walk you through every stage of the process to ensure you find the right space, negotiate the best deal, select vendors, and get moved in. You also want to pick one with market experience, for example, if you need office space in Austin.
To help in your selection process below are a few things to consider when choosing an office space rental agency who will represent your best interests as a tenant:
What is an Office Space Rental Agency?
First off, it’s important to know the difference between an office space rental agency and a landlord or building owner. When you call on a “for lease” sign, you are talking to the landlord representative. They represent the best interests of the landlord and building owner and can only show you their properties. Their fiduciary duty is to negotiate the highest lease rates and fewest concessions. They want to maximize the building owners' investment.
An office space rental agency represents the tenant’s best interest. You tell them what your needs are and they can show and give you unbiased opinions about all the available properties. They represent you to ensure you find the right space and negotiate with landlords to get the lowest lease rates and most concessions possible.
When talking to commercial real estate agents make sure you ask if their company only represents tenants, or do they also represent landlords.
Benefits of Using an Office Space Rental Agency
It’s Free To You
Using the services of an office space rental agency does not cost you a dime. Landlords pay 100% of office lease commissions as they are baked into every deal at the time they finance the building. You don’t save any money by working directly with the landlord representative whose fiduciary duty is to represent the best interests of the building owner or landlord. If you do, they will be paid all the commissions. Not only will you save time and money by having an agency represent you in the search and negotiation, you will also never be charged for their services. They represent your best interests no matter which office building you lease space from.
Landlords know that when you have an office rental agency working on your behalf that you are considering other options in the market. This helps create leverage in that they are more likely to offer better concessions on a new lease, expansion, or lease renewal. If your existing landlord wants to keep you they are going to have to earn your tenancy.
They Have Your Best Interests in Mind
An office leasing agency only represents tenants, never landlords which means they can show you all available properties, give you unbiased information about each one, and help you negotiate a great deal. They want your business to succeed and look out for your best interests. You will know the history of the office buildings (rates, expenses, etc) as well as the reputation of the property management companies. Getting a good deal is great. Leasing office space in a building that you know has great property management is a bonus.
If you talk to landlord agents on your own they will be professional and provide you with some information about their properties, however keep in mind that they represent the building owner’s interest, not yours.
Having an office rental agency in your corner will create more transparency, educate you, and help level the playing field.
You See All Available Office Space Options
Landlord reps only show you available spaces within their portfolio. They will do their best to talk you into renting office space in one of their buildings.
An office rental agency working for you will present you with ALL available options within your ideal size, location, and budget, even before they hit the market. You will be able to compare office buildings in different submarkets, classes, and amenities and be satisfied knowing that you did your due diligence before making a final decision.
You hire an office leasing agency to help you navigate the unfamiliar process of leasing office space, however you don’t want to be kept out of the loop the entire time. Your agent will be proactive by answering all your questions and keep you fully informed at every stage of the process.
Help With Decision Making
You know you don’t like your space however what are your options? Should you renew your existing lease or relocate to a new building? If you need more space are there any expansion options at your existing building?
Maybe moving may not be the best decision.
Your office rental agent will help you assess your current situation and options. If you need more space they will help determine if there are expansion options in the building and compare those to comparable spaces in other office buildings. Your existing landlord will be informed that you are in the market which will help create leverage encouraging them to present their best offer. If your existing lease is about to expire again they can show you what is available on the market and do a side by side comparison of each building, including your existing one. This will help you make an apples to apples comparison of each. Creating leverage with your existing landlord will ensure you get a better deal. If they don’t want to compete for your tenancy then you will have other options to fall back on.
Better Negotiations with Landlords
After finding office space there is still work to be done. You still have to draft and present requests for proposals (RFPs) to landlords, review and compare landlord responses, get tenant improvement bids from contractors, final negotiations of the proposal, coordinate with attorneys, review and negotiate the lease contract, etc.
Because your office space rental agent works in the market everyday they will share with you real time market intelligence that will help you when negotiating rental rates, rent abatement, tenant improvement allowances, expansion options, renewal options, and many other concessions.
An experienced office rental agent will professionally create leverage and encourage landlords to compete for your tenancy. By having multiple options on the table landlords will offer better deals, and in the event one landlord does not want to meet your needs you will have additional options to choose from.
Questions to Ask an Office Space Leasing Agency Before You Choose One
What Do You Specialize In?
You want to make sure they specialize in the type of commercial property you need to lease. Some agents specialize only in one type of property while others may only work with certain types of industries (e.g. tech companies, startup companies, law firms).
How Many Office Leases Have You Done?
You want to make sure you pick an office space rental agency that has experience. Things can go wrong with office leases if you don’t know what you are doing and having transaction experience is critical. Experienced agents have seen the good, bad, and ugly and know how to avoid and mitigate mistakes.
Who Will I Be Working With If I Choose Your Agency?
With some agencies if you are a small company only needing 800 sf they may have you work with their new inexperienced agent. You want to work with an experienced office agent. Be certain that you know who will be working on your office search.
Qualities of a Good Office Space Rental Agency
Local Market Expertise
You want to work with an office agency that knows the local market you want to be in. Just because an agency is large does not mean they have experience in your market. Local office rental agencies will have better relationships with landlords and building owners.
Communicate Well and Quick to Respond
Agents that are quick to respond and do what they say they are going to do is important. Your business space is important and you need an agent that is transparent, will move quickly, and keep you in the loop at all times. You don’t have time to sit around for days waiting for an answer. Even if there is no response from the landlord you would like to have a daily update. Landlord agents are often too busy to return phone calls if working on your own, however your agent can help get this expedited since they have relationships with many of them.
Knows Your Needs
Does not waste your time showing you spaces that don’t meet your current and future needs. One that asks all the right questions to truly understand your needs and sends you properties within your ideal size, location, and budget.