How to Hire a Commercial Agent
By: Lynn Drake, MCR
President & Founder of Compass Commercial, LLC
You can always call us and we can either do the work on your behalf or find the right person to do the work for you. This article will provide you with tips on how to go about picking an agent. If you want to skip this step all together send us an email to, [email protected] or Call us at 248-817-5400 We will be happy to find you the right agent in any market.
In the market for a new office or have some extra space available? Many people might look in the yellow pages, some will ask friends. Whichever system you use to find a realtor, make sure to screen them before hiring them.
Commercial realtors come in every shape, color, size and age. You could meet a 25-year-old and 60-year-old agent and think the older one has the experience. Don’t make this mistake, the 25-year-old may not have gone to college and is now in their 7th year in the business. Conversely, the 60-year-old may have been forced from their career during the recession and has only been in the business a month.
Always ask how long the individual has been in the brokerage business.
Would you ever hire your dermatologist to deliver twins? I guess you could, but would they really understand all the intricacies involved in a complicated delivery? Just like in the medical profession, there are many types of Realtors. Each area has its own specialties.
There are residential, office, industrial, retail, land and investment realtors. These areas can be further broken down into tenant representation, buyer representation, corporate services and listing agents. Before you hire an agent make sure you are hiring the right type.
Friends of mine have asked me to list their homes, but my answer is always the same. NO! I don’t have access to the residential multiple list service. How am I going to get other realtors in to see the house? While I could find out how much the houses on your street sold for, a good residential agent would know this intuitively. I’m not going to hold open houses or send flyers on your home because I don’t want to develop customers in this area.
Conversely, I cringe when I see a residential agent list a commercial property. I have yet to see one list their properties in any of the commercial databases. Why, because they do not belong to them, nor do they know what they are. Occasionally, a commercial building will sell with a sign, but more likely you are going to need a specialist.
You want to hire the right agent to do the job. If you have an office building for sale or lease, don’t go to a firm, which works primarily in the retail sector. They will know all the buzz terms, but will refer back up to their overseeing residential expert for an explanation. If an agent works in multiple areas, ask them questions about each area so you can assess their knowledge.
If you have a building for lease or sale, drive through the area the property is located in. Notice the agents who have lots of listings. Give them a call. Check the yellow pages and ask friends for references.
When listing a property, it is advisable to find a team. Usually a junior level person combined with a senior level person. The senior person manages the account while teaching the junior level person. This gives you the advantage of two people to show the property.
The property needs to be listed in the commercial databases. The main ones being Co-star, LoopNet or the local commercial real estate multiple listing that is available in your market.
We live in a high-tech age. This can give someone a sense of an office presence when one doesn’t exist. There are realtors out there who work on their own from their home. If these people get sick or take a vacation your project is at a standstill. Email, faxes and computers are essential to do business in this day and age. It is hard for me to imagine working without these basic tools but there are those trying to cut corners.
What type of advertising will the agent do for the property? The larger the property, the higher the expectations. The following are a few examples of marketing: brochures, post cards, newspaper or industry specific advertising. Find out how many pieces of mail will be sent out on this property. It is sometimes useful to find out the source for addresses.
Cold calls are not anyone’s favorite thing to do, but they can bring in good results. Find out if cold calls will be made for the listing. The agent should be able to tell you whom they are targeting for prospective tenants.
Updates are essential. A good agent will keep you updated via calls and written update. Updates should include all marketing efforts including cold calls, inquiring and showings.
When hiring a realtor for an acquisition, you would ask basically the same questions. A good agent will be able to help you maneuver through some of the challenges faced when negotiating business terms. Questions about their experience and what obstacles they have overcome to reach their clients goals. For example, I always insist that my clients make offers on two sites simultaneously. That way there is more leverage while negotiating.
Interview several agents. Here are some questions you will want to ask:
Questions to Ask a Commercial Agent Before Hiring Them
|Tenant Representative||Landlord Representative||Question|
|x||x||How long have you been in the real estate business?|
|x||x||Where are your offices?|
|x||x||Who fills in for you if you are on vacation or become ill?|
|x||x||Do you have email, cell phone and voice mail?|
|x||x||Do you subscribe to Co-Star?|
|x||x||Are you an office, industrial, retail or investment realtor?|
|x||x||Do you consider yourself a listing or tenant representative?|
|x||x||How many real estate transactions have you completed in your career?|
|x||x||What clients have you personally represented in the past?|
|x||x||Do you have a list of references?|
|x||x||Do you work the listings alone or with a partner?|
|x||x||How many listings do you have?|
|x||x||What type of marketing will you do? (flyers, advertising, email campaign etc.)|
|x||x||Describe what type of updates I can expect if I list the property with you.|
|x||x||How many cold calls will make on this listing?|
|x||x||Do you have an internet site where my listing will be featured?|
|x||x||What websites will use to post my listing?|
|x||x||Why should I hire you verses the competition?|
|x||x||Do you use a written request for proposal or verbal?|
|x||x||What type of financial summaries do you provide to compare properties?|
If you want Compass Commercial to help, we can do so in a couple of ways. First, we can act as your broker; dual agency won’t be an issue. We usually spend between 20 and 40 hours on a smaller transaction and up to 100 hours on a larger transaction. We can work anywhere in North America and in some countries overseas as well.
We also have a consulting division where you can hire us for just parts of the transaction.
Thoughts to ponder while search for the right commercial real estate agent. If you want to learn more about the process of how to do a commercial site search for office, industrial or retail space consider purchasing the book Do You Speak Lease? Finding & Negotiating Your Own Commercial Space by Lynn Drake President and Founder of Compass Commercial, LLC. For more information on this book go to the link: https://www.compass-commercial.com/Do-You-Speak-Lease/