Have you ever been in a predicament trying to find the perfect commercial space for your business? Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an established business owner, it’s a common scenario. You end up sifting through endless, confusing listings online with nothing to show for it. That’s where a commercial broker can help.
Perhaps you’re a multinational law firm with a lease ending soon and deciding whether to renew or relocate. However, after three months of searching, you’ve only found online listings with pre-Covid pricing. Moreover, these listings often lack essential details like amenities, costs, and build-out allowances, leaving you unsure about current rates.
Or imagine finding a building that appears to meet all your needs. Still, unbeknownst to you, it has a history of structural issues that will cost you thousands of dollars in repairs. With a commercial broker’s expertise, you may have discovered this issue before it was too late.
Moreover, say you want to open a small coffee shop without using a commercial broker. Yet, you lease space without professional assistance and don’t fully understand the rent escalation clause. What happens if the extent of the rent hike blindsides you after a year in business? You could end up closing your coffee shop in a matter of months.
Regardless of your business’s size, scope, or scale, hiring a commercial tenant representative is the most efficient way to save time and money and avoid potential headaches. Follow these 5 tips to find the right representative for your needs.
1. Commercial Real Estate Expertise
When searching for the ideal location for your business, a commercial real estate agent’s value extends beyond simply being a human search engine or local guide with a basic understanding of the market, upcoming developments, vacancy rates, and rental prices.
Instead, a truly valuable agent possesses deep commercial real estate expertise, including a comprehensive understanding of the unique features of each building and a knowledge base that aligns with your specific niche.
For example, when searching for a rental property, you may want a particular property with bike storage, a gym, or access to a shared conference room for executive board meetings. A knowledgeable office space rental agency will tell you exactly where to look and provide various options that meet your criteria.
However, it’s only worthwhile if the commercial real estate agent understands your business’s niche. For instance, if you’re a freight broker, they should ask about delivery access and freight elevators. If you’re a law firm, they should be familiar with locations near the courts and know office spaces with ample conference rooms for depositions or private offices for partners and associates. Similarly, if you’re a physician, they should tailor their search based on the number of treatment rooms you require and the level of foot traffic in the area.
2. Allegiance to Tenants
Looking for commercial space can be overwhelming due to various options and technicalities to consider. However, it’s crucial to note that some brokers may prioritize the landlord’s economic interests over the tenant’s, leaving the tenant disadvantaged. To avoid this, it’s advisable to work with a representative who exclusively serves tenants.
Unfortunately, not all tenants realize the value of a tenant rep broker. Some assume they can handle the process alone or that the landlord’s agent has their best interests in mind. However, without a tenant rep realtor, there’s a risk of getting burnt.
For instance, say you directly contact a leasing agent who shows you a space that appears perfect in theory. However, you have some reservations about the location. Instead of considering other options, the agent pressures you to sign the lease quickly, claiming it’s a prime spot.
This scenario raises questions about the agent’s loyalties and whether they represent the tenant or landlord. Unfortunately, this is common when working with a landlord’s commercial real estate agent. Hence, working with a commercial broker who prioritizes your interests and doesn’t push you into unsuitable spaces with poorly negotiated lease terms is essential.
With a tenant-focused agent, you can avoid this situation and have someone in your corner, looking out for your best interests at every step. Conversely, without a tenant rep’s expertise and protection, you can wind up making costly mistakes.
When looking for the right tenant rep broker, consider their experience and success rate. Select a realtor who closes at least ten deals annually. Don’t hesitate to ask for references from previous clients they have assisted. Furthermore, find out what makes them unique and differentiates them from other tenant rep brokers.
3. Local Expertise
Let’s say you are a tech startup and need a new office space to accommodate your growing team. You’ve scoured the internet and visited several properties. Still, you’re wondering if you’re getting the best deal or missing out on hidden fees.
In this situation, partnering with a commercial real estate agent with deep knowledge of the area and local expertise can be a game-changer. They can provide valuable insights into how deals typically get structured in the neighborhood and provide information on the unique characteristics of local properties and landlords.
Moreover, they can oversee your leasing process and leverage established relationships with local landlords and brokers to your advantage. Their market knowledge and negotiation skills can be leveraged on your behalf, resulting in better lease terms for your business. Plus, their connections can make all the difference in securing a space that meets your needs and budget.
4. Technologically Savvy
Experienced brokers bring value through their inventory knowledge and landlord relationships. However, some may not be comfortable with technology. When choosing a commercial broker, it’s essential to find someone who is tech-savvy and familiar with the latest digital tools, such as social media and online marketing strategies. Don’t settle for mediocrity; work with a tech-savvy superstar who understands virtual tours and video conferencing.
Not only will a tech-savvy broker provide you with access to real-time market data and speedy communication, but they’ll also streamline the leasing process and make decision-making a breeze. Plus, with access to the latest industry databases, they can conduct proper listing research and quickly find you the perfect property.
5. Do Your Own Due Diligence
Say you’re a business owner desperately looking to move to a new office in Tribeca. You rush and hire the first Google-recommended office rental agency. You go with a big, national, well-known firm. However, the corporation’s headquartered in Atlanta. They provide you with an inexperienced junior agent entirely unfamiliar with the local New York City commercial real estate market.
The broker ends up negotiating a lease above the market rate, leaving you stuck in a bad situation and struggling to keep up with the high rent payments. If you had done your due diligence and hired a broker that checked all the boxes, you could have avoided these costly mistakes and saved time and money.
To find a reputable realtor, take the time to research and identify multiple options or agencies that meet your requirements. Then, review their promotional materials and past client reviews, cross-reference their history and credentials, and set up follow-up interviews with each to better understand their skills and expertise. Then, trust your instincts and work with someone you feel comfortable with and trust.
Choose the broker who offers the best blend of experience, expertise, and compatibility with your goals and communication style. A reliable commercial real estate agent can help you establish a long-term professional relationship and eliminate the need for future property searches. By selecting a broker who aligns with your business plan and property search criteria, you can establish a successful long-term partnership that will benefit you for years.
The Key Takeaway
Finding a commercial broker is about more than just getting property listings. It’s about finding a partner who can guide you through the intricate real estate market, provide transparency, offer leverage, and skillfully negotiate terms that secure the best value for you. Quality collaboration is necessary to achieve perks like reduced base rent, annual rent escalations, or a greater build-out allowance. Ultimately, you need an agent who can help you make informed decisions that benefit your business in the long term.
While it may be tempting to go with big-name firms, boutique agencies staffed by experienced brokers can offer more value. Unlike junior agents at larger firms, a seasoned commercial real estate agent with 20 years of experience knows the inventory inside out and is more likely to be transparent with you.
Take your time to evaluate your needs. Find a representative who can offer you the support and guidance necessary to achieve your goals. Building a solid professional relationship is key, based on trust, communication, and transparency, and will prove invaluable in the future. With the right broker by your side, the sky’s the limit for your business.
Are you looking to set your business up in a prime New York City location? Are you dreaming of a modern building with state-of-the-art amenities? Contact us. We’ll show you a worthwhile space that fits your business needs. To learn about available office space, call Metro Manhattan Office Space at (212) 444-2241 or email us at [email protected].