Starting your own business is stressing enough without having to deal with the hassle of finding the right location alone. So, to make life a bit easier, you resort to finding a commercial real estate broker to represent you and your best interests in this quest. But finding a good commercial real estate broker is not that different from finding a good doctor or lawyer – it takes a lot of research and a lot of time. How can you make sure that you connect with the best possible professional for your particular business needs? Here’s what we recommend you look for:
Expertise in commercial real estate
You need someone who has experience in helping tenants find office, retail and other commercial space, not someone who works primarily with houses, condos and apartments. Brokers typically focus on an asset type, so you want to make sure the person you hire has plenty of expertise in your particular niche.
Also, don’t be fooled by the size of the brokerage firm. This is, in fact, the least important aspect, as bigger is not necessarily better. If you find a firm with 100 brokers, amazing software systems and eye-candy marketing, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to work for you. Smaller offices, also known as boutique firms, tend to nurture individual client relationships; they usually have fewer brokers and fewer clients, so you know that the person you work with is fully invested in helping you and you have their full attention.
Allegiance to tenants
Make sure the broker you choose to work with is experienced in working with tenants. If your business is located in a smaller community, this might be difficult to find, so be sure to check out brokers who represent buyers, not sellers, of commercial real estate. They may act as tenants’ agents in leasing transactions, too, or they might be able to point you to a contact who represents tenants only. You need a broker who knows how to represent you, the tenant.
Search for someone who has been in the commercial real estate industry long enough to know how deals are done in a certain city and how local landlords and their brokers work. Experienced and successful brokers will have the solid ground to enable them to put your best interests at the forefront. Typically, a broker gets paid when the deal is closed, according to the agreed-upon base rent. A true professional will take all the needed time with negotiations and won’t settle for a more expensive outcome. They will be patient enough to produce something that is better for your needs, even if it means they invest more of their time into helping a client.
You need a broker who understands the importance of technology in today’s digital age. Have a look at their online presence, as well: do they have a functional, professional website? are they present on social media? do they run a blog? are they present in Google MyBusiness? Nowadays, most property searches start online, and potential clients will check a broker’s background online before making any decision. You want to work with someone who understands that technology plays a big part in the daily operations of any business, so make sure you factor this aspect into your decision.
Do your own due diligence
Once you’ve found a few brokers who seem to check all the points we discussed above, you need to pick one. Look over your business plan and your property search criteria. Research all the candidates by reading their promotional literature, brochures, past closings, client reviews and the like. You can go as far as to cross-reference the history and credentials, and even set up interviews with each of them before you make your choice.
If you find someone who you really click with and you feel you can rely on, you might establish a long-term professional relationship and will never have to go through this process again when you move offices. However, in order to get there, you need to take your time and not rush into any decision. Check out a few more tips from Metro Manhattan principal broker Alan Rosinsky:
Are you thinking of setting up your business in a convenient location in Manhattan, and are looking to lease space in a modern building offering state-of-the-art amenities? Then reach out to us and we will show you worthwhile space situated right in the heart of New York City. To learn about available office space, call Metro Manhattan Office Space at (212) 447-5403.