Moving your business to a different location or bigger space is a critical decision that will have a profound impact on both your employees and your bottom line. To help navigate this tricky process, you need a commercial real estate agent/broker who is experienced, creative and professional.
Unfortunately, people often find themselves stuck with an agent/broker that lacks these essential qualities or who simply isn’t a “good fit.” As a result, they risk making a bad real estate decision or no decision at all – and their business suffers the consequences.
If you are currently working with a commercial real estate agent/broker – or you will have to at any point in your future – take note of these red flags that will help you identify whether the agent/broker is fit to best serve you.
- Your agent/broker doesn’t make you feel like a priority.
Your agent/broker should promptly and professionally answer your phone calls and email within a reasonable amount of time. He or she should also go the extra mile for you, seeking out options that are outside-the-box, to prove that you are not just another potential “deal” but a person whose business has unique needs.
If for any reason you doubt that you are a priority for your agent/broker, you need to address this with a conversation. If not resolved, you should take your business elsewhere and work with someone who makes you feel like more of a priority.
- Your agent/broker offers little advice.
People who are good at their jobs are not afraid to offer sound advice and observations to those in need of help. Why else would you work so hard to become skilled at something if not to use those abilities? If your agent/broker is not offering you advice and guidance in a transaction, then something is not right. Either he or she is too inexperienced to know what is going on or the agent/broker is not particularly helpful by nature. Regardless, you need someone who is helpful and can exercise leadership in this process.
- Your agent/broker represents both buyers/tenants and sellers/landlords.
Your commercial real estate agent/broker should be looking out for the best interests of you and your business – and no one else’s. The unbiased advice and specialization of one-sided representation are just a few of the benefits of working with an agent/broker who exclusively represents tenants and buyers.
If you are working with an agent/broker who represents both buyers/tenants and sellers/landlords, even the perception of bias should be enough to make you question whether the properties her or she is showing you are best suited to your needs – and not just a property owned by a landlord/seller he or she represents.
- Your agent/broker has not earned their Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation.
The CCIM designation is conferred by the CCIM Institute, a commercial affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS®. This designation requires 200 classroom hours and is similar to college graduate-level education. If your agent/broker has earned a CCIM, you know that he or she is committed to the commercial real estate industry, is staying current with changes and trends and has the advanced education to better serve you throughout the entire process. Additionally, CCIMs are bound to the strictest ethical guidelines and standards of practice in the industry today.
If you are not working with a CCIM, you can’t be guaranteed that your agent/broker has this same level of commitment, knowledge and expertise as one who does.
- Your agent/broker leaves a bad first impression.
When you meet your commercial real estate agent/broker, take first impressions seriously. Not only are they a good indication of personality and professionalism, this is the same first impression that other landlords/sellers will be greeted with as he or she represents you in potential deals.
Look for an agent/broker who is organized, well put together, confident, but friendly and overall, likeable. These qualities will make it a pleasure working with him or her and these are also qualities that will represent you, the tenant, well when it comes to negotiating leases.
- Your real estate agent/broker is a “poser.”
Not all real estate agents/brokers are created equal. Residential real estate agents/brokers, sometimes known as Realtors, are qualified to sell houses and other small residential dwellings but are not usually qualified to give advice regarding commercial property. Residential agents/brokers normally have little knowledge of and experience with commercial properties. This lack of expertise will end up costing you both time and money as well as increase your legal liability. And likewise, a commercial agent/broker may not be the right choice to represent you in selling or purchasing a house, as they are not usually experienced in such matters.
When beginning your commercial real estate search, carefully select an agent/broker that is uniquely qualified to advise you on commercial real estate with a tenant or buyer’s interests in mind.
Do you have experience working with a commercial real estate agent/broker – good or bad? Share your story and what you learned from it by commenting below!