As the owner of Omni Realty Group, Mike Kushner has been exclusively practicing Tenant Rep/Buyer Agency since 1998, when he first established the company. Now, with almost 20 years of experience under his belt, Mike shares his top six most valuable lessons learned from his career as a tenant representative/buyer agent.
- Everyone Deserves to be Treated with Respect
This lesson is so simple, yet so often overlooked. Any successful business owner, regardless of industry or size, should treat everyone they encounter with respect. The bottom line is that you never know how they may impact your business in the future. Employees, vendors, customers and anyone else can all serve as walking testimonials for your business – and you. Give them every reason to talk about how great you are to work with. Don’t risk having someone out there badmouthing their experience with you because of something that could have been prevented by treating them with a little more respect.
- Never Take Your Reputation for Granted
Businesses balance on their reputation of service and the ethics and integrity of how they provide that service. I have always operated my business with an important rule in mind: We are the reputation we create. There’s really no way around it; you are the only one who can make or break your own reputation. Make every effort to protect it!
- Do What You Say You Are Going to Do
Few things can destroy the integrity of the relationship that exists between service provider and customer as quickly as non-performance. Fail to deliver, and the customer will lose trust and become justifiably skeptical of future commitments. Furthermore, they will quickly move on to someone who will deliver
- We Are Always Learning
Every day brings new experiences that broaden my understanding of this wonderful industry that is my livelihood. Keep your eyes and mind open to opportunities to learn. These can come in unconventional ways and at unexpected moments – don’t overlook them!
- It’s Often Difficult for Tenants and Buyers to Spot “Double Dipping”
This lesson is very frustrating for an exclusive tenant representative and that is that tenants and buyers don’t easily see that a broker is taking advantage of them with a “double end” deal (i.e. collecting commission checks on both sides of their transactions). Also known as “double dipping” in commercial real estate circles, this practice is far more common that it should be.
Not only is it greedy and unfair, it’s insulting to the tenant or buyer to think that they aren’t smart enough to eventually realize what’s going on. The bottom line is that listing or selling brokers are salesmen. They get paid more if you lease in their listed building and are therefore incentivized to get you to do so. If you work with anyone who is not an exclusive tenant rep, you are not likely to see all the options truly available to you.
- Business Should Review Their Lease Far More Often Than They Do
Most businesses only look at their leases every five years (or right before renewal). The truth of the matter is that real estate occupancy cost is a major expense for any business and should be reviewed on a regular basis, at least annually. Furthermore, the terms of your lease should provide for a lease audit to allow you to ensure that expenses being passed through to you, the tenant, are fair and accurate.
In short, working with a commercial real estate broker should be a pleasant and stress-free experience. If it’s not, you’re likely working with the wrong broker who isn’t putting your interests first. If nearly 20 years of experience has taught me anything, it’s that the people – not the property – are the priority.
Which of these lessons do you feel is the most important for running a successful and respected business? Share your opinion by commenting below!