When you are in the market to lease commercial property, your commercial real estate broker will be one of the keys to your success throughout the real estate transaction. Before you commit to anyone, you should always take the time to properly assess the ability and skills of the broker, in order to select the right broker for you and also ensure success. It’s important that you don’t take everything — and everyone — and face value here. You will need to dig a little deeper, asking the right questions to learn more about the person who will potentially be handling your very important commercial real estate deal.
With this in mind, here are 5 questions you should ask when hiring a commercial real estate broker to help you lease space.
What cities or neighborhoods are you most familiar with in your brokerage?
As a tenant, you need a professional advisor with a deep level of knowledge about specific markets. If you are deciding between multiple locations for your commercial space, the right broker can help you narrow down your choices to those that are the best fit for your organization’s specific needs. Be sure that you are working with a broker who has this knowledge of any particular markets you are interested in.
What is your experience as a broker?
This may seem like a no-brainer or even an insulting question, but hear us out. Just as we don’t hesitate to ask other professionals we work with — such as a contractor, a financial advisor, or a doctor — about their professional experience, it never hurts to ask a broker about their professional experience, including requesting client referrals, asking about particular industries he or she has served, and anything else that you feel may be important in your real estate search.
And when asking about experience, keep in mind that it’s usually better to ask about the number of closed deals, rather than the number of years in the industry. It’s always better to work with someone newer to the industry who consistently has deals in the hopper, rather than someone who has remained barely active for a number of years.
Would you mind sharing some of your success stories? How have you helped your clients overcome obstacles?
As in any type of job interview, these “real world” questions can give you a glimpse into how your potential broker does business. And pay close attention to how he or she talks about overcoming obstacles… true experts thrive in the face of challenges. Look for someone who is tenacious in solving problems, but someone who acts fairly and in the best interest of his or her client.
Do you specialize in any particular type of commercial space?
Often, brokers tend to specialize in one particular type of commercial space — whether they mean to or not. Whether it’s retail, industrial, warehouse, office complexes, or something else, many brokers will find themselves in a niche, and they are especially comfortable and skilled in negotiating leases in these types of spaces. If you have any demands or specifications that you think would benefit from this type of expertise, it never hurts to seek out a broker who specializes in what you’re looking for.
Have you ever worked with a company like ours before?
Just like brokers, no two companies are built exactly alike — meaning that there’s no other company out there that will have the exact same needs as yours. However, there are some trends that tend to carry throughout industries. Finding a broker who can draw on his or her past experiences with similar organizations will help deliver insights that you will have a hard time finding anywhere else.