Qualities to Look for in a Exclusive Tenant Representative
Market Knowledge, Bandwidth, and Reliable Communication Are Key
You've made a great business decision and decided to engage Exclusive Tenant Representation to help serve your company's real estate needs. Are you familiar with what to look for and what you can expect from your broker? The following are key items to consider when selecting a broker (and their team, should they have one).
Strong Market Knowledge
In addition to providing you with quarterly reports on the overall market, your broker should have their finger on the pulse of your local office landscape.
A broker should have a deep, intricate understanding of their entire market, enabling them to offer you the most thorough survey and negotiate the best possible deal. A sophisticated, experienced broker will successfully leverage their relationship with landlord brokers to know all current listings, as well as rates of both market and off-market properties. A broker with a long, successful standing within the brokerage community will also be aware of any spaces coming to the market due to expirations, which may be ideal for your business.
Landlords favor a deal presented by a knowledgeable broker, who they know will negotiate based off strong market knowledge and be able to bring the deal over the finish line.
You should also expect your broker to be involved in keeping you current on build-out costs, employment rates and ongoing work with economic development groups.
Strong Communication Skills
The adage “time kills deals" is very apt in tight markets. It's important for a broker to have a quick response time and treat tenant requests with a sense of urgency.
Your broker will handle numerous detail-oriented activities including surveys, booking of tours, negotiations on proposals for all identified properties, lease review and other important tasks. Establishing your expectations from the start is a key way to ensure you meet deadlines, stay in front of the landlord's broker, and don't lose an opportunity. Your broker sitting on a counter proposal from the landlord's broker, not responding to any follow-up requests, or having a slow response time in general could give competing tenants the advantage with the landlord and ultimately lose you a space.
The Proper Bandwidth
As we touched on above, your broker will have their hands in numerous tasks in the interest of your company's real estate needs. A lot of brokers take the “lone wolf" approach, which can offer benefits; however, it is often unrealistic to assume that a single broker dealing with more than one client can navigate the entire deal as efficiently as a team could.
You may want to consider hiring a broker that leads a team, allowing them to not only keep the deal process flowing, but even stay ahead. A team structure with more than one Exclusive Tenant Representative and additional staff is ideal when overseeing large national and local clients. Combine a four-person team with the backing of a global CRE firm, and that can be the ultimate recipe to secure at or below-market deals and preferable deal terms.
Exclusive Means No Landlord Clients
It is important to confirm your broker is indeed exclusively representing tenants within the market. The broker should not have any listings, other than those being subleased by their tenants, so there are no pre-existing loyalties that must be honored or incentives for negotiating on any particular buildings. The end game for an exclusive broker is to get you the best possible rate and deal terms your business requires. Each tenant's requirement is unique and needs representation with only your interests in mind.
Your broker should not specialize in any other facets of real estate other than commercial real estate. Think about it: would you contract a handyman for a home remodel, or would you choose a company that specializes in home remodels? We would all choose the contracting company, which comes with the promise of knowledge, deep resources and the protection needed when signing a binding contract.
Remaining cognizant of the above when engaging help with your real estate needs can be the difference between simply finding a space that will do, and creating an optimal environment for you, your company and your employees.
About the Author: Natalie Wainwright
Natalie Wainwright is a Senior Associate with Cushman & Wakefield where she specializes in Tenant Representation. Ms. Wainwright is a member of the Not-for-Profit sector group, and specializes in representing non-profit and tech clients. Natalie serves as the Past President for CREW Las Vegas and, on the Commercial Alliance Board of Directors as a Director, is the Las Vegas Chapter Leader for WIN Cushman & Wakefield and is on communication committee for the CREW Network.