To illustrate the value of a commercial real estate broker, let’s talk about apartments for a moment.
As time-consuming as finding an apartment is, the process for seeking one is straightforward. Browse listings across a handful of trusted sites, isolate the apartments with appealing pictures, and contact the person showing the space to make an appointment.
Finding office space is less straightforward. For one, useful pictures of commercial space interiors are pretty scarce. You can find plenty of pictures of the building’s exterior. Maybe even some tantalizing shots of the lobby. But the particular listing you want to see is likely short on pictures. For a number of reasons, landlords hesitate to make them available.
So the same degree of pre-screening you use for apartments doesn’t really apply to office space. You need to rely on good information about the size and condition of the space without actually seeing the space.
Your best bet for this information is a commercial broker. Knowledgeable brokers can point you in the right direction.
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Why You Need a Commercial Tenant Broker
As the name suggests, commercial tenant brokers work for you, the business tenant. They can handle every facet of your office space search, from showing you the best matches to negotiating a lease for you.
Finding one a tenant broker you like can be a process unto itself. If you call the phone numbers on the “Space for Rent” signs you see around town, the person who answers likely represents the landlord. Not you. Their interest is in making the landlord happy. Not you. Furthermore, they will assume that if you called them, and you’re not a broker, they know more about commercial real estate than you do. And they would be right.
Finding a Commercial Tenant Broker
To find a good commercial tenant broker, you could get recommendations from friends and peers who have moved offices before. It helps if their business is anything like yours. Your space requirements might similar. If they had a good experience, they can recommend a good broker. If they had a bad experience, that information is valuable, too. They can help you spot red flags and shady practices much sooner.
Outside of your friends’ recommendations, how else to find a tenant broker? If your business is a household name or a media darling, chances are you don’t have to find a tenant broker. They find you. But most businesses don’t fall into either of those two categories and can’t rely on the right broker calling out of the blue to see if they need office space.
The short answer is Google. Just like finding an apartment, your search will likely start online. You can Google office space and start combing through sites with listings, but remember: the pictures might disappoint you, and without the pictures, it’s hard to know what you’re looking it. All the same, you might enjoy browsing the listings and getting a feel for the market in the neighborhoods you like.
But if you don’t, getting in touch with a broker on the site right away can save you some time and bring you that much closer to touring spaces up your alley.
No Fee Brokers
Tenant brokers might make a commission on every deal they close, but it’s not a fee the tenant pays. That honor goes to the landlord. The landlord budgets a commission that is split between his or her agent and the tenant broker. No out-of-pocket broker’s fee for the tenant.
So if you’re looking for a reason not to use a commercial real estate broker, you’re out of luck.