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The difference between a Tenant and Listing Broker

April 21, 2017 | by Jo Cipolla

Last updated 8th October 2019

In commercial real estate the listing broker represents the interests of the building owner or landlord through the leasing process. That includes the marketing of the landlord’s properties and finding suitable tenants for those properties. Here we take a look at the differences between a listing agent, and tenant broker and their roles in the commercial leasing process.

Listing agent vs. listing broker

Listing broker is a name sometimes used interchangeably with listing agent because they represent the lessor. Usually an agent is anyone who has passed a broker license exam. The biggest difference between a broker and an agent is that a broker can own a real estate firm and hire estate agents. Whether referred to as a listing broker or agent they are responsible for the interests of the lessor under a listing agreement. 

It isn’t uncommon for people to try and go through the commercial real estate process on their own. However, typically this happens as they are unclear on exactly what a listing agent or a tenant broker actually do. The listing broker looks out for the landlord’s best interest in the leasing of their commercial real estate, this includes negotiating terms with the tenant or tenant broker and ensures that the outcome is favorable to the landlord. The listing broker is also required to find suitable tenants to lease the property and are paid a commission by the landlord. Often if the tenant has a broker representing them the landlord will cover the costs of the tenant broker as well as the listing agent. 

What is a tenant representation broker?

The tenant broker or tenant representative is responsible for supporting businesses throughout the commercial leasing process. Finding a new office space can be very time consuming and a tenant broker can help assess your requirements, find available spaces or sites, negotiate on a lease and more.  

A tenant broker acts on behalf of the tenant in a commercial real estate leasing transaction. Some commercial real estate brokers will work exclusively as a listing agent, others will take on tenant representation only, and some will represent both sides.

For tenants, it’s important to remember listing agents count on a prospect’s lack of commercial real estate knowledge in order to achieve the best income possible at the lowest possible expense to the landlord.

If you are looking for commercial office space, then you should seriously consider having a knowledgeable tenant broker by your side to give you better leverage in a lease negotiation and to help you find the right space for the right price.

Get in touch with SquareFoot to speak with one of our expert tenant brokers today.

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