A commercial real estate broker may very well be the most valuable tool available to you in managing your real estate portfolio. Whether you are looking to lease or buy space, brokers help you with every stage of the process. Furthermore, in most cases, their services won't cost you anything.
The best brokers take the time to understand your company and its needs long before the start showing you spaces. As a part of the needs analysis process, they will learn about your business and its plans for the future. Based on your needs, they will help you determine a type of space and a general location that not only will help your company achieve its business goals but also that also fits your budget.
Once your commercial real estate broker determines a broad plan -- looking for 7,000 to 9,000 of Class B office space in New Jersey within 1 miles of a PATH station -- he will start filtering through the available spaces to find suitable ones for you to lease or buy. Some of the spaces he will find will be available on the broad market. Some, however, are probably going to be quietly marketed, and unavailable to people outside of the commercial real estate industry. Frequently, those spaces that you wouldn't be able to find by your space are the best located, highest quality and best priced ones.
Negotiating The Deal
After conducting tours and helping you identify a short list of sites, your broker will commence negotiations on your behalf. He might work with you to submit offers to multiple buildings. Doing this increases your negotiating leverage since you can always walk away if one owner won't work with you. He can also guide you as to which conditions are acceptable and which will not work in the current commercial real estate market climate.
Getting Ready to Move In
Once you find a deal that meets your business needs and budget and passes muster with your legal team, your broker will stay involved to ensure that you get from the signing of the lease or purchase and sale agreement to a successful move-in. He will help to facilitate your inspections for a sale. If you're leasing, he will serve as a liaison between you and the landlord and the landlord's construction manager to ensure that your tenant improvement build-out completes successfully.
Once you move in, a good commercial real estate broker will stay in touch with you. Immediately afterwards, he will reach out to make sure that everything is working well for you. During your ownership or tenancy, you can also turn to him for market information or for advice on lease renegotiations or renewals.
What It Costs You
When you retain a commercial real estate broker as a tenant or as a buyer, you can usually expect to pay nothing for his services. Brokers are typically compensated by the seller or landlord's broker, who collects and shares all of the commission. Frequently, if you are unrepresented, the listing broker will simply keep both sides of the fee for himself.
On the other hand, if you ever find yourself in the position of being a seller or landlord, you will have to pay for a broker. In those instances, though, you will get the benefit of having him make a market for your building or space and manage the whole process for you. In either case, the largest and savviest companies turn to commercial real estate brokers for a simple reason -- they add real value.
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