Selecting, securing, and moving into new office space — whether you’re leasing or buying — is a process that is often underestimated. In fact, it’s one of the most important endeavors you’ll embark upon for your business. The employees and customers you attract and the culture you create are in part determined by your office space.
However, it is also critically important to remember that you have a business to run. Your time cannot be constrained by interviewing contractors, studying rental rates, negotiating with landlords, and investigating building systems.
You need a commercial real estate broker who is more than a middle man. You need a professional who understands the ins and outs of the market to help you find and secure the most efficient office space at the most competitive rate possible. Additionally, you need a commercial real estate broker who is an astute project manager with a strong network of lawyers, contractors, architects, etc.
A good commercial real estate broker masterfully executes these seven responsibilities:
1. Identifies your wants. To secure the best space for you, your broker must ask you the right questions to help you determine what your current needs are and what your future needs will be. A commercial real estate broker must have a solid foundation of understanding mixed with a seasoned track record of experience to help you successfully find and secure your ideal space.
2. Filters properties. There are many properties to choose from and you don’t have the time to look at all of them. You need someone who is willing to diligently research the specific locations, buildings, and floor plans that are as close a match to your specific needs as possible. Otherwise, you will be touring properties that are irrelevant and your time will be wasted.
3. Knows rental rates, trends, and landlords. Unlike property deeds, commercial real estate leases are not public documents. Brokers should have a keen eye on the market and know what all landlords are offering to gain a firm understanding of market rates, building expenses, and standard tenant/landlord responsibilities. Similarly, your broker must be familiar with landlord and/or building owners’ reputations. If someone is difficult to work with or has a reputation of poor maintenance practices, you need to know ahead of time and not after you’ve moved into the space.
4. Examines all systems. Sure, you may know what space you want, but have you checked the building’s electrical and HVAC systems? What about the plumbing and sprinklers? These items are important to investigate whether you’re buying or leasing. Buying, for obvious reasons, and leasing because even if it’s not your financial responsibility, you’ll be inconvenienced by outages or constant repairs to inadequate and outdated building systems.
5. Motivates competition. Once you’ve whittled down your options to two or three buildings, your broker should request proposals that list options like standard market tenant improvement packages, limits on operating expense increases, and realistic load factors. This allows you to compare apples to apples and it encourages the landlord or seller to compete for your business and offer you the best deal.
6. Consults with architects and contractors. Before you sign your name on a lease, you need to find out what the costs are to build out your space — you don’t want to get stuck with a bill that exceeds the tenant improvement allowance provided by the landlord. Your broker should take the time to diligently research and competitively bid any hard and soft construction costs before a deal is signed. You also want your broker to negotiate the most aggressive tenant improvement package posssible from the landlord so there are no surprises along the way.
7. Negotiates rates. The asking rate is never the most aggressive price a landlord is willing to offer. If you’re not using a standard market tenant improvement allowance for the space, then you should receive a discount on your rate. Additionally, the landlord will have a broker negotiating on his behalf, and you need someone on your side of the table watching out for your best interests. Be actively involved in the process, but allow your broker to negotiate for you, and then scrutinize your contract before you sign.
Once the deal is signed, a commercial real estate broker’s mission is only halfway complete. He must then manage the completion of your space to ensure it’s finished correctly, on time, and on budget. This includes:
• Involving a commercial real estate attorney who ensures all negotiations are accounted for in legalese.
• Suggesting and managing contractors, engineers, architects, and designers.
• Scheduling the logistics of your project.
So how do you know up front if the commercial real estate broker you’re planning to work with has the expertise and project management skills required?
• Ask other business owners for referrals.
• Request references and follow up with them.
• Size up his or her attitude. Does he call you back quickly? Does she have a professional delivery? Is he systematic in his processes? These may seem like intangibles that do not matter, but they actually do. You must feel like you can trust and be comfortable with your commercial real estate broker.
Selecting, securing, and moving into new office space can be tedious. The commercial real estate broker you choose will make or break your deal. A good one will make your life and your staff’s life, a lot easier, allowing you to focus on the success of your business.
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Looking for commercial real estate broker in Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati that has all of the qualiteis listed above? When you need experienced commercial real estate agents on your side, you can count on KW Commercial to provide you with the assistance you’re looking for. With our team of real estate agents, we’re sure to find you the right property for the right price.
Commercial Real Estate Agent Northern Kentucky