I had the incredible benefit of working under a top landlord broker when I first got into the commercial real estate business. My first 6 months were filling out the landlord reports, opening doors on spaces and of most value to me now was listening to him on the phone with prospective tenants. Bob Hawkins would take sign calls as smoothly as you or I would order ice cream. It is under Bob’s tutelage that I saw what proper landlord representation should look like, which has been both a benefit and a burden. You can often walk by our teams desks and hear moans and groans of frustration. As tenant reps, we only use listing sites as way to scour the market for the property with suites that fit our clients requirements. We are at the mercy of the brokers that represent the properties to do their job. What should be a straight forward process can sometimes be an absolute beast, which is what has inspired this blog. We are fortunate to work in a thriving market, filled with some absolutely amazing brokers. 99% of the time we are doing deals with the same 15 or so brokers that are consummate professionals, the below is referencing that 1% you need to keep an eye out for.
Top 5 things to look for in a landlord broker
1. Detail oriented – Make sure your property is represented online in full detail. Check for things like, rate, rate type, rentable square footage of each suite, useable square footage, parking capabilities, power capabilities and most importantly make sure that there are floor plans that are easily accessible, and a layout description. Why is this number one? I can tell you first hand of times a client needs a quick turn around on a survey, going into the listing site and 80 properties pop as possibilities. It is my job to open each property, go to each suite and see if it fits the bill. What doesn’t work is going into the property page, clicking the suite and there is no information on the layout and for extra fun there is no brochure attached or at least one with floor plans available. I don’t have the time to call each individual broker, and ask for the layout, wait for them to call me back and then have it added to the survey. Your property will undoubtedly be passed over simply because your broker doesn’t have it dialed in online.
2. A hustler- Now before you roll your eyes let me explain. Is your broker going to work your listing as hard as he’s working maybe a higher end listing she has in her portfolio? Even if your property is a Class A or B do you have a frame of reference into their response time, eagerness to drive across town, and willingness to learn the various nuances of the property? This is important. I witnessed Bob answer calls of people in their cars calling off the sign asking for him to show up right away, and should he not be on a deadline, Bob would grab his brochures and be out the door. The most impressive part was watching him dash out across town on his Class C properties as eager as he would on all his Class A product. That to me is brokering. There was no prequalifying them over the phone, asking them to find a lock box or setting up the appointment the next day. That’s what you want, you want someone that’s going to work your property like it’s his own and as if his livelihood depends on it. As a top broker at Cushman & Wakefield Las Vegas, Mr. Hawkins could have taken liberties and prioritized but that just isn’t the way he operates. Years later, as I call brokers and try to set up appointments, and am met with questions designed to disqualify them from having to show up and show the property, I appreciate his way more and more.
3. CRE is their Main & Only lane- Having someone that primarily does residential real estate isn’t preferable. There is a lot that goes into learning the market, making relationships with fellow brokers and understanding how commercial works. Coming across listings that have the rate, but then the type is set to gross, full service gross, and modified gross is one of the tell tale signs I am about to call a resi agent. This means they have no idea what the difference of a NNN, MG, or FSG is and were hoping to wing it. Knowledge is important, the only thing that trumps that is relationships. All of us office brokers know one another, brokers know when we call with a tenant it means they are qualified to be represented by our team, they know we know how to get a deal over the finish line and most importantly we know how to effectively guide our client. Of equal importance for us is to know that should we tour, and the building be shortlisted that the broker on the other end can get the deal done with their landlord. There is nothing worse than a client getting excited about a building, going through the proposal process to find out that the landlord is using an inexperienced broker that is giving them poor information. If your broker is telling you that it is inline with market to offer no free rent, no tenant improvements and to not wiggle off your face rate at all, you’re getting bad advice and risk alienating the entire brokerage community.
4. Respected – This is one that may be harder to gauge. Does your broker have a respected reputation in the market? Is this person celebrated as being a knowledgeable top broker? Do you notice they are spoken about with admiration and respect? If you finance an open house to get some buzz going on your property will brokers show up? This is important. We would never dissuade a client from selecting a property with a less than stellar broker on the other side, but we aren’t exactly eager to work with someone if they have proven to be unreasonable or slow to respond.
5. Creative – is your broker going to stick a sign outside, put it on the listing sites and call it a day? That’s not the way to fill buildings. So many of our colleagues call us to make sure we are current on the latest availabilities in their portfolio, let us know new space is coming on the market or email the brochure whenever there is an update. Social media is another way to ensure you reach a broader audience. Eblasts and open houses are also great ways to stay top of mind. With tech changing the CRE game it is important that your broker not only adapts but utilizes any software, listing site or app that gets your property in front of the right people.
More landlords are representing their buildings themselves than ever before, when asked why they express frustration in finding the right broker for the job and often state they can stick a sign up just as easily as the rest of them. Proper landlord representation can be key in stabilizing your property. The person you hire will be plugged into the market, have relationships they can leverage, are motivated to work hard and fast to respond. Are you in a different market and want insight into who to use? Call our team and we will make sure you are properly represented, after all, our main lane is filling buildings.
Our team specializes in corporate real estate by representing clients in their leasing and purchasing. Dan Palmeri, SIOR and myself Natalie Wainwright have the experience, bandwidth, knowledge and most importantly, the determination to get corporate users the best possible deal terms for their needs. You can follow our teams daily activities with our impressive client roster on Twitter & Instagram @vegascreteam.