How to Deal with Non Responsive Leasing Broker

12 Replies

Hi, this is my first time posting in Bigger Pockets so thank you in advance! We own an out of state 45,000 SF multi-tenant light industrial building in Texas (we're in California). We were hit with quite a few vacancies upon acquisition. Our leasing broker is very intelligent when we talk with her, but hard to get ahold of. For example, our largest tenant is 20,000 SF and is delinquent on his rent, so we want to advertise his space ASAP in case he vacates. Our leasing broker told us she would start advertising mid June but has not prepared the marketing flyer yet or taken pictures. She fully leased the other vacancies but we don't have enough experience in the market to know if she took a reasonable time to do this - for example, we had two 6,000 SF spaces and it took 6 months to lease each of them. When we talk with her, she's smart and says she will do something but sometimes she does and sometimes it takes weeks and weeks. Not sure if this is the best we can do - it's not a huge property and most units are 2k-6k SF so the big management companies are typically too big for us. Thank you again. 

My issue with firing her is it's not clear to me that someone better is out there! We've encountered non responsive leasing agents before. Maybe our standards are too high? Maybe taking 4 weeks to list a large building is normal? I don't want to fire her only to find she is better than the next guy. At least she got our units leased eventually - I don't know if 6 months for 6k sf is a good result or not. 

@Kim Hopkins the time it'll take to lease a space depends on the local market, did your agent give you an idea of the local market conditions and set expectations when they gave you a presentation to get the job? 4 weeks just to list the space for lease is not normal, in my market if the listing is not live in the first week, I would be out of the job in week 2! The tenants you did get for the 6K SF through this agent, were these deals co-brokered or did it involve just the listing agent (your agent)? If they are not co-brokered it could be just how it went down but it could also mean that your agent is entertaining only direct inquiries to earn full commission and is not interested in cooperating with other brokers in the market where the commissions will have to be split!  

Breaking up the relationship with an unresponsive broker is not fun, but necessary. It will be a weight lifted off your shoulders once you find one that answers the phone when you call and makes stuff happen. Call other property owners or management companies in the area and ask who they like. Good luck.

Just me but I would look at a different viewpoint.

How have you been communicating with her?

Is it by e-mail,phone, video chat, in person?

Someone can lease something up fast only to have a CRAPPY tenant. WHO is your tenant base is it local,regional, or national industrial type tenants? Local tends to act more fast in leasing a space with mom and pop type operations. The bigger companies tend to do more research and are more slow and methodical in their decision making process.

As an example for retail even if you get Starbucks wanting to go on a retail site from the first time contacting it can be 6 months or longer before they open in the space. They do research, have committees do tours of areas,etc.

If you have her on a video chat you can look at how she responds to your questions when asking about time lines and getting back to you etc. If someone is looking down, looking away,etc. with facial gestures as they talk that tends to not be a good sign. You mentioned they have already leased up the other spaces. Is the larger tenant now current on rent? Larger box spaces tend to take longer to lease out as bigger companies are slower to move and rent is typically higher compared to a larger pool of smaller tenants going for the regular type spaces.

National tenants tend to want brand new buildings with higher ceilings for storage and shipping. The older buildings usually are for more mom and pop and regional businesses. 

Originally posted by @Joel Owens :

Just me but I would look at a different viewpoint.

How have you been communicating with her?

Is it by e-mail,phone, video chat, in person?

Someone can lease something up fast only to have a CRAPPY tenant. WHO is your tenant base is it local,regional, or national industrial type tenants? Local tends to act more fast in leasing a space with mom and pop type operations. The bigger companies tend to do more research and are more slow and methodical in their decision making process.

As an example for retail even if you get Starbucks wanting to go on a retail site from the first time contacting it can be 6 months or longer before they open in the space. They do research, have committees do tours of areas,etc.

If you have her on a video chat you can look at how she responds to your questions when asking about time lines and getting back to you etc. If someone is looking down, looking away,etc. with facial gestures as they talk that tends to not be a good sign. You mentioned they have already leased up the other spaces. Is the larger tenant now current on rent? Larger box spaces tend to take longer to lease out as bigger companies are slower to move and rent is typically higher compared to a larger pool of smaller tenants going for the regular type spaces.

National tenants tend to want brand new buildings with higher ceilings for storage and shipping. The older buildings usually are for more mom and pop and regional businesses. 

We tried scheduling a weekly call with her at the same time every week but 7/10 times she cancels, often the day of, because she says she has tours for other clients in the afternoon. Then we spend the rest of the week calling and emailing her trying to get our questions answered. We do multi tenant light-industrial and typically local small tenants. Never national brands. Companies like solar, construction, small retail, things like that. This is our first property in Dallas and our first time with these larger units - 6,000 SF and the one 20,000 SF tenant. For our other properties, the units are more 1,200 - 2,000 SF on average an lease within a month if not less. So I don't know if 6 months for a 6,000 SF tenant is good or not. All I know are the facts - for example, she said a month ago she wanted to start marketing the 20,000 SF space and needed to take pictures first, and she hasn't put it on the market yet. 

In general if someone gives a time they will talk to you then that time should be honored. When I have appointments with clients that is when the time is. If a time does not work then I tell the client it has to be another time and I give them options.

I would not like someone evading or avoiding contact. When I get initial inquiries for clients I see if we would work well together. If not I do not care how much money they have it's a NO from me. There are lot's of brokers and agents that drop hints or beat around the bush and take business on that they likely should not. I believe in the direct approach. Some people find it ultra refreshing and others want to be hand held a lot and told what they want to hear with agreement to validate it.

If the afternoon is a high showing time for properties then that person should convey that time will not work most of the time and try to find a mutually acceptable time that is realistic for both parties.

Most parts of Texas are hot markets right now. Any area around the DFW is building commercial/ industrial space so I would think ( not a professional opinion) that you should come out here and interview PMs. Refresh your knowledge with the area and your competition.
Attend BP meet-ups and connect with a new agent. On so many levels she is not being of service or value to you and your investment. Again in my personal opinion.

Most parts of Texas are hot markets right now. Any area around the DFW is building commercial/ industrial space so I would think ( not a professional opinion) that you should come out here and interview PMs. Refresh your knowledge with the area and your competition.
Attend BP meet-ups and connect with a new agent. On so many levels she is not being of service or value to you and your investment. Again in my personal opinion.

I'm sorry you're having trouble....it does sound like there's a mismatch there.   Of course you want them busy working on the property and not busy updating you on activities...but a quick call, email, fax, text, video chat can work.  They need to do what works best for you.    To me you want to work with someone you feel comfortable with and who you think is doing a great job....and it sounds like you have some doubts about that.  Pictures are pretty easy to accomplish.  Most of the photographers are pretty good that we use and 90% of the time can do everything by themselves....and within 24-48hrs.....so if they can't get that done....it is frustrating.   May be time for a change.   Best wishes.  Sounds like you have a great property.  Unfortunately it does often seem there is turnover with new owner.

@Kim Hopkins Checking in for an update- did you change leasing agent? We are in same boat - 6000 sq ft warehouse/flex unit sitting vacant for months. In our case it looks like the agent is just way too busy with his sales deals to focus on this smaller lease deal.