What makes for an outstanding commercial listing broker?

5 Replies

As the title and the description say: What has a commercial real estate broker done on one of your listings - either for lease or for sale - that made them stand out in your opinion?

A few follow up questions:

  1. What do you expect your commercial listing agent to do and provide for you throughout the process?
  2. Where do you see the landlord's responsibilities drop off and the listing agent's pick up? For example - marketing expenses, pro formas, etc.
  3. Anything else?

I will tell you what I appreciate in a Broker.

  • Have ALL the information needed to run the numbers
  • Someone who is able to reply back within 24 hours. A simple reply back email saying "I received your request, I will get back to you on X to let you know

Simple professionalism! 

I agree with what Gaspare said. I would add someone with a strong marketing plan, unlocked listings on Loopnet, someone who gives bi-monthly emailed updates on showings with prospective tenant feedback, and someone who is prompt in responding to calls. 

I've had a few different brokers for commercial properties my family owns and they are a funny bunch. My current brokers are extraordinarily professional and do all things I mentioned above. Previous brokers were difficult to get ahold of, slow in responding, and didn't seem very proactive in marketing our lease spaces. Nothing more than hanging a sign. A broker can't create interest in a property if the market isn't there for it, but they can be proactive in marketing spaces to give the space the best chance of being leased or sold. 

For me personally I want someone who is not going to waste my time and will tell me like it is, whether I want to hear it or not. If the broker does not think my property will bring what I'm asking, I want them to tell me! Communication is key, so if there is something I can do the property to up my chances of success I want them to tell me that as well.

  They also need to have a professional website that will showcase the properties and utilize other websites such as LoopNet as well. I'm also a big fan of brokers who place a nice, big, well-read sign in front of the property, so the passer-byes can easily read it.

Well some commercial brokers choose not to be listing brokers but buyer specialists like me. That doesn't mean I don't occasionally list property for existing clients. I also have developers and other off market property owners where I tell them I do not want to list their property but have a buyer looking to purchase a property.

Some brokers are full of hot air but I actually have many clients looking to purchase for various retail properties. Many property owners like they can sell a property without going through the typical listing process. That takes a lot of time and drama many do not want to deal with. A listing broker if they are good will be very good at screening and qualifying buyers inquiring on a listing to make sure they are credible and have the ability to purchase under normal conditions.

Example a particular retail asset if a buyer puts 35% down you know lenders will likely do the loan all day long with little hesitation. If the buyer however is trying 25% down that owner if they are seasoned knows the property likely has to underwrite almost to perfection to make the loan happen without requiring more down. 

The listing teams are generally all the same it is about volume to them and competing for listings of portfolios and constant work for reduced commissions. They tend to have to close 6 to 10 deals to my 1 deal. I would rather be relaxing than working my tail off for less money.

A listing broker in my opinion should not be taking listings that are not ready yet for sale. What I mean is that the seller does not have a package ready to go and their papers and docs are all in shambles. So as a buyer you get in there for DD under contract and the seller or PM company is missing lots of items to work through the process. Sometimes the seller is hiding something and other times they are just not very organized at all. This is why we tend to put in the PSA that the first day of DD does not start until all the items listed are received by the seller etc.

If a seller is hiding something then we generally know it right away or if they are just disorganized and need time to gather docs our DD doesn't start yet.  

A broker who fully understands the numbers, actively prospects, and is easy to communicate with are what I find to be the best qualities. You can tell when a broker is simply the literal definition of a broker--in leasing those who just post a sign with their number and are able to collect their commission when a prospective tenant calls and leases the space. These brokers usually come to you and express what the prospective tenant is looking for and can feel like they are almost just representing the tenant's interests as they just want to get the deal done and collect their commission...not a good partner. 

A leasing broker who fully understands the numbers will understand what your goals are, what prospective tenant's goals are, and be able to manipulate economics to make the deal work for both sides. Example: T expresses they can only pay X in rent when you are asking Y, but rather than moving on the broker offers an additional month of free rent and explains to the tenant that the net effective rent/what they will ultimately write a check for is X or sub-X, etc. Brokers who don't get the numbers will just regurgitate what the tenant dictates they want in a deal and will expect you to run numbers and tell them every move--you should run numbers but they should be able to do this on their own and not rely on you to tell them every move to make in negotiating an LOI.

Simply put: you can see their hustle and the value they provide in making your job easier/less work for you and you are then happy to reward them with their well-earned commission.

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