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  • Writer's pictureTom Miller, CCIM

Do I Really Need to Interview a Commercial Property Agent?

This is part of our ongoing series that debunks commercial real estate myths.

Myth #3: “Commercial real estate agents all know what they are doing – there’s no reason to interview before I hire one.”

Wrong. Commercial real estate agents are not all created equal. You absolutely want a qualified agent – read our recent post, “Why You Need an Agent” if you need clarification on this – and you absolutely need to interview before you hire. Get a few recommendations, set up some interviews and stack the deck in your favor by asking these five questions that any professional, successful agent should be capable of answering well.

A quick tip – conduct a bit of research on the market vacancy, the bigger deals going on and the market trending before you see your prospective agent. Having these answers in advance lets you carefully critique the agent’s replies, which will give you added information about the depth of his or her experience and expertise.

Question #5: What type of real estate do you practice?

Clearly, your aim here is to find someone who exclusively specializes in exactly what you’re looking for, assuming your market has specialists available. Try to avoid a general agent who does a little of this and a little of that.

Question #4: How long have you been handling industrial real estate?

This question is designed to prompt the agent into a narrative that will hopefully expose a very deep level of experience handling years of the type of transaction you are considering.

Question #3: How many of these transactions have you handled recently?

Again, this question is intended to prompt the agent into sharing specific and recent projects successfully completed. They should also freely offer names and contact information for decision makers on the deals they have recently performed.

Question #2: What’s happening with the current market?

With this question, you want to hear details, specific numbers and trending. Ask to see reporting. A solid agent will have immediate access to his own (or other agent’s) data. It’s critical that he or she can display quick access to market statistics. Be wary if you hear generalized commentary – “Our market is hot,” “We’re doing well,” “Rents are strong,” “Vacancy is dropping,” etc. This type of talk is a warning sign if the agent can’t back up such statements with detailed statistics. A true professional keeps his own market data in order to support his arguments with the landlords they will be meeting to advocate on your behalf. Lacking data, an agent’s negotiation positions are weak – and you do not want a weak agent negotiating for you.

Question #1: What are the biggest mistakes people make when looking for commercial property?”

In my many years of assisting firms moving into northern Nevada, I have only been asked this question once. Yet I still firmly believe it’s the most important question you could ask a commercial property agent, and I wrote an entire blog post, “Leasing Industrial Property? Don’t Make this Mistake,” on this very topic. Here’s the short answer – you should expect a very meaningful reply to a question like this, which will reveal much about the depth of a prospective agent’s experience.

The answers to these five questions should help you quickly gauge whether a commercial property agent not only has the ability to successfully handle your transaction but also the expertise to steer you clear of matters that have yet to occur to you. If you have more questions about how to find the right agent for your transaction, we welcome the opportunity to assist you. Call or click today.

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Miller Industrial Properties, Sparks, Reno, Nevada
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