A few years ago, we ran a series debunking common industrial real estate myths. Myth #3 is this: “Since all commercial real estate know what they’re doing, there’s no need to to conduct interview before I hire one.” That logic is flat wrong, and here’s why. Commercial real estate agents aren’t equal. And since you want a qualified agent, yes, an interview is essential before you hire someone. Begin with some recommendations, then set up your interviews and be sure to ask these five questions. Any qualified agent should be more than capable of answering them to your satisfaction.
And here’s a pro tip – before your interviews, do a bit of market vacancy research and find out about some of the bigger deals happening in your area. You’ll be better prepared to critique your potential agent’s reply.
1. What type of real estate do you practice?
Your goal with this question is obviously to find someone who exclusively specializes in the type of real estate you’ll be dealing in (assuming your market has specialists available). Try to avoid the jack of all trades – a general agent who does some of this and a bit of that.
2. How long have you been handling industrial real estate?
A question like this is intended to prompt the agent into a narrative that, with any luck, will expose a deep level of experience handling transactions like the one you’re considering.
3. How many of these transactions have you recently handled?
This is another question intended to prompt the agent into sharing specific, recent projects that have been successfully completed. Ideally, the agent should also freely offer names and contact information for decision makers on recent deals so you can get additional insight and feedback.
4. What’s happening with the market currently?
You need details, specific numbers and trending in the response to this question. Ask to see some reports. An experienced agent will have immediate access to his own (or another agent’s) data. Be clear – it’s important that your agent has quick access to market statistics. Generalized commentary – “Our market is hot,” “We’re doing well,” “Rents are strong,” “Vacancy is dropping,” etc – is a warning if the agent can’t back it up with detailed statistics. A true professional keeps his own market data 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 don’t want a weak agent negotiating for you.
5. What are the biggest mistakes people make when looking for commercial property?”
In my years of assisting firms moving into northern Nevada, I have only been asked this question once. Yet I still 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. The short answer is that you should expect a very meaningful reply to a question like this. It will tell you much about the depth of a prospective agent’s experience.
The answers to these five questions will help you determine whether a commercial property agent has both the ability to successfully handle your transaction and the expertise to steer you clear of issues 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.