• Thomas Miller, CCIM

National Franchise or Boutique Industrial Real Estate Firm? Start with 4 Questions.

In the world of commercial and industrial real estate, national franchised branches are particularly ubiquitous. That’s no exception here in the Reno-Sparks market. But your options don’t begin and end there. Locally owned and operated industrial real estate firms – aka the boutique agency – also serve the local market. And choosing between one or the other comes down to answering a series of questions.

Clarifying your transaction goals means facing the first big decision that any prospective tenant or buyer has when the industrial real estate transaction process begins. Will the boutique firm or the national franchise be more likely to listen carefully to my needs before responding appropriately? Will you enjoy undivided attention from your agency, with your transaction prioritized and handle with the utmost professionalism and care? Spend some time speaking with agents from both firms to get an understanding of where your transaction might rank.

Partnering with an agent – and an agency – that has a history of representing your side of the negotiating table is an asset. Be very clear – it is technically legal to serve both the tenant and the landlord in a single transaction, but that doesn’t mean you want to involved in a deal like that. You deserve to have an agent who advocates solely for your interests, and partnering with a firm who will attempt to play both sides of the table doesn’t make this feasible. Taking this idea further, ask yourself whether an agent and an agency whose business is heavily skewed toward representing a landlord can advocate just as well for you – against his big client. You are not unwise to have your doubts.

There is a lot to be said for shopping local. Locally owned businesses live and work in the same community you do. From an industrial real estate perspective, that means they know this market. The truth is that national franchise firms are high-volume shops. Think about what that means for you and your transaction. You’ll be one of many. Is that good enough for you? Or do you like the idea of taking your business to a lower-volume, higher-service provider? With a local firm, that’s what you get.

Spend some time looking online to thoroughly research your industrial real estate needs. Search for a specific property or look up keywords relevant to your situation. Carefully review the websites served in response to your search terms, and follow up with the agencies that stand out. An interview is always a good idea, and be prepared to ask specifically about the local market. Agencies that are tuned into the market will not only be able to answer you thoroughly, they’ll have accurate data to back it all up.

Depending on your situation, a high-volume franchise may work out just fine. But don’t make the assumption that these firms are your only option. Here in northern Nevada, Miller Industrial Properties is the area’s longest-running boutique firm. We invite you to speak with us directly if you’re investigating industrial real estate in our local market.


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