Tom Miller, CCIM
What’s the Best Way to Pick a Commercial Real Estate Agent in a New State?
1. Visit all of the websites for all of the real estate firms in your new area
Search the type of real estate you are looking for – industrial, retail, investment, etc. – with the city name and see what pops up. Even a cursory browsing of a website can reveal a lot about a firm. What are your initial impressions? Is the site substantive? What is the firm’s specialty? Does the firm seem to have a good grasp on the value of technology in industrial real estate today? Read client reviews, look at featured listings and take the opportunity to download any available and valuable content designed to educate you as a potential client about this market. If there’s a blog, take a few minutes to browse recent posts. It’s a good way to get an “insider” feel for a company.
2. Look for a firm that will represent you – not the landlords of the new market.
Most landlords tend to hire nationally franchised firms to represent them. Those agencies have a contract with and an obligation to advocate for the landlord. If you’re looking to lease or buy, it’s not in your best interest to work with a firm that has a contractual obligation to get the best deal for the landlord. Instead, look for a firm that isn’t a landlord agent. And learn more about whether national franchised industrial real estate firms provide better service in a market like northern Nevada.
3. Pick up the phone. Then schedule some meetings.
You should get immediate access to an agent. If you can, visit a few with short notice. Meet with an agent, ask specific questions and expect very specific answers. If an agent cannot produce very detailed, specific and accurate market analytics even on very short notice, move on. During your meetings, be sure to note the following: Does the agent ask questions? Is the agent really listening to what you’re saying? Does the agent show a desire to help you meet your needs? What are your overall impressions with the agent’s experience, abilities and desire to help you?
4. Bonus round – beware calling off the real estate sign.
If, upon a trip to your new location, you happen to see a real estate sign on an available industrial or commercial property and call the agent listed, understand that you’re talking to the person contractually obligated to wrangle the best deal for his client – a client who happens to be the landlord or tenant of the building you’re considering. This can be costly and is best avoided. If you are unclear about this, read our post, “The Hidden Trouble with the Landlord’s Real Estate Agent.”
Finding the right industrial real estate agent in a new market can be daunting, but you have options. Following the steps outlined above will help you narrow your options to the most qualified and experienced agents in the market. If you’re considering an expansion or relocation to northern Nevada, we welcome the opportunity to assist you.