Why Use a Commercial Real Estate Broker (and what they actually do for you…)

In this series, I will be giving insight into the world of a California commercial real estate broker that leases, buys or sells commercial real estate (CRE) for you, the client. The client is the tenant, buyer or seller of CRE space generally defined as office, retail and industrial.

There are four main things a good CRE broker does: They find suitable locations, negotiate the offer, negotiate the lease clauses, and are there when the client needs help thereafter with matters like construction, moving, future landlord disputes, terminating a lease early, etc.

The first thing a CRE broker does that might seem obvious and easy is finding you locations that fit your criteria.  We normally go on a proprietary website like CoStar that the client doesn’t have access to (a subscription to Costar is expensive and you have to learn how to use the software) and run a search for what you are looking for.  This isn’t as easy as it sounds.  If a broker doesn’t know how to use the software correctly and set up the searches correctly (including keeping a search active so that if a new listing appears that fits your criteria the broker is alerted right away), you won’t find all the possible locations.  Also, consider that many listing brokers for landlords/sellers don’t input the information correctly into the software or even keep the information updated. This makes it difficult to then find applicable properties for a client correctly.  It takes quite a bit of time to do a search correctly.

Seems easy enough; why can’t a client simply find a website like CoStar and do this search themselves?  After all, there are CRE oriented websites like Loopnet or City Feet or Office.com and others that state they have the CRE listings available at no cost, right?  The main problem with these sites is that they don’t have anywhere near all of the listings that CoStar does.  Loopnet, for example, is now owned by CoStar and Loopnet makes brokers and landlords pay to have their properties listed on this site so this site doesn’t list the properties available for those that aren’t willing to pay to do so.  Also, for whatever reason, sites other than CoStar simply aren’t used by CRE brokers because CoStar pretty much has a monopoly on most all listings and other kinds of data like comps.  So, if the client wants to do it themselves they won’t be able to find all of the available properties but only a small fraction thereof.

Then there are the off market non listed properties that you can’t find even on CoStar or other websites.  A good broker has connections to landlords/sellers and other brokers that don’t use listing services or that simply haven’t listed the location yet.  Staying in touch with the aforementioned people pays high dividends to my clients, but again it takes quite a bit of time and good record keeping to do so.

A good broker truly does use their expertise, experience and connections to get you the very best outcome. Next time, our topic will focus on successfully negotiating the deal and what goes into that.  Negotiating correctly is an art unto itself.

If you have questions about any of the above topics or have any CRE needs please contact David Massie at david@djmcre.com or 805-217-0791.

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