Selecting a tenant representation broker is all about working with someone who has your best interests in mind. Some tenants opt to find a tenant rep broker that comes from a different firm than the listing agent. If you browse an online listing site like OfficeSpace.com and find a space that you like, you can check out the listing broker and also view available tenant representation brokers. Being an educated tenant is all about knowing the market and knowing your own needs.
There is no one best way to select a broker, but there are several things to keep in mind:
Don’t choose a broker without first checking client references.
You can find reviews online or pick them up via word of mouth. Reviews may be specific to the individual broker (often a commercial real estate agent) or they may be for a firm. Find reputable references from similar businesses in your field, so you can find the right broker for your specific needs.
Understand what properties, if any, a broker has listed that could create a potential conflict of interest.
If a broker serves as a listing agent on a property, their primary fiduciary duty belongs to the landlord. This means that in the event that the listing agent is serving as the tenant rep on a deal, although they may be able to offer a lower individual commission rate, their primary goal is to get the most money for the property as possible. In order to avoid a conflict of interest, many tenants opt to find a tenant rep broker that is knowledgeable about the field, but does not come from the same office that is listing the property.
If a conflict does come up, how is your broker prepared to handle it?
You can question the broker about potential conflicts of interest to see how they would handle such a situation. Clarify who their fiduciary duty belongs to in any given arrangement. Your tenant rep broker should be dedicated to negotiating on your behalf.
If you haven’t hired a broker, only let a broker show you spaces that they have listed.
Without a tenant rep agreement, it makes no sense for a broker to show a listing that is not their own. Since there is no agreement in place, they do not have a fiduciary interest in finding you the right spot. If they offer to show you a listing that isn’t theirs, it may be to benefit the listing agent or to lock you into an agreement with a broker that you may not otherwise select.
Don’t hire a broker if you are unsure about moving.
Hiring a tenant rep broker shows your commitment to finding a new location for your business. Hiring a broker when you’re not sure about moving potentially wastes their time and resources, and they may be hesitant to take you on as a client in the future. Keep in mind that they don’t get paid unless they help you secure a deal, so avoid wasting their time. If you’re just checking out the inventory, resources like OfficeSpace.com allow you to browse without commitment.
If you’re having difficulty selecting a broker, check out our tenant rep selection guide to help you choose the right broker.