Hello, Is it Tenants You’re Looking For?

Our Tenant Connect program continues to flourish, and we’re happy to say that 2015 has been an exciting year for the overall growth of the program. Since our last update 11 months ago, OfficeSpace.com has gone nationwide and we’ve more than doubled the number of participating brokers in our Tenant Connect program.

Much of the program’s success can be attributed to the strong year we’ve had as a whole. We’ve seen record traffic numbers and have continued to track growth on all fronts:

 

Q22015

Recap: The Program

Tenant Connect is our broker marketing platform which we’ve designed specifically for Tenant Rep Brokers. This platform allows Tenant Rep brokers to connect with prospective tenants who are actively searching for available spaces on OfficeSpace.com. These connections happen via email or phone and are tracked in our system and relayed directly to the broker. As a Tenant Rep, you simply have to qualify and respond to inquiries (something you all do currently).

This platform has truly proved to be beneficial to both the Tenant and the Tenant Reps.

An updated snapshot of what we’ve seen in our program:

– Over 14,000 contacts directly delivered to the broker.
– Over 157% growth in the number of participating partners over the past 10 months.
Tenant rep partners are averaging over a 4x return on their spend.
– Over 75% of our users are tenants searching without representation, and 68% are searching for spaces over 1,000SF.

What Participants Are Saying

We recently turned to one of our Tenant Connect veterans, Scott Driver, to ask how the program has personally impacted him:

Q: How does Tenant Connect compare to other online referral/lead sources?

Scott DriverThere are no other lead resources for Tenant Rep Brokers.

Q: To date, what has been your most memorable tenant contact from OfficeSpace.com

Scott Driver: A contact that resulted in a $15,879.75 commission check for an office lease.

Q: What has been the biggest impact for you as a result of joining Tenant Connect?

Scott DriverAdditional income was $30,000 in 2014 (4 months), and $57,000 2nd quarter of 2015 with many deals in the pipeline. There’s also an additional peace of mind knowing that leads will be received at least weekly if not more often.

Q: Do you have any advice for new members or for those that are interested in joining?

Scott Driver: Contact the leads via email as quickly as possible, followed by a phone call to determine the specifics of the requirement, how “real” it is, and the probability of closing a transaction. Also, show the space as soon as possible.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

Scott Driver: Anyone who does not benefit from this lead program isn’t getting up in the morning.

The Next Steps

As we diligently add new listings and drive more traffic, we are continuing to see new opportunities in most of our markets to add more Tenant Rep partners who are hungry to grow their business and understand the value of online marketing.

Contact us below for more information and don’t miss out on reserving a spot to represent yourself as the local tenant expert in your market:

 

Tenants. Tenants, Everywhere.

Throughout the past year, one of our goals has been to develop a better understanding of who our users are. While we have always had a general idea about this, it was important for us to confirm our understanding of the matter, especially considering how much we’ve grown over the past 12 months.

We’re now averaging nearly 150,000 new users visiting OfficeSpace.com per month. So we had to ask ourselves: who exactly are our users? And more importantly, what are they looking for?

We set out to find the answers by, well, simply asking our users themselves. We implemented a short survey on our site and received a flood of responses.

In short, here’s what we found:

  • Over 75% of participants said they were tenants who were searching on their own.
  • 80% stated that they were interested in seeing what was available on the market.
  • 31% wanted to see photos and floor plans.

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What does this mean? Tenants are actively searching for available spaces on our site, and the majority are using OfficeSpace.com as the starting point for their office search. While this doesn’t come as a huge surprise to us, it’s a great feeling, as our efforts over the past year have been focused on improving this very experience. Of course, there’s always room for improvement, and we’re continuously working towards improving the search experience across all fronts.

More importantly, this confirms how online platforms like OfficeSpace.com are an amazing opportunity for CRE brokers to market their listings and ultimately connect with tenants. Unlike existing pay-to-access services (e.g., Loopnet, Costar), that are primarily used to market to other real estate professionals, our unrestricted platform attracts tenants who are actively searching and researching on their own. With over 75% of our users being tenants searching for space without any initial help, the majority are looking to connect with someone as evidenced by the number of tenant inquiries we pass through on a daily basis. A recent survey also revealed that nearly 60% of all tenants and investors start their commercial real estate search online.

So tell us, how have online platforms like OfficeSpace.com changed how you find and connect with tenants?

Update: To learn more about tenant trends, check our latest survey results. We reveal how tenants are searching for office space and what they’re saying about their CRE search experience. 

Lookin’ for Tenants in All the Wrong Places

The Destination

It has been 18 months since we launched our pilot program for Tenant Rep Brokers and I’m thrilled to say that it has been an overwhelming success!  In fact, since we launched, others have tried to copy our model which is further validation of the market opportunity.  However, their captive audience isn’t necessarily tenants that are searching for space and is reflected in the quality of those leads.

2012 and 2013 were record years for us over multiple metrics and 2014 seems to be on the same overall trajectory, if not better:OfficeSpaceUserGrowthOfficeSpace.com continues to be the premier destination for tenants that are actively looking for space.

The Program

Tenant Connect is our broker marketing program specifically designed for tenant representation brokers from the ground up.  Our platform allows prospective tenants to reach out to our Tenant Connect Brokers directly as they are searching for available spaces while on OfficeSpace.com.  These inquiries or contacts can happen via email or phone and are tracked in our system and relayed directly to the broker.  It is truly a platform that works for both the Tenant and the Tenant Reps.  Best of all, as a tenant rep, you don’t have to do anything to source the clients, you just have to qualify and respond to the inquiries…something you all do currently.

Overall results for the past 18 months:

  • Approximately $500,000 in commission revenue generated for the broker
  • Over 6,500 contacts directly delivered to the broker
  • Over 115 closings with a large pipeline
  • Our broker churn rate is flat at 0%, everyone is seeing the value

The Journey

All our current tenant connect brokers are reaping the benefits of adopting early as they are all generating commissions and have secured their spot in their respective markets.  All our pilot cities are currently full but we are always building out wait lists.  Additionally, we make proactive changes to our tenant connect broker pools based on performance and user reviews, which helps us improve our tenant experience.

What some of our Tenant Connect Brokers have to say:

Overall – the use of OfficeSpace.com has enhanced my ability as a broker tenfold – I truly cannot imagine getting going without a tool like this.  My interest in inbound leads and how to qualify, nurture and then cultivate them has proven a great asset to Colliers –and an invaluable learning experience with your tool.  I look forward to many more years of successful partnership – and would encourage any and all feedback you have for me in the future. — Sam Devorris (Colliers, Denver)


(in 4 months) Have received over $30,000 in commissions my efforts have generated from the leads so obviously it has worked for me! — Scott Driver (Scott Driver & Company, Seattle)


The main reason for enjoying the TC Broker Program over the last two years is the ease of quality inbound leads and income, not just the immediate 5 figure deals but the future 5/6 figure deals when leases roll/renew/relocate.  I have never done a six-figure lease with Office Space yet, but in 2013 and 2014 so many deals were in the five-figure range. I also have a 62 month deal in the highest priced building in all of San Diego County today from an Office Space lead – anyone can call me about it, and I will note how easy it was to get.

In our competitive commercial real estate environment to have so many office leads come in that are coming from areas that you would otherwise have to be LinkedIn, be introduced, or network to meet the President or CEO, OfficeSpace.com is able to cut right to the front of the line.  

I recommend OfficeSpace.com to all tenant reps, the only problem is not all tenant reps can become a member, so I tell them in minutes to sign up or get back to LinkedIn, be introduced, or network. — Michael Mazzotta (XREIT, San Diego)

The Opportunity

We’ve learned over the past few years how to attract and keep prospective users on the site and we will continue to listen, learn, and refine our services.  The team at OfficeSpace.com is aggressively expanding our listing base throughout the nation and this will allow us to bring this platform to many more markets in the near future.

If you are interested in being a leader with entrepreneurial foresight, contact us for more information and reserve your spot as we offer this platform in your market:

Don’t miss out like so many brokers in our pilot markets did, by letting the herd mentality take over.  Many of those that missed out was simply due to waiting to see who would join the program.

After all, where else can you tap into a steady profitable stream of prospective tenants actively looking for your help?

Where are you looking to find tenants?

Broker Banter Q&A – Part II (The Denver Chapter)

DenverSkyline

This week we have the pleasure of sharing another Q&A for our Broker Banter series, featuring Denver Broker Jason Bollhoefner.  Similar to our previous conversation with Portland broker Kristi Ricker, we connected with Jason to get more insight into some key things that tenants should know before touring potential sites, selecting a space, and negotiating a lease.

OfficeSpace: What are some things that tenants typically overlook when looking for new space that they should be paying attention to?

Jason:  Commercial leasing is a complex process, fraught with significant potential risks and liabilities, and should only be handled by a representative that has both the necessary experience and your best interests in place.  I have found tenants tend to overlook the importance of their creditworthiness and the time required to bring a commercial lease transaction to close.  Leasing commercial space is very comparable to getting a loan from a bank.  Tenants should be prepared to share financial statements and to appropriately collateralize the lease transaction.

Commercial real estate transactions, even for a seemingly “simple” deal, may take a considerable amount of time to successfully complete.  Having adequate time to identify, tour, design, price, negotiate terms on, construct or improve, and move into suitable commercial space helps to shift negotiating leverage to the tenant’s benefit.  Start the process 4-8 months before you need to occupy your new space.

OfficeSpace: What are the best practices to selecting the best space?

Jason: The best space is the space which meets unique criteria that vary by industry, property type, the nature of the user’s business and their business plan, and location.  I ensure a successful process by taking the time to understand the intricacies of my clients and their businesses up-front so the real estate supports these needs and requirements.

OfficeSpace: What are the best practices in negotiating my lease?

Jason: The best practices in negotiating a lease are summarized into 4 critical path items as follows:

  1. Start your needs analysis and discussion well before the need is estimated to commence.
  2. Engage an expert commercial real estate broker with proven experience and leverage their knowledge; we are here to help you starting with the needs analysis and continuing from occupancy throughout your lease term.
  3. Always have a solid back-up option at hand, especially in an improving real estate market. Being prepared to walk away is a very powerful aspect of successful negotiation.
  4. Engage a real estate attorney to provide counsel and revise the lease document.

OfficeSpace: What are the hidden costs in a lease?

Jason: Your real estate broker should be well versed and provide assistance in mitigating latent/hidden costs within the lease agreement.  The primary area of hidden costs arise from Operating Expenses or Common Area Maintenance (CAM) charges and maintenance obligations.  Other potential pitfalls include Tenant Restoration requirements, Tenant Alteration processes, landlord administrative markups, and property management fees. My experience  negotiating thousands of lease agreements is invaluable to my clients in these areas.

OfficeSpace: What’s the best way to compare offers?

Jason: The best way to compare offers is on a Net Present Value (NPV) basis and $/RSF basis with a matrix for a side by side comparison.  This analysis should also take into account intangibles such as building image, proximity to employees and clients, ease of ingress/egress, and the true cost of occupancy including any tenant contributions to build-out and relocation costs.

Jason Bollhoefner joined Corum Real Estate Group as a Leasing Agent in January 2001 and was promoted to Senior Leasing Agent in 2007 and to his current position as Assistant Vice President in 2008.

Find office, retail or industrial space by visiting: http://www.officespace.com/Denver-CO

Broker Banter – Questions & Answers (The Portland Chapter)

We’re the first to admit we don’t always have all the answers when it comes to the fine details of leasing and all the questions that come with it. That’s when we turn to our commercial comrades to aid with the broadening of our knowledge base.  This week we’ve gone straight to the source to speak with Portland, OR broker Kristi Ricker.

We connected with Kristi to talk shop, and in fact, where to set up shop.

OfficeSpace: What do you think is the most important question a tenant should be asking, that they never seem to ask when looking for space?

Kristi: Zoning, tenants need to learn more out about zoning. There are so many issues in this area and if you’re not aware of this in the beginning it could hurt your chances of securing your ideal space. It’s something you should ask your broker about as they’ll be able to determine how to move forward in narrowing down your search. It’s just not something that’s on the top of your mind when you’re looking for a space and it definitely should be.

OfficeSpace: What is the best tip in negotiating a lease you think all tenants should consider? 

Kristi: The longer the lease, the better you’re going to be able to negotiate, especially if you are going to need anything done to your space. People are nervous with the idea of securing a 5 year lease, they think “What if something happens?” – but they can always put a clause in allowing them to sublease (A lease of a property by a tenant to a subtenant.).

OfficeSpace: What do tenants focus on, that perhaps they shouldn’t when searching for space?

Kristi: Recently, I’ve had clients who have looked at a space and were concerned the buildings around it were being worked on or unfinished. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always paint a pretty picture of the neighborhood, especially when it’s an up and coming urban area. I recommend looking at the bigger finished picture and inquiring about what’s being developed in the area.

OfficeSpace: What area of town would you recommend to a Start-Up in Portland?

Kristi: The inner Southeast, Northeast and North Portland are very hot right now. They were predominantly industrial areas and now they’ve turned into these very creative pockets with great opportunities for startups, restaurants, retail and more.

OfficeSpace: What are you starting to see more of in Portland?

Kristi: Tons of startups, restaurants, breweries, delis – there’s a great food scene here.

OfficeSpace: And lastly, what makes Portland great?

Kristi: Portland‘s so diverse, we have a little bit of everything for everyone. Everything goes here – that’s what I love about it. I see all these new ideas here and they seem to work. If you have a crazy, fun new idea, there’s a great support network for that here. It just seems out of the ordinary things work here more than other places. Nothing is guaranteed but your chances of making it a go seems to have better odds in Portland.

Kristi has over 15 years of real estate experience in the greater Portland area and has recently started her own company.

Need Office, Retail or Industrial Space in Portland? Visit us here – OfficeSpace.com/Portland

Calling All Tenant Reps!

So many inquiries, so little time

We’ve had a great 2012 and 2013 looks to be off to a fast start.  So much so that we are looking to expand our pool of Tenant Rep Brokers!

OfficeSpace.com has been extremely busy with our Portland, Denver, and San Diego launches and here is a brief summary of 2012:

  • Launched Portland, OR (Jan 2012), Denver, CO (June 2012), San Diego, CA (Dec 2012) AND
  • 243,000 visitors
  • 2,200,000 building views
  • 1,900 leads directly to listing brokers
  • Approx. 10,000 calls to listing brokers

We’re very proud of these results, however, we’re just getting started.

Destination for Tenants

OfficeSpace.com is where many tenants who are just starting to look for space first enter the market. We’re talking to these potential tenants, sometimes they simply request some marketing and listing contact information. Other times, these are tenants who are ready and willing to work with a Broker and this is when we send them to you. We are filling a void for tenants and they are finding us online.

Little Secret

As some of you may know, the OfficeSpace.com platform is open to nationwide listings even though we are focused on our home markets of Seattle, Portland, Denver, & San Diego.  In fact, we continually add new listings outside of our home markets and they are getting indexed.  In the last 30 days, much to our surprise, our non-home market web stats and lead activity has in some cases, surpassed our home market metrics:

  • 52% of visitor traffic was outside our home markets
  • 60% of our building views were attributable to our non-home markets
  • 30% of our leads & inquiries were generated from outside our home markets

The Opportunity

This is where you come in!

If you are an experienced Tenant Rep and would like to be part of our Tenant Rep Broker Pool, please email me at howard@officespace.com with a brief bio and I’ll be sure to contact you.  Oh, by the way, our Tenant Rep Broker Pool is free to join but spots are limited, so secure your first mover advantage and get in early!

If you have listings, get them onto OfficeSpace.com, you will get indexed, you will get exposure, and you will generate leads.

With your help, we’re making finding and leasing space a smoother and easier process!

Olympic Athletes are to Coaches as Tenants are to Brokers

For the past week and a half, I’ve been curled up on my couch like an Olympics addict.  I’ve even been watching the biographies NBC puts together for American athletes. These segments show the athletes training, past victories, their families and a final huge factor: their coaches. There’s no denying that the coaches are one of the most important people and an ever-present part of the most important meet of their careers.

I brought this thought with me to work and to the debate of whether or not a tenant needs a tenant rep broker in a transaction. Athletes don’t make their way up to the podium all by themselves now, do they? Much like coaches, tenant rep brokers provide the experience and guidance and negotiate on the tenant’s behalf.

Athletes look for coaches with experience:

Athletes don’t always make it to multiple Olympics, but coaches are often a familiar face. American track and field star Allyson Felix won her long-awaited gold medal yesterday under the coaching of Bob Kersee. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he also coached legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Coincidence? I think not.

That’s not to say there are no newcomer coaches, but no one’s going at it alone.  A tenant rep broker provides the experience and expertise in the commercial real estate industry that a business owner is just less likely to have.  They know how to “coach” their tenants to the best spaces because they’ve done it before.

Coaches fight for bad calls for their athletes:

These Olympics seemed to be the Games of the inquiries. When fencer German Britta Heidemann pounced a decisive hit against South Korean Shin A. Lam’s during a clock malfunction, Heidermann was declared the winner and Lam’s coach immediately filed an appeal. Unfortunately for Lam, she lost her appeal.

Over at the O2 arena, gymnasts Alexandra Raisman (U.S.) and Kohei Uchimura (Japan) found themselves/their teams in 4th place. Immediately, their coaches filed appeals complaining that they did not get enough credit in their technical scores. Both gymnasts subsequently won the appeal and made it to the podium, but one noticeable thing is that the athlete keeps their distance.  Their job is to perform.  Their coaches’ is to fight for them.

When tenants hire a tenant rep broker, they are hiring someone to be on their side.  The listing broker is looking out for his or her client, so why not have someone look out for you? The tenant rep broker will negotiate the price, terms of the lease and other contractual items.  They’ll fight the battles so tenants don’t have to get their hands dirty. The tenant can focus on what they do best: running their business.

Coaches provide guidance and analyze the competition:

During women’s diving semifinals, coach Vince Panzano was seen giving American Katie Bell coaching and a pep talk.  After gymnast Jordyn Wieber’s (U.S.) low beam score in team preliminaries, she was seen talking to her coach across the arena boundary.  NBC speculated he was talking to her about what she needed to do to qualify for the all-around competition above her teammates.

It’s the coach’s job to guide the athletes, tell them what needs to be done and to analyze the competition- brokers are no different.  Tenant rep brokers hear things in the “biz.” They often have an idea of which spaces are currently highly sought after, which neighborhoods are best and how various property owners may work.

At the end of the day, the tenant rep broker works for the tenant.  The space the tenant chooses is up to them. No one became the best in the world without a coach and a tenant rep broker will help the tenant find their best space and deal too.

Benefits of Using a Tenant Representation Broker

Tenant Representation Broker

This post was updated on August 8, 2018.

Isn’t it cheaper to use the listing broker?  The one whose name is on the sign?

Even for savvy business people, this is a myth that we hear over and over.  In order to answer this question, you really need to understand how commercial real estate brokers make money.  The landlord pays commission for both the listing broker as well as the tenant rep broker.  However, the big caveat here is that you, the tenant, ultimately are paying for the commissions through the lease that you sign as landlords have already taken into account the cost of commissions when they determine their rates.

The listing broker is responsible for representing the landlord’s best interests.  Their job is to find a tenant to lease space at the best terms to the landlord.  Even if the broker agrees to represent you as a client, your needs come second to the landlord’s needs – and this is something that is in writing between the listing broker and the landlord.    This is a practice called dual agency.  Think of it from another angle.  If the landlord thought that the listing broker was giving you an advantage by working for you, do you think that the landlord would allow it?  The answer would be a resounding no.

A tenant rep broker’s only job in the transaction is to represent you and your best interests.  If you decide to walk away because they aren’t finding you spaces that work for you, they haven’t made a dime on you.  In addition, when they negotiate for you, they are only concerned about what will work for you, whereas the listing broker may be worried about irritating the boss and may not negotiate so hard for you.

Now, going back to the point earlier, that you, the tenant ultimately pay commissions through your rent.  The landlord has already taken into consideration that the commissions will be paid, regardless of who represents you in the transaction.

So, the landlord isn’t going to agree to lower the rent or give you more rent concessions because he’s going to have a lower cost of sales because the listing broker is representing you.  Listing brokers love representing the tenants for their own listings because generally, there’s very little negotiation and the deal gets done with less friction but potentially costing you, the tenant, more.  Whatever commission was budgeted for the tenant’s representative, some portion, or all of it, will be paid to the listing broker.  The bottom line is this: if the listing broker represents the tenant, they make more money on the deal.

It just makes good business sense to have someone represent you who has your best interests in mind, not someone who would like to represent you because they earn more commission but is actually legally bound to hold someone else’s best interest first.  Knowing this, why wouldn’t you want to have your own representation?