Congrats! You’ve decided to sell your commercial property—your timing couldn’t be better. Never before has there been so much interest in owning a commercial building—while everyone is scrambling for golden eggs, you’ve got the goose!
Even in a sellers’ market, getting the absolute best possible offer for your property can be challenging without the help of an experienced commercial real estate agent. In addition, navigating the complex legalities of commercial property sales without knowledgeable help can not only be a huge headache but also open you up to the potential of legal action should something go wrong.
To ensure an easy, seamless process and the maximum possible profit for you, make sure to enlist the services of an experienced, competent commercial real estate agent. Not sure what to look for? Here are the three essential traits you should require from any agent: Specialized, realistic, and experienced.
Tip #1: Choose an Agent Who Specializes
Your commercial building is no doubt one of the biggest investments you’ve ever made—now is not the time to give your neighbour’s nephew the chance to try out his newly acquired real estate license. Even professional agents may not be the right fit. The sale of an office, retail, or industrial building can get very complicated, very quickly. You wouldn’t hire a real estate lawyer to get you out of jail, why hire anyone but a specialized commercial agent to handle the sale of your biggest asset? When it comes to commercial real estate, specialization counts.
Tip #2: Choose an Agent Who is Realistic
We’ve all experienced what it’s like to not have our expectations met—the completely impractical sports car the salesperson promised would make you more attractive or the absurdly expensive face cream the associate promised would take years off your appearance. Yeah, right. Expectations are important, they dictate how we will feel about a particular outcome, which is why you want an agent who is honest and transparent with you and not someone who will leave you disappointed.
While I have a great deal of respect for my vocation and the majority of my colleagues, there is always the odd rogue—that agent who promises the sun and stars but then fails to deliver on any of it. A competent agent will not try to earn your business through unrealistic promises, he or she will provide an honest opinion on the value of your property and how long it will take to sell. Is there a chance that a 250,000 sq. ft. building could sell in under a week? Of course, but the odds are so long that it’s nearly impossible.
As a building owner, imagine believing you could have your property sold in a week, only to have it still sitting on the market six months later. A competent commercial agent will keep your expectations realistic and your spirits high.
Tip #3: Choose an Agent Who Knows How To Negotiate
While negotiation is an art form, it is also predictably formulaic: The buyer wants to buy at the lowest price and the seller wants to sell at the highest price. Of course, the ideal solution will be somewhere in the middle; a seasoned negotiator knows instinctively whereabouts this middle ground is and can arrive at the “sweet spot” relatively quickly and painlessly for all involved (you may laugh at the word ‘painlessly’ but if you’re paying a lawyer by the hour to sit through the negotiations, it can be painful indeed!).
As commercial real estate tends to attract Type As and Alphas, you run into some serious egos. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be if he or she insists on over-negotiating for a ridiculous outcome that will never be agreed upon. All this does is stretch out the negotiations needlessly and can sour any goodwill toward you from the opposing party.
Before signing with an agent, ask them to explain their negotiating strategy. If they proudly trumpet their ability to grind opponents into submission to secure unbelievably favourable results—run, run as fast as you can.
Selecting the Best Commercial Real Estate Agent For You
Any commercial real estate agent you choose should embody the three traits above, but lots of agents meet this minimum requirement—how can you choose between them?
The good news is that if the commercial agents you are choosing between all have those three traits, you’re unlikely to make a bad choice. Once those table stakes are met, your best option is to go with the agent that just feels right. Maybe you shared a personal connection, maybe their manner really impressed you—whatever it is, at this point, go with your gut and you’re not likely to be disappointed.