Your company is running out of space! So you decide to start looking for a new location. Whether you are buying or leasing, or seeking office, industrial or retail space, it is imperative that you have a knowledgeable broker representing your interests. A buyer or tenant rep will not only help you identify the best sites and buildings, but if they really know what they are doing, he or she will help you to negotiate the best deal for your company and save you a lot of time, money and headaches.
With Buyer and Tenant Representation, our clients looking for a new location have the benefit of a savvy advisor on their end, who will not only help you to find the best location, but will help negotiate the best price and terms for you and assist you through the process from start to finish. The best part is, there is rarely ever a cost to you as the buyer or tenant for using these services. Typically the broker’s fee is paid by the building owner, so our services come at no cost to you! Occasionally when we are searching for off market property, a commission may be payable by our client – but we always notify you up front if that is the case, before you even look at the building, so that we can factor any commission cost into the acquisition or lease price. Let me explain a little about our Buyer and Tenant Representation process here at Sable Commercial Realty.
First, when you call to ask if we can help find you space, the tendency is that you will want to give us a list of wants and needs over the phone. That is the first mistake. It is always best to have your commercial broker visit your existing space, so that we can see how you currently use and function in the space, as well as the type of office sizes, equipment, number of personnel you have, and parking needs. In a couple of cases, just by visiting a client’s current building, I have actually been able to tell them that they can solve their space problem without even having to make a move. Sometimes, what is needed is a more efficient and artful layout of the space, with workstations or furniture that actually fit rather than stock sizes that aren’t made to match unique space sizes. (More on that later.) Sometimes a client is just storing too much furniture and junk that they don’t really need. Other times, they have totally miscalculated the amount of new space they need, because they forgot to include the circulation, mechanical, and additional restrooms that are necessitated by that additional space.
So, first, make sure your broker takes the time to tour your existing facility and give it a good hard look. Sometimes it makes sense to also bring in an architect or space planner to help you accurately define your needs. Just remember, if you overestimate your office space needs by 1,000 SF per year, and you are paying $16 per square foot plus $4 in CAM, Taxes, and utilities, you are really paying about $20,000 a year more than you need to. Over a five year lease, that is $100,000! So it is really important to make sure you have an accurate estimate of the actual space you require.
Second, as part of our buyer and tenant rep process, we take detailed notes on not only what size space you need, but location, features, amenities, parking, budget, and time frame. If you tell a broker you are looking for 40,000 SF of industrial space, that is not enough for us to do a good job for you. For example, how much office area is needed? How much warehouse or production area? What are the ceiling height requirements? Number of loading docks and doors? Are there specific electrical, plumbing, lighting, or floor load requirements? What about parking? What kind of zoning is required? At Sable Commercial Realty, we go through a very comprehensive list of questions, so that we will be showing you only properties that are the best match for your needs. We know how valuable your time is and we don’t want to waste it visiting the wrong sites!
Because of the investment of time that we put into this process, we typically require a signed exclusive buyer or tenant representation agreement. This allows us to confidently represent your interests on the market, solicit other brokers for their properties without competing with them, and also look for off market properties. That last one is really important. Most brokers only look for properties that are listed. At Sable Commercial Realty, our signed buyer and tenant rep clients enjoy the benefit of having us look for properties that are both on and off the market. This is a real benefit to you, as we may be able to find you something that another broker would not. We are not afraid to knock on doors or make calls to owners of a property if it is a good match for your needs. We may also put out a Request for Proposal for larger property needs, such as industrial or institutional uses.
Once we have developed a list of properties that may be a match, we let you, our client review this list and prioritize which ones are of most interest. We then obtain and provide more detailed information on those you have targeted, such as property brochures and marketing materials. Based on those our client has chosen to visit, we set up a property tour, allowing sufficient time to view the properties and ask any questions. We point out both the features and shortcomings of each property you view. (For example, obvious code related issues, deferred maintenance, and ADA compliance issues are often things we might note.) If a building or site is a good match, we often recommend coming back for a second visit with an architect or contractor. Rarely is a property ready to go “as is”, and it is important to know, (whether you are a buyer or tenant), what the cost might be for renovating or improving a space to suit your requirements. Sometimes these costs can be factored into the sale price or lease rate of a location. At the very least, it helps our client to understand the total cost of a space. While a sale price or lease rate might seem to be the most important factor, there are other costs that can just as heavily impact a deal.
This brings me to my next point: Occupancy cost. While many brokers are capable of showing buildings, few actually take the time to analyze the total occupancy costs of a space for their client. This is very important, because a cheap price on a property may be far outweighed by other economic factors. For example, CAM fees, real estate taxes, utility costs, build out costs, and the availability of economic development or financing incentives are all important factors in coming up with the total occupancy cost of a space. The larger the space, the bigger the impact. At Sable Commercial Realty, we help our clients to analyze the occupancy cost of the top 3 – 5 spaces so they can get a better idea of which space or building actually costs the least.
However, we also understand that there are intangible, non-economic issues in choosing a new location. Sometimes, these even outweigh the economic factors. So, that’s why we ask all the right questions up front. We find out what is important to you, so that you can find the best space possible.
Once you have narrowed down your choice to a specific building or location, our brokers negotiate hard on your behalf. Knowing the market is key to our getting you the best price and terms. We will discuss with you what we feel is the best appropriate offer, and provide market information and comparables if necessary to support that. We will then compose an agreement of sale or lease offer, depending on your situation, and in that offer, will address all of the terms and conditions that are important to you. We do a very thorough job on these documents, but we also greatly value the advice of legal professionals. Therefore, we often recommend a legal review prior to submitting an agreement of sale or a lease offer. Once your offer is prepared and submitted to the building owner, we continue to work to negotiate the best deal for you. At Sable Commercial Realty, we look at all the terms and conditions when we negotiate on your behalf. We work hard to obtain a fair and realistic price for our clients, all the while advising you on counter offers, concessions, and incremental changes in terms that may help to make a deal fly. We can be very creative in structuring a deal that works!
This is where many of our clients find the most value. Any broker can present offers and counter offers. But a broker that really knows how to negotiate, is money in the bank for you as our client. Particularly with leases, which may go on for many years, getting the terms right the first time is really key to a good transaction.
Once your offer is accepted, our job is not over. Often our clients need help finding the right contractors, vendors and other professionals to make their move go smoothly. We at Sable Commercial can help connect you to the right person for the right job, by sharing our extensive network of tried and true professionals. Whether you need a builder, architect, attorney, engineer, moving company or property inspector, we can provide you with several dependable names and resources for your needs.
What makes us different from other brokers is this: We have a process, we look out for your best interests at all times, and we negotiate effectively for our clients. Our goal at Sable Commercial Realty is not to make a sale, but to build a relationship with you, our client. By acting as your trusted advisor, and performing in a professional, competent manner, we help our clients to obtain the best results possible. We are truly here to represent you, not ourselves, and that is the difference!