The New Role of a Commercial Real Estate Agent

In the past, the main role of a CRE Agent was to help their client find a property. This sounds quite straightforward and it typically was. An agent would first utilize their market knowledge to see if they knew of any spaces/properties that might meet the criteria of their client, and if not, begin to reach out to all of their contacts to see if they had anything, or if there was anything new coming out. If all else failed, they would resort to sign chasing, driving the areas their clients were interested in and call on the signs on buildings to see what, if anything, was available.

Along came the internet which dramatically changed how this works now. The control of information no longer flowed just through the agent. Unfortunately, many agents didn’t adapt to the change and continued to see their role as just finding a property for their client. Many clients also kept this mentality, thinking that an agent’s role was just to find a property. This, of course, led to many clients thinking they only needed an agent to find a property and if they could find one then they wouldn’t need an agent, and could possibly get a better deal on their own.

Good agents realize that finding a property for their client is just a small part of what they do. Finding the right property is a bigger role, and their most value lies in negotiating the best deal for their client. Finding the right property is key to a good agent’s success. Even though there are many properties sourced on the open internet, many more are still not advertised. A good agent will be able to locate and advise what properties are best for their client. More importantly, a good agent will be able to advocate on their client’s behalf and negotiate the best deal for them.

When negotiating a deal there are many factors to consider – the strength of the client, the strength of the other tenants in the building, the location of the property, the ability to increase income, the amenities and the general trend for the neighborhood. A good agent will be able to analyze all of this quickly and adjust pricing to reflect everything that goes into the pricing of a property. This is information that most clients do not have readily available for them, and without it, they are unable to negotiate the best deal for themselves.

Ultimately, a good agent’s value lies in their ability to guide, advise, and negotiate a better deal for their client. Typically an agent will be able to save their clients more, or get more value for their property, than any commission they earn. So, when working with an agent ask yourself this: “Are they a good agent and the right agent to represent me?” Some ways to tell would be if the agent has asked a lot of questions about your goals, your business plan and come up with ideas that you may not have thought about. Do they have the experience negotiating transactions of the type you are contemplating? And lastly, do they have the means to produce the desired results? If they are an agent that just sends you properties, many of which don’t even meet the criteria you are looking for, then they are probably not the right agent for you.