Researching Your Commercial Real Estate Management Company

Purchasing or selling a commercial property is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your business. After all, it represents a huge investment of your time and resources, so it is important to research the buying and selling process to understand your rights and responsibilities.

Real estate management companies are there to guide you through the property-buying and selling process, which can be a logistical maze. Even if you’re experienced with purchasing residential real estate, it’s probably wise to work with experts when you’re looking to invest in a commercial space. Buying or selling a commercial property is very different from buying or selling a home, so it’s worthwhile to find a commercial real estate management company to help you through the transaction. Of course, it is important to do your research before selecting the group that will help you close the deal.

So what steps should you take to find the right commercial real estate management company for your business’s needs? The three tips below are a good start:

1. Reach Out To Your Professional Network, Then Follow Up With Additional Research

Utilizing commercial real estate management companies is common in retail circles, so a good first step is to reach out to your professional network for recommendations. Get in touch with trusted colleagues and see which real estate management companies they have used in the past when acquiring or selling commercial properties. This is a great way to figure out which companies to do some additional research about and which to avoid completely.

Once you have a few potential real estate management companies in mind, it’s time to do some additional due diligence and check more references. Get in touch with each agency and ask for a list of recent sales so you are able to contact those who have worked with the company in the recent past to see if they’re satisfied with the services provided. While you’re at it, it’s also wise to check the agency’s history by researching its licensing; the company’s registration with licensing organizations creates an automatic record of past transactions so you are able to see if there have been any disciplinary actions against an agency or individual agent’s licenses.

Another key piece of information you’ll want to look for is the sales history of the company. How many properties have they facilitated the purchase of in the past year, what were the asking prices of those properties, and what were their eventual sales prices? This is important because you’ll want to be sure that the agency is negotiating fiercely for its clients. If you are selling property, it is helpful to know what property the agency has sold in the past, the listing price, and the eventual selling price.

2. Ask A Lot Of Questions About Services Provided By The Agency

A good commercial real estate management company should offer a wide array of services for buyers and sellers. Be sure to ask a lot of questions of each agency you investigate about what types of services they provide. If you’re buying a commercial property, you’ll want an agency that offers:

  • Scouting of properties in a variety of possible locations
  • Buy/rent analysis of potential properties
  • Property valuations
  • Market area analysis of potential properties
  • Prepare offers and directly communicate with sellers

If you’re selling a commercial property, you’ll want an agency that offers:

  • Sell/lease analysis of your property
  • A thorough assessment of the value of your property
  • Marketing of the property (from start to finish), including an extensive network of contacts to market the property to
  • Analysis of offers and direct communication/negotiation with potential buyers

3. Consider Management Companies That Offer More Than Just Property Sales

When you’re narrowing down your list of possible commercial real estate management companies to work with, a final consideration is what the agency offers beyond just buy and selling properties. The goal is to choose a company wisely so that you can establish a long-term relationship with it, so picking an agency that also offers property management services or ongoing financial advising regarding your property might be a good way to make your final choice. Using your real estate management company for purposes besides just buying and selling will help you create a good rapport with the agency so that you know you’ll have someone to lean on for all your commercial property needs.

The Takeaway:

Choosing a commercial real estate agency is one of the most important decisions you will make before buying or selling property. Above all else, the most important thing you can do is research the history and services of the companies you’re interested in. Anyone can sound convincing, but facts are facts. Once you know track records of several potential companies, you can use that research to guide your decision.

Neda Jafarzadeh is a financial analyst for NerdWallet, a site dedicated to providing unbiased financial recommendations to consumers.