Residential Realtors vs. Commercial Brokers…there is a difference

As the owner of a small business, you notice that your quickly growing out of your current location and that it is time to relocate. Who do you call? For some people the first answer that comes to mind is anyone in real estate, namely being the Realtor that sold them their house. While this person may be legally qualified to help you with your commercial search, it is important to recognize if they are professionally qualified.

Here are a couple ways to prequalify your real estate representative and ensure they can help you with your COMMERCIAL search for space:

1. Do they currently list commercial property? And how much of their portfolio is commercial vs. residential? This should tell you if they are well versed in the industry.

2. When was the last time they leased or sold a commercial property? The commercial market changes daily. A well qualified commercial real estate professional will be actively moving properties, which keeps them in the know of current market trends.

3. Do they have proper legal documents ready for your use? Unlike residential real estate, there are no set contracts for Letter of Intents or leases, for example. A good commercial real estate agent will have a standard Letter of Intent that they have created with the help of an attorney.

4. Ask them if they have a firm grasp on lease pricing in the area? Leases are priced very differently in residential than commercial. Unlike a flat rental fee, plus utilities, on a residential transaction, commercial leases are quoted on either a net or gross prices. Additionally, in the Chicagoland area they are quoted on a per square foot (PSF) basis. Obviously, it is extremely important to make sure your real estate representative understands the pricing structure.

5. Are they a member of any commercial real estate organizations? It is helpful to have connections within the commercial real estate community. Many times “insider information” is discussed within these organizations (for example: comparable deals, landlord reputations, etc…) that can be beneficial to your relocation. Therefore having a real estate professional within a group like this ultimately benefits you.

O’Donnell Commercial Real Estate, Inc. strictly practices commercial real estate. We would never claim to be able to represent you on your home search as we recognize we are not professionally qualified to do so. We don’t stay on top of the local residential market, we don’t belong to any residential organizations, and frankly, we’re not quite sure where to begin to even market your home. However, we do pride ourselves on being a well-established commercial brokerage firm, with many local ties and the knowledge to serve commercial clients throughout the Chicagoland area.


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