1. What kind of real estate do you practice?
The answer to this question will help you quickly build a short list of agents. Obviously, you’re looking for someone who not only specializes in the type of real estate you’ll be working in, but has a long track record of success. Unless you’re in a very small market that doesn’t offer specialists, it’s usually best to avoid the jack of all trades, or the agent who has dabbled here and there.
2. How long have you been working with industrial real estate?
This gives the agent an opportunity to share details about his or her level of experience handling transactions like yours.
3. How many similar transactions have you handled recently?
This is another question designed to prompt the agent into sharing specific, recent projects that were successfully completed. In the best case scenario, the agent will offer contact information for recent clients so that you can get additional feedback about his or her skill set.
4. What’s happening with the market right now, and how does that affect my plans?
If the reply to this question is a lot of general commentary without supporting facts, reports, and statistic, proceed with caution. Immediate access to accurate market data is paramount for success, and an experienced professional often maintains his or her own data. This gives the agent an advantage when he’s advocating for you against potential landlords. Without data, an agent’s negotiations are inherently weak, and that’s not the kind of agent you want on your side of the table.
5. What are the biggest mistakes people make when they look for industrial property?
This question was posed to me one time in all my years of industrial real estate, and I still consider it the most important question that can be asked. When you ask this question, you should receive a very meaningful reply, and it will likely tell you much about the depth and range of a prospective agent’s experience.