1. Who do you represent?
This is an often-overlooked question, and it shouldn’t be. There’s a very good chance that the agent you’re chatting with outside a particular property actually represents the landlord. And that’s a problem. We look at the hidden danger of the landlord’s agent in another post, but be clear – if he’s representing the landlord, you know where his loyalty lies. An easy tell? If his name is on a sales flyer or a sign outside a given property, take it as a sign that this agent does not represent you and he cannot adequately assist you.
2. What are your qualifications?
The answer to this question should be lengthy and specific. Any agent you’re considering should have multiple examples of recent transactions that are quite similar to yours. Generalizations here can be worrisome. If you’re being assured that an agent is the best in town, or works for a big firm that’s nationally based, don’t be distracted. That all sounds lovely, but how exactly does it benefit you? You’ll be in better hands with the agent who has a recent and successful track record of transactions like yours, and who is happy to share specifics about how he achieved those results.
3. How did you achieve those results?
If a potential agent fails to provide this information without being asked, be direct. And if he doesn’t respond with clear details of the process he used to get his client a great lease rate and term, ask yourself if that’s an issue for you. It should be.
Your potential agent should also be asking you questions. One question in particular is something you’ll hear from agents with experience – what are your best and worse-case needs in the future? Any variation of this question means this is an agent who is not only considering how a property will serve you today, but into the future as well.
The best way to make a decision about the right industrial real estate agent is by asking these questions and listening carefully to the answers. This kind of information goes a long way to ensuring that the purchasing or leasing process is as smooth and successful as possible.