Posts Tagged 'fei'

Hire Us to Represent Your Property Because We Represent So Many Other Buildings!

“Hire us to represent your property, because we represent so many other buildings…and, we can tell about all of the leads at those buildings…to help you lease or sell your building quicker!”

In this day and age, when transparency and conflict avoidance are top of mind of almost every corporate executive, I am amazed that some commercial real estate brokers still use this tired and lame approach when soliciting property representation engagements.  What is truly amazing is, that given the above, some property owners still buy this line of trash!

Some brokers actually tell property owners that they should hire those brokers because the brokers represent a lot of other buildings and will share with them the leads that the receive on those other buildings.  That is a very common pitch!  Those brokers make claims like:

  • You’ll have our complete attention (How is that possible?)
  • Because we represent so many buildings in the local market, we see every tenant (Will you share my leads with other landlords?)
  • We’ll tell you everything that’s going on in the market (Will your other clients mind?)
  • Sign with us, and you’ll have a greater chance of making more deals (More or fewer deals?)

So, let me understand this:  Some property owners are actually comfortable not receiving true representation, the kind of aggressive and objective expertise designed to protect their interests, beat their competition, and help them succeed…the kind of service to which the broker representation agreements the sign actually entitle them?

Instead, they’re ok with their buildings being thrown into a large pool, so when a tenant jumps into that pool, if the property owners’ lucky number just happens to pop up, or if the broker overseeing that pool decides it’s that property owner’s turn, only then would they get a shot at that deal?  Is that really what they’re signing up for?

Do these property owners recognize that while they’re enjoying the supposed benefits of so many more leads that come from throwing their buildings into that very large pool, that some buildings or property owners will drown?  Do they think that brokers offering this service will favor them, and that all of the other property owners who were promised the same access to “all of the leads” won’t be clamoring for the same tenants?

Have these property owners considered that while they’re feeding on all of those supposed leads generated for them by all of those other buildings, that leads for tenants or buyers who may be sincerely interested in their buildings, will also be thrown into that pool, thereby possibly diminishing their likelihood of success?  Do they see that those tenants and buyers may be pulled from that pool and rescued by some other property owner at another building?

Is this true representation?  Isn’t this approach a blatant conflict of interest?  Do many property owners actually accept this approach?  Do the best brokers offer something better?

About Real Estate Strategies Corporation

Real Estate Strategies Corporation is a respected corporate advisory and transaction services firm that provides thought-leadership, decision-making, planning, project management, and transaction execution services to financial and senior executives at management team-led public, private, and portfolio companies, and not-for-profit organizations.  Under the leadership of its award-winning CEO, Andrew B. Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing, renegotiating, or enhancing occupied leased or owned real estate in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and throughout North America. By creating and executing Business DRIVEN Real Estate Solutions and identifying hidden Opportunities, RealStrat drives greater operational and financial performance in support of its clients’ stakeholder objectives, M&A requirements, and exit strategies.

In the current economic environment, RealStrat’s efforts are focused on uncovering, capturing, and re-purposing hidden liquidity and minimizing risk in its clients’ leased and owned real estate.  The firm provides counsel as to competitive advantage strategies in preparation for the eventual economic recovery.  Visit www.RealStrat.com.

Read about timely commercial real estate issues at RealStrat’s blog at www.CorporateAdvisor.wordpress.com. Follow RealStrat at http://www.Twitter.com/RealStrat.

LINKS:

RealStrat News
Biographies
Articles
Properties
What Our Clients Say
AndrewZezas.com

For additional profiles, pictures, and more click here or go to http://realstratnews.wordpress.com/media-information/.

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2011. All Rights Reserved.

###

Always Cut Your Commission!

Yeah, that’s right!   “Always Cut Your Commission!”  And, why not?  If the only value you can offer your clients is your price, then you probably will have to cut your commissions to stay in business!

Actually, let’s clarify what is often referred to as “Commission Cutting.”  It simply means that one broker is willing to sell his or her services at a lower rate than he or she would for other projects, or perhaps in comparison to his or her competitors.  So what?  Does that mean every one in the local market must sell their services at the same price?  If you buy shoes from one store at a low price, does that mean that all of the other shoe stores will lose all of their customers and go out of business, just because you got a good deal?

Just like in other industries, there exist many common practices in commercial real estate, including those surrounding broker compensation.  But, no “standard” compensation or commission structure exists.  In fact, in most states, setting commission standards is considered price-fixing, and is illegal!

So, what’s all this noise about brokers who cut their commissions and how that supposedly affects the compensation of other brokers?  The response I often hear is that if one broker offers low-priced services then every landlord, tenant, buyer, and seller in that market will make the same demands.  Really?  Well, guess what?  They already want your services at the lowest possible price.  Shouldn’t they?  Don’t you want to buy those shoes as inexpensively as possible?  Don’t you negotiate for a lower price when you buy or lease a car?  Didn’t you negotiate when you bought your home?  Did everyone else get their home for the same price you did?  Of course not!  Seeking a lower price is the American way, and there isn’t a darned thing wrong with it.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you a low-cost service provider?
  • Is low-cost always the winner?

NO!  If that were true, there would not exist high-priced hotels, restaurants, resorts, clothes, homes, cars, etc., etc., etc., or anything of better quality.  If low price always won, consumers and businesses would never buy the best quality or engage the best of any service provider.  Instead, they would only hire the cheapest.  And, in those instances, they’d get what they paid for.

Forget what other brokers do.  There is plenty of room in every industry for low-cost service providers, because some clients do make purchasing and hiring decisions purely on cost.  Low cost, almost always means low quality, and those who hire only on a low-cost basis typically receive services commensurate with what they pay.  And, if that’s their preference, so be it!

The answer here is very simple:  If you are a low-cost service provider, be the best one in your market.  If, on the other hand, you wish to be something other than low-cost, make sure that like Mercedes, BMW, Nobu, Gucci, and other fine products and service providers, you provide your clients with such incredibly valuable services, experiences, and outcomes, that your other-than-low-price will be warranted and you will be in demand!

About Real Estate Strategies Corporation

Real Estate Strategies Corporation is a respected corporate advisory and transaction services firm that provides thought-leadership, decision-making, planning, project management, and transaction execution services to financial and senior executives at management team-led public, private, and portfolio companies, and not-for-profit organizations.  Under the leadership of its award-winning CEO, Andrew B. Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing, renegotiating, or enhancing occupied leased or owned real estate in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and throughout North America. By creating and executing Business DRIVEN Real Estate Solutions and identifying hidden Opportunities, RealStrat drives greater operational and financial performance in support of its clients’ stakeholder objectives, M&A requirements, and exit strategies.

In the current economic environment, RealStrat’s efforts are focused on uncovering, capturing, and re-purposing hidden liquidity and minimizing risk in its clients’ leased and owned real estate.  The firm provides counsel as to competitive advantage strategies in preparation for the eventual economic recovery.  Visit www.RealStrat.com.

Read about timely commercial real estate issues at RealStrat’s blog at www.CorporateAdvisor.wordpress.com. Follow RealStrat at http://www.Twitter.com/RealStrat.

LINKS:

RealStrat News
Biographies
Articles
Properties
What Our Clients Say
AndrewZezas.com

For additional profiles, pictures, and more click here or go to http://realstratnews.wordpress.com/media-information/.

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2011. All Rights Reserved.

###

Has Your Wife Inspected the Building Yet?

In a recent industrial lease transaction, how the deal came to a close was not only unusual, but very telling about the direction of the current economy.  A privately held company negotiated with a commercial landlord to occupy a full building in a prominent and well-located industrial park in central New Jersey.   The landlord had an excellent reputation for quality designed and solidly constructed buildings, for maintaining high service levels, and for sticking to his word.  However, the landlord’s buildings were also known to be priced higher than his competition.

The landlord, a very astute and respected business man, had recently gotten very aggressive in lowering rents in an effort to attract more tenants and fill his buildings’ vacancies.  Nonetheless, his rents were still higher than many of his competitors.

In this particular negotiation, the landlord offered extremely flexible terms and an annual rental rate that was one of the lowest he had offered in the last eight years.  After weeks of back and forth, the tenant’s CEO informed the landlord that the company would not accept his terms, and that the company decided to lease a building of similar quality located twenty minutes further south.  The CEO said that the building they had chosen was less expensive, and that given current economic challenges, the spread between rents for the two buildings was significant enough that he could not pass up the additional savings.  He told the landlord that his company made its decision a week earlier and that its lawyers were already deep into lease document negotiations.  The CEO was a candid guy, so the landlord took him at face value and correctly assumed this was not a negotiating ploy.

Disappointed for having worked so hard to land the tenant, the landlord knew he couldn’t win them all.  The landlord confirmed for the CEO that he had truly offered all he could, and wished the tenant well.  The CEO stated that even if the landlord had offered more, he did not expect the central New Jersey building to be able to match the lower rents at the selected building.  So, they parted, saying they each hoped to do business together again some.

That weekend, the CEO was driving through central New Jersey with his wife on his way to a social function.  Since his wife had heard so much from him about the intense building negotiations, the CEO decided to drive her past the two buildings, both the one to which the company planned to relocate and the central New Jersey building he’d decided not to lease.

After driving around the central New Jersey building and sitting in front for a few moments, the wife, who rarely involved herself in her husband’s business affairs, told her CEO husband that he was nuts for passing-up the central New Jersey building.  She told him that she thought he’d made a mistake, and that the building offered an image that was far more impressive than anything else she’d seen.  From what the CEO told her, the central New Jersey building offered a giant leap in functional design, in comparison to the company’s current facility and the one the CEO selected.  She said that the building he had chosen could not compare, that his company would have benefited considerably more by moving its employees and operations to the central New Jersey building, and that the company would likely have become more profitable and able to significantly elevate its own image had it chosen the central New Jersey building.  Wow!

The CEO’s wife was right, and he was convinced!  First thing Monday morning, the CEO called the central New Jersey landlord and agreed to close the deal, despite the additional rental cost for the central New Jersey building.  The CEO realized that given the terms offered by the landlord, he would basically get a BMW quality building for the price of a Chevy.  He knew that, despite the continued economic doom and gloom heralded by the media, a good deal would still be a good deal.  Moreover, the CEO, obviously an intelligent business man, recognized that the lowest cost deal, even if it is less than the cost of a Chevy, while often attractive, is not always the best deal.  He understood that value could be derived, and success could be achieved, in multiple ways, other than through mere cost reduction.

When companies begin to return to rational thought, as in the case above, a circumstance that has lately been repeated again and again, you can be assured that such activities are the true signs that the recovery is gaining traction.  And, when your wife tells you that your company would be better off by taking a particular action, you may want to listen closely.

What unusual circumstances have surrounded your projects?

About Real Estate Strategies Corporation

Real Estate Strategies Corporation is a respected corporate advisory and transaction services firm that provides thought-leadership, decision-making, planning, project management, and transaction execution services to financial and senior executives at management team-led public, private, and portfolio companies, and not-for-profit organizations.  Under the leadership of its award-winning CEO, Andrew B. Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing, renegotiating, or enhancing occupied leased or owned real estate in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and throughout North America. By creating and executing Business DRIVEN Real Estate Solutions and identifying hidden Opportunities, RealStrat drives greater operational and financial performance in support of its clients’ stakeholder objectives, M&A requirements, and exit strategies.

In the current economic environment, RealStrat’s efforts are focused on uncovering, capturing, and re-purposing hidden liquidity and minimizing risk in its clients’ leased and owned real estate.  The firm provides counsel as to competitive advantage strategies in preparation for the eventual economic recovery.  Visit www.RealStrat.com.

Read about timely commercial real estate issues at RealStrat’s blog at www.CorporateAdvisor.wordpress.com. Follow RealStrat at http://www.Twitter.com/RealStrat.

LINKS:

RealStrat News
Biographies
Articles
Properties
What Our Clients Say
AndrewZezas.com

For additional profiles, pictures, and more click here or go to http://realstratnews.wordpress.com/media-information/.

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2011. All Rights Reserved.

###

Dear Mr. Landlord: We Both Know You’d Rather Deal Directly with the Tenant! Part Three

Q&A on Tenant Representation with a Commercial Landlord
Part Three of a Three Part Post

Most commercial landlords understand the role of tenant representation brokers and welcome the benefits they derive when tenant representation brokers properly educate and advise their tenant clients.  However, some landlords, mostly old-school die-hards, continue to maintain very negative views of all things about the tenant representation process.   Some actually get offended by the very idea of a tenant representation broker.   Offended!?  What’s that about?

In a recent Q&A conducted via email with a prominent commercial landlord, I had the opportunity to hold a completely frank and open discussion about his views about tenant representation brokers.  And, while some of the conversation was challenging at times, both of us came away having learned from each other.

I invited the commercial landlord to provide me with his views on tenant representation, tenant representatives, and how he’d prefer to conduct the business of leasing his properties.  The conversation got so good, that it took me three posts to include it all.  Be sure to go back and read Parts One and Two!  Following is Part Three of that dialogue:

Read Part One and Part Two of this three part post.

7. Landlord: I wish tenant representative brokers would….

A) Present complete information on ALL tenant requirements at their first communication with me

RealStrat’s Response: Do you present all of your requirements at your first communication with tenant representatives?  Of course not!  While most tenant  representatives strive to provide complete information, so that landlords can make informed and intelligent decisions, sometimes complete information is unavailable.  In other instances, certain information may be confidential or may change over time as a result of landlord responses, negotiations, or changes in the objectives and needs of tenants.   So, providing ALL information at the first communication, while a preferable approach, may not always be possible.

B) Permit landlords and tenants to negotiate directly

RealStrat’s Response: Depending on many moving parts, including issues of confidentiality, tenant preferences, landlord’s style, and more, permitting direct negotiations may not be beneficial to tenants or to the transaction.

C) Not grandstand

RealStrat’s Response: Absolutely!  Frankly,  no one likes a show off!

D) Make the overall transaction process easier for the landlord

RealStrat’s Response: Unfortunately, while no one should intentionally make a transaction unnecessarily challenging, the demands made to the tenant representative by its client may have the unintentional result of creating challenges for the landlord.  And, since the tenant representative’s job is protect the interests of the tenant, making things easier for the landlord may not be on the tenant’s agenda.

E) Communicate thoroughly, more often, and in greater detail

RealStrat’s Response: A tenant representative should absolutely communicate effectively to landlords, especially when asking that landlord to be responsive and expend time and resources in an effort to complete a transaction.  However, in protecting their tenant’s interests, tenant representatives may not be able to communicate in a manner always preferred by landlords.

F) Hurry the hell up!  Tenant representatives often take too long and drag out the process.  Either make a deal with me or let me move on to a real prospect!

RealStrat’s Response: You’re certainly right about that!  Sometimes, transactions feel like they take forever.  But, in many instances, tenant representatives and their tenants must contend with changing business tides and the resulting impact on the tenant’s real estate requirements.  Additionally, based on how you and other landlords negotiate, the outcome of the transaction, and the tenant’s preferences as to where and how it will make a deal, in many cases, is not known until closer to the end of the negotiation process.

G) No longer exist (I had to! Just kidding)

RealStrat’s Response: Ha! Ha!  Landlords, tenants, and tenant representatives maintain a peculiar set of relationships.  Tenants and tenant representatives each have the kind of relationship with landlords that makes them dependent opponents.   Even with their bumps and potholes, the relationships work, and they result in profits and success for all involved.  As the world changes, so will the roles and relationships of these three parties.  Tenant representatives, the direct value they create for their tenant clients, along with the indirect value landlords derive from their presence, will likely be around for a long time.

Mr.  Landlord, thanks for being open about your beliefs and your concerns, and for being a good sport about this sensitive topic.  I hope that my replies helped you as much as your comments helped me.

Read Part One and Part Two of this three part post.


About Real Estate Strategies Corporation
Real Estate Strategies Corporation is a respected corporate advisory and transaction services firm that provides thought-leadership, decision-making, planning, project management, and transaction execution services to financial and senior executives at management team-led public, private, and portfolio companies, and not-for-profit organizations.  Under the leadership of its award-winning CEO, Andrew B. Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing, renegotiating, or enhancing occupied leased or owned real estate in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and throughout North America.  By creating and executing Business DRIVEN Real Estate Solutions and identifying hidden Opportunities, RealStrat drives greater operational and financial performance in support of its clients’ stakeholder objectives, M&A requirements, and exit strategies.

In the current economic environment, RealStrat’s efforts are focused on uncovering, capturing, and re-purposing hidden liquidity and minimizing risk in its clients’ leased and owned real estate.  The firm provides counsel as to competitive advantage strategies in preparation for the eventual economic recovery.  Visit www.RealStrat.com. Read about timely commercial real estate issues at RealStrat’s blog at www.CorporateAdvisor.wordpress.com.   Follow RealStrat at http://www.Twitter.com/RealStrat.

LINKS:

RealStrat News
Biographies
Articles
Properties
What Our Clients Say
AndrewZezas.com

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2010.  All Rights Reserved.

###

Dear Mr. Landlord: We Both Know You’d Rather Deal Directly with the Tenant! Part Two

Q&A on Tenant Representation with a Commercial Landlord
Part Two of a Three Part Post

Most commercial landlords understand the role of tenant representation brokers and welcome the benefits they derive when tenant representation brokers properly educate and advise their tenant clients.  However, some landlords, mostly old-school die-hards, continue to maintain very negative views of all things about the tenant representation process.   Some actually get offended by the very idea of a tenant representation broker.   Offended!?  What’s that about?

In a recent Q&A conducted via email with a prominent commercial landlord, I had the opportunity to hold a completely frank and open discussion about his views about tenant representation brokers.  And, while some of the conversation was challenging at times, both of us came away having learned from each other.

I invited the commercial landlord to provide me with his views on tenant representation, tenant representatives, and how he’d prefer to conduct the business of leasing his properties.  The conversation got so good, that it took me three posts to include it all.  Be sure to go back and read Part One, and then check-in again next week to read Part Three!  Following is Part Two of that dialogue:

Read Part One of this three part post

5. Landlord: I have to put up all the cash and take all the risk!  I don’t appreciate that tenant representatives won’t share my risk.

RealStrat’s Response: Tenant representatives are well aware of the many challenges that landlords face, especially in the current economic environment.  A large part of what landlords must contend with is how they can effectively manage their risk.  Landlords bear a lot of risk in leasing transactions, and in most everything they do.  However, with risk comes the potential for upside reward.

Tenant representatives, and brokers in general, are also in the risk / reward business, but only to the extent of investments of their time and resources prior to, and during, the execution of a transaction.   Brokers pursue tenants and bear the risk of not winning those assignments.  Then after being engaged, brokers risk that their tenants might not complete transactions that would yield compensation commensurate with the broker’s investment of time, resources, and risk.

Beyond that, specifically after landlords and tenants execute transactions, brokers are not in the business of managing the same risks as landlords.  Nor are brokers entitled to the same upside rewards as landlords, including equity and portfolio appreciation, tax advantages, debt and equity financing, and more.

So, regarding compensation and risk participation, like every industry, landlords and tenant representatives bear their own risks.  When engaged in transactions, tenant representatives are not participants in landlord’s risk (nor in landlord’s upside benefits) for very simple reasons, because participating in landlord risk would:

A) Align the interests of tenant representatives with that of landlords, which would pose a clear conflict-of-interest in relation to tenant representatives’ obligation to act solely in the best interests of their tenant clients.

B) Unfairly affect the compensation of tenant representatives by virtue of their acceptance of landlords’ risk without the benefit of the quid pro quo associated with the upside opportunity afforded landlords.  Again, if such upside were provided to tenant representatives, it could align tenant representatives and landlords posing  conflicts-of-interest between tenant representatives and tenants.

C) Unfairly force tenant representatives into a compensation model other than that of generating fees

D) Place tenant representatives in the position of acting as guarantor of their tenants’ ability to perform under their leases

None of the above fit into the tenant representation model too well.  Frankly, landlords and tenant representatives have their own risks which should be kept separate from each other and from those of tenant representatives.

6. Landlord: It is wrong that tenant representatives want to be paid up front when I don’t know if the tenant will uphold its lease obligations or pay its rent, especially after I put up all the transaction costs and have to wait until all the free rent expires.

RealStrat’s Response: This is a similar discussion to the one above about risk.  Waiting for an extended time period before getting paid creates real challenges.  As tenant representatives, we completely understand that.  Remember, that it typically takes three to nine months for landlords and tenants to complete  transactions, plus many months or even years for tenant representatives to build relationships and win a tenant’s business.   So, by the time tenants close their deals, tenant representatives have typically been working without compensation for at least a year, and in many cases, longer.

But, let’s get to the real issue of the relationship between a tenant representative’s service and its compensation.  When a landlord and tenant execute a transaction, as far as the landlord is concerned, the job of the tenant representative is done.  After that, it’s then up to the landlord and tenant to perform their obligations under the terms of the lease they executed.

Prior to executing a lease with a tenant, one would expect that a professional landlord would have assessed the tenant’s creditworthiness, and determined whether the tenant was an acceptable risk and whether or not the landlord should even conduct business with the tenant.  During the lease term, it is the tenant’s responsibility to make rent payments on a continual and timely basis and follow the rules defined in the lease.  If either the landlord made a bad assessment (or, didn’t conduct one), or the tenant fails to perform, neither of the above are controllable by, nor the responsibility of, the tenant representative.  Accordingly, tenant representatives are not in the tenant credit guarantee business.

Like the plumber who installs a sink in your home, if you select the sink because you’re satisfied with its quality and then you pay the plumber because you’re satisfied with his installation, if the sink fails because it was manufactured poorly or it cannot perform the way the manufacturer said it would, then you should pursue the manufacturer, not the installer, unless of course the installer provides you with a written guarantee for the product, too.  Few commercial real estate brokers are in a legitimate position to guarantee a tenant’s performance under a lease.

And, NO! Mr. Landlord, you should not rely on claims made by a tenant representative as to a tenant’s creditworthiness.   Neither should tenant representatives make such claims.   Do your own homework and protect yourself from unnecessary risk.  If you foolishly rely on anyone to ascertain a company’s creditworthiness, especially one who is not qualified to make such a determination, then you deserve the added risk and the consequences.

Remember that plumbers don’t accept payment each time you turn on the water, because they don’t usually guarantee the manufacturer’s product, only their own work.  Correspondingly, tenant representatives don’t guarantee the ability of tenants to perform their lease obligations, only their own work.  If you’re not satisfied with the tenant representative’s work (remember that they represent the tenant!), then address that before completing the transaction (don’t do the deal!), not after the tenant defaults.  So, when the plumber and the tenant representative have completed their duties, they both expect to be paid in-full without the risks associated with accepting payments over time, tenant default or sink failure, or otherwise.

Choose any analogy you wish.  If you buy a new car and it doesn’t work, the manufacturer must stand behind it.  You don’t get to take back the dealer’s compensation.

Read Part One now.  Stop by next week to read Part Three of this three-part post.


About Real Estate Strategies Corporation
Real Estate Strategies Corporation is a respected corporate advisory and transaction services firm that provides thought-leadership, decision-making, planning, project management, and transaction execution services to financial and senior executives at management team-led public, private, and portfolio companies, and not-for-profit organizations.  Under the leadership of its award-winning CEO, Andrew B. Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing, renegotiating, or enhancing occupied leased or owned real estate in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and throughout North America.  By creating and executing Business DRIVEN Real Estate Solutions and identifying hidden Opportunities, RealStrat drives greater operational and financial performance in support of its clients’ stakeholder objectives, M&A requirements, and exit strategies.

In the current economic environment, RealStrat’s efforts are focused on uncovering, capturing, and re-purposing hidden liquidity and minimizing risk in its clients’ leased and owned real estate.  The firm provides counsel as to competitive advantage strategies in preparation for the eventual economic recovery. Visit www.RealStrat.com. Read about timely commercial real estate issues at RealStrat’s blog at www.CorporateAdvisor.wordpress.com.  Follow RealStrat at http://www.Twitter.com/RealStrat.

LINKS:

RealStrat News
Biographies
Articles
Properties
What Our Clients Say
AndrewZezas.com

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2010.  All Rights Reserved.

###

Dear Mr. Landlord: We Both Know You’d Rather Deal Directly with the Tenant! Part One

Q&A on Tenant Representation with a Commercial Landlord
Part One of a Three Part Post

Most commercial landlords understand the role of tenant representation brokers and welcome the benefits they derive when tenant representation brokers properly educate and advise their tenant clients.  However, some landlords, mostly old-school diehards, continue to maintain very negative views of all things about the tenant representation process.   Some actually get offended by the very idea of a tenant representation broker.   Offended!?  What’s that about?

In a recent Q&A conducted via email with a prominent commercial landlord, I had the opportunity to hold a completely frank and open discussion about his views about tenant representation brokers.  And, while some of the conversation was challenging at times, both of us came away having learned from each other.

I invited the commercial landlord to provide me with his views on tenant representation, tenant representatives, and how he’d prefer to conduct the business of leasing his properties.  The conversation got so good, that it took me three posts to include it all.  Be sure to read all three posts over the next three weeks!  Following is Part One that dialogue:

1. Landlord: I would prefer to deal directly with tenants and to apply my creative deal making abilities to solve their problems, without having to work through tenant representatives.

RealStrat’s Response: In a world where transparency, disclosure, conflict-of-interest, and Sarbanes-Oxley are commonplace, for all but a few companies, it would be next to impossible for them to rely on recommendations made by transactional opponents, without having the benefit of advice and representation from third-party advisors whose job would be to protect their interests.

Additionally, professional landlords recognize the benefits of dealing with tenants who have been educated as to market conditions and properly prepared by their advisers, especially when those tenants are organized, ready, and perhaps pre-approved to make a deal.

2. Landlord: I view tenant representatives as obstacles.

RealStrat’s Response: Guess what? That’s precisely why many tenants engage tenant representatives (also known as corporate advisors).  To state the obvious, landlords benefit from higher rents, lower allowances and incentives provided to tenants, and more square feet leased for longer terms.  Tenants benefit from lower rents, higher allowances and incentives provided by landlords, the right amount of square feet and a length of term that best supports their business objectives.  Given the opposing position between landlords and tenants,  tenants see one of the many important roles of their advisors is that of a knowledgeable gatekeeper, and at times, and somewhat of an obstacle to keep the landlord from going in the wrong direction.

3. Landlord: Tenant representatives make deals more complicated.

RealStrat’s Response: Many tenants have complex business requirements that demand creative solutions. When it comes to satisfying a tenant’s operational or financial objectives, keeping it simple…the right approach in many instances…may not always be possible.

4. Landlord: I don’t like paying commissions to brokers who don’t represent me and who negotiate against me.

RealStrat’s Response: That’s interesting, because actually, tenant representatives would prefer not to be paid by their clients’ opponents.  Receiving payment from a landlord when representing a tenant makes things very complicated for tenant representative brokers.  Few industries handle compensation in a manner similar to that of commercial real estate, where the tenant’s advisor is most often paid by the landlord, the tenant’s transactional opponent.  By changing industry compensation practices, this challenge could be eliminated.  Because it remains the norm, most tenants prefer that landlords bear this responsibility.  So, until that change occurs, landlords and tenant representatives are stuck with each other as it relates to compensation.

Stop by next week to read Part Two of this three-part post.


About Real Estate Strategies Corporation
Real Estate Strategies Corporation is a respected corporate advisory and transaction services firm that provides thought-leadership, decision-making, planning, project management, and transaction execution services to financial and senior executives at management team-led public, private, and portfolio companies, and not-for-profit organizations.  Under the leadership of its award-winning CEO, Andrew B. Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing, renegotiating, or enhancing occupied leased or owned real estate in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and throughout North America.  By creating and executing Business DRIVEN Real Estate Solutions and identifying hidden Opportunities, RealStrat drives greater operational and financial performance in support of its clients’ stakeholder objectives, M&A requirements, and exit strategies.

In the current economic environment, RealStrat’s efforts are focused on uncovering, capturing, and re-purposing hidden liquidity and minimizing risk in its clients’ leased and owned real estate.  The firm provides counsel as to competitive advantage strategies in preparation for the eventual economic recovery.  Visit www.RealStrat.com. Read about timely commercial real estate issues at RealStrat’s blog at www.CorporateAdvisor.wordpress.com.   Follow RealStrat at http://www.Twitter.com/RealStrat.

LINKS:

RealStrat News
Biographies
Articles
Properties
What Our Clients Say
AndrewZezas.com

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2010.  All Rights Reserved.

###

Hire a Broker to Negotiate a Relocation, But Negotiate a Renewal On Your Own…You’re Kidding, Right?

Hire a broker to negotiate a relocation, but negotiate a renewal on your own?  That’s like hiring a dentist to work on only some of your teeth!  What benefit could you derive from that?

When a commercial tenant contemplates relocation or renewal, some landlords will suggest that the tenant engage a real estate advisor, but only to negotiate transactions outside of their current building.  In these instances, the landlord will typically recommend that landlord and tenant negotiate directly on a renewal or other in-place transaction.  This approach is designed to favor the landlord and removes from the tenant the benefit of expert advice and representation it would receive from an advisor on an in-place transaction.  Such an approach also changes the role of the advisor from an objective representative of the tenant, one who has no preference or incentive to sway the tenant toward any particular property or transaction (other than the one that best meets the tenant’s objectives), to that of a salesman who would only be compensated in the event the tenant elected to relocate.

Landlords will suggest that to preserve the relationship, landlord and tenant should negotiate directly.  That’s exactly why a tenant needs an advisor, so the tenant advisor can secure the terms to which the tenant is entitled and, at the same time,  preserve the tenant’s relationship…that is, if a relationship with the landlord is important. 

Other landlords will suggest that by negotiating directly, the landlord won’t have to compensate a tenant advisor, so the tenant’s occupancy costs will be reduced.    Not quite!  In fact, an advisor’s role is to drive down the tenant’s occupancy costs, despite the fact that a commission would be paid.

If the tenant agreed to deal with its existing landlord directly, such action would telegraph to the landlord that the tenant really planed on staying in the landlord’s building.  It would stack the odds in favor of the current landlord and eliminate most, if not all, of the constraints and pressure placed on the landlord through a competitive bidding process.  Moreover, the tenant would lose the objectivity it would otherwise derive by engaging an advisor to provide counsel and to protect its interests across all transactions.

In fact, the presence of a tenant advisor actually benefits the landlord while serving the tenant’s needs.  A knowledgeable advisor, objectively evaluating the implications to the tenant of all alternative transactions, including those  proposed by an existing landlord, could more appropriately guide the landlord as to how to make a deal with the tenant.

Do most tenants engage real estate advisors only to negotiate  relocation transactions, while negotiating on their own with their current landlords?  Not really.  Frankly, if a commercial tenant has the know-how, time, resources, and inclination to negotiate a transaction without an advisor, then it should do that for all transactions, whether relocation or renewal.  Otherwise, if the tenant elects to engage an advisor at all, it should give serious consideration to engaging that advisor across all transactions it may consider, to ensure continuity and objectivity, and to secure the optimal terms, wherever the tenant elects to land.

About Real Estate Strategies Corporation
Real Estate Strategies Corporation is a respected corporate advisory and transaction services firm that provides thought-leadership, decision-making, planning, project management, and transaction execution services to financial and senior executives at management team-led public, private, and portfolio companies, and not-for-profit organizations.   Under the leadership of its award-winning CEO, Andrew B. Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing, renegotiating, or enhancing occupied leased or owned real estate in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and throughout North America.  By creating and executing Business DRIVEN Real Estate Solutions and identifying hidden Opportunities, RealStrat drives greater operational and financial performance in support of its clients’ stakeholder objectives, M&A requirements, and exit strategies.

In the current economic environment, RealStrat’s efforts are focused on uncovering, capturing, and re-purposing hidden liquidity and minimizing risk in its clients’ leased and owned real estate.  The firm provides counsel as to competitive advantage strategies in preparation for the eventual economic recovery.  Visit

Acquire new ideas about commercial real estate at RealStrat’s blog at http://www.CorporateAdvisor.wordpress.com.   Follow RealStrat and Andrew Zezas at http://www.Twitter.com/RealStrat.

Check out The Executive’s Guide to Understanding Corporate Real Estate Transactions.

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2010.  All Rights Reserved. 

###

Let’s Put The Landlord in the Poor House, and Other Stupid Statements

How many times have I heard commercial tenants say “I don’t care about the landlord!”?  That’s pretty dumb (and, right up there with landlords who don’t care about their tenants!).  Why wouldn’t a tenant care about the business entity that is responsible for the very foundation (literally, the foundation of the building!), that supports their ability to efficiently and profitably conduct business on a daily basis? 

The role of a tenant advisor is to determine the optimal achievable transaction structure on the tenant’s behalf, advise the tenant as to how it can achieve those terms, and to execute its tenant’s preferred transactions. But, even halfway decent advisors recognize that in order to accomplish this, they must first understand the objectives, risks, and challenges of landlords. 

Understanding your opponent in any contest is the foundation of victory.  Too many unqualified or ill prepared real estate licensees (I use that term here to differentiate this subset of the industry from those who really know what they’re doing!), run their tenants headlong into real estate transactions without really knowing where to go.  These brokers are often long on salesmanship (and telemarketing skills), short on precise knowledge, and even shorter on true expertise. 

Tenants who take a ‘Let’s grab every dime we can!” attitude can shoot themselves in the foot as they either drive the landlord so far that it refuses to enter into a transaction, or jockey the landlord into position such that he / she agrees to bad terms in the hopes of making-up the difference on the next lease, only to put the building in financial jeopardy.  That’s not the best way to protect a tenant’s interests! 

Tenants rarely need every possible right and option under the sun, so that they tie the landlord’s hands and restrict its ability to lease the rest of the space in the building.  Tenants do need leases that provide favorable terms, flexibility, low and predictable costs, with no surprises.  They also require financially sound landlords who can and will provide the services to which they commit. 

Tenants don’t need to put landlords in the poor house.  These days, doing that is a lot easier to accomplish, especially if tenants and their brokers aren’t careful.  Writing as a tenant advocate, landlords need the ability to stay in business, pay their mortgages, refinance their buildings, provide services to tenants, manage risk, sustain their own companies, and “Yes”, generate profits, whether those profits come now or later. 

Mounting a well-planned, well-armed negotiation with commercial landlords requires knowledge, resources, and skill.  Never “bring a knife to a gun fight” as they say.  Commercial landlords can be some of the most well trained, well armed, and aggressive fighters on the business battlefield, and many of them have some pretty big guns.  Accordingly, tenants would be well advised to bring tanks, jet fighters, and battleships, or at least a missle or two when negotiating with certain landlords! 

The special challenge in a successful negotiation, for both tenants and their advisors, is to determine in advance those terms that the tenant really needs to achieve its objectives and to negotiate aggressively to succeed in securing the right terms, while being mindful of keeping their landlord in business.  This is a wise approach, even when dealing with one of those few remaining landlords that doesn’t have a sense of fair play, could care less about the tenant, and is too plain greedy and self-absorbed to recognize the tenant’s good efforts and the true interdependent relationship that, when respected, gives tenants and landlords what they both need…the tools to succeed and prosper.

Real Estate Strategies Corporation is a respected corporate advisory and transaction services firm that provides thought-leadership, decision-making, planning, project management, and transaction execution services to financial and senior executives at management team-led public, private, and portfolio companies, and not-for-profit organizations.   Under the leadership of its award-winning CEO, Andrew B. Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing, renegotiating, or enhancing occupied leased or owned real estate in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and throughout North America.  By creating and executing Business DRIVEN Real Estate Solutions and identifying hidden Opportunities, RealStrat drives greater operational and financial performance in support of its clients’ stakeholder objectives, M&A requirements, and exit strategies.

In the current economic environment, RealStrat’s efforts are focused on uncovering, capturing, and re-purposing hidden liquidity and minimizing risk in its clients’ leased and owned real estate.  The firm provides counsel as to competitive advantage strategies in preparation for the eventual economic recovery.  Visit www.RealStrat.com.

Acquire new ideas about commercial real estate at RealStrat’s blog at www.CorporateAdvisor.wordpress.com.   Follow RealStrat and Andrew Zezas at http://www.Twitter.com/RealStrat.

Check out The Executive’s Guide to Understanding Corporate Real Estate Transactions.

Where is Andrew Zezas?

 

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2010.  All Rights Reserved. 

###

Soon To Be In Foreclosure!

You’re not going to believe this story…in this economy…in this real estate market!  I almost can’t believe it myself!  This is real time stuff that  happened to me.

To set the stage, my client is a growing company that is led by a very bright CEO.  He’s young, aggressive, extremely accomplished, highly successful, hard-working, respectful, and takes no prisoners.  He’s a straight shooter who respects straight shooters.  

The tenant occupies office space in a suburban New Jersey building, which is owned by an out-of-state landlord.  This particular landlord promotes the stereotype of the mean and nasty commercial landlord, that dwindling minority of the industry that tries all they can to dominate every tenant and every deal.  This landlord, a cheap suit wearing an open collar, gold chain, and way too much cologne,  demonstrated himself to be arrogant, condescending, self-absorbed, not too bright, somewhat successful despite himself, probably a front man for other people with real money, and based on his antics, someone who still thinks he’s in a landlord’s market where tenants should pay homage to him and be grateful to be occupying his building.  Based on how this landlord handled himself, he is a very strong candidate for president of the local bread line.
Here’s the abridged version of what happened.  You’ll get a kick out of it!
  • Our client, the tenant, sought to renegotiate its existing lease based on current market conditions, or to relocate to another building
  • Our client had uncomfortable dealings with the landlord in the past
  • We submitted an RFP to the landlord’s agent and provided specific guidance as to our tenant’s requirements
  • The landlord’s agent called us with a precise message from the landlord, one that I have never received before:  “The landlord said if you play ball with him, he’ll pay you a commission.  If you make it tough for him, he’ll only pay you half!”  Wow!  How to win friends and influence people!  Was the landlord trying to intimidate us, create a conflict-of-interest, or just bring us over to the dark side?  We advised our client of the conversation.
  • Despite our guidance, the landlord submitted a proposal that was extremely one-sided and did not address our client’s requirements
  • The landlord attempted to circumvent us and meet with our client directly
  • Our client authorized us to arrange a meeting with the landlord, which we did
  • The landlord rescheduled the meeting twice and then swaggered-in 45 minutes late
  • During the meeting, the landlord was disrespectful to our client, speaking down to both the CEO and the President, as well as, to his own agent
  • The landlord arrogantly spoke to me, and after realizing that he was not the most important person in the room and wouldn’t get his way, waved his arms, got up and stormed out
  • Despite our email and voicemail requests for a revised landlord proposal, weeks passed without a reply
  • I finally go the landlord’s agent on the phone one evening, when he sheepishly told me he was not authorized to respond, but didn’t want me to tell that to the tenant…Huh?
  • We received an email directly from the landlord saying we were an impediment (To what…his ability to take advantage of our client?), and telling us that he instructed his agent not to deal with us ever again (Really?  So, I should not bring my next 100,000 sq ft tenant to your building?)
  • Our client said good riddance and instructed us to make a deal elsewhere
  • Our client will be moving into their new facility shortly
  • Oh, and did I mention that the landlord’s building is a 60% vacant class B building that sits way out beyond the western fringe of the central New Jersey market, where very little demand exists even in good times?

Anybody want to buy an office building…cheap?

Real Estate Strategies Corporation is a respected corporate advisory and transaction services firm that provides thought-leadership, decision-making, planning, project management, and transaction execution services to financial and senior executives at management team-led public, private, and portfolio companies, and not-for-profit organizations.   Under the leadership of its award-winning CEO, Andrew B. Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing, renegotiating, or enhancing occupied leased or owned real estate in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and throughout North America.  By creating and executing Business DRIVEN Real Estate Solutions and identifying hidden Opportunities, RealStrat drives greater operational and financial performance in support of its clients’ stakeholder objectives, M&A requirements, and exit strategies.

In the current economic environment, RealStrat’s efforts are focused on uncovering, capturing, and re-purposing hidden liquidity and minimizing risk in its clients’ leased and owned real estate.  The firm provides counsel as to competitive advantage strategies in preparation for the eventual economic recovery.  Visit www.RealStrat.com.

Acquire new ideas about commercial real estate at RealStrat’s blog at www.CorporateAdvisor.wordpress.com.   Follow RealStrat and Andrew Zezas at http://www.Twitter.com/RealStrat.

Check out The Executive’s Guide to Understanding Corporate Real Estate Transactions.

Where is Andrew Zezas?

 

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2010.  All Rights Reserved. 

###

Do Commissions Create Conflicts for Tenant Representative Brokers?

Traditional real estate commissions, based on a percentage of rental income or sale value of a transaction, work very well when brokers represent landlords, sublandlords, and sellers.  In those instances, their objectives and those of their brokers, are completely aligned.  The higher the price, the higher the commission.  See…that works perfectly!

But, what about the tenant representative broker and the corporate advisor, whose job is to protect the interests of the tenant or buyer?  In this case, the primary objective of the tenant representative broker is very often to reduce occupancy costs.  In most cases, tenant representative brokers are paid commissions based on the same percentage of rent standard as  brokers representing landlords and sellers…the higher the price, the higher the commission!

Does that work?  Is that right?  Don’t traditional commissions based on percentages put the tenant representative broker in a position of being in conflict with his / her own client?   Moreover, since most commissions are paid by the landlord, even those payable to the tenant representative broker, doesn’t that pose additional conflicts for the tenant and tenant representative broker relationship?  Afterall, doesn’t being the one who pays the tenant representative broker  give the landlord undue influence over the how the tenant representative broker might perform on behalf of his / her client?

In many instances, commissions paid to tenant representatives can be substantial.  Despite the ability to mitigate the potential for conflicts of interest, tenants are very often hesitant to accept the responsibility of cutting a check for large sums, especially when they haven’t done so in previous transactions.

Rent and other financial components are not the only points of commercial real estate transactions that tenant representative brokers address.  Given that fact, how can they charge for the true value they create in a manner that is both aligned with the objectives of their tenants and will result in fair compensation to them?   Any thoughts?

Real Estate Strategies Corporation is a respected corporate advisory and transaction services firm that provides thought-leadership, decision-making, planning, project management, and transaction execution services to financial and senior executives at management team-led public, private, and portfolio companies, and not-for-profit organizations.   Under the leadership of its award-winning CEO, Andrew B. Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing, renegotiating, or enhancing occupied leased or owned real estate in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and throughout North America.  By creating and executing Business DRIVEN Real Estate Solutions and identifying hidden Opportunities, RealStrat drives greater operational and financial performance in support of its clients’ stakeholder objectives, M&A requirements, and exit strategies.

In the current economic environment, RealStrat’s efforts are focused on uncovering, capturing, and re-purposing hidden liquidity and minimizing risk in its clients’ leased and owned real estate.  The firm provides counsel as to competitive advantage strategies in preparation for the eventual economic recovery.  Visit www.RealStrat.com.

Acquire new ideas about commercial real estate at RealStrat’s blog at www.CorporateAdvisor.wordpress.com.   Follow RealStrat and Andrew Zezas at http://www.Twitter.com/RealStrat.

Check out The Executive’s Guide to Understanding Corporate Real Estate Transactions.

Where is Andrew Zezas?

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2010.  All Rights Reserved. 

###


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THIS WORK IS DESIGNED TO PROVIDE PRACTICAL AND USEFUL INFORMATION ON THE SUBJECT MATTER COVERED AND REPRESENTS THE OPINION OF THE AUTHOR. HOWEVER, IT IS PROVIDED WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE AUTHOR IS NOT ENGAGED IN RENDERING LEGAL, FINANCIAL, ACCOUNTING, OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE TO THE READER. IF LEGAL, FINANCIAL, ACCOUNTING, OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE IS REQUIRED, THE SERVICES OF A COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL SHOULD BE SOUGHT. THE AUTHOR SPECIFICALLY AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY LIABILITY THAT MAY BE INCURRED AS A RESULT OF THE USE OR APPLICATION OF THE INFORMATION THAT IS CONTAINED IN THIS WORK.

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