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.

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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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