Archive for the 'commercial real estate' Category

“You Owe Me!” said the Landlord’s Broker

Recently, in searching for a suitable property for one of our clients to lease, I spoke with a commercial real estate broker about a property he represents. I asked this landlord broker questions about the property’s size, amenities, and competitive benefits, the available space, rental pricing and offering terms, the owner, and more.  While the broker was a little less than forthcoming at the beginning of our conversation, he eventually opened up, not without some prying, and provided me with details to most of the questions I asked.

At the end of the conversation, based on the information gathered, I was able to determine whether the property would likely be of interest to my client, a company seeking to relocate its headquarters.  I thanked the landlord broker for his time and attempted to end the conversation, offering to speak with him again about my client’s needs after they’d authorized me to do so. Before I could end the call, the landlord broker shouted:

“Wait! You Owe Me!”

When I asked him what he meant, he replied by saying that because he had provided me with so much information about his landlord’s property, that in turn, I had an obligation to answer his questions about my client and its needs. Hmm!  I told him I would provide him with whatever information I could, but that I had no authority, and certainly no obligation, to do so, especially since my client instructed me to maintain strict confidentiality about them and their requirements.

The landlord broker didn’t like my response, and insisted that I was treating him unfairly.  He was serious.  This is not the first time I’ve experienced this kind of interaction.

Why do some landlord brokers think that because they provide tenant advisors with information on their properties…precisely what they were hired to do…that the tenant advisors are then obligated to disclose detailed information about their tenants’ needs?

Isn’t providing specific information the landlord broker’s job?  Isn’t that what the landlord hired him for?

What many landlord brokers fail to recognize is that tenant advisors are customers of the landlord broker.  And, like any good customer service minded professional, property brokers should treat tenant advisors with the respect that any customer deserves.

Landlord brokers are the front line salespeople for landlords. Their job is to inspire tenants and their brokers about their landlord’s property, to engage in negotiations, and to complete transactions on terms favorable to their landlords, so as to achieve their landlords’ intended ROI and other objectives.

The landlord broker’s job would certainly be easier if the tenant advisor disclosed a lot of information about its client, so the landlord broker could better determine how to satisfy the tenant’s needs. But, tenants are not always eager to disclose information for many reasons. Accordingly, they often direct their brokers not to divulge information about them.  And, that’s their right.  Despite this, some landlord brokers act as if providing property information to a tenant or its advisor is almost like doing them a favor.  I find that very odd, and a great way to turn off tenants and their advisors!

If I walked into a shoe store, asked questions about a pair of shoes, listened to the information, provided little feedback, politely said thank you, and turned to leave, would I be obligated or expected to provide a full download to the salesperson as to why I wasn’t interested?

Of course the salesperson would like to know why I chose not to make the purchase, and helping him would be the right thing to do, assuming that I was comfortable doing so. But, does that obligate me to provide such information?  Heck, no!

And, if I chose not to answer the salesperson’s questions, would it be advisable for the salesperson to demand that I answer him or berate me? Would I ever go to that store again? Would the salesperson’s boss appreciate my having been turned off to ever doing business there in the future?

From a customer service perspective, why should interactions over commercial real estate be any different?  Because greater dollar amounts are at stake? Wouldn’t that suggest a greater emphasis on customer service and relationship building with both tenant and broker, as a means of generating a basis for future opportunities?

Most landlord brokers are very professional.  Some still don’t get it.  Those that embrace a customer-service approach to promoting their landlords’ properties continually achieve the lease more space than their competitors, and highest levels of success, both for themselves and their landlords.

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 finance 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 Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing of, 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

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2011.  All Rights Reserved.

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Why Should I Negotiate Against Myself?

You’re going to love this one!  This landlord deserves the Self-Centered Stupidity Award!

In a recent transaction, our firm represented a well-known global company seeking to relocate its U.S. headquarters into an amount of office space that got the attention of a lot of commercial landlords.

After reviewing the local market, our tenant selected a short-list of three properties.  After receiving proposals from all three properties, our tenant decided that one landlord offered terms that not only were not competitive, but which were truly out in left field.  We agreed. This, despite our having provided all three landlords with the same request-for-proposal containing identical information, and after we provided each of them with the same guidance.

So, our tenant eliminated the non-competitive property from future consideration, and proceeded to negotiate with landlords of the other two.  After a while, the landlord of the eliminated property contacted us, expressing his extreme disappointment in his property having been removed from our tenant’s consideration. The landlord insisted that our tenant was in error, and that our tenant should have submitted a counter-proposal.  He then worked very hard to convince us that he and his property could be competitive and satisfy our tenant’s needs, if given another chance. He asked, no…practically begged, for an opportunity to get back into the competition.

After some discussion, our tenant agreed to consider a new proposal from the landlord.  When told the good news, the landlord was furious that he would not receive a proposal from our tenant. He complained, saying “Why Should I Negotiate Against Myself?”  What a jerk!

Our tenant moved on and made a deal elsewhere.

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 finance 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 Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing of, 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

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2011.  All Rights Reserved.

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Using Non-Disturbance Agreements to Protect Broker Commissions

Commercial Real Estate Professional Calls for Change to Industry Practices

Non-disturbance agreements have been around for a long time. They have become a crucial component in protecting corporate tenants from being removed from their space by lenders who may foreclose on the buildings occupied by those tenants.

Should commercial real estate brokers be entitled to the same protections…that, if a lender were to foreclose, the broker’s rights to receive future commissions would also carry forward and become the obligation of the lender?

Currently, in most states, broker commission agreements are personal service contracts between landlord and broker, and don’t run with the land. Basically, if a lender were to foreclose on a building where a broker placed a tenant, the broker would likely have no standing. If the commission agreement provided the broker with the opportunity to receive commission payments for future events, such as if the tenant were to expand, extend its lease, purchase the building, or otherwise, in most cases, the lender would have no obligation to honor the commission agreement. And, the broker would likely receive no compensation under the commission agreement.

Since commercial real estate brokers are often one of the primary reasons a tenant and a landlord are brought together, shouldn’t brokers be entitled to the same protections often afforded tenants?  Like the tenant not being removed in the case of lender foreclosure, and like other protections afforded landlords, shouldn’t the broker’s rights also not be removed?

This approach has been applied from time to time, but only in extreme instances, and with a lot of effort. An industry wide standardized “broker non-disturbance agreement” is an idea whose time has come, especially at a time when so many commercial landlords are losing their buildings and while others are simply not capable of paying their bills, including commissions.  Like a non-disturbance agreement between a tenant and lender, a broker non-disturbance agreement would be a separate document between broker and lender.  In a broker non-disturbance agreement, the lender would agree, in the event it foreclosed on the landlord, to take-on the responsibilities to which the landlord agreed in the commission agreement.  In this manner, the broker’s future interests would be protected through the agreement with the lender.

Some landlords may misunderstand the true positive value associated with offering broker non-disturbance agreements.  Consider the office building that is rumored to have financial challenges. Some brokers might be less eager to aggressively pursue transactions there for fear of not being paid. By offering a broker non-disturbance agreement, financially challenges landlords may be able to attract more brokers to their buildings, and ultimately, increase leasing activity and close more deals.

Of course, other opportunities exist to protect brokers, including the inclusion in the lease document the right by the tenant to pay the broker its compensation, while deducting that cost from its rental obligations

Either way, commercial real estate brokers certainly provide valuable services to tenants and landlords. And, with the extreme challenges and very real risks that exist in today’s business climate, like others, brokers are entitled to reasonable protections and the expectation that they will receive the compensation to which they are rightfully entitled, especially those to which others have contractually committed to pay.

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 finance 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 Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing of, 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

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2011.  All Rights Reserved.

###

Selling Corporate Real Estate to Speculative Investors – A Risky Game

When seeking to sell their companies’ commercial real estate, CFOs can find themselves in very risky positions when they enter into sale agreements with speculative investors. Some speculative investors don’t seek to simply purchase real estate. Instead, they use purchase agreements as leverage and opportunities to achieve other results.  This scenario may seem extreme, but it is a very common practice in how some investors acquire real estate.  Now, after such a long period of lingering economic stagnation, itchy investors eager to capture opportunity are beginning to tap into the desires of equally frustrated property owners, and are making speculative plays with their properties, often with those property owners unaware of the increased risk they bear. As chief guardian of their companies’ assets and financial interests, it is imperative that CFOs be aware of the very real risks to value erosion that can occur when dealing with speculative investors.

When selling real estate to speculative investors, landlords, or developers, it is imperative for CFOs to understand, before entering into any type of purchase agreement, option, or otherwise, the specific events that will occur between the execution of a purchase agreement and the intended closing date.  In a strong purchase agreement, the optimal transaction structure would include only a few clearly defined and achievable events intended to take place prior to closing. More importantly, the purchase agreement should contain very few contingencies that would permit the purchaser to terminate the agreement.  One of the keys to protecting the seller from the perils of doing business with a speculative investor is the payment by the purchaser at the execution of the purchase agreement of a substantial at-risk down payment. In many cases, it is unfortunate that the way many speculative investors seek to control properties often places sellers at great risk even after the purchase agreement is executed.

Very often speculative investors seek to “lock-up” a seller’s property, so that the speculative investor has beneficial control of the property for a period of months. During this time the seller usually cannot sell the property to anyone else, nor enter into a contract with another purchaser.  After speculative investors secure a purchase agreement, they often use due diligence periods to determine if their intended transaction will prove viable.  It is during this time when they should be actively pursuing municipal approvals, based on a logical and thought-out plan for the property.  Instead, during due diligence, many speculative investors often expend substantial effort to secure financial and other arrangements with development partners, investors, lenders, tenants, downstream buyers, or others.  They basically use the property and the purchase agreement as currency to uncover even greater opportunities for themselves beyond the mere purchase of the property, often extending due diligence periods when they need more time. In many cases, lock-up provisions in purchase agreements often restrict sellers from doing much anything with their properties other than maintain them and await the results achieved by the purchaser during due diligence.

When speculative investors are not successful in achieving the opportunities they seek, they often use contingencies contained in purchase agreements, or they deploy other means, including legal action, to avoid closing on the purchase. As a result, at this juncture, many speculative investors will move to terminate the purchase agreement, expect return of their down payments, and will walk away from the transaction. In such cases, speculative investors experience little, if any, financial or other loss.  By contrast, the impact on the seller can be devastating.

When a purchaser terminates a purchase agreement after many months, the seller is often left in a very challenging position, especially because the typical speculative investor will not provide the seller with a large at-risk down payment as part of the purchase agreement.  Moreover, when the above occurs, the seller will have lost valuable time, might have foregone other more favorable sale opportunities, might have missed a market peak, may be saddled with future challenges resulting from local municipal authorities who feel that their time was wasted by an unrealistic speculator and a seller who was not careful in its selection of an appropriate purchaser, and the property could take on a white elephant status in the eyes of other acquirers. This series of events then often draws bottom fisher buyers, who seek to acquire seemingly distressed properties and those owned by frustrated sellers at low prices.  This, in turn, further contributes to price erosion and creates additional challenges for the CFO seeking to dispose of the property in a reasonable time, with low cost and risk, and at a reasonable price.  In the extreme, even if the seller does not return the speculative investor’s down payment, almost any amount of security, even if forfeited, would not likely provide adequate compensation to the seller for the damages it could receive.

As in any well thought-out business endeavor, for the CFO seeking to sell his or her company’s commercial real estate, beginning with the end in mind is the prudent approach. In this type of transaction, the means of the speculative investor will dictate the end, and much more.

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 finance 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 Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing of, 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
Properties
What Our Clients Say

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2011.  All Rights Reserved.

###

The Dangers of Hand-Shake Brokerage

There was a time when a person’s word and his / her hand shake meant a lot.  They were both binding and had real meaning.  Today, with vast global cultural differences, various interpretations of words, lengthy and extremely detailed contracts, a highly litigious society, and some plain-old dishonest people, conducting business on a hand-shake is not only inappropriate, it’s downright dangerous!

Remember that two honest people, with the absolute best of intentions, can easily misunderstand each other and disagree.  If this is true, then why do some commercial real estate brokers still conduct business on a hand-shake?  Why do they work on behalf of companies to negotiate transactions without so much as a simple document describing the roles of client and service provider?  Are they overly trusting? Are they lazy? Is there an advantage to working in this manner?

In many states, a real estate broker working without a document indicating which party he / she represents may be in violation of license law.  Such action could subject the licensee to fines, temporary or permanent license suspension, or worse.  In other states, the role of a real estate broker, and therefore his ability to serve his customer as intended, may be predetermined by law, irrespective of documentation.

So, at a time in history when creating written records and documents is easier and quicker than ever before, why do some commercial real estate brokers still work on hand shakes?  Is this simple laziness?  I’ve heard some brokers say that instead of spending time on documenting their client relationships, they move directly into the deal. They say that paperwork doesn’t make them money, but closing deals quickly does.  Some positively characterize this approach as being focused on the client’s needs, not their own. Is that really true?  Since the best written agreements, in these instances, describe the roles, rights, and responsibilities of both real estate brokers and their clients, I don’t see how working without such a document could possibly be in the clients’ best interests. I don’t even believe it is the best approach for service providers, either!

Some brokers have told me that they work on a hand shake, because their clients prefer not to sign agreements.  I find this to be a weak argument.  Don’t companies sign other agreements, like leases, employment agreements, purchase and service contracts?  Most companies will gladly sign a representation agreement when the reasons and benefits of doing so, as well as, the risks of working on a hand shake, are properly presented to them.  In fact, most companies will shy away from executing an agreement when they’re uncertain of the ability of the service provider to perform, when they lack confidence in the service provider’s experience or expertise, or when they are not yet committed to a project.

Are real estate brokers aware of the true implications of not documenting their client relationships?  Do they know that when working on a hand shake, their relationships, and their corresponding obligations, may not be clear?  Do they disclose to their clients that without proper documentation, their relationships may be different than intended?  Do they explain the increased potential for conflict-of-interest? Do they communicate that, absent a written representation agreement, a real estate broker presenting buildings to a prospective tenant or buyer may have a binding legal fiduciary obligation to represent the property owners?  By not informing their clients of these facts, brokers can land themselves in trouble.

Given the apparent dangers, why would any commercial real estate broker or his client, work on a hand shake?  What are your thoughts?

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 finance 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 Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing of, 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

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2011.  All Rights Reserved.

###

Do Your Clients Really Need to See EVERY Available Property?

It is amazing that today, some commercial real estate brokers still believe that they and their clients must physically visit every building that might possibly support their clients’ needs. This remains the case in many geographic markets that are over-supplied with millions of square feet of available properties. My gosh!  Brokers forcing their tenant clients in and out of 10, 15, 20, or more buildings over an entire day or two, just seems so counter-productive!  In fact, it is!  Your clients’ time is much too valuable to waste it trudging in and out of building after building.  And, frankly, your time is equally valuable. So, why waste so much time?

By showing your clients every available property, are you really providing them great service or are you simply protecting yourself?

With the availability of technology and information at your fingertips, there exists no need to show your clients every property.

For those brokers who have not been appointed the authorized or exclusive representative of the tenant seeking to acquire a building, well, yeah, you do have to visit every property.  Because in that capacity, you don’t represent the tenant and you’re not really providing them much service.  In most states, your binding fiduciary obligations would be to yourself and/or to the property owners whose buildings you present. So, you have to show every building in order to protect your own interests.

The optimal approach to delivering service to your clients is to be formally engaged, by written agreement, and authorized to represent their real estate interests.  As your clients’ authorized representative, you should have a process that permits you to gather information about them and their business needs, so you can gain an understanding of how they wish to acquire and use real estate.  Coupled with your knowledge of your local market, you should be able to marry your clients’ needs with those properties that can best accommodate them, and eliminate those properties that don’t apply.  If you’re uncertain about whether particular properties would work, you can always provide your clients with a written or electronic report, conduct a desktop review, and together with your client select those that are best suited.

If you’re concerned about covering your tail or losing a commission, for fear that some outside broker may bring an eliminated property to your clients’ attention and that your client may forget that you’ve already presented it, or because you’re concerned that some landlord may attempt to circumvent you, there is an easy solution. Simply provide your client with a list of those properties that you eliminated along with your reasons, and offer to inspect those properties with your client at a later date, if the client wishes to see them.

In this manner, your client’s time and resources will be respected and maximized, your tail will be well covered if you feel it must be, you will provide a better service to your clients, and will drive to conclude their transactions quicker, more effectively, and more profitably for everyone.

So, NO, your clients don’t really need to see every available property!

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 finance 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 Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing of, 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

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2011.  All Rights Reserved.

###

Commercial Real Estate Brokers: Shhh! Don’t Tell Your Tenants How Much Commission You’ll Make!

An Open Letter to Commercial Real Estate Brokers

Hey, commercial real estate brokers?  Keep your compensation a secret, even from your own clients. They don’t know how much you make, they’re too dumb to figure it out, and if you don’t bring it up they won’t think about it.  NOW, REALLY!

In most commercial real estate leasing transactions, commercial brokers representing tenants receive their compensation in the form of commissions paid by landlords.  Yep, that sure sounds like a conflict-of-interest to me!  But, unfortunately, that’s the way the industry works.

Guess what?

  • Your clients can figure out your compensation…and, they will!
  • Why withhold information from you own client?
  • When your role is to protect your client’s interests, withholding information that they can easily figure out on their own makes you look stupid and dishonest
  • Are you obligated to disclose your compensation to your clients? While you may not have any legal obligation to do so, from a moral and ethical perspective, I’m pretty sure the answer is “Yes!”

Whether or not you should disclose your compensation to your clients also begs other questions:

  • Why would you want to be transparent?
  • Are you concerned that someone might view your situation as your being over compensated somehow?
  • Did compensation discussions take place that may have negatively affected your client?
  • Is something negative going on?
  • Did you have to do any favors or compromise your position (or that of your client) to secure your compensation?
  • Were those favors at the expense of your client?  Did you disclose them to your client?
  • What might your client have lost in exchange for the compensation you secured?
  • Have you compromised your client in any way?
  • Do any conflicts-of-interest now exist or did they previously exist?

If all you’re doing is getting paid, fairly and adequately, why wouldn’t you disclose your compensation to your client…the one who is the very reason for which you’re able to generate compensation?

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 finance 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 Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing of, 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

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2011.  All Rights Reserved.

###

Do Corporate Tenant Real Estate Advisors Go Too Far?

Do corporate tenant real estate advisors go too far?  Some landlords think that those real estate professionals who advise corporate tenants, often over-negotiate lease transactions on behalf of their tenants.

Is this just sour grapes? Is it  because landlords don’t like negotiating with tenant advisors who understand the commercial real estate game and put money back into the pockets of their corporate tenant clients?  Is this because landlords don’t like the idea of paying commissions to tenant advisors who negotiate against them? Or, is there truth to this…that corporate tenant real estate advisors really do go too far when negotiating leases for their clients?

What is going too far, really?  Is it too far when a tenant seeks more than a landlord would prefer to give…more free rent, rent discounts, construction allowances, flexibility, options and rights, favorable terms, or otherwise?  Is it too far when a tenant directs its advisor to negotiate certain terms the landlord may not like?  Is it too far when a tenant advisor does all he / she can to achieve the best terms for his / her client?

When landlords feel that tenant advisors go too far, could this really be more a matter of market conditions?  If a landlord’s competitors will not support the terms a tenant seeks, can that tenant realistically expect to achieve such goals? Not likely.

I’ve heard some landlords complain that tenant advisors unfairly fill the heads of executives with the idea that corporate tenants are entitled to all kinds of goodies when negotiating leases.  They often say that this practice is unreasonable, as it makes negotiations difficult for landlords.

Note to commercial landlords: The role of tenant advisors is not to make transactions easy for landlords…nor, is it to make transactions difficult for landlords.  In fact, the tenant advisor’s role is to enhance and protect the interests of its corporate tenant clients by understanding their business objectives and to recommend transaction strategies and structures that would support them.  The tenant advisor’s role is also to negotiate aggressively to secure as much for the tenant as possible.  Seasoned tenant advisors understand the limits after which they might put their transactional opponent landlords in danger or even jeopardize a transaction.

Just like how the role of landlord advisors is to work to benefit landlords, the job of the tenant advisor is clearly defined.  When a tenant advisor makes demands that a landlord finds too great, perhaps it simply means that the particular transaction just isn’t right for that landlord.

At times when supply is low and demand is high…in markets that are favorable to landlords, do tenant advisors still go too far?  In those markets, I rarely hear such complaints.  When the odds are stacked in favor of landlords, how far would be too far for “landlord” brokers to go?

Do some corporate tenant advisors go too far? I’ll answer that question this way:  Is this really an indictment of all tenant advisors?  Do some landlords and landlord brokers go too far?

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

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Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2011. All Rights Reserved.

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You Don’t Need a Commission Agreement…You’re Covered Under the Leasing Agent’s Agreement!

How many times have leasing agents told me that I didn’t need to negotiate a separate commission agreement at their building, because they’d already made provisions for the payment of my commissions in the representation agreement between them and their landlord?  I’ve heard comments from brokers suggesting that negotiating a separate commission agreement is a waste of time, when the leasing agent’s agreement provides for them. It has been suggested to me that the time spent on negotiating a separate agreement could be better spent on pursuing and closing another transaction.

  • Here are a few questions that I offer in response to the above:
  • Have you read the representation agreement between the landlord and the leasing agent or have you just relied on claims made by the agent?
  • Do you have a complete original copy of that agreement?
  • Is your company a party to that agreement?
  • Would the obligation to pay you be from the landlord or the leasing agent?
  • Are the commission rate, amount, pay schedule, and terms what you expected?
  • Does that agreement afford you the ability to change terms you find to be unsatisfactory?
  • What rights and protections does that agreement specifically afford you?
  • What future benefits does that agreement afford you?
  • If the agreement between the landlord and the leasing agent expires, do your future rights expire, too?
  • If the landlord sells the building, what happens to your future rights?
  • What would happen if the  leasing agent defaulted in its obligations to you?
  • What would happen if the landlord defaulted in paying your portion of the commission to its leasing agent?
  • Would you really want your compensation arrangement to be through the leasing agent, a third-party, or directly with the landlord, who has the true obligation to pay you? (In earlier articles I’ve written, I’ve suggested that brokers pass even the landlord and secure commission payment commitments from building lenders!)

…and, I’m just getting warmed up!

Some landlords and leasing agents have responded to these questions by saying that their state real estate commission affords them protections under many of the above circumstances.  That may be true.  However, do you really want to have to deal with, what are most certainly bureaucratic, rules under your state’s real estate commission and perhaps endure a legal battle to collect what is rightfully yours?  Or, do you really just want to be paid what is due you?

No leasing agent can bind another company, unless that company agrees to be bound.  That’s a fact!  Irrespective of what a landlord or a leasing agent tells you, just because they have agreed on commission terms between them, doesn’t mean that you must accept those terms.

Remember something very important here:  A broker bringing a tenant, or buyer, to a landlord, whether through the landlord’s agent or directly, is the customer of the landlord and its agent.  That’s right! The broker is the landlord’s customer.  The tenant or buyer, in turn, is that broker’s customer.  This is especially true when the broker is authorized in writing to represent the interests of the tenant or buyer.

So, as the customer, the tenant or buyer’s broker has the right to set its own terms of service and the compensation that it will receive. If a particular landlord elects not to buy what the tenant or buyer’s broker is delivering or chooses not to pay the broker’s price, then that is the landlord’s option. And, it is the option of the broker to take its business elsewhere. Or, in such an instance, the broker also may have the option of securing an alternative compensation arrangement with its tenant or buyer. But, no tenant or buyer broker is obligated to be bound by an agreement between landlord and leasing agent if that broker did not agree to the terms of that agreement.

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 finance 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 Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing of, 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

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2011.  All Rights Reserved.

###

“I’m not signing anything!”

If your prospective client won’t sign your representation agreement, it has little to do with them!

Business people sign agreements all the time. Its the nature of being in business.  They sign contracts to purchase equipment, they sign employment agreements, they sign leases, they engage professional services, and more.  So, why do some real estate professionals lament that their tenants or buyers won’t sign their representation agreements? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Could it be you, not the agreement?
  • Did your presentation of services fall short?
  • Did your prospective client feel confident in your abilities and experience?
  • Did your prospective client believe you?
  • Did your prospective client trust you?
  • Could it be that your prospective client just didn’t understand the benefits he would derive buy engaging an authorized representative?
  • Could your prospective client have felt uncomfortable?
  • Does working with you or your company present the possibility of conflicts-of-interest?
  • Did your prospective client believe that you could be objective?
  • How about personal chemistry…were you able to make that connection?
  • Is your document well-written, professional, and balanced?
  • Could it have been that you did not demonstrate that you really believe in the concept of authorized representation?
  • Did you make comments about wishing you didn’t need to use an agreement?
  • Why should your prospective client execute a document that you prefer not to sign?
  • If that’s the case, then why would you risk sending such a confusing message and waste your prospective client’s time asking him to sign your agreement?

You see, asking commercial occupants to sign an agreement to engage a real estate advisor is not a new idea.  It’s been around so long that it has become a common practice. Most commercial occupants engage real estate professionals via written agreements. If you’re still experiencing difficulties convincing your prospective clients as to why they should engage you, it likely isn’t because they don’t like the concept or are uncomfortable signing a document.

Consider how you present your services, your service approach, your knowledge, reputation, brand, ideas, manner and chemistry, your ability to gain trust and confidence, your reputation, image, and more.

Discover what is lacking about yourself and your company.  Evolve. Learn how to present your services, so your prospective clients understand how they’ll benefit by engaging you. They’ll better appreciate you and the idea of engaging you.  And, you’ll likely experience a real turnaround in your business and the ability you will have on achieving success for your clients, too.

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 finance 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 Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing of, 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

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2011.  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.