By Natalie Dolce, Washington, DC – April 2014 – Globe St.

Many property owners, tenants and buyers fly blind while selecting someone to represent them. So says SIOR’s Patrick O’Healy in a recent blog on the subject. According to Healy, property owners, tenants and buyers desire to work with someone they like, but often relationship elements drive the selection.

“Working with someone who listens, communicates well, and is user-friendly is an easy path to take,” he says. “While these are great traits when selecting a friend, likeability may not be the best approach when choosing a steward to handle what may be your largest asset.”

The following set of questions may be helpful to you when selecting a broker or agent to represent you, says O’Healy.

• How long have you been selling and leasing commercial real estate?
• On what do you specialize?
• How many transactions have you completed in your career? Can you provide a list for the past three years with a map showing their locations?
• What is the character of your brokerage company?

Marketing this Property

• What are the characteristics of the likely buyers/lessees for this property?
• How long do the brokers think it will take to sell or lease?
• How many properties in this approximate size range have sold in the past 12 and 24 months in this sub-market?
• What is the price range and price per SF for those properties?
• Who were the buyers of those properties, and for what use were they purchased?
• How closely do the prices match properties competitive with yours?
• Has the Broker created a matrix comparing your properties to the others adding and subtracting for differences in quality, size and attributes?

The Agent and Their Marketing

• If your initial plan does not work, what is your back up plan?
• Can you give me ten references from property owners for whom you have sold/leased properties in the past few years?
• Can you share the names of five buyers/lessees you have represented, and the addresses, size and characteristics of those properties?
• Can you share the challenges you have overcome completing these transactions and how you accomplished them in each case?
• What Escrow Company and agent do you normally use? Do you mind if I call them for a reference? (Professional service providers know who is good and who is not. Listen to their feedback.)
The ability and willingness to answer these questions should separate the players from the pretenders, explains O’Healy.