Why you should LIKE your Real Estate Broker
A commercial asset sale process can be lengthy. From marketing to close, the process can take a year or more, and I’m going to argue that you should like your real estate broker before you go through such a long process with them.
Find a Broker Well in Advance of the Sale Process
I don’t mean a month in advance, I mean closer to a year. Why? You will work with this person for at least a few months. Sales are intense, require daily communication and sometimes simply don’t work out despite everyone’s best effort. This is likely to be a lengthy interaction with someone who will leave an imprint on your life.
From the get-go, you should like the broker’s “type”. We are all different as individuals and now, more than ever in history, we have the option of choice in almost all aspects of our lives. Do you prefer intensity, or a more analytical approach? Are you annoyed getting piece-meal information and prefer a thought-out, spaced-out process, or do you simply need to know where the listing/deal is “at” on a daily basis (at the very minimum)?
The Broker should be able to prove to you that:
- They are good at following up – the way they follow up with you will be reflective of the care with which they will follow up with potential buyers of your asset. Does the broker send thoughtless or rushed one-liner replies, or in reverse, do they send convoluted and confusing emails when a simple phone call would clarify the question? Do they reply in an appropriate time period? We tend to think working around the clock is what is expected, but a buyer receiving multiple emails or calls at inappropriate hours of the night may derive the idea that this is a “desperate” sale.
- They know the market – A few properly spaced out meetings should give you the feeling that the broker does not repeat the same story, but rather has real value add at every new encounter. They should come prepared with comparable sales and have some off-market information that is not readily available also. Probe the report they bring to determine if the “marketing department” put it together with zero input from the broker (yes, that happens).
- The sales process is about the asset and not about the broker – assess the balance between the broker presenting his or her platform against the time, energy and enthusiasm they take to analyse and present your asset. Is the sale of this asset another trophy on their wall, or do you feel they will make the process about you and the asset? Does this broker take every listing that comes their way, or are they selective based on their experience? This will give you an indication on whether your asset is a match for the broker.
- They will make you comfortable with the sales process – does the broker(age) always run the sales process a certain way, or are they asking for your input in tailoring it to your specific sensitivity for timing and discretion? I’ve gotten packages on properties containing detailed financial information without signing a Confidentiality Agreement (this in most cases shouldn’t happen). Be upfront with the broker on your expectations of how the process should be run, and do not simply rely on them to “do their best”.
- You can trust their ethics – does the broker present confidential information about other clients or deals right up front, stating “this doesn’t leave this room” or “between you and I…”; in which case you can be sure that story being repeated in lots of rooms, between lots of people, and your information will be shared in the same manner.
In addition to all this, there should be a reciprocal element of liking each other. Human nature dictates that that people work harder for people they like, versus for deals they must do, or clients they just can’t stand. I am guilty of this as a broker. Having closed literally hundreds of commercial deals, I can admit I sometimes postponing addressing a file because I loathed making a call to a certain client.
We live in the fortunate world of choice – very rarely is there just one “specialist”. Deal with someone you like, and the deal will go smoothly and leave a positive imprint on your life.