Office tenant advocate, I have seen this word used in many broker events by various commercial real estate brokers. It is a fantastic description of what a office tenant representative should do for his or her client. However, there are advocates and then there are intermediary and it is important for the consumer of tenant representation services to know the important distinctions between the two.
Many times a tenant may call off a building sign or search for a space in a building on the internet and contact a broker that is representing the owner of that particular building. The building’s ownership has expectations that their contractually obligated broker will use their very best efforts to show you their building and convince you to lease space from them.
In most instances the building’s agent will find a space and do everything possible to get you to lease it from their principle. However, sometimes the relationship gets a little confusing with some commercial office brokers. I have chosen to remove any possibility of this confusion in my practice. That is why I am an exclusive tenant representation broker and I have specialized in this practice for over fifteen years.
My thoughts are that a person who claims to represent a tenant should have potential conflicts that should get in the way of their commitment to their client. In the past I have represented a few buildings because my clients owned them. I always had to eliminate them as an option for my tenant before I committed to represent them.
Now there are some brokers that may have this same situation and have one or two specific buildings that can be easily eliminated as prospects so there really isn’t a conflict of interest. However there are other brokers that represent multiple buildings in a specific market and in my opinion I would have a difficult time removing myself from the obligation I would have to my property owners and the tenant.
Characteristics of a Qualified Office Tenant Advocate
- Negotiation Competency
- Complete knowledge of the office market
- Relationships with landlord’s and their agents that don’t create a conflict of interest for the advocate that compromises their responsibilities to their clients.
- Connections with service vendors architects, contractors, attorneys and others
- Ability to work with all types people and personalities
- A positive outlook
There are many variables that must connect so that a good transaction is completed to the satisfaction of all parties involved in the deal. A good tenant advocate will guide their client so that they get a great lease with favorable terms and conditions. They also know that a good lease is one which everybody is pleased with the outcome.
In my opinion the best way to have a positive experience is to know that your tenant representative has no external conflicts and that they are working sole in your best interest. In order insure that there are no conflicts I have chosen to be an exclusive office tenant advocate so I can avoid potential conflicts of interest.