At AQUILA, we understand how stressful it can be to find office space in a competitive market like Austin, Texas.
Every day, our brokers help companies large and small navigate the challenging (and sometimes confusing) process of finding and negotiating a new lease, and one of the most common questions we hear is, “why should I hire a tenant representation broker?”
Always wanting to help our clients feel confident with their real estate decisions, we’ve compiled a list of the top seven benefits you can expect from hiring a tenant rep.
1. The landlord will start returning calls
If you have ever attempted to find office space on your own, you know how hard it can be to get a landlord to return your calls. You might have called the number on a “For Lease” sign, but never heard back (even though your company would be a perfect fit for the space being offered!).
The problem is that landlords are often busy people and do not have time to return every call they receive. A landlord may also hire their own landlord broker, who is probably more accustomed to working with other brokers than with individuals.
Hiring an experienced tenant rep can solve this problem in a couple of ways:
- First, a tenant rep has the backing and reputation of the company they work for, giving them more authority when calling landlords.
- Also, the leasing broker has likely worked with the tenant rep or his company before (they may even have another deal in the works) and therefore, they are more likely to return their call. These professional relationships are an invaluable benefit and make it much more likely that a landlord will consider your interest in the space they are offering.
2. Not all properties are listed in one place
When looking through listing sites, it can be difficult to get the full picture of what’s available on your own.
- Out of Date Information: While spending time clicking through LoopNet, for example, looking for a suitable space can be a good way to get a feel for the market, many brokerage firms do not keep their listings up to date on free listing sites such as this.
- Incomplete Information: Searching for properties on leasing firms’ websites has its own downfalls. While these are often up to date, it requires a lot of time and effort to go site to site to find every space available in the market.
A tenant rep broker has numerous resources to solve these problems and find the most inclusive list of real estate options on the market.
- Complete Listings: Commercial real estate brokers have access to the most complete listing databases, Costar and Xceligent, essentially the MLS of commercial real estate.
- Industry Relationships: Tenant reps have professional relationships with both leasing brokers and landlords, which allows them to easily get updated information on what’s available now.
- Off-Market Options: Through their industry connections, tenant rep brokers may also have information on spaces that are not on the market yet, as well as companies that are attempting to sublease some or all of their space.
Not only do tenant reps have resources to find you all the options available, they will take the time to cull through the list and present to you the options that best suit your needs.
3. The space you want might not be the space you need
Even if you are successful at getting your phone calls returned and finding available space through online searches, the challenges do not stop there if you choose to go through this process alone.
It is important to begin the site selection process with a needs assessment. Does your vision match up with what you need? A tenant rep broker will ask you the necessary questions and run the preliminary analysis to help you determine exactly what you need in your new office space, factoring in of course your desired budget.
Often, companies are looking for new space when their current space no longer fits their needs.
- Is your company growing or downsizing?
- What is your company’s projected growth?
- How does your company utilize space? Are you mostly in private offices, like a traditional law firm? Or are you looking for an open, collaborative space?
Your tenant rep will ask you several questions along these lines to help you determine what size space you need, how much space you may need in the future and how to manage your potential growth.
Having parking available to employees is essential for most office tenants in Austin, but securing enough parking spots is not as simple as it may seem. Parking is usually limited (especially in crowded areas like downtown) and can cost upwards of $200 a month per spot.
Your tenant rep can help you negotiate an optimal parking arrangement in your lease by:
- Helping you research other transportation options for your employees
- Negotiating a lower monthly price
- Estimating how many parking spots you are likely to need
- Providing creative parking solutions
If you feel that parking is important to your office search, hiring a tenant rep can be a great way to avoid overpaying and ensure your employees will have a place to park when they get to work every day.
Deciding where you want your office to be located is arguably the most important decision you will make during your search. Each submarket is different and, while you may have a specific location in mind, you might find that it is not the best area for your needs.
A tenant rep broker will have experience leasing space in all the Austin submarkets and will help answer any questions you may have about the pros and cons of a specific area.
- Will clients be able to find the office easily?
- Are rental rates in the submarket within your budget?
- Is it easy to access the building from major thoroughfares?
- Where do your employees and leadership live?
These questions and more all need to be answered before you commit to a location, so using a tenant rep with experience in the Austin real estate market will streamline the process and help you get the best location for your needs.
Let’s face it, leasing an office with access to a gym, food court and outdoor spaces sounds like a dream come true. These amenities and more are all offered in buildings around Austin, but how do you know which ones will give you the most bang for your buck?
If amenities are important to your office search, a tenant rep broker can give you an idea of:
- What amenities are common in the area
- Whether the amenity is worth a higher rental rate
- The best amenities for your needs
To learn more about what amenities are common in Austin and how they affect rental rates, download our free whitepaper: Do Austin Office Buildings with More Amenities Capture Higher Rental Rates?
These are just a sampling of the needs assessments a tenant representation broker can help with in your search for office space. Leases are long term commitments, so it is important to be certain the space you move into will be suitable for your company in the long run.
4. They Will Negotiate Your Deal Terms
Going into the negotiation process alone can be overwhelming and incredibly challenging. A landlord could quote you any rate or terms they can think of, and you have no way to know if they are standard for the market unless you do a substantial amount of research beforehand.
Things like code compliance fees, renewal options and exclusivity use terms are just a few items for negotiation, and it can be hard to know how to negotiate these if you do not have experience in the real estate industry.
Yet again, this is where hiring a tenant rep broker can save you a lot of headache and money. The tenant rep adds value to the negotiation process by knowing what economic and non-economic factors are common in the market, as well as walking you through the negotiation process and explaining things to you along the way.
Most importantly, tenant reps require no out-of-pocket fee from the tenant, so you really have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by hiring one to help negotiate your deal terms.
Tenant reps have dedicated their careers to learning the commercial real estate market and working with clients throughout the leasing process. In other words, your lease is not the first they have negotiated and is unlikely to be the last. By hiring a tenant rep, you can help your company get the best lease terms possible without the stress of worrying about whether you are doing everything correctly.
5. Tenant representation brokers know if you should lease at all
This benefit of a tenant rep may seem strange, but there are several reasons leasing a space for your business may not be the best solution.
Sometimes purchasing a building can pay off in the long run, and the emergence of co-working space has opened the possibility of having an office without entering a long-term lease agreement.
Depending on market conditions and the needs of your company, purchasing office space could be more cost effective than leasing it. A few reasons you might want to consider purchasing a property, rather than leasing are:
- Rental rates are exceptionally high
- You plan to stay in one place for an indefinite period
- You want to be your own landlord
A tenant rep broker will be able to help you define your needs and decide if purchasing your own building will be more beneficial. If you do decide that purchasing makes more sense than leasing, your tenant rep will be able to help you navigate that process as well.
The introduction of co-working space to the business world has added an exciting third option for tenants trying to decide on space for their company. Co-working could be an ideal solution if:
- You are a startup with an unpredictable future of growth
- Your company is small (although even larger companies are utilizing the flexibility offered by these co-working spaces)
- Your business does not require clients/customers to visit the office regularly
- You require flexibility with your lease term and size
If any of these describe your business, a tenant rep will be able to walk you through the benefits of co-working and help you find the best option.
6. You can focus more on your business
Perhaps most importantly, a tenant rep broker takes the weight of the real estate process off your shoulders and allows you to focus on your business goals. You are busy managing supply chains, customer relations and any number of things that your time is better spent on than searching for office space on your own. Even large companies with on-staff real estate professionals typically use tenant rep brokers to leverage their market expertise.
Rather than spending the hours and even days and weeks to educate yourself on the real estate market, find a suitable space, and negotiate the lease on your own, let a tenant representation broker handle the process for you.
Think of a tenant rep as your own personal assistant whose goal is to help your company find the best office space possible with the least impact on your bottom line. The tenant rep will handle everything, from needs assessments to financial analysis to a final lease summary, while allowing you to be as hands on or off as you choose to be.
Time is money, and a good tenant rep can help you spend that time focusing on your own business.
7. Real estate is complicated
At the end of the day, real estate is a complicated industry. There are so many industry-specific terms, legal details and market intricacies that it is almost impossible for someone not actively involved with real estate to know everything.
To give your company the best chance of finding the perfect space with the best lease terms for your needs, it is essential to hire a tenant representation broker to assist with your search.
Our tenant rep brokers have helped hundreds of clients navigate the leasing process, and would love to help with your search as well. If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss your Austin office needs with one of our tenant reps, contact us today.