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Commercial Real Estate FAQ With Robert Borris On Industrial Real Estate & CRE Investing

What Makes For An Effective Warehouse Or Industrial Or Distribution Center Commercial Real Estate Broker?

The following Q&A was completed as part of our conversational Commercial Real Estate FAQ Interview Series, we hope you find it helpful.

When looking for an effective warehouse, industrial, or distribution center commercial real estate broker, you’ll want to prioritize a few things. First and foremost, brokers depend more now on other brokers than twenty years ago, so you’ll want to choose one that is approved by their peers. Having brokers you know help you to scout a broker for a lease or a particular deal is an excellent idea. Additionally, your broker will be working with others quite a bit, and you’ll want one that is able to handle the challenges this may throw their way. 

Richard Wilson: What makes for an effective warehouse, industrial, or distribution center commercial real estate broker? Because you’ve been in the real estate space a long time, and I’m sure you’ve worked with some brokers who are great, and some that you never want to work with again, so what makes for a great one in the space of industrial? 

Robert Borris: Well, if you never want to work with a guy again, that’s a good example of what you don’t want. First of all real estate, the real estate business has changed a lot in the past 20 years in the sense that brokers depend more now on other brokers than they ever have. You put the building out for lease with a broker and the broker is going to – the brokers don’t make cold calls anymore because most tenants hire a broker to represent them in leasing or finding whatever it is they need. So what you really want, and this is item number one, you want a broker that understands other brokers and has a good reputation with other brokers. I was once looking to hire a broker to lease a project for me and I talked to a bunch of other brokers and said “What do you think of this guy?” “Ah, this guy is really bad news.” You don’t want that guy, he’ll discourage, other brokers won’t work with him. 

Richard: Right. 

Robert: So, that’s one. The second thing you need is you need a broker with a real knowledge in the market. Where they understand what the deals are being traded at, what the concessions are, who’s moving around so that you can approach them. You want to see every deal. You don’t necessarily want to make every deal, but you want to see every deal. Even if you don’t make the deal, you want to understand why did the other guy want to make the deal, what was critical about it? That’s really important. 

And obviously, this goes without saying, the guy has to have impeccable reputation as far as honesty, integrity, and things like that. That’s, in my opinion that’s absolutely critical. And they’ve got to be problem solvers. Dealing with other people can be challenging, and you need somebody that can sit through and deal with them and manage expectations and it can be like, I mean it’s kind of like wrestling with an alligator. It can be really really challenging, and you need somebody who can kind of deal with that. 

Richard: Right, sure. 

About the author

Richard Wilson