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What Is Exclusive Tenant Representation and Why Do You Need It?

Leasing Commercial Space is a RiskyApproach On Your Own…

The process of securing commercial space for your organization, whether it’s a new location or extending a lease in your current building, is a complex and time-consuming process. This endeavor is filled with numerous opportunities to make a decision that does not best compliment your business objectives.

Tackling this process without the benefit of an experienced exclusive tenant representative to guide you through the process and structure a transaction that best serves your operational needs and financial objectives only increases the chances of making the wrong move.

In my 25 plus years of experience, it is typically the smaller organizations who tend to take the do-it-yourself approach, probably because (1) the value of the service has not been effectively communicated to them; or (2) they have a misconception that by eliminating the exclusive tenant
representative’s fee, they will get a better deal.

What Benefit does the Exclusive Tenant Representative Provide?

The logic behind exclusive tenant representation is that to reach an equitable solution to a particular need (leasing commercial space) the corporate tenant needs access to market information, transaction expertise and negotiation skills equal to that of the landlord who utilizes professional representation.

By utilizing a firm that only represents tenants (never landlords), you will eliminate the conflict of interest that exists with other “full service” real estate firms that represent both landlords and tenants. The exclusive tenant representative is 100% focused on your needs and ensures you get access to
the best spaces and best deal terms.

An Exclusive Tenant Representative will:

-Analyze your space needs

The exclusive tenant representative can assist you in determining your space needs ranging from the optimal amount of space required as well as evaluating various layout options. This will prevent you from spending time evaluating buildings or negotiating for space that doesn’t best serve your needs, as well as prevent you from leasing too much space. The building owner or his agent is not in the business of economizing your office space.

-Identify and investigate all property options

Because they do not represent landlord’s, all options will be explored. This involves more than getting on-line and scanning listing services for availabilities. An exclusive tenant representative can identify a property that is not an obvious choice to meet your needs resulting in lower costs. An exclusive tenant representative will know the market inventory, where deals
are being signed and under what leasing terms. They can also provide insight as to how various building owners operate their properties and the various features of a particular property.

-Create leverage in the negotiation process

Even in a tight market, competition for your tenancy is the great equalizer in negotiations. An exclusive tenant representative will implement an effective negotiation strategy designed to win the concessions that meet your actual needs and structure the best leasing terms attainable in the marketplace, whether relocating or extending an existing lease. The mere presence of a tenant representative sends a message to landlords that you will see all opportunities in the marketplace, and you have someone in charge that understands all the nuances of the process.

-Protect your interest in lease negotiations

The exclusive tenant representative knows the ins and outs of the real estate transaction including all the provisions contained in a lease agreement. A real estate lease is a complex legal document with provisions that contain significant financial implications beyond the rental terms. How operating expenses are handled, interruption of basic services, sublease provisions, the list goes on and on.

-Provide a buffer between you and the Landlord

Lease negotiations can be difficult as each party is attempting to extract concessions (dollars) from each other. The exclusive tenant representative can handle the difficult and sometimes tough conversations that arise in the negotiation process and keep emotions out of the dynamic. After all, you have to live with the landlord for years to come after the transaction is done.

-Manage and coordinate all the participants in the process

The leasing process involves many participants beyond the landlord and tenant to include the building owner’s agent, architect / space planners, interior designers, engineers, contractors, construction managers, property managers, office furniture vendors and lawyers. A single point of contact who understands the process and the role of the various participants in the
process best serve the tenant.

These are just a few benefits the exclusive tenant representative provides to the corporate space user. The exclusive tenant representative is an expert in evaluating, selecting, and negotiating for commercial space. Even the very largest corporations with full-fledged real estate departments and experienced real estate professionals on staff use exclusive tenant representatives and understand that the cost savings achieved by using an exclusive tenant representative far exceeds their fee that is almost always already budgeted into the rental rate by the building owner.

howardcommercial is a St Louis-based commercial real estate firm providing conflict-free advisory services to tenants, owner-occupiers and investors. Our fiduciary responsibility is to our clients and we represent them vigorously to produce superior results.

Contact us at: or 314.495.4958

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