What to look for in a commercial estate agent

Selecting a commercial estate agent is very important for businesses involved in finding new office premises or relocating operations. Making the right choice can help you to smooth the way in both finding the right property and undertaking successful negotiations with landlords.

The RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) explains in a recent website post that the profession is “not officially regulated and has no mandatory route to qualification.” However many of them will be members of either the RICS or NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) and therefore subject to their codes of practice. So when choosing a commercial estate agent, membership of one of these industry bodies might be a good starting place. 

The RICS points out that commercial and residential estate agents do share common ground in some processes they undertake and in the values of professionalism and integrity they need to uphold. However, commercial estate agents need to have the expertise in dealing with complex freehold, leasehold and letting issues. 

If you are looking for business premises in a specific location, then a local company with specialist knowledge of the area could be ideal. A small commercial estate agent that is well embedded in the community could be just as successful as a nationwide organisation, unless you are looking into a number of sites across the UK. 

It is also worth considering the following when making your choice:

  • Does the agent demonstrate knowledge and experience when taking your briefing on requirements? As well as your aspirations for the best location, type of property, price range, interior space and schedule, do they also ask about specifics such as office parking and air conditioning?
  • Can the agent offer an extensive range of contacts in the business community and the property sector, plus access to off-market properties and property websites that are available only to commercial estate agents?
  • Will the agent be qualified to carry out structural surveys, schedules of condition and other professional services if you request them?
  • Are you confident that the agent will keep you regularly updated on progress and be really proactive on your behalf?
  •  Are the financial conditions satisfactory? Normal rates vary from between 1% to 2% + VAT of property purchase and 10% + VAT of agreed annual rent for rented premises, being one-off payments in both cases on successful completion.

Glenside has many years of experience in dealing with commercial estate agents, landlords and other parties involved in locating or relocating businesses. We also support clients in successfully selecting suitable properties, and handling the complexities of business leases, including licences to alter.

It is worth taking a look at our Office Fit-out Checklist for some useful tips for when your business is on the move. We’re also only a phone call or email away and are ready to help and guide you in every way we can!