Magazine article USA TODAY

Real Estate Brokers See That You Don't Go Broke

Magazine article USA TODAY

Real Estate Brokers See That You Don't Go Broke

Article excerpt

In today's economic climate, landlords are not seeing many new renters. It is very important for them to keep their current tenants, but that does not mean they will not work diligently to get the best deal for themselves. It is in the landlord's best interest to circumvent a broker. They would much rather deal with you, a nonprofessional without much experience negotiating, maintains Robert Bielsky, chairman of Manhattan Commercial Realty, New York.

"A lease renewal transaction is not any different from the initial transaction. The landlord is looking to make as much money as he can, and you want the best value for your dollar. In a renewal, however, you have a bit more power than you did at the first signing."

At this point, you understand what you are getting for your money. Maybe trash pickup is the landlord's responsibility, but if the pickup often is late or skips a week here and there, you can use that fact to your advantage. A full-time broker will understand what questions to ask you to use to negotiate.

"Ensure that you are getting the best deal possible in your lease renewal by using an agent," advises Bielsky, who offers the following reasons why it is important to consult a broker when renewing your commercial lease:

Your requirements may have changed. If you need more or less room, or different amenities or resources, these details can be changed at the lease renewal, but the process is identical to the initial signing. It is in both of your interests for the tenant to remain in the space, but the particulars can be adjusted.

You need an impartial third-party. If you are in charge of handling the lease for a large firm, it especially is in your interest to use a broker. Large companies typically demand the absolute best deal (when a change of one percent could mean millions of dollars). You cannot be sure you have the best lease unless you consult a third-party professional.

Brokers know what your space is worth. Since you signed the initial lease, it is quite possible that the market has changed, and the value of your space should be adjusted. "Real estate is a volatile business and prices change all the time," explains Bielsky. …

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