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7 must-ask questions when hiring a commercial real estate broker

Are you are looking to purchase, lease or sell a commercial property?

If yes, then choosing the right commercial real estate professional can be the difference between success and failure.

According to, Michael Kehoe, Broker and Owner, Fairfield Commercial Real Estate Inc., the key to your success in the real estate transaction.

You need to take time when assessing the ability of the commercial real estate professional to negotiate and close an agreement.

Here are 7 tips to help you find a qualified real estate broker.

hiring a commercial real estate broker - downtown
Photo credit: davesblogg007 Creative Commons


1. What is the brokers length and depth of experience?

Some additional questions to ask: 

  • Has the real estate professional handled commercial property like yours in the past?
  • How many years has he/she been involved in commercial real estate?
  • What designations have they earned?
  • Can they provide testimonials from past clients?

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2. Find out if the broker is represented on a professional website?

There is no single information network for commercial real estate.

It's very important to access a broad cross-section of commercial property networks to achieve success in commercial real estate.

If you are buying commercial real estate, you want your broker to have access to all the properties on the market. If you are selling real estate, you want your broker to achieve a broad exposure for your property.

Ask brokers for the names of the commercial networks to which they belong and a marketing plan for your property.

3. Know the real estate company’s area of expertise

Research the company on the internet. Is the broker part of a company that is specialized in commercial real estate and do they handle your property type?

If the company or the broker appears to focus on residential real estate and dabble in commercial real estate, they may not be a good choice for you.

 hiring a commercial real estate broker - building
Photo Credit: davesblogg007 Creative Commons


4. Get to know the person and not just the company

Your legal relationship may be with the commercial brokerage firm, but it's the individual commercial real estate professional you will be working with on your project.

In most cases, the real estate professional that you work with is not on salary but an independent contractor who works on commission and affiliated with a broker.

5. Can the real estate professional communicate?

While you are interviewing the commercial real estate professional, he or she is selling you their services.

This gives you a good opportunity to see how well they communicate and if they will be the right person to market your property on your behalf.

Other factors you may look at is:

  • Was the real estate professional on time?
  • Do they appear to be organized?
  • Are they neatly dressed?
  • Do they seem trustworthy and authentic?

In Canada, once you have a real estate license, a real estate professional can legally sell any type of property, even though he or she may have very little knowledge about a particular type of real estate.

According to Michael Kehoe, “it is important to look for a specialist in the particular sector of real estate you are focusing on.”

6. Understand the fees

You’ll want to know what, if any, fees will apply to you. Some ‘Buyer’s Agents’ charge a fee to the buyer.

If you are selling your commercial property or leasing it out, you will be required to factor in a real estate commission.

Ask what the commission rate is and be sure that you believe it is fair and competitive.

Remember that your commercial real estate professional will also be marketing to other real estate firms so that you get the maximum coverage of your property.

7. Engagement Period

If you are selling your commercial property, you will want to find out how long of a listing period will the real estate professional require. Make sure that you have a termination date on your agreement.

You will want to negotiate a long enough engagement period to give him or her enough time to market your property.


How about you? Do you have any tips when hiring a commercial real estate broker? We’d love hear from you!

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About The Author

Shari Fenn
Shari Fenn
Shari is a member of the Calgary Region's transportation, supply chain and logistics content development team. She is a communications strategist, storyteller, professional writer and champion for inbound content marketing. Shari has a professional background in communications that includes clients such as VIA Rail Canada and Calgary Regional Partnership's regional transit brand, On-It. Shari is passionate about developing relevant, remarkable and authentic content.