How to deal with business property agents

It's worth calling in the experts to make sure you find the right property at the right price in the right location. Chartered surveyors, solicitors and commercial property agents can all play an important part in making sure you get the best possible deal. You can either pay a commercial estate agent to negotiate and find premises on your behalf or you can manage the process yourself and deal with a variety of agents. This guide will help you find a reputable agent and give you advice on the how to get the most from an agent:

  • Employing an agent
  • Finding an agent
  • Working with a variety of agents

Employing an agent

If you don't have time to traipse around all the estate agents in your area looking for premises to buy or lease it could be worth employing the services of a commercial property agent to do the donkey work for you. The agent should have a good understanding of the local market, they should keep you up to date with new developments in the area and they should send you detailed specifications of any suitable premises.

  • If you're employing an agent to find a property you're going have to pay them; at your first meeting you should ask the agent to explain the different options and costs.
  • Keep in regular contact with your agent, agreeing set intervals and what form the contact will take - email, letter, telephone or face-to-face meetings.

Finding a property agent

To find a reputable agent start with your local Chamber of Commerce or Business Link offices and ask the staff there for recommendations. It's also worth visiting the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) website as they have a database of commercial property agency surveyors regulated by RICS.

  • Take time to find a property agent who understands your needs
  • Don't be afraid to use several different agencies

Working with a variety of agents

If you're managing the search yourself, you'll probably end up dealing with a variety of property agents. To make sure you get the best from the agents draw up a property specification which includes all the details of what you're looking for and note which aspects of this specification are essential and which ones are desirable. You should also state the maximum price you're willing to go up to, including VAT and any annual charges. Discuss the specification with agents and ask them to send you details of properties that match your requirements.

  • Select the most suitable properties and discuss them on the phone. If you're finding it difficult to compare properties the most often used measure is the annual cost per square foot (including rent, rates and service charges).
  • Agents may try to hurry you into making a decision by mentioning other interested buyers, but don't be pressurised.

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