I recently had a client / friend from a different market ask me what tips she needed to know to ensure her commercial listing had the best chance of selling. I had previously referred her to an insurance agent, and assisted her with other commercial real estate questions, so she trusted my word.
Below is email I sent her:
Attached is a list of things that you'll want to ask before listing:
1. Sign. Commercial listings need plenty of exterior signs. Not just any signs, but a sign with the URL of the listing ie. www.listingrealty.com/345322 (so that clients can look it up on their iPhones, Blackberries, iPads, laptops, etc., as they're staring at the building). The sign must also have the direct phone number of the agent so that they can be contacted at 6:30 p.m. on a Thursday. Many Commercial Brokers think that their business is a 9-5 business, and don't know any different because their office phone is the only phone on the sign. The brokerage also prefers that the office phone number is on there (in case the agent skips to another brokerage, they want people to remember the brokerage's number).
2. Web Exposure. You need your agent to tell you what information he's going to put on the web. I recommend that you put all of the details that I gave you and more on the web. Most commercial agents like to "hold back" information to force the customer to call. In the 1990s you went to the broker because you had to. He had all of the information. Just like how you had to go to a lawyer to answer a question about a will. In 2010, people are smarter than that... They do all of their own research online at 10 p.m. at their computer in their housecoat. Make sure that 90% of the information is online
on that URL I mentioned above.
The other thing to ask is if the Agent's brokerage is "a member of a MLS board", which is really asking if they post their listings on the MLS (Realtor.ca for Residential or ICX.ca for Commercial in Canada). When I was in university, I used to work for a big brokerage house. Back then, they intentionally kept things "in house". Even back then I thought the idea was stupid. Now... it's insane. If you held an auction, you wouldn't just want 10 guys to know about it... you'd want 10 million
people to know about it.
3. Allow the agent easy access to the property, ie. give him a key if you can, but make him email you before he tours a client (even if it's a 10 minute warning). Lots of agents lie about the amount of prospective buyers they have. The agent is less likely to lie if he knows he's sent you an email and there's a chance you could show up to see if he's there. It's also important for him to be able to respond asap to a request to view the property by a client or another agent. Decisions are made fast these days... If they see another suitable property in the meantime, they may just scratch yours off the list.
4. Before you list with a person, have a friend email them an inquiry on another listing that they have, and see what their response time is like. The latest stats say you have less than 2 hours to answer an internet or phone inquiry. Also, make sure that your agent has a team member that will look after his listings if he goes away... We all like to take holidays, but Real Estate clients don't want to wait until the agent gets back from his holiday for the info on your listing. Have an understanding of how he deals with business when he's in Mexico. This will likely be the first time he's been asked that question.
5. In addition to what the agent does, feel free to keep advertising the property on Kijiji, and when you get leads, send them to your agent. It will help you to keep track of the market, current activity, questions people ask, objections to the property (ie. price, location, etc).
I could go on and on... but these are the major points (plenty of nice signs, the exact website where someone can pull up the details of your property on the internet, and have the agents name and cell number on the sign).
Call or email if you need any further advice on Commercial Listings in Alberta.