“Hey, Spec, you work with brokers all the time. So, who do you like to work with?”
I’ve been asked this question many times over the years, and so have members of our project team. While I don’t like “playing favorites,” there are some qualities that effective brokers undoubtedly share. Last week in this column, I explored some of the top ways architects help brokers complete a deal and add value, so this week, I’ll share some of the traits that make for a great broker—the kind I love to work with and feel comfortable referring along to my friends and clients in the industry.
One of the top attributes I look for when aligning with a broker is their ability to simply get the job done! I know it sounds obvious, but it’s not always a given. From day one right until completion, there is a measure of comfort in knowing that the broker you’re working with will deliver 100 percent every step of the way.
This point ties in with the next “must” on my list: a proven track record. Just like in the architecture business, you’re only as good as your last project, and it’s nice to know that a broker/team has a solid history of client satisfaction. Did they negotiate a good deal with fair terms? Were they available? Were they diligent? Those are all great starts!
Next, I recommend working with a broker who has a host of resources to back them up, whether that’s senior participation from others in their firm or a real estate brokerage with good bench depth to back them up and support them in assisting their client, whether with data, manpower, additional knowledge or negotiations know-how.
Speaking of which, it’s nice to know that your broker understands their client and their client’s line of business as much as we do, particularly when developing a workplace strategy. It’s helpful if they can supplement your efforts with up-to-date pricing, trends and building history information, including what other tenants are in the building or nearby. This helps us look out for the clients’ needs and put the best plan into place possible.
Last, but certainly not least, I like to work with brokers who command the respect of landlords they work with and have developed relationships with them. If a broker has worked with a landlord before—perhaps he or she has done three deals in the building prior to this—they have a better feel for what’s reality and what might occur during negotiations. An established professional relationship, or possibly even a friendship, makes for a better experience for the whole project team.
While some of the best broker-architect relationships are longstanding ones, I never knock the opportunity to work with a new broker either. The best teams are often comprised of a combination of people we know and others that are just starting out—every relationship needs to start somewhere! So, to all of the brokers I’ve worked with in the past and others that I hope to in the near future, I look forward to being part of a team with you.