Do I Need a Commercial Broker To Invest in Commercial Property?

When investing in real estate an important decision to make will be whether or not you want to have a broker help make your real estate deals. Often, the answer to that question will have to do with where you are in your investing career. For those that are just beginning a broker can be a very useful tool in finding opportunities, what an investor should look for and what they don’t want to see in a property, and negotiating a deal that will make everyone happy. Those that are a bit seasoned in this area may not need so much help, but still can benefit in one way or another.

When preparing to purchase a commercial property for investment you may want the assistance of a broker. Having as much experience as they do in this field, a broker will be able to give good, solid reasons why a property may or may not be a good investment. If an investor is considering purchasing a building in order to section it off and lease out “stores” to those in retail, a broker may be able to let them know that this is not a good idea because there will shortly be a large shopping center being developed within a mile of this building. This would make it more difficult to lease out the spaces and it may not be a worthwhile investment unless the investor can come up with a different use for it. Without the knowledge of the broker, the investor may have ended up losing money due to a bad investment once the shopping mall came along.

A broker may also be able to hunt up other properties for investment. If, as an investor, you find that a property that you’ve been considering is not a good investment, a broker may be able to tell you about a few other properties that could be good for use in the way that you’re planning. A broker will also have information about properties before they even get listed. Sometimes this can work in your favor. If the Realtor knows of the property and tells you about it, you see it and are interested, you may be able to negotiate with the owner of the property before it ever gets listed. This may give you the heads up on properties that others may have outbid you on. You will not have to worry about competing with other investors because they will not have known of the property. A broker may do this for you if they will still get a commission on the deal or they may forgo a commission or two in order to claim you as a client and keep you coming back. If they make you money, you’ll be more willing to make them money. This can be a win win situation on both sides of the fence.

If you’ve been working with brokers for a while and have a reasonably good idea of what you’re doing as an investor, you may not want to work with a broker at all. Even if a broker has given you a property or two, they will not continue to do that for long. All other properties will have part of the profits divided with the broker. If you feel that you’ve gained enough experience to deal without a broker, you can potentially save yourself thousands that would otherwise be a commission to the broker.

Being able to work without a broker will mean that you’ll have to have some communication with those that are selling properties. If you’ve done a lot of networking in the time that you’ve been investing, chances are that you have done some networking and meeting of people that do what you do. You may know owners of several commercial buildings of your area. They may know that you are a good business to deal with when they decide to sell their property. In this case, there is little else that a broker will do for you besides deal with the legal end of the sale.

If you’ve paid close attention in the closings and have looked closely at the paperwork that’s changed hands during the meeting at the close of the sale, you should be able to handle this part yourself. The documents that brokers use to close a commercial property sale can be purchased at most business office supply stores and several bookstores. Additionally, you can draw up these documents yourself with the help of your computer and printer. If you purchase the documents once and make several copies of the blank documents, you’ll have a good start. After you’ve done a few closings yourself you may add some documents that pertain to your business dealings or you may always use the documents purchased. Either way, you will be able to handle the closing of property transactions which will again save you thousands over using a broker.

A broker can have their uses. When you are starting out in the field of commercial investing, they can be a wealth of information and very helpful in your transactions. In the beginning, they may be well worth the investment that you have to put into them. Over time, they may not be as necessary as previous. If you make a point to network with others in the same or related fields, you will find yourself getting information thrown at you left and right when a commercial property comes up for sale. That will eliminate the need for the broker in that sense. If you pay close attention to the closings and gather the necessary paperwork to learn how a property closing works, you will eliminate entirely the need for the broker and this will save your company thousands at each closing. It makes good business sense to use a broker in the beginning, but learning about their job will ultimately raise your profit margins as you eliminate their need and then the use of them at all.

Best Ever Prospecting Letters for Commercial Brokers

In commercial real estate brokerage the prospecting letter process really works. To be successful at it you need to plan the process and control your actions as you progress.

Why will the ‘letter’ process help your prospecting efforts today? Well, it’s because the letters are less inclined to be ‘binned’; that is of course if you plan them correctly and follow the rules.

Here are some facts in comparing letters to emails:

  • Prospecting emails are not very successful at all. Most of the people you send them to will delete the communication quickly. As a by-product of the process you must have their approval to communicate in that way, otherwise you will be breaking the laws on ‘spam’.
  • A letter is very professional as long as you do not ‘overdo it’. In commercial real estate the best letter is compiled on one single page. The contents should be contained in no more than 4 paragraphs. Sign the letter personally in blue ink. Ensure that your signature is legible and professional (don’t sign in a ‘scrawl’ as it sends the wrong message).
  • Create the correspondence to introduce your upcoming telephone call. Make the call a few days after the letter has been received. The prospect will be expecting your call and will be more inclined to take it.
  • Always put your business card in the envelope. Don’t put anything else in a prospecting letter. The object is to sell yourself and your upcoming telephone call. Don’t confuse the message with bulky brochures on other issues and property matters. Focus on the one thing that is important, and that is your upcoming telephone call.
  • Design the letter for the person you are writing to. In other words you should have separate letters covering sales, leasing, property management, and retail. Get away from the generic approach and be specific to a part of the industry. Sell your upcoming telephone call on that basis.
  • Get a reference book on ‘words that sell’ or ‘phrases that sell’. Add a few words from the books into your letter to increase readability.
  • Every good prospecting letter should have a great headline. You want the person to read the message. Perhaps the headline you use could reflect local property activity or changes. Understand the concerns of the market and match the letter to the focus of investors, property owners, or tenants as the case may be.
  • The letters should be sent every 60 to 90 days. As part of that process, follow-up as many of the letters that you can. It directly follows that you should not send out too many at once and thereby create a situation where you cannot make the calls.

This is a system of prospecting. The letters are part of the bigger picture. They do not replace cold calling, but they add to the momentum that you would have in other prospecting processes. Start using the system as a boost to your market share.

The Different Types Of Commercial Insurance Brokers

To the average man or woman on the street, the world in which commercial insurance brokers live and operate will be little more than a mystery. The field of insurance in general is still barely understood by laymen and women, and with commercial insurance being one of its most specialised branches, this effect is felt several-fold.

Few people seeking to take out this type of insurance will be aware, for instance, that there are several types of commercial insurance brokers on the market, each with its own specific ways to operate, strengths and limitations. At best, most of these men and women will be aware of the existence of the main, larger insurance companies, with the countless smaller operators being known to only a minuscule portion of the overall demographic, mostly through research or word of mouth. Yet, on occasion, these alternative types of commercial insurance brokers may actually be more suited for what an individual or business is after than the more ‘mainstream’ alternatives; it is with that in mind that the present article seeks to introduce prospective clients to the different types of commercial insurance companies available, so that they may assess which will best suit their specific situation.

Insurer-Owned Brokers

Insurer-owned companies are perhaps the most widespread and prolific sub-section of the commercial insurance market, and many of the most popular and best-known commercial insurance brokers fall under this category. As the name indicates, these outfits are owned by large insurance companies, who typically dictate their standards and practices. In certain countries, this model was considered the industry standard for commercial brokers for decades; it has, however, recently begun to lose ground, as the effectiveness of these types of outfits began to dwindle. Nowadays, many experts make a case for the model being outdated, and it is predicted that insurer-owned commercial insurance brokers will continue to lose market space in years to come.

Broker Networks

Broker networks comprise several small commercial insurance brokers, all of which share resources, assets and market opportunities between them. In its ideal form, this is considered to be a beneficial model for companies that choose to join one of these networks, with many of them advertising better commissions for individual brokers and service conditions for the companies as a whole; however, adhesion to this type of network remains uneven between countries.

Consolidated Brokers

Consolidated commercial insurance brokers result from one company assimilating, buying out or otherwise consolidating any number of smaller ones, in similar fashion to a corporate merger. At one point, these types of companies were the most common type of commercial insurance brokers in certain markets, with consolidations happening as frequently as once a week. The practice has significantly lost steam since then, however, mainly due to the fact that the exact benefits to be reaped from consolidation processes are not always clear. This has caused many brokers to sour on the practice, and much like insurer-owner brokers, it is thought that this type of brokerage firm may lose even more ground in years to come.

Independent Brokers

The fourth and final type of brokerage firm are independent brokers, that is, brokers which are not associated with either of the three types described earlier in this article. These tend to be smaller, often family or owner-run companies, with smaller and more personalised client bases, and frequently focused on more specialised or less explored areas of the field. Customers resorting to an independent broker can expect a more personalised service, with a higher rate of face-to-face interactions and more time devoted to each case. This type of company is less prevalent in the modern landscape than any of the previously listed ones, but there are still a few independent commercial insurance brokers left, and they tend to attract a small yet loyal customer base.

These are, in broad strokes, the main types of commercial insurance brokers available to customers. It is, therefore, up to each individual to work out which business configuration would be most suitable to their specific needs, in order to avoid disappointment down the road.