Once you have a good idea of your needs and wants, and you are confident in your ability to secure the needed financing, it is time to commence the search.
Unfortunately, commercial real estate property searches are unlike residential in that the majority of available properties will not be found in one resource, at least not without an expensive subscription. There are services that collect commercial listing information but to get the details you need often requires an expensive subscription fee. Even then, they are not likely to have all available properties in their database, there are many sellers who choose not to list publicly for various reasons. If you are going to pay that fee, why not consider a real estate agent to work with?
While we may be biased, we believe strongly that it is in your best interests to seek out and hire a qualified, reputable real estate agent. A good agent will take the time to understand your needs and can save you time and money. While the industry is changing, the vast majority of sellers still include a buyer’s agent commission in their sale price so the odds of you having to compensate your agent are still small.
The best thing about having your own agent is that he or she legally works for you. And, since this is now getting into legal advice so we must advise you to always speak with a lawyer regarding legal questions. The following is general information and can vary depending upon your circumstances.
So, knowing this, let’s suppose you call the listing agent for a property yourself. This is something many people do because they don’t want to commit to working with an agent yet or because they think that is the way to do it. Because this agent is already working for the seller, he is in a conflict of interest that he must also disclose to you. This conflict of interest is called Dual Agency. When you hire an agent to sell your property, do you expect her to do everything in her power to get you the highest price? Of course you do. When you hire an agent to help you buy a property, do you expect him to do everything in his power to get you the best price and conditions possible? Of course you do (The law calls this “Undivided Loyalty”). So how does one agent do both in the same transaction (The law calls this, appropriately, “Divided Loyalty”)? Pretty tough, isn’t it? In fact, it is so tough courts generally deem it impossible, citing the old adage, “You can’t serve two masters”.
So, agents who are in this situation are required by law to disclose this to you, and explain the consequences to you, including the fact that they cannot provide you with undivided loyalty. This does not mean he or she will not treat you fairly, but it does mean he or she cannot legally act so as to get you the best price, terms and conditions.
Now, what is going to happen when you become interested in the Selling agent’s property? How will an agent who is protecting the Seller also protect you when conflicts arise? This agent is lawfully bound to do everything in her power to get the most money out of you for her Seller client.
Okay, so hopefully this illustrates the potential concerns when calling the Seller’s agent. By choosing an agent who works for you and only for you, you can rest assured your interests are properly taken care of.
Not only will he promote your interests, but he will work to eliminate problems associated with dual agency that can complicate your transaction.
Now, if you choose to purchase a property listed with your agent’s brokerage, your agent may have some extra forms for you to sign. This can lead to a practice called Transaction Brokerage, which is basically a neutral option. You also have the right to have another agent represent you. If this situation arises, your agent should explain this to you in detail or you can check out www.reca.ca, or call your lawyer for more information. Feel free to ask him for more information at any time.