Does Your Real Estate Agent Have a Specialty? Does it Matter?

Post By : admin 23 April 2015 Leave a comment

Several years ago I was talking to a friend and mentioned that I had sold a house as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO). He was surprised that it was possible to buy or sell a house without a residential real estate agent. I was shocked that he didn’t know he could trade real estate without a broker – however ill-advised that might be.

Brokers can only negotiate the sale or purchase of a house, right? Aren’t they all the same since they have access to the MLS? Even though I’ve been in the real estate business for over 31 years now, these misconceptions surprise me. I haven’t had access to the MLS for all but 2 years of my career and I’ve almost always hired a residential agent when buying or selling the homes I’ve lived in or bought for investment.

Real estate brokerage has evolved in the last 30 years to become a highly specialized industry. Many brokers have essentially become real estate advisors providing financial analysis, demographic studies, market analysis, site selection research, business planning, portfolio analysis and management, marketing plans, and even construction management in some cases. This is more the case for commercial brokers, but residential brokers have also become specialized.

For example, residential agents usually specialize based on geography first and then by the price range of the house, type of house (single-family, high-rise condos, etc.), type of client (owner-occupant or investor, buyer or seller), and type of service (sales or property management). Many will be a combination of these specialties – seller agent for high-rise, luxury condos in the Uptown area of Dallas.

Commercial brokerage is far more specialized than residential. Agents will often specialize based on 4 factors. First, by geography. Dallas or Phoenix. Arlington or McKinney. Second, by product type. Office, industrial, retail, hospitality, or multifamily. Third, by client type. Seller or buyer. Landlord or tenant. And finally, fourth, by service provided. Investment sales, tenant rep, project leasing or property management.

These criteria can be cumulative, of course. So an agent may focus on McKinney, retail properties, for landlords, for lease. One broker I know only represents church properties, but does so throughout the country. Another only sells large office buildings on behalf of owners in Dallas. While yet another handles only corporate real estate services for corporate tenants in Collin, Dallas, Tarrant and Denton counties.

The degree of specialization is often a function of the size of the market. For example, a commercial broker in Amarillo may have to represent both owners and users of several product types because there isn’t enough business in any one specialty to make a living. In Chicago, on the other hand, it’s more likely that a broker would focus exclusively on owners or users with further specialization by product type.

Rarely do you see brokers cross the residential/commercial line though many of the national residential brokerage companies are trying to set up commercial divisions. You just can’t be all things to all people. If someone tries to do that, it’s a clear sign you shouldn’t hire him/her.

The good news is that owners and users of real estate have an incredible array of options when hiring a broker to represent their interests. The greater the specialization, the better the quality of service in most cases. It’s important to find an agent who specializes in the area, product type, client type and service that fits your assignment. The agent must be of impeccable integrity, be willing to listen to your needs, and have the time to focus on your assignment. Don’t be afraid to use one broker to help your company lease space, another to find a house to buy, and yet a third to handle your investment property. Ask for referrals even from a broker you have used.

Oh, and by the way, there is no law saying you have to use an agent at all.

Bob Gibbons is a Real Estate Advisor & Tenant Advocate with REATA Commercial Realty, Inc. based in Plano, Texas – You may contact him by email at or by phone at 972-468-1946.

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13 Ways to Make Your Office Space More Efficient (& Enjoyable Too)

Post By : admin 13 April 2015 Leave a comment

This post is complements of my friend Buddy Francese who is a tenant representative in Austin. He and I are both members of the Alliance of Tenant Representatives and share information on how to serve clients better on a regular basis. This is his list of 13 ways to improve your office environment which will hopefully increase efficiency.

1. Kill the air. Many offices are kept so cold that the employees are wasting time talking about how cold they are and trying to keep warm. If you do a better job of keeping the office temperature at a comfortable level, your employees will be more productive and you will save money on your bill.

2. Nix meeting rooms. A lot of wasted office time takes place in meeting rooms. Get rid of those and hold standing-room-only meetings by the water cooler or coffee pot. You will be surprised how much more gets done!

3. Let there be light. Try to make sure that natural light comes into the office. Natural light, especially on a sunny day, can energize your employees and help them be more productive.

4. Ergonomics count. Because you spend so much time each week in the office, it is important that you be comfortable. Invest in ergonomic products that will make you more comfortable, and that will increase efficiency.

5. Go with the flow. Arrange your office so that it is in line with the traffic flow. A couple of minutes saved here and there throughout the day really add up, over the month, and year.

6. Keep kids out. Millions of people work from home offices today, and more of them get started every day! If you work at home, make your home office ‘off limits’ to the kids. The last thing you need is to be tripping over toys or having important work items misplaced or drawn on.

7. Think minimalism. The new thing, these days, is to be a minimalist, which entails getting rid of things you don’t need, and keeping only the bare minimum. This will work in the office environment as well as in other areas of life.

8. Headphone help. Keep an iPod or headset in your desk. Many people find that putting it on when there are distractions is a good way to focus and get more work done.

9. Stand up. Researchers have found that you are more likely to get work done if you are standing up. If this is a possibility for you, give it a try and see what it does for your productivity.

10. Hire an organizer. We all know that organization in the office is important, but most don’t want to take the time to get it done. Invest money in hiring a professional organizer to get it all done for you; then you can take it from there. With the increase in efficiency, it will pay for itself in no time.

11. Get a sign. Every time someone walks into your office to ask a question, it slows down your productivity. If you are busy working on something, hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door until you are finished.

12. Pace yourself. Forget trying to turn everything on its head in one week in the hope of making your office the most efficient one around. Instead, pace yourself and choose one thing to implement at a time. Master that, then move on to the next.

13. Admit differences. If you have employees, it is important to keep in mind that an efficient office is subjective. While you think standing up at a high-bar table is efficient, someone else may feel that it’s annoying and find that it slows them down. Recognize and respect the differences, so long as you are pleased with output.

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Post By : admin 9 April 2015 Leave a comment

ATR logo
REATA Commercial Realty, Inc. recently joined The Alliance of Tenant Representatives. ATR is an invitation-only membership organization comprised of the top corporate real estate firms that represent only business space users – the tenants and buyers. To meet the strict membership requirements, member firms must:

1. Serve and assist only clients in the business use of their company real estate, and not represent landlords, developers, or investment property owners.

2. Be market leaders in their specific geographic location(s) in tenant and buyer representation.

3. Be run by principals with not less than a decade of proven corporate real estate experience.

4. Agree to be bound to the Canon of Ethics to protect clients’ interests with integrity, intelligence, and the highest level of professional service.

Being a member of ATR will allow REATA to leverage the experience and resources of other member firms particularly when a client has a need for office or warehouse space in other cities in the US.

For more information on ATR:

For more information on REATA:

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