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Interviewing self-storage brokers and real estate agents

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  • Interviewing self-storage brokers and real estate agents

    I have bought and sold several businesses over the years, some by myself, some with the help of brokers. One interesting thing I've observed about brokers or real estate agents is how they seem to move slower than a slug, and don't know how to return calls. As a serious buyer, I have proof of funds ready to show to selling parties to demonstrate how serious I am. I've also used a letter from my bank as well. I've recently reached out to a well-known broker on a property only to have them never return my calls or emails. I always want to engage with them and ask a few questions before I blindly send over my proof of funds. I will drive by the property, but I will never step foot on it unless I have permission. I feel like this is a cardinal sin that buyers commit.

    I urge would-be sellers to interview several brokers.

    Most of them will ask for information to do an opinion of value or valuation to show you how much your business is worth. This is where most sellers' dreams are crushed when you realize your one billion dollar property is only worth $750,000.00. LOL. By having several brokers present you with this data you should have an idea of how much the fair market value for your business.

    They love to say they have Buyers looking for storage units in your area to get you to sign up with them today. I would propose signing a limited 30-day engagement with them to see if that's true or not. If so, great. But avoid a long term contract with them.

    Be sure you can exit the contract if they are not performing and bringing buyers. Sometimes they have an exit fee, I'm always happy to pay that as they have incurred expenses and I think it's only right to pay them back. I'm probably in the minority on that train of thought.

    Ask about commissions. You get what you pay for here. A great broker will earn every penny. I'm not a big fan of any other fees upfront such as a marketing fee. If that is included I make sure it's paid back at closing time.

    Ask them about closing timelines. A cash buyer will be able to close faster than someone taking out a loan. This could be as little as 2 weeks, to 2 months.

    Act like a buyer. Call them up about a property to see how they are going to treat your listing. This has DQ'ed a few companies over the years. Read the first paragraph again. Thou shall return calls!

    I honestly don't care how many organizations you are a part of or how many pins you have on your sports coat. All I care about is how much you sell!

    Give them a list of who they are authorized to speak to. The last thing you want is your staff finding out. There's a time and a place for that and I think it's a few weeks out before closing.

    I'm sure yall can add to this list. But I think it's a good start.






  • #2
    Good advice

    PM on the way

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