In an effort to begin to understand the process and where the different people fit within the commercial leasing process, we are going to start a weekly series, The Players.
One of the biggest questions we get asked when a prospective tenant is looking to rent commercial space in Houston revolves around what a tenant broker is and if they need one. If you read our blog regularly, you can find out those answers here and here (but to shortcut: they protect you, they're free, and you need one!).
The next question is usually what are the differences between a real estate attorney and a tenant broker? I think this question is best answered by describing the attorney’s role in the process.
The real estate attorney’s role is to review the lease and make sure the clauses within the contract are fair and will not allow the landlord the ability to squeeze you later. However, unlike the tenant broker, the real estate attorney may not have a feel for the spaces available, which landlords are easy to deal with, or know market prices to rent commercial space in Houston.
A good example –
Your attorney may find a clause in the contract that he believes is not in the best interest of the tenant; his recommendation would be to re-word this clause. However, only the tenant broker knows the market well enough to understand if you are in the negotiating position to have that clause removed, or which places to pick your battles with the landlord given the market conditions.
This means cooperation and dialogue between your tenant broker and your leasing attorney will yield the best possible outcome for you as the tenant!
It’s amazing to think people actually believe they can take on all this expertise themselves when trying to rent commercial space in Houston (in addition to running a business!). Obviously our recommendation would be to find two who have worked together in the past and can provide references as to how they helped.