Beware of Sellers that Do Not Tell You the Full Story

When you are selling commercial real estate your first and main concern should be to totally understand the property and any elements that impact it. The only places you can go as part of that process are normally the local titles office, the local council and planning authority, the environmental and heritage board, and the client themselves. Diligence and documentation in the process by the real estate agent or salesperson is absolutely critical to ensure that errors and mis-descriptions do not occur. Invariably the parties to the property transaction will normally and frequently take legal action against the agent if any matters of negligence or errors have happened. On that basis the real estate agent has to be extremely careful in the listing, marketing, and contacting process.

All too often I see real estate agents that have not fully investigated the property through all the necessary channels only to find that some problem will pop up just before settlement. The deal then comes to a major stop and solicitors step in. The agent then looses control of the sale process and the property owner queries their confidence in the agent.

Understand this, there are many solicitors serving sellers and buyers of property who would not hesitate for a moment to recommend to their clients that the real estate agent be sued for the simple error that is impacting sale. There is really only one way to sell the commercial investment property and that is by careful investigation and complete and accurate documentation. This has to be done before the sale and as part of the listing process.

Any information that you get in the sale preparation and listing process and should also be carefully recorded on the basis that it can be required for proof or evidence in any future dispute. A common problem in the industry is the reluctance of the seller to completely display or inform you of all property issues, notices, restrictions, and encumbrances. They do not tell you the whole story for some reason. There is only one way forward here, and that is to take copious notes from selected and detailed questions. Use a special checklist that takes the client through all the property issues that you know can impact the listing and marketing of the property.

You can see some other tips for commercial real estate agents at

By John Highman

John Highman is an International Commercial Real Estate Author, Conference Speaker, and Broadcaster living in Australia, who shares property investment ideas and information to online audiences Worldwide.