25 Feb 2018

Do’s and Don’ts in Negotiation of a Commercial Real Estate Deal

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I work with clients in the commercial real estate world in Northern Virginia. I am always surprised how many times my client’s destroy the deals they are interested in. Below is a summary of what I have seen that work and what does not work.

The Do’s

– Do act interested in the location you are viewing.  Take photos and notes as you look at the unit.

– Do talk positive about the location and how it might work for you business.

– Do imply you have other locations to look at and other locations you are considering.

– Do imply that you have good financials and a good track record of paying rent.

– Do act as if you are easy to work with.  Owners do not want to be in a 7-10 year business deal with someone who is difficult to work with.

The Don’ts!

– Do NOT contact the owner or listing agent directly.  It is important to let your agent contact and work out the deal with the other listing agent.

– Do NOT act as if you are in a hurry and start demanding deadlines in responding to a LOI or email.  Commercial Real Estate is a slow beast.  It is completly different than residential real estate.

– Do NOT try to renegotiate previouslly agreed upon terms.  This just pisses off owners.  IF you do this, be prepared that the owner will / could terminate the relationship completly.

– Do NOT have your agent contact owners and listing agents in mass numbers with low ball offers.  What happens is in Northern Virginia a lot of listing agents handle more than one property.  So, they will get wind the potential tenant is send out insulting low ball offers to anyone and everyone.

– It is NOT the agent’s job to convince the listing agent / owner of a property that your business is a good business model.  Have a good business plan ready.

– Do NOT submit an offer you are not serious about.  If the owner accepts all terms of the offer, one will have a hard time going back to ask for changes.

– Do NOT argue with the listing agent or owner as they are showing the property.  This just starts things off on a really bad foot.


In the end, I guess what is best is to let your real estate agent guide you on what is best.  It is their job to get you the best deal possible.

I am here to help, please contact me if you have any questions.


About the Author

David Kamminga is a commercial real estate agent in the Washington DC metro area. His services include tenant and landlord representation in land, retail, warehouse and office transactions. He main area of service is Loudoun and Fairfax County Virginia. Some of the cities he assists with are Tysons, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Chantilly, Leesburg and Dulles just to name a few.