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The question of whether to try and locate a new office space privately, or whether to engage an acquisition agent, is one that faces most companies looking for office space in London today.
“Almost every potential client we meet has searched for buildings on the Internet or via bill boards prior to calling us and has struggled to locate a suitable building” says David Perrins, Managing Director of Morgan Pryce, the tenant acquisition specialist based in Central London.
The question is why is it so difficult to locate and secure good office space when almost anything you need can be located quickly and for free with a few clicks of a button these days?
The reality is that whilst the Internet is a massive source of information for commercial property and offices, the majority of buildings being advertised on the internet are no longer available or never existed in the first place. The cost of regularly updating websites with new information, combined with the fact that most property agencies use their websites primarily as data capture tools, means there is little incentive to keep information up to date. Exactly the same can be said of Agents Boards which remain in place on London’s streets long after the properties they have been advertising are already let.
“We are increasingly finding that online agencies especially do not bother to keep their stock up to date because they are getting potential customers details anyway without having to go to the expense of really working their websites” says David Perrins who has recently put in place a dedicated team to ensure that Morgan Pryce’s industry leading website is never more than a day behind current stock levels. “This has always been the case with bill boards for as long as I can remember so the practice online was inevitable”
This question of stock availability combined with the fact that Agents representing Landlords prefer to deal with a tenant being represented by a professional advisor makes it extremely difficult to get any traction when trying to find a new office alone.
“Unrepresented tenants tend to make mistakes in the negotiation process. They don’t fully understand what they are dealing with and how the process works and more often than not this leads to deals not going through which can be very frustrating. The close rates on unrepresented deals are much lower and we would rather work with a tenant who is being properly advised” says Fraser Williams, Managing Director of Barclay Fox, a leading Landlord Agency in Central London.
So the reality is that finding a new office is a complicated process that requires skill and a deep knowledge of the market and current conditions. It is also one where the odds are stacked against an unrepresented tenant from the start. New tenants often come to the conclusion that, like in many other areas of their business, they need to appoint specialist advisors to achieve the desired outcome if they are not going to get bogged down in a process they don’t fully understand.
“When you think about it, the cost of a 5 year lease in Central London is often many hundreds of thousands of pounds over its duration and getting the deal wrong by as little as 5% can dwarf the types of fees you can expect to pay an agent” sums up David Perrins. “By the time we have found the right building on a no win / no fee basis, negotiated the deal in the best interests of our client and secured the space, I feel we have almost always delivered exceptional value for money. Our clients almost always comment on how in hindsight they could never have done it alone”
Morgan Pryce is a tenant only acquisition agent, based in Central London, which provides Search, Negotiation and Project Management Services. For more information call 0207 292 4710