Chicago
(Loop), IL

190 S. LaSalle Street Suite 2100
Chicago, IL 60603

by Jonathan Zimmerman
5/5/2016 8:14:54 AM

Whenever one starts a new job, there is always a utopia scenario in one's mind about how everything should go: Sure, there could be some ups and downs at times, but generally, everything is going to be nothing but seashells and balloons. I worked so hard in college and am so prepared, nothing could possibly go wrong.

Fast forward to 20 years later, one realizes the harsh truth all too well.

Though I cannot speak for every profession, my viewpoint has certainly changed in the many years I have been a broker. Read the "rookie vs. ripened" perspectives of a landlord representative and see which one you most identify with:

A broker will email me and politely ask to see 3 spaces.

The broker will email me at 11:30 PM demanding to get into 3 spaces at 8:00 AM the next morning and will be furious if he does not receive a response by 11:33 PM.

We'll schedule a showing for two days from now so there's enough time to prepare and the weather forecast is 70 and sunny.

Sure, I will drop everything and accommodate your 1,000 square foot client who needs to see space immediately, even though their occupancy date is 10 months away. Oh, and by the way, thanks for dragging me out in the middle of the Polar Vortex. No problem, I love cold weather. That is why I live in Chicago.

Showing day: the broker and client show up 2 minutes early, just as I finished up prepping the space

Typical. I practically rearrange my schedule overnight, show up early and now they are running 30 minutes late, thereby causing me to be late to my next showing that was scheduled a week ago.

They loved all of the spaces, but settle on one and I receive a follow up email from the broker asking for a proposal the next day.

They hated everything. I knew it.

I present the deal to ownership and they are ecstatic that we finally have interest in this stubborn vacancy that has been challenging to lease.

Seriously, this is really the best deal we can offer.Do you have any conception of the market whatsoever?No wonder this space has been vacant for over a year.

Wow. No changes to the proposal and they're ready for a lease.

Is this negotiation ever going to end? You received our best and final deal two proposals ago. Take it or leave it. And no, I cannot just arbitrarily change the hours of operation for the HVAC service for a 1,000 square foot tenant in a 300,000 square foot building with a central system.

The attorney looks at the lease, no changes, looks good!

This is going way too smoothly. I am sure the tenant's attorney will practically rewrite the lease, thereby leading to the owner killing the deal or the tenant backing out because we will not agree to waive the Trial By Jury language.

A lease signed a mere 2 weeks after the point of first contact.

This lease has been out for two months. If you do not sign it by Friday, the deal is off! I really mean it this time!

The tenant sends me a dozen chocolate covered strawberries as a "thank you" for my assistance with the transaction.

It is a miracle that this lease has been signed.So glad to have you in the building. Now I can listen to your complaints about the management every time I see you.Also, thanks again for mentioning the poor elevator service during my showing the other day.

Fast forward one year: they call me saying they need more space; luckily the neighboring tenant has just moved out so the whole floor is available.

The property manager just called. The tenant is 3 months behind in the rent and a 5 day notice has been issued. Yes Mr. Owner, I know it is my fault for bringing you a bad tenant.My crystal ball must have been broken during the negotiation.

They take over the remaining 36,000 SF of space.

The sheriff should be showing up any day to kick the tenant out. Looking forward to showing the same space again!

They love that they can customize the space and send two dozen chocolate covered strawberries.

Did we really let them paint the walls pink? That will make the space so much easier to lease.

The commission check comes with expedited shipping 3 days later.

This lease was signed 6 months ago, the tenant has moved in and is paying rent. My contract says that you are supposed to pay me 30 days following lease signing. What am I missing? Would you let this tenant not pay rent and just smile and look the other way?

I'm still munching on the last chocolate covered strawberry when I decide to do a cold call...and receive a warm response. Actually they're so glad I called, they were just thinking about moving to a larger office.

I need a drink....


Jonathan Zimmerman is the President and Founder of Willard Jones Real Estate and represents landlords and tenants in downtown Chicago. (www.willardjones.com)

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