When you want a fabulous haircut, you go to a professional, so when tenants are looking for a fabulous retail space, they call a broker.  Enter you, real estate professional extraordinaire to the masses.  And as you probably already know, it’s not always easy to find the optimal space for the retailer unless it is abundantly clear exactly what they are looking for in a perspective location.  And let’s be honest, that’s not always the easiest information to find out.  It can be likened to pulling teeth at times.  But alas, there are guidelines that one can follow in order to unearth the clues that will ultimately lead you to finding the buried treasure, also known as, the best space available for the client.


The best way to find the buried treasure?  Ask a ton of questions, starting with these:


  1. Size Matters

What are their size requirements?  The most important guideline to follow is the square footage range that client is looking for.  Of course, from time-to-time there is a little wiggle room; someone that is looking for 3,000 square feet may be able to work with 2,900 square feet, but clients looking for 3,000 square feet will most likely immediately snub a 1,000 square foot space or a 5,000 square foot space.  Whether you are representing a national retailer or a local business, find out what the size requirements are, as it will rule out locations automatically and bring others into play.

  1. Location Location Location

Where do they want their business to be?  Not only does this limit you to specific city, town, state or road, but the type of location.  Do they want to be in a power center, mall or strip center, or would they rather street retail?  Do they prefer in-line, end-cap or free-standing spaces?

  1. Run the Demos

Who is their target clientele? Retailers usually know whom they want to cater their business to: teens, adults, male, female, parents, income levels, density, etc.  Find out about their business and who is going to shop or use their services and a vision of the right placement will be clearer.

  1. What are they willing to pay?

What are they comfortable and/or budgeted to pay in rent each month?  Most businesses have a budget for rent that is worked into their business plan.  Not only is it important to make sure they can afford a space, but that they are aware of exactly how much bang they can get for their buck in different neighborhoods.  You are the professional, and they come to you to find these things out.  Also, take the next step and let them know not only the price per square foot, but also what that comes out to per month.  Remember, they don’t think like brokers!  That’s why they need you!

  1. Co-Tenancy is Key

Who do they like to be neighbored by?  Of course, you don’t want to put a national optical retailer in a center that has a competing optical retailer.  Because A. The existing retailer will most likely have an exclusive on the center, and B. The business won’t end up doing well.  Additionally, many tenants have an idea of the neighboring retailers they like to be surrounded by.  If they have existing locations, look into the current surrounding retailers for comparison.


Of course, there are many variables that come into play with each deal and retailer out there, but these five basic questions and their answers will certainly lead you in the right direction.  Knowledge is power, people!  In some cases, the retailer, especially if they’re a local or small business, may not know the answers, so asking will lead both you and your client in the right direction and hopefully lead to a long–term lease for them (and more commission for you!).