Warts and All

When we are looking to purchase a new TV, a new car or even a fishing rod or a movie ticket, for most the first place they go is the internet. Looking at reviews, comparisons, specifications and prices is now second nature for most. We want the information about the product, or the service, what others think about it, and how the price compares.  Virtually everything can be accessed via the internet, and that’s where we go to learn.

If we are considering a river cruise on one of the great rivers of Europe during the northern summer, we will be able to access everything about it through the internet. We can find out where it starts and where the cruise finishes, how big the cabin is, and what is on the menu. And all of that is without stepping out of our own living room, or even bedroom, or wherever it is that we use our ipad, laptop or phone.

So why is it that when we are considering buying an industrial building, very often we cannot access vital information about that building? Whether it is the stud height, or the roof material, or the LIM or the IEP, or even something which matters quite a lot to most people – the floor area. Very often the information is not accessible. We have to request it. And then very often don’t get it. And as for the price? Often that is about as inaccessible as Donald Trump’s tax returns.

Why is this? Surely common sense would indicate that buyers need information so they can make a decision. Admittedly, some information has an element of confidentiality, and should only be provided to qualified enquirers. But most of the information is very basic, and necessary for a buyer to make an informed decision.

So why not provide it?  Many agents may say the reason they do not provide it is because the vendor does not provide it to the agent. To which of course the obvious answer is – well what is the agent’s job?

We are not so old that we cannot remember the days when an agent would measure a building themselves – rather than rely on figures others had provided which may or may not be correct. And they would assemble all the other relevant information so they had it at their fingertips, and be ready to provide to potential purchasers or tenants.

The agent is the critical part of this equation. Many vendors will be only rarely selling an industrial building. And many purchasers will only rarely be buying an industrial building. But the agent is doing this day in and day out. Which means the agent is in the position of greater knowledge about what is needed and what is required in the sale/purchase process. Which means the agent needs to take responsibility for ensuring they have all the required information.

We feel that there are many agents who need to ensure that when they set out to sell or lease a building, they have all the required information – warts and all. It’s just not good enough to be unable to provide what is very basic to any transaction.