Tel: 616-233-8019

161 Ottawa Avenue NW, Suite 100, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Michigan Commercial Space Advisors Is...

  • Dedicated Exclusively to Tenant and Buyer Representation
  • The only full service commercial broker between Detroit and Chicago who does not list property for sale or lease for owners
  • Uniquely unbiased and  completely independent... we have nothing to sell !
  • Focused on Office, Retail and Light Industrial property types
  • Based in West Michigan but available for assignments throughout Michigan

I have a broker

I have a broker helping me, why do I need you?

Back in 1991 when I bought my current house, my wife and I worked with a great real estate agent here in Grand Rapids. The agent showed us close to 40 houses before we found the one we wanted. The agent was very good about telling us what to watch for, both good and bad.

I realize now (a bit sheepishly) that I didn't fully understand who "our agent" worked for. We had not executed any sort of contract with her, so she was contractually bound to represent the owners. For properties which she had listed directly with the owners, she was an agent of the owner. For properties listed by other agents, she was a sub-agent of that owner.

Residential sales agents are now required by state law to notify their clients in writing as to who they are working for - this is known as "agency disclosure." This disclosure requirement does not apply to non-residential transactions - presumably the State of Michigan assumes that commercial real estate participants are more fully informed and don't need the protection afforded residential participants.

Here is the language in the residential disclosure statement required by the State which specifically addresses who the agent is responsible to (emphasis added by me):


Michigan law requires real estate licensees who are acting as agents of sellers or buyers of real property to advise the potential sellers or buyers with whom they work of the nature of their agency relationship.


Seller's Agents
A seller's agent, under a listing agreement with the seller, acts solely on behalf of the seller.   A seller can authorize a seller's agent to work with subagents, buyer's agents and/or transaction coordinators. A subagent is one who has agreed to work with the listing agent, and who, like the listing agent, acts solely on behalf of the seller. Seller's agents and subagents will disclose to the seller known information about the buyer which may be used to the benefit of the seller.


Buyer's Agents
A buyer's agent, under a buyer's agency agreement with the buyer, acts solely on behalf of the buyer. Buyer's agents and subagents will disclose to the buyer known information about the seller which may be used to benefit the buyer.


Dual Agents
A real estate licensee can be the agent of both the seller and the buyer in a transaction, but only with the knowledge and informed consent, in writing, of both the seller and the buyer.

In such a dual agency situation, the licensee will not be able to disclose all known information to either the seller or the buyer.

The obligations of a dual agent are subject to any specific provisions set forth in any agreement between the dual agent, the seller, and the buyer.


Licensee Disclosure (check one) I hereby disclose that the agency status of the licensee named below is:

_____ Seller's Agent

_____ Buyer's Agent

_____ Dual Agent

_____ None of the above


It should be noted that this language applies to lease transactions as well.


Getting back to that broker who is helping you find space.... who are they contractually obligated to represent? If you don't have an executed buyer's agency agreement with them, they are supposed to be representing the seller's best interests – by law.


I know many of the real estate professionals here in Grand Rapids, and with few very exceptions they are both honest and knowledgeable. However, they are also in the business to make a profit, which is where human nature kicks in. Let's say you call an agent who has a sign on the side of a building which says "office space for lease." When they find out you don't have anyone representing you they will typically offer to help. Let's say they show you 8 other buildings with vacant space and you pick a space in one of those 8 buildings. Did they show you everything that might work for you, or did they (consciously or unconsciously) show you the properties their firm has listed (which, coincidentally, provide them with the highest commission)?


When we represent a client looking for office space, we start with the universe of available properties – even some which may not be formally listed. That comprehensive list is narrowed down based on the criteria you provide us with in the initial assessment interview, not based on which space offers us the highest commission. This narrowing or filtering process occurs behind the scenes so that you are not overwhelmed with a multitude of options which have little or no applicability to your specific situation. As you can see, it is important to understand how this filtering is carried out.