When Your Friend Fails as Your Commercial Real Estate Broker

The line between personal and professional can blur when you hire a friend as your commercial real estate broker. You notice sales trends that no longer align with your commercial real estate property including low valuations, unreliable market reports and poor negotiating skills. How do you tactfully let your friend know the commercial real estate relationship no longer makes sense professionally? Make no mistake, you are firing your friend as your commercial real estate broker.

1) Did  You Set Property Transaction Expectations Early On?

What were the performance goals that were not met? Use quantifiable numbers, commercial property valuations, and client reviews to make your point. How many potential buyers were they contacting per week? What was their overall marketing approach for your property listing? Were they processing sales transactions on time? A reputable commercial real estate agent is aware of all these aspects of a property transaction.

2) Take Action, Hold a Formal Meeting at The Commercial Real Estate Office

This is not something to be done over the phone or at your commercial property. You owe it to them professionally and personally to do this in person. Schedule a meeting in office behind closed doors. Don’t use humor to lighten the mood.  This is a business decision for your commercial real estate investment. Frame it that way.

3) The Personal/Professional Relationship Will Change

Prepare yourself for the relationship to be bruised or over. Be realistic. They may feel like this is a personal attack on their commercial real estate skills. Be prepared for tears or resentment, but weather the storm. In the long run this is the best thing for your property. You want a commercial real estate broker that builds relationships, thinks like a buyer, brings you the right buyer and gets you the right price for your property.

4) Don’t Sugarcoat It

Directness and transparency are allies. People can tell when you are being insincere. Avoid wishy washy answers. Be specific as to why this decision was made in relation to your commercial property. Think back to how you originally wanted to qualify and select the right broker. Use a Gantt chart as a visual to show where the disconnect occurred in the property sales method.

Your preparation will serve you well. Remember, if they are being terminated, it is likely that there were warning signs. Negotiations falling through, a lack of qualified buyers or money left on the table in previous sales transactions. This may not be a surprise to them.

5) Remind Them This is Not Personal

There is nothing wrong with acknowledging a personal friendship and what you admire about them. Use this, “I appreciate our relationship and what it means to me. I want you to know that this does not reflect how I view you personally, but I need to do what is financially best for my commercial investment.”

Be sincere and remain dispassionate in your tone. Don’t ride the emotional rollercoaster. You can show empathy without wavering.

6) Follow up via email

A follow up email shows compassion and respect. Use your personal email to avoid any confusion about a re-hire. This is the time to lean on the personal relationship. If you forgot to say something in the meeting and it makes sense to add in an email, do so. Let them know you would like to remain friends but that the client/commercial real estate broker relationship is over.

7) Make Time For Reflection

Reflect before and after as to why this is the right choice for your commercial real estate property. Don’t psyche yourself out. Reflection will let you see things clearly, organize thoughts and ease anxiety. Compare your thoughts before and after to make sure they all align with what’s financially right for your commercial investment. This will help you understand how to choose your next commercial real estate broker.

Reflect on all the hard work you put yourself through in order to have the opportunity to sell this property. A past, present and future reflection will put things into perspective. You deserve someone who is a local expert and cares about your deal.


Investing in commercial real estate creates durable wealth, but it can be difficult for multi-million dollar property owners to find the right buyers who will perform.

Over the last 19 years we’ve become experts in high-value commercial real estate sales in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, negotiating the sale of more than 1,000 properties for our clients. That’s why 81% of our repeat business comes from clients who trust us with their growing portfolios as they buy and sell multiple properties over time.

Schedule a consultation with MANSARD today and take the first step in selling your commercial property with confidence.


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