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Should I Use Public Listings to Find My Next Warehouse?

Last Updated April 6, 2022

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You search online for Warehouse for Lease or Warehouse for Sale, and all you see are public listing services. Should you use them? In this article, we’ll address the pro’s and con’s of doing so.

What Is The Purpose of These Listing Services?

The diagram above illustrates the normal set of relationships between you - the prospective buyer or tenant, and the other parties to a potential transaction. These relationships are regulated by the states. The regulations prescribe that in most cases, you will be represented by a buyer or tenant broker/brokerage in any transaction that you make. This is assumed in nearly all potential transactions, and is built into the transaction value. There are other ways to do it, but they are unusual.

Historically, listing services are the mechanism to share listings between Buyer/Tenant Brokers and Seller/Landlord Brokers. More recently, these non-public listing services began making a portion of their listings available to the public. The purpose of this service was to:

  1. Connect potential clients to the brokers with available property
  2. Advertise property availability

Notice that item 1 above is primarily to connect you - a potential client - with a broker. This sort of thing is often called “clickbait.” You, of course, do not have to select them as your broker, but the chance of gaining you as a client is a big motivator.

Even more recently, variations of public listing services have been coming out of the woodwork. These are all centered around variations of a similar theme - figure out the best way to connect a potential client with a broker. 

Should I Use These Public Listing Services?

The question you ask yourself is: “Is there anything wrong with using these listing services?” The short answer is: “It depends, but in any case, you should understand the purpose of the listings and what you should expect.” We’ve started this article with a discussion of the purpose of public listing services - and they aren’t set up to benefit you. In fact, YOU are the coveted commodity. Brokers need clients to serve, or they don’t have a business.

We’ll touch on a couple of reasons you might wish to use a public listing service:

  • You are not happy with your brokerage, and you need to find properties with which to “spur them on” to better performance for you.
  • You are looking for small spaces and have trouble finding a Brokerage willing to help you. If this is you, see How to Lease or Rent a Small Warehouse. This is probably one of the good/valid uses for these services.
  • Of course, there may be others, but these are the ones that come to mind.

I’ll focus on the first case - the one where you are not happy with the performance of your existing broker. The question you should probably ask yourself is why are you spurring them on? You aren’t married to them. If they’ve presented you with options, they can be protected while you move on to select a new broker who can hopefully serve your needs more to your liking. Warehouse Finder can help you with this - see the next section.

Some of these listing services are up front with you regarding what they provide, while some might even be called deceptive. We recommend you be careful in selecting the brokerage that will represent you in the coming, highly significant transaction for your business.

How Can Warehouse Finder Help?

Assuming you are looking for a mid-sized to a large warehouse, you need to find a brokerage to work with you. These brokerages build relationships with other brokerages and with building owners. It is their job to know what is happening in their market. They pay 100’s of dollars a month (PER SEAT) for private listing services. When you establish a relationship with a brokerage, they have a fiduciary responsibility to look out for your best interests. As indicated above, states have regulations that make it difficult for you to engage in a real estate transaction without a brokerage in your corner. A brokerage should be providing you with lists of properties, verifying details and availability of those properties, and leading/accompanying you step-by-step through the acquisition process. There is no need for public listings in a properly functioning broker-client relationship.

At Warehouse Finder, we find brokerages in markets around the country that we believe will be able to serve that role for you. Even if we don’t already have one in your area, we’ll identify one using our knowledge, expertise, and leverage. We’ve been at this since 2008 and we’d love to help you, too! Call us at the number in the top right of this web page, use the Chat Widget in the lower right, or use our get started form.

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