TRA Celebrates 20 Years of Representing Tenants

This year marks the 20th anniversary since Tenant Realty Advisors was formed and began supporting and advising clients in the greater Boise area. When I founded Tenant Realty Advisors in 2000 it was to address the lack of professional advisory services available to tenants in search of commercial office and industrial space.

But first a little bit of history to explain why these services may be helpful.

When I began my career in commercial real estate services it was in Orange County in Southern California. I started with a small local brokerage firm that was an exclusive “tenant representation” operation, meaning they didn’t have properties for which they were the landlord’s leasing agent. The firm did not take or sign listing agreements or own signs. They simply helped guide tenants through the lease or purchase process. As I learned more of my job, I really grew to enjoy working for the tenant’s benefit. I knew I could help my clients and it was very satisfying.

After four years I transitioned to what became America’s largest commercial real estate brokerage company, still in Orange County. This firm was and still is a “full service” company and was the leasing agent for landlords/owners, managed their properties and also represented tenants. There I was, acting as both a landlord’s agent and occasionally representing the tenant. It didn’t feel quite right, and my heart was always in working exclusively for the tenant/occupier. Eventually I was promoted to the Sales Manager of the office which took me away from working directly with clients. Later I was recruited to be the Branch Manager of a rival brokerage company responsible for a fifty-broker office.

When I relocated my family to Boise in 1991, I was a working manager of a long-standing Boise based commercial real estate brokerage company. After a few years I returned to full time sales, leaving the management role to others. And I drifted back to my first love which was working exclusively for tenants and occupiers (on my business cards it read “tenant advisory services”). But once after a sales meeting of all the agents I had an enlightening conversation with the new manager about the need to “show” (sell) company listed properties. It was his opinion that I as a sub-agent (independent contractor) of the brokerage company I was obligated to always show company properties and include them in any available option reports. I couldn’t argue but I saw it as a possible problem.

What would happen when my client provided very specific details on type of building, location or asking rent and the “company” listings didn’t meet the tenant’s needs? Would my client accuse me of not listening to them or having switched my allegiance? I was presenting myself as a tenant representative, but my company was getting heartburn. So, in 2000 I launched Tenant Realty Advisors.

None of this is to take anything away from the great “full service” commercial brokerage companies and their agents in the greater Boise market, many of whom are friends. These men and women do wonderful professional jobs and really know their listings and their landlords. Here at TRA, we have found it benefits tenants most to work exclusively on their behalf, and that’s what we will continue to do.

It’s been an enjoyable 20 years watching Boise grow and expand its business community. As TRA marks its 20th year, thank you to all of our clients, friends and fellow agents for their support.

Here’s to many more years!

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