"Thanks for coming out today," a cheesy grin smarms, extending his hand.
"It's a great space," you instinctively reply, mirroring his smile and shaking his hand. It isn't. It's old, the new owner isn't putting the money into it that he should, and on top of that it's direct competition to three other buildings that you and your office mates represent.
"10,000 square foot floor plates, great windows, original wood beams," the host drones on. You survey the scene and notice that donuts and coffee are laid out on a counter top. Hopeful visions of previous events that offered delicious eggs, potatoes, fruit, and sausage or terrific high-end paninis and pasta quickly evaporate.
The host has since moved on to other brokers as you bitterly make your way to the coffee, somewhat content that it is good coffee at least, and investigate the donut selection. Hours ago you had convinced yourself in your egg anticipation that today was the day you were going to stop slowly gaining weight from eating all of the free sugar and carbs supplied, but today is a broker event, so you shrug, whisper fuck it, and grab two.
Once or twice a month, in commercial real estate brokerage, various brokerage firms will host "broker events." Email blasts ring out to the community, but unlike most that you snicker at the design or auto-delete, broker event email spam goes right into your outlook calendar.
Broker events are generally hosted by agency/landlord brokers and serve the same purpose of a debutant ball - you dress the building you represent up nicely and introduce it to the community. This might be because it is a new listing, has a new ownership group, a lagging vacancy rate, or is a new building entirely. The point, ultimately, is to familiarize tenant rep (and other agency rep) brokers with the space.
Brokers, however, can get all of the information they really need on a building via CoStar or other online services. The reason they show up, unless it truly is a cool new build, is for the food and the prizes. The first broker event I ever went to (mind you, I am still not yet a broker. The rules are fast and loose) was a two hour lunch in a flex building built spec. I won a brand new iPad as my business card was pulled out of a bowl and had one of the best lunches I ever had. The second was a picnic in a huge tent outside of a new spec office/retail complex where I was one draw away from a diamond bracelet. Instead, I won $100 worth of chocolates in a huge heart - right before Valentine 's Day. It was perfect. Later this month, I'll be a host and we'll be giving away a $500 and a $1,000 VISA gift card. There will be alcohol served. It will be awesome.
The best part is that these events, the catering, the prizes, everything, are almost always paid for by the landlord agency. Further, the cost of all of it is built into the rent price, so tenants end up footing the bill. It really is an excuse to win cool stuff, eat sometimes decent but always free food, and have a bi-weekly or monthly networking event where you can bs with your counterparts at other agencies - during work hours.
"All we need now is for you to bring us tenants," the host broker announces to the group, as if this fundamental aspect of your career is some deep insight that he crafted this morning. Annoyed at the second donut's lack of filling, you toss it into the trash, fill up on coffee, and make sure you give the sexy female rocking the just too short skirtyour business card for "networking purposes." Your smile easily betrays your intentions and you figure why not, suggesting lunch in the process.
She, of course, eagerly accepts, and whether she is actually looking to network or network, you immediately regret the 1.5 donuts a bit. Still, as you walk into the office for the first time of the day at 10am with your coworkers, riding high on social victory, donut sugar, and caffeine, you can't help but marvel at the existence of broker events.
They can be opulent and unnecessary, but they are awesome.