Don’t Ask Me No Questions and I Won’t Tell You No Lies

by CoyDavidson on July 6, 2012

Want to purchase and awesome tenant database? … Keep Dreaming

The number one item that seems to be on every commercial leasing broker’s wish list is that they want comprehensive and accurate Tenant Data, to which I say, “keep dreaming” unless you are going to compile the data yourself, it’s not readily available for purchase.

The reality is unless at some point in the future all companies are required by law to disclose the specifics of their lease data, this information in a comprehensive and accurate database will never be available. Public companies are required to disclose the details of their lease transactions if it is considered “material”, but public companies make up such a small segment of the total market and often their lease details are not deemed “material”. Companies do not want to willingly disclose this information and for good reasons; (1) they don’t want their competitors to have this information and (2) they would prefer not be inundated with sales calls from brokers and every other type of salesperson.

While brokers have privately shared or traded lease comps for years as a common practice, purchasing this data has been another story. The best tenant database in the marketplace that is available for purchase in my opinion is CoStar Tenant, but even this product has its shortcomings in that the critical details of the tenant data is subject to the leasing agents providing that information. I always get a chuckle when I speak to the CoStar researcher who is assigned to our account (she is fantastic, by the way) and she asks me about the details of the lease transactions I have been involved with, to which I reply, don’t ask me no questions and I won’t tell you no lies.”

There is Not an App for That … or is There?

While the new era of “big data” in CRE  is upon us, the reality is that leasing brokers both agency and tenant representatives who have crave this data don’t really want their competition to have their information, they just want their competitor’s data, but you have to “give to get”.

Then, there is the overriding issue of the client fiduciary relationship. I believe the majority of the companies we work with would prefer that the details of their lease transactions were not shared. There are dozens of service providers, vendors and marketers beyond commercial real estate brokers who would like to know every tenant’s square footage and lease expiration. Companies do not want to willingly disclose this information and for good reasons; (1) they don’t want their competitors to have this information and (2) they would prefer not be inundated with sales calls from brokers and every other type of salesperson.

So for now, if you want to have a really great tenant database with stacking diagrams, pertinent lease details and the decision maker’s contact information, you will have to build your own. CoStar Tenant is a good starting point, but you might want to remember the “garbage in, garbage out” principle.

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