How a Business Broker Is Different Than a Real Estate Agent

Because what business brokers do is so specialized and unique, there is often some confusion from the general public about how we are different from a real estate agent. As simply put as possible, a real estate agent specializes in selling properties and a business broker is an expert in selling businesses. Selling a business is completely different than selling a home or a piece of commercial property. That’s why business brokers are in the best position to successfully sell a business. Not only do we have the knowledge and experience required to accurately value and market the business, but we have the right contracts and paperwork, MLS and business listing website memberships, as well as an extensive business buyer database. Business brokers do sell commercial real estate, but only when we are selling the business alongside it. That way we are able to ensure confidentiality and close the business sale simultaneously with the business sale. 

 

Expertise and Area of Specialty

A residential real estate agent has experience selling homes and a commercial real estate agent is an expert when it comes to selling and leasing commercial property such as retail, office, industrial, and warehouse spaces. You wouldn’t want to use an accomplished commercial real estate agent to sell your house, because that is not the area that the concentrate in. Also, in the same way, you wouldn’t hire your local residential real estate agent to sell a unique piece of commercial property, because they don’t have the experience, paperwork, and network to get the job done in the best way possible.

The same idea applies to selling a business. A residential or commercial real estate agent doesn’t have the extensive expertise and knowledge base that it takes to properly sell a business. Selling a business can be a very complicated journey, and even the most seasoned business broker hasn’t seen all of the pitfalls and ways a deal can go sideways, so it’s important to work with a business broker who has resources and experience. 

 

Confidentiality

Only a business broker truly understands the importance of seller confidentiality. Real estate agents are accustomed to advertising their property’s address everywhere they can, as they want everyone to know it’s for sale. In contrast, business brokers have to market creatively to ensure confidentiality, because we can’t let employees, customers, suppliers, or competitors know that the business is for sale. Then we work hard to screen buyers, to ensure that only qualified buyers receive confidential information regarding the business. Real estate agents just don’t seem to understand this concept of confidentiality, because it is not commonplace in their world of selling residential or commercial real estate. For business brokers, we always have it in the forefront of our minds, and it is at the heart of everything we do. 

 

MLS Access

Most people are surprised to learn that businesses for sale in Florida have their own MLS, just like residential or commercial real estate does. Because Florida business brokers are all part of the same professional association with our own MLS, we work together and co-broke with one another. Because of this, when a business listed for sale it becomes available to all of the other Florida business brokers, and all of the buyers they have in their databases. This is a huge advantage, because most states don’t have a central business MLS, and we are able to co-broke together and sell more businesses that way. Having your business listed on the business MLS means more exposure, and in turn, more chance of selling. 

 

Contracts and Paperwork

Another advantage to our business brokerage association is that they provide all of the legal contracts and paperwork that we need for our listings and business sale transactions. The Business Brokers of Florida has spent thousands of dollars on hiring attorneys to create this paperwork especially for business asset sales, and only business brokers have access to these contracts. The standard contracts that residential or commercial real estate agents use would not be appropriate for a business sale, and vice versa, so that’s why the resources that business brokers have available to us are so valuable. 

 

Buyer Database

Because business brokers only work with business buyers and sellers, we have been accumulating a large database of buyers for years, and we are able to market all of our listings directly to those buyers. We get hundreds of new buyer inquires per month, and there are only a certain number of businesses to go around. So, we have lots of buyers waiting right now for the perfect business to come on the market. A residential or commercial real estate agent will have a similar database, but it will be geared toward the type of listings that they typically have. 


The bottom line is, when you are selling something as valuable as a business or a piece of real estate, you want to hire the very best person equipped to successfully sell it. Just because someone could legally sell it for you, doesn’t mean that they are the ideal person to do it. Before selecting any professional to work with, do your research, interview multiple qualified people, and then go with the one that you think is your best chance for a successful sale.