How to Find and Lease Retail Space Without a Broker

BusinessSales / Service

  • Author James Fong
  • Published February 23, 2021
  • Word count 637

For anyone that has tried to lease a retail space, you know that the leasing process is complicated, opaque, and time consuming. In a leasing transact, there are multiple brokers and other service providers involved. The process is flaunt with shady characters, backroom deals, bait and switch, and withholding information, just to name a few. In NYC where competition is fierce, the leasing process can be even more difficult.

In a typical NYC retail space leasing deal, multiple brokers can be involved. There are the tenant brokers that represents the tenant. And the tenant can have multiple brokers representing him because each claims a particular area of expertise. For example, he could have one broker for each neighborhood he is looking in and then one broker expert in his line of business. Then there will inevitably be one listing broker for each retail space that he is considering. With some listings, the landlord may have multiple broker relationships and so he will want to include these brokers each as a listing broker for that property. With so many brokers, good communication and accurate information become challenged. But more importantly, fiduciary responsibilities and fair dealing are called into question.

Brokers, by nature, will gravitate to where they will receive the highest commission. Therefore, the broker system compromises the interests of the tenant and owner and puts the broker’s interest at the forefront. Because the brokers control the information flow (if you are represented, try meeting a tenant or owner on your own—the broker always wants to be present), tenant and owner will never realize they have been double crossed. Let’s look at two examples from different sides.

A prospective tenant sees a space for lease sign in a storefront window in a location that he feels is ideal for his business. He calls the broker listed on the sign. The broker feels out the tenant and finds out the tenant’s budget and requirements. The broker realizes that this tenant’s budget is higher than the store the tenant is calling him about. So the broker does what any salesperson would do, he up sells the tenant a more expensive space instead of the space he was calling about. It’s simple, the broker will receive a higher commission if he leases the more expensive store. On the other hand, the broker may have a AAA national tenant, now who will be the lucky landlord that will get this tenant? You might have missed this one, he won’t bring this one to his highest commission space. Instead, the broker brings this tenant to his best landlord client, the one large landlord that can give him many many more listings and deals in the future.

Enter UpPeg, a newly launched online service that removes the gatekeepers and allows owners and tenants to deal directly with each other—the democratization of retail space leasing. On UpPeg, two ready and willing parties who want to transact are provided the tools to transact successfully. Owners can list their vacant space without a broker. Prospective tenants can search, find, and lease retail space from the convenience of any internet connected device. UpPeg listings are updated regularly and owner contact details, asking rent, square footage, 360° virtual tour, HD pictures, floor plan, street view, and maps are free for all to search and find with the click of a mouse. UpPeg does not charge the tenant for this information and connecting to owners. True democracy!

Obviously not all brokers will complicate things and many make the transaction smooth by acting as an expeditor of information and conductor keeping the deal on track. But with technology advances and a COVID infested world, why not rely on online tools and communication to close deals in a transparent, low risk environment? Visit!

Real estate investor of over 20 years. Founder of, a website where owners can list their vacant retail space and small business merchants can find space and deal directly with owners and without brokers.

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