Get to Know… Austin Office Space

Our monthly “Get to Know…” posts provide the opportunity to learn more about our global, leading tenant representation member firms – what sets them apart as best-in-class in their markets, the expertise they offer their clients, and the value they provide during every stage of their clients’ journey to find the perfect space for their business.

Have real estate needs in Austin or its surrounding areas? Consider the experts at Austin Office Space (AOS).

1. When was Austin Office Space (AOS) founded?

AOS was founded in 1999.

2. Why did you join Exis, and how long have you been a member?

AOS joined Exis in 2017. We believe that being a partner in an international affiliation such as Exis provides a network of professionals to work, collaborate, and share clients and ideas with – without sacrificing our core principals. We feel that being a member of Exis can provide the ammunition sometimes required to win big business and keep that business as our clients grow into national companies.

3. Are there specific areas of focus/expertise that AOS practices (if so, please detail)?

AOS focuses on office tenant representation with leasing, subleasing and purchases. We also work on a limited number of tenant industrial and retail requirements.

4. What is the current size of your team?

Currently, we have a team of 5, comprised of 4 brokers and 1 legal/marketing/administrative professional.

5. What are some of the credentials/characteristics/values you look for when hiring your team – to ensure you offer the highest quality service possible?

Our team has a long history together. One of our agents has been with the company for almost 20 years, and another for over 10. Our most recent hire was a long-time friend. We hire infrequently and expect a long-term relationship with those we bring on to our team. We look for those with cooperative attitudes that help us get deals done together in this family-style business.

6. What are AOS’s core values as a company?

We believe AOS grows as we enable our clients to grow through smart real estate decisions. AOS seeks to serve its clients’ best interests today, tomorrow and 20 years from now with honesty, transparency, and hustle.

7. How would you describe the CRE atmosphere in Austin?

Despite the growth over the years, the Austin CRE is still a very small, tight-knit group. We often work on handshakes with landlord brokers whom we have worked with our whole careers. These relationships make a big difference; we have a friendly city and do our best to work cooperatively with landlords to secure the best outcomes for our clients.

Nearly 4 million SF has been delivered in the Austin market over the past year, with about 5 million SF currently under construction. Vacancies are low and there are very few big blocks of space on the market today. Large companies are having to pre-commit to large spaces — often entire buildings in new developments — one-to-two years in advance. Healthy fundamentals have caused rents to grow at a record pace throughout the market. Rent prices have approached 8% annual growth at multiple points but have backed off more recently, registering about 4% over the past year. Austin is most certainly a Landlord’s market. Tenants can’t slow-play or overplay their negotiations, or their desired space will be leased by someone else.

8. What is the most valuable advice you can give a client in today’s overall CRE atmosphere?

Move quickly! The Austin market is moving at a rapid pace. In Austin, we have seen tenants competing for the best spaces because finished spaces that are move-in ready are very limited. The other options in the market often need significant construction to create the open, creative aesthetic modern tenants are seeking. High construction prices and the long lease terms required by landlords for turnkey buildouts don’t match the needs of high growth tenants. We predict rates to continue to rise throughout the next couple of years as demand stays strong and construction prices remain high.

9. What are some upcoming trends in the CRE industry that you feel will affect how companies do business?

We see that flexible, shorter term lease options driven by the coworking boom, are changing the expectations of the next generation of high-growth businesses.  Landlords that are willing to embrace leasing a portion of their buildings on shorter terms to those high-growth businesses have the ability to charge rent premiums to capture these tenants looking for less commitment and more flexibility.

10. Why is exclusively representing tenants important to you?

True representation can’t have any hidden biases or conflicts. Our conflict-free model gives us the ability to speak freely without anything getting in the way of what’s best for the client.

11. What is the most meaningful/valuable feedback you’ve received from a client?

One of our oldest clients went on and on about how responsive we were in the beginning of our first transaction with them. That hustle made a big impression on the client, and in turn, that client’s acknowledgment made a big impression on us about what customer service should look like. In the beginning, hustle was the best thing we had to offer, and now that we are seasoned pros, it still matters just as much as it did on day one.