About Lighthouse Commercial Real Estate

You are here because you are an entrepreneur or business leader responsible for making the commercial real estate decisions for your company.

But that's not all you do.

In fact, if you are a business owner, a high level executive, or a manager, your commercial real estate decisions aren't even the most important thing you do. They just happen to fall into your long list of responsibilities.  What is far more important to you is running your business.  You have customers to serve, employees to take care of, strategic growth plans to deploy, and so much more.

And if you own commercial real estate, you know how stressful it can be to keep your property fully leased. You also need to move promptly and efficiently when it comes time to sell your property. Getting the best price, quickly, provides you maximum advantage for your next opportunity.


You've got that fire over there to put out. And that one too! And that one as well!  And your phone is ringing. And you just got a text from your spouse asking about plans for tonight. And your parents are visiting this weekend. And your kids have those sporting events tonight, each at a different venue. And you have that networking event you should attend because you missed the last two. And you just got a Facebook message from a lifelong friend. And your LinkedIn just flashed an interesting update, and...

Thinking about your commercial real estate needs feels like the farthest thing you would ever want to deal with right now.

In fact, just thinking about it makes you feel overwhelmed because you already feel overwhelmed.

But even though you feel that way, you know deep inside that you probably should think about your commercial real estate.

At least for a brief moment.

And here is why.

What Are The benefits of negotiating your commercial lease with plenty of time to do so?

  • A better lease rate (potentially saving you THOUSANDS of dollars)
  • Better lease terms, including flexibility with options, so you can stay or go as you please
  • Free rent opportunities
  • Ensuring you are located in the very best place for your business (even if you stay put)
  • Getting your moving expenses paid for
  • Getting the tenant improvement package you need to make the space your own
  • Finding a location that thrills your customers and employees
  • Winning negotiations against competing businesses, especially in retail locations
  • The ability to pursue multiple locations, for one specific space need, so that you can increase your leverage by having multiple, suitable locations to consider (you can ask for more and get more this way)
  • Having the opportunity to locate in a new and exciting development project
  • Less pressure during the process because you have time on your side and not working against you
If you were handed a simple action plan that would take away all the stress, and help you achieve the benefits listed above, wouldn't you feel more relaxed, relieved, and confident right now?

With a simple lease review and analysis from Lighthouse CRE we will provide you with this action plan.

As a captain of your business, you can trust Lighthouse to provide you with the clear direction you need to navigate your commercial lease.

Our commercial broker experts at Lighthouse CRE will quickly scan your current commercial lease for hidden dangers as well as opportunities.

Many firms charge hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars for broker opinions of value and comprehensive lease audits.

Our commercial lease analysis will cost you less than you think it would. But you know what?  You currently spend thousands per month and either tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in rent. It is always well worth it to know that money is well spent.

You will receive a crystal clear lease review and analysis, as well as an action plan to set yourself up for success. Just enter your contact information here and request the lease analysis. We want to give you this value immediately, because it creates the rock solid foundation you need for long term business success with your commercial lease.

With your commercial lease review and analysis we will look for opportunities to get as many of the bonuses outlined above.  We will also point out dangerous upcoming hazards in front of you. 

Just click the Contact Lighthouse button below and request the commercial lease analysis option on our contact form. Feel free to enter any additional comments or requests in the form as well. We will contact you as soon as we can.

What Are The benefits of Marketing your property for lease or for sale with the best broker in your market?

  • You will have multiple tenants to choose from, so you can choose a strong tenant with great credit, on a long term lease
  • You will gain access to top broker's marketing systems that are geared specifically for the type of space you have available
  • Your broker will negotiate the best terms for your lease, ensuring you sign a lease with a strong tenant that will pay rent for a long time, but also minimize your up front expenses on build out or remodeling
  • The top brokers know exactly who to call to find the right tenants (they may already have them in mind)
  • You will have key prospect category lists generated and follow up systems in place to track activity
  • Your lease rate will be set exactly where it needs to be to generate maximum interest, while ensuring you still receive maximum income
  • You will sell your property for more money, faster, because great listing brokers already know who the most likely buyers are and will bring the deal together expeditiously
  • More time to work on your next acquisition or to do the things you want to do while a pro keeps your building full
Leasing Tip: Don't waste your time (and money) by hiring the wrong leasing agent.

To hire the right leasing broker you need to find the broker perfectly matched specifically for your needs.  If you need retail space leased, you obviously will not want to hire an industrial specialist. This is true for office, restaurant, or specialty uses too.

Your space needs to be listed for lease by a broker who specializes in your type of space.  The reason for this is that brokers who specialize build lists for that specialty.  Leasing specialists build lists of active tenants and track their movements at all times.  They know who is currently moving, and who will be moving in the future. You want this broker working for you above all others.

Selling Tip: Don't be fooled by the broker who has dozens of listings.

A great sales specialist will focus on you. The problem with brokers that have dozens of listings (if they don't have an effective team backing them up) is that they never focus on anything but getting properties listed. Sales can be few and far between.

Properties that are listed are meant to be sold. If a broker has a huge listing inventory it may just mean they are good at listing, but they're not very good at selling.

A great listing broker will get your property listed and sell it within a reasonable amount of time.  Depending on the market, this may be 90 to 180 days.  If you interview a listing agent, and they have dozens of listings, you should ask how long they have been listed for. If the properties have been listed for a year or more then why would you want to list with that broker? A year from now, you will likely be dissatisfied, or worse, very frustrated and feeling like you wasted lots of time.

Broker Selection Tip: Great listing brokers have impressive closing track records. Rather than ask how many properties they have listed, ask how many properties they have sold.

It is important to determine the type of buyer you need for your property. If you have a fully leased property, you want a listing broker that has lots of investor connections. Investors want to buy the cash flow you have in place with your tenants. If you have vacant land or a tear down in a redevelopment zone, you're going to want a listing specialist that knows lots of developers. If you have an empty building, you need a listing broker that has connections with both investors and developers, as well as great marketing systems to reach business owners who may want the property for their business.

Sales specialists differ from leasing specialists because they build lists of buyers, rather than tenants. If you are looking to sell, then you need a broker that knows how to close.

Additional Tip: An empty building is worth less than a full building.

Commercial properties are often valued on their income. A building without a lease means no income, so there is less value. If you are looking to sell an empty building, consider marketing it for lease and for sale at the same time. Leasing your building at market rents will often maximize it's value. This is likely a good time to choose a team of brokers, or a brokerage company that has leasing and listing specialists. You will want to aggressively work both scenarios.

Why Lighthouse?

Ever since sea captains have looked at the stars in the night sky for a clear point of light to guide them on their journeys, a light that offers clear direction has been essential for success.

Lighthouses were the first buildings created to provide impeccable guidance to global seafarers 24 hours a day. Oftentimes, the lighthouse watchmen would move their entire families into the properties. The commitment each and every day was to make sure the light was shining for all who needed clear direction.

Lighthouse foundations are built on solid ground. These bedrock locations can withstand hurricane force winds, fierce blasting sea tides, and even the erosion of time. These locations were selected to ensure that the lighthouses would always be there for captains to see.  And often times, lighthouses were placed close to hazards to ensure captains could successfully navigate those troubled waters.

When it comes to your commercial real estate we are committed to being your source of clear direction. We too are built on a strong foundation of trust, integrity, and commitment. Our experts are here to guide you along the way.  Whether you are a seasoned veteran or engaging in commercial real estate for the very first time, our decades of experience are focused directly for your benefit.

You can ask us any possible question about your commercial real estate and we will provide you with the answers you need. Either directly, or through our powerful network, we have the solutions to every possible challenge you could ever face.

Simply contact us today, and we'll provide you clear direction.


Tim Lightner

I would not hesitate to recommend David...

"I've had the pleasure of knowing David for several years now. He is a hard working, thoughtful and caring individual who has the ability to get people connected. I've personally watched David put the needs of others before his own. I would not hesitate to recommend David for his high degree of integrity, trustworthiness and vision."

Tim Lightner  //  Owner, Two Men and a Truck

Barry Richter

...and best of all, is an honest person.

"David is a positive force in commercial real estate. He is very knowledgable, works extremely hard and best of all, is an honest person."

Barry Richter  //  President/Principal, Hausmann-Johnson Insurance

Beth Prochaska

He's knowledgeable, hardworking and has impeccable integrity.

"As business professionals, we have to be careful about who we recommend, and David is someone I recommend without hesitation. In an extremely competitive market, he works tirelessely to help his clients get the best value possible. He's knowledgeable, hardworking and has impeccable integrity. If you're looking for a broker who truly has your best interests at heart, I encourage you to call Dave."

Beth Prochaska  //  Executive VP, Potter Lawson Architects

Lance Ratze

...you want someone on your side of the transaction that is zealously committed to your needs.

"High integrity, passion, and out of the box creativity are the attributes that David Haug brings to the real estate table. When confronting the rigors of commercial real estate transactions, you want someone on your side of the transaction that is zealously committed to your needs. Success can be readily observed with David, because he is still standing in a market that many others are struggling in. Not only is he still standing, he is on the upward ladder."

Lance Ratze  //  Owner, Yola's Cafe

Carole Schaeffer

He has the ability to see the big picture while making sure to take care of the details...

"David has always impressed me with his tenacity, sincerity, and hard work. He has the ability to see the big picture while making sure to take care of the details necessary to bring a deal to fruition. You can be confident when working with David that he will go the distance."

Carole Schaeffer  //  VP Business Development, Miron Construction

Rachel Bauer

With a keen intuition and fine-tuned attention to his customers’ needs and desires..

"David’s leading ability to bring people and spaces together far exceeds his client’s expectations. With a keen intuition and fine-tuned attention to his customers’ needs and desires, David employs an edge for detail and diplomacy that brings deals together and results in satisfaction for all parties. David is ridiculously responsive, dependable and dedicated to service. It is a pleasure to know that when I recommend David to friends and business associates they will not only be in the most capable hands possible, they will certainly be pleased with the outcome."

Rachel Bauer  //  Hospitality, Real Estate & Business Development

Our Story...

David Haug

David N. Haug, Founder

Lighthouse Commercial Real Estate

LinkedIn - David Haug

In June 2010 I founded Lighthouse Commercial Real Estate to be the premiere commercial real estate provider in the greater Madison, WI area.  Having spent several years at a large global brokerage company, I had successfully sold and leased tens of millions of dollars of real estate for companies large and small.

My brokerage experience included retail, office, industrial, multifamily (apartments), vacant commercial land, tenant rep assignments, buyer agency representations, listings for lease, listings for sale, commercial real estate advising, broker opinions of value, NNN investment sales and acquisitions, as well as, mentoring and training other commercial brokers.

Whether you hire a commercial broker at a large global firm or a broker from a local boutique firm, at the end of the day, you are hiring one, or maybe two people, to represent you.

You are not hiring a global army of brokers at a global brokerage. You are hiring one broker and he or she may have a junior broker who assists them.  This same thing holds true with a local shop.  You are hiring one or maybe two people to go to work for you.

I share this important detail with you because having worked on the inside of both types of firms, global and boutique, the individual broker you hire is more important than the company they work for.

While working for a large global firm I certainly experienced working with some of the finest brokers in the industry. Many of these brokers were mentors and coaches for me and I consider them amazing colleagues even today.  I also witnessed brokers at this large global firm who probably couldn't sell boots to barefoot Eskimos.  They hid behind the company name on their business card.

There is a wide spectrum of talent at any firm, large or small.

Another important reality you must understand about commercial brokerage is this...

Commercial brokers are some of the most competitive, driven, extroverted, and tenacious people in business.  They have to be to succeed.  This is due in large part  because most brokers are paid 100% by their commission. There is no steady paycheck or guaranteed income. In a commercial brokerage you will hear things like, "We eat what we kill. Coffee is for closers. Go pound sand."

Another reason commercial brokers have huge personalities is because they work with some of the biggest egos in any city across the nation.  People who develop massive commercial projects have massive personal egos.  People who run incredibly successful businesses have massive egos.

One of the most memorable stories I've heard was from a long time seasoned veteran of the business and he told a story about how they decided to reply "no" to an offer to purchase.  The offer they had received was insulting. This was back in the day of fax machines. So rather than reply with a simple no over the phone, or not respond at all, the guy grabbed the offer, went to the signature page, put his hand on the paper in the shape of a middle finger, outlined it with a big thick black sharpie marker, and faxed it back.

This was a multi-million dollar offer and he replied with a faxed F-Bomb.

If you are not in the business it can be difficult to understand just how much these types of personalities drive commercial real estate. There is the up-front show piece that you will see at a listing presentation or a coffee shop interview. Everyone dresses and speaks their best. And then there are the behind the scenes battles that happen all over the place.

This highly competitive, ego driven, industry creates an environment ripe for the types of people I would refer to as sharks and snakes.  Fortunately, there are also many successful people in the business with impeccable integrity and the types of values we all want to see in people.

But because the sharks and snakes exist, everyone in the industry, good and bad, is prepared to do business in this environment. If you are unprepared for this environment, you need to prepare yourself for it.

Part of your preparation should be creating the right team.

The nature of this environment was the driving force behind my creation of Lighthouse CRE back in 2010. My original slogan for Lighthouse was, "Client Focused Integrity. Always." This is something I believe in very strongly still today. Lighthouse has evolved (as you will see below), so our slogan may be updated.  This is still a core value though.

So what does Client Focused Integrity mean?

In real estate, when you sign an agency agreement with a real estate broker, you become their Client.  You are no longer just a customer. Being a Client is a legal distinction that means, by law, the broker has to hold your interests to a higher standard than a customer. If you are not a Client, then you are a customer, and the broker you are "working with" is actually working for someone else.

Because I have worked on hundreds of deals and leased or sold well over a hundred million dollars worth of commercial real estate over the years, I have been on the inside and seen it all.

It really bothers me when I see dishonesty and corruption in business. Call me old fashioned, but my parents and grandparents raised me to believe that a person's word was their bond and that one's integrity is priceless.  If you ever sell it, you can't buy it back.

Those personal convictions drove me to start my own firm back in 2010.

What Client Focused Integrity means to me is that no matter what happens throughout the course of a commercial real estate transaction, every decision, every thought, every action must pass through the lens of these simple questions, "What would my client do right now?  What is in the best interest of my client with the decision that needs to be made at this moment?"

The reality is that when you hire a broker, this broker will be making decisions on your behalf without you always knowing what decisions they are making.

For example, a broker must decide:

  • To show you all properties or just the ones that pay them the most commission
  • To show you all properties or just the ones they won't pursue for themselves
  • To show you all properties or just the properties of their friends and buddies, and not the properties of property owners they have double crossed in the past
  • To push you towards the best lease terms for you or the terms that earn them the most money
  • To push you towards paying more for a property, even though they know they could save you money
  • This list could go on and on and on

I provide a glimpse of such scenarios because sometimes there are things going on that affect you, that you don't even know about.  You can actually lose out on the very best opportunities for you and your business by choosing the wrong broker.

If you are in need of commercial real estate brokerage services, there is nothing more important to you than choosing the right commercial agent and brokerage to serve you.

This is why I created Lighthouse Commercial Real Estate.  There is nothing more important to me in commercial real estate than making sure you are expertly taken care of at the highest possible standards.

This creation story is how Lighthouse started. So why does it appear that we have evolved to something beyond a 3rd party brokerage?

Because we have.

A Startup Mindset

Why did I reinvent Lighthouse in 2018?

As a lifelong entrepreneur I can't stop thinking about business ideas, ways to fine tune things, new areas of expertise to learn and command. It's part of my DNA and something I fully embrace. I will always have at least one side hustle going on at any given time, because it's a great outlet for my mind to compartmentalize something new, save something for later, teach my kids with, or just plain have fun with.

I'm always listening to podcasts such as Entrepreneur on Fire (John Lee Dumas is a former commercial broker by the way!), This Week in Startups, Tim Ferriss, Active Growth, and many others. I've participated in, and won, a Google Startup Weekend.

I've taken the crash course on How to Start Startups provided by Stanford, a class taught by the founders of companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, PayPal, AirBnB, Zappos, Pinterest, and a few other businesses you may have heard of.

Many of my Audible books involve startup insights. I drive around listening to these powerhouses, fall asleep listening to them, and bring them along on plane rides, bike rides, and anywhere else I can.

These learning experiences are my own personal Lighthouse.

One of the tremendous benefits of doing all of this is that in commercial real estate I deal with business owners and entrepreneurs everyday.  I love listening to other business owner's stories and sharing entrepreneurship tales with them. These are some of my favorite conversations, and they have led me to want to do something far bigger with Lighthouse.

The other mind shift that occurred to me was that I needed to evolve Lighthouse if I wanted to increase the magnitude of the impacts I was making.

What does that mean?  When it comes to commercial real estate, I know from personal experience that business owners are more happy and successful when they work with outstanding brokers.

I also know that choosing poorly can create nightmare scenarios. I've been a crime scene witness for those too, and I know exactly what the warning signs are.

I can only personally take care of so many people at once.

No matter how much I want to personally serve as many businesses as possible to ensure their success, I am still limited by the same amount of time available each day.

In other words, I can't scale. I have a productivity cap.

My personal time limit falls far short of being able to serve everyone that needs exceptional commercial brokerage services.  Even if I chose to hire a team of brokers to help me (I've tried), there is still a business scaling limit. I've seen how commercial brokerages large and small turn out.  If building a bigger brokerage was the answer then we would already have one big commercial brokerage company in our world that serves everyone's brokerage needs.

We don't. And we won't. And this is for one simple reason.

All real estate is local.

When you hire a commercial broker, you need to find the very best individual, or broker team, for your needs. This person or team needs to know your market better than anyone else. They need to network like crazy and know everything that's going on, before it's going on. Great commercial brokers are always one step ahead of the game. You can't do this from afar.  You have to be in the trenches!

There will be times when you definitely need a national or global brokerage.  No question about it. And we recommend them frequently. If your business operates in multiple states, or if you own investment property across the country/world, you will definitely be better served by national and global firms.

But biggest is not always the best. It might feel good to hire a large brand and a well dressed broker.  But sometimes, you just become a number on their list. Way down the list. If something happens to come together you may be well served, but what if you have a need that is relatively small to them or less important than the broker's national assignment that they are working on? Might your property or real estate need wither on the vine? It sure might.

So, what does all this mean for you? How has Lighthouse evolved to serve your needs at a higher and more robust level?

Because we have been in the industry as brokers ourselves, our network of professionals can easily identify who the top performing and reputable commercial brokers are in the markets we serve. This gives us the ability to recognize exactly who you should work with for your specific real estate needs.

We know which brokers are best at retail. There are brokers who have the office market cornered, and we've pinpointed them. We know which industrial brokers get the job done and which ones are lazy and late to everything.

Lighthouse provides you with your unfair advantage.

There is nowhere for a bad broker to hide. There is no slick pitch you have to worry about falling for.  Whatever concerns you have in hiring the wrong commercial broker are now remedied. Not only can you avoid the hazards and pitfalls that are fraught with bad brokers, you can be on the other end of the broker hiring spectrum.

Now, you can make sure you hire truly exceptional commercial brokers for your needs. The good news, the very exciting news, is that we have already identified the very best commercial brokers in your market. When you conduct your broker interviews with our recommended brokers, you will already know with certainty that you are going to hire one of the best. It will just come down to the one you like most.

Facts About
Lighthouse Commercial real estate

Founded:  2010

Early History:
Lighthouse was originally founded as a full service, 3rd party commercial brokerage company.  3rd party means we are not the owner of the business looking to lease or buy property and we are not the owner of the commercial property looking for tenants or buyers. This has allowed us to see and understand the full nature of brokerage. We can understand exactly how to negotiate great terms for tenants and buyers, and we can also understand the property owner's needs and listing strategies.

Full service means providing brokerage services for tenant rep and buyer agency clients, and also providing listing for lease and listing for sale services for property owners. In addition to the type of agency provided, Lighthouse has leased or sold hundreds of commercial spaces and properties in the retail, office, industrial, investment, NNN, apartment, and vacant land segments of the industry.

Reinvention: 2018

Lighthouse became a broker of commercial brokers.  Lighthouse matches business owners and commercial property owners with the best commercial broker for their needs, based on the specific needs and goals of the Lighthouse customer.

Lighthouse first seeks to understand your commercial real estate requirements. Once we understand your needs we leverage our longstanding connections throughout the commercial real estate industry to identify the best broker for your needs and recommend them to you.

Lighthouse will help you identify the best Tenant Representative, Buyer Agent, Leasing Specialist, or Sales Specialist.

Who does Lighthouse Recommend?

Lighthouse Commercial Real Estate recommends brokers from all of the National and Global brokerage firms.  Depending on your market, we also recommend many of the best firms in your area that may not be national affiliates.

Our recommendations are based on the best fit for you. We conduct a custom search for each request.

There are many more brokerages that we recommend than those listed below. Contact us today to find the very best broker in your market.

NAI Global
Cushman Wakefield
Marcus Millichap

Who Keeps the Light On 24 Hours a Day?

"Your ultimate destiny is within reach! It's just over the horizon. Keep going!"

I believe in You.

That is exactly why I created Lighthouse.

We are here to guide you safely on your commercial real estate journey.

Remember the optimism you start each journey with. Know WHY you are making your trip.

When the seas rise up and test the mettle that you're made of, show your true grit. Unleash your heart and soul. Focus and follow through on your mission at hand.

No matter the storms in your life, the sun will always shine (even if it takes a while sometimes). You will make good on your commitments. Always believe in yourself and those around you.

David N. Haug

President, Lighthouse CRE LLC

Lighthouse Commercial real estate WILL recommend the best broker for your business needs.

When you need help with your commercial lease, purchase or sale, Lighthouse will match you with a truly exceptional commercial broker who knows your local market better than anyone else.

Our recommended brokers close more deals successfully and have outstanding customer feedback reports. Not only are they the most skilled and respected brokers available, but they are perfectly matched for your needs.

Whether you have retail, office, or industrial requirements we will match you with the top Tenant Reps and Buyer Agents based on your requirements.

If you are a commercial property owner that needs to find Tenants or Buyers, Lighthouse will match you with the top Listing Specialists in your marketplace.

Commercial Real Estate Brokers