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Archive for the ‘Time Management’ Category

Focus On Exclusive Listings & Control Your Destiny

July 14th, 2014

The phone rings. “Hi, I’ve got some money I need to invest into a good commercial real estate deal. I’m ready to buy right awaysays the very authoritative prospect on the other end of the phone. If you are relatively new to the business, this certainly sounds like an exciting call right? Maybe….maybe not. You begin to qualify the prospect by asking some questions about their specific needs.

“I’ve got a few hundred grand to put down, and I have a great relationship with my bank so financing won’t be a problem. I want a 20 – 30 unit apartment building within a 30 minute driving distance from my home. It has to be low maintenance and have a high occupancy. I don’t like problems and I want a nice cash flow right from the beginning. It should be located in a good neighborhood near public transportation and nice amenities like shopping and restaurants. Ya got anything like that kid?”

Pretty specific and the prospect certainly sounds real. Based on the info you’re now armed with, you set out spending your valuable time researching and tracking down qualified properties. You scour Loopnet and CoStar. You drive the market. You call other brokers who have similar listings. Maybe you make a few cold calls to owners of properties that fit the bill. Hours, days maybe a week or two of work and you’re ready to show the prospect 3 solid prospects that fit what he described perfectly. You call to set an appointment for showings.

“Oh yeah, hi kid. Hey listen, my brother in laws cousins girlfriend turned me on to a great deal on a distressed shopping center in Ohio that I could buy for cheap. Plus it’s only 50%  leased so there is plenty of upside. The market is a bit dicey but it’s turning around so I’m just in time for the upswing. And the seller will hold the financing so I don’t have to try to qualify for a bank loan. But thanks for looking….I’ll call you again if I ever want to buy something else.”  Time and effort, down the drain.

While this may be an extreme example, it happens all the time. Combing the market looking for (more…)

3 Ways to Assess Probability Before Taking a Listing

April 28th, 2014

This short cartoon is an example of how to “walk away” from an unrealistic client.

On a raining morning this past week I decided to watch a television show called “Million Dollar Listing” where these young, hot shot real estate brokers work on luxury residential deals in L.A. Reality TV isn’t really my thing, but this one caught my attention.

In this particular episode, this guy named Josh started by talking about a $5,000,000 listing that he had. In giving his commentary on this listing, he emphasizes that the house is “way over priced” and that he didn’t think that anything in that market had ever sold for more than 3 or 4 million dollars. He also said that the seller was difficult and eccentric but was “a really good person” for reasons I’m still not particularly clear on. After hearing this, my first thought was “so why did you take the listing Josh?” I assumed that since this was reality television, Josh was probably going to pull a rabbit out of his hat and find the perfect buyer who would pay full price and set a record for highest sales price in that market. The whole dissertation about the property being way overpriced was just a setup for the happy ending right?

Josh and his co-listing partner get an offer for $3,000,000 from an investor who wants to refurbish the property and is willing to share the profits with the seller. They decide to meet the seller to present the offer and before meeting him Josh says to his partner “you know he’s not going to like it and it’s going to get ugly” to which his partner (more…)

What’s Your “BIG WHY”?

May 5th, 2013

You may have heard this one before, but it is a powerful demonstration of my point. You’re standing at an open window on the 75th floor of a skyscraper. There is a narrow plank stretching about 100 feet across to the 75th floor window of an adjoining skyscraper. There is a man on the other side and he is holding a huge bag of cash. You don’t know how much but you know it’s a lot. If you can make it across, the cash is yours. You’re told that only 10% of the people who have tried to make it across were successful and 90% plummeted to their death. Are you going to try it? How much money needs to be in that bag for you to risk it?

Same scenario but this time the man isn’t holding a bag of cash. This time he’s dangling your child (or mom, or someone you love very deeply) and threatening to let go. You are the only person who can stop him IF you can rise to the challenge and make it across in time. Are you going to try it now?

The point is clear. When we think about it, there are plenty of things that transcend money in our lives. Our family, our health…… but the distinct, pre-defined measure of success in business is virtually always money. That’s fine, but if you do a little soul searching, it’s not really the money that creates a passionate drive that get’s you motivated every day. There are lots of ways to make money, and lots of ways to make large amounts of money. (more…)

Commercial Real Estate Agents Who Succeed Their Way To Failure

November 10th, 2012

Commercial real estate professionals know that new business development is the life blood of a long career in the brokerage business. When brokers start out in the business, virtually 100% of their time is devoted to new business development. Naturally. When starting out, every day consists of learning the market and making contact with the principals who either control the assets or actively seek to enter the market you have claimed as your own (hopefully). (more…)

3 Key Components of a Great Database

May 24th, 2012

Ever heard the expression “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that counts”? Well in commercial real estate brokerage what you know does matter but it’s kind of useless if you don’t have a properly populated database of contacts upon which you can espouse that knowledge. Building and maintaining a solid database is arguably the fuel that drives the engine of your brokerage machine. I’m often amazed at the lengths that some agents will go to when trying to build their list of contacts. Some trudge it out looking up each property record, scouring the internet for phone numbers and scrubbing their information for accuracy. Some hire brokerage assistants or interns to do the work for them. Whatever the process, let’s examine what is really important in building your database:

1. We need client contact information. That means not just the ownership or buying entity, but the name, address, phone number and email address for a real human. Remember, a successful commercial real estate business is about person to person relationships.

2. We need lender contacts. Especially in the environment we have experienced over the past few years, it is extremely important to know who key decision makers are within the commercial real estate lending community. Opportunities about for commercial real estate agents who establish solid working relationships with key lenders.

3. We need co-brokerage contacts. When marketing our listings, the efficiencies of leveraging contacts within the commercial real estate brokerage community must be an important component. The buyer for your new listing may be in the database of a good commercial real estate agent in another area or another state. Having a database with agent contacts will strengthen the punch of any property marketing campaign.

Obviously to build and manage the above described key contact information could be a time consuming undertaking. Fortunately, in the internet age there are streamlining options that take some of the frustration out of the process. Yes, search features on some property appraiser websites are getting better. Social media and search engines improve your likelihood of finding your way to a key contact. But in these scenarios you or your staff are still the ones compiling the information and time is money.
Some technology types are figuring out ways to automate this process for commercial real estate agents by curating the data and keeping it up to date. I’ve been a subscriber to one such service for a couple of years. is a subscription service that offers a complete database of key contacts in all of the three areas discussed above. The information is sortable and is delivered in a simple Excel format so it is easy to import it to whatever CRM system you use. CREfirms is a really affordable option to spending enormous amounts of time doing this research and it’s way less expensive than an assistant. From firsthand experience, I can highly recommend them. You can receive a 30 day free trial by going to
However you go about the process, never ignore the power of feeding your key contact database. Take what you know in commercial real estate and impress who you know by having those people in a well populated database.

3 Things Commercial Real Estate Pros Can Do For A Better 2012

December 27th, 2011

As we bid farewell (or in many cases good riddance!) to 2011, now is the time to map out a success strategy for 2012. Commercial Real Estate agents and brokers are always looking for new ways to increase efficiency and gain a competitive edge. There’s plenty of information and training out there on time management, best practices, etc. but let’s take a look at a few things you can reflect on which could have an exponentially positive impact on your earning power in 2012:

1. Take Ownership of Your Market. How well do you really know the market you are focused on? Better yet, ARE you focused on a specific market area? Take some time before the year starts to make sure you really know everything about your commercial real estate market, including everything that is happening in it. Is every property and owner accurately recorded in your database? What is the vacancy rate? What has been leased and sold in the past 12 months? Are there any market dynamics that will effect value and marketability, such as new roads, major employers coming into or leaving the area, new developments, etc.? Your knowledge of your market is your stock in trade when you speak to prospects.

2. Develop a System for Business Development. Successful commercial real estate brokers and agents know that business development is a never ending endeavor. Hopefully, 2012 will prove to be a more fruitful environment for generating new business, (more…)

Commercial Real Estate Brokers Ask: “Should I Prospect Owners Or Bank Owned Property?”

August 20th, 2011

The numbers are mind boggling. Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of commercial real estate loans maturing in the next 4 years. About a half a TRILLION dollars to be exact according to the Bloomberg Real Estate Briefing Report. So with all of this debt coming due and no apparent way to refinance it, commercial real estate brokers should be honing in on all that REO that the lenders and special servicers are going to have to get rid of right? Not so fast.

Unlike the RTC days of the early 1990’s, lenders these days are not following the traditional playbook of “don’t pay and we repossess the collateral”. The S& L crisis that spawned the RTC was about $160 billion, a drop in the bucket compared with what we are facing today. Lenders have introduced a few new catch phrases into the market to keep the gravity of the situation a bit lighter…..” pretend, amend and extend” and my particular favorite, “a rolling loan gathers no loss”. So if the lenders are reluctant to foreclose or accept deeds in lieu, where is the opportunity for us commercial real estate brokers and agents? (more…)