When you have a few decades into the real estate industry behind you as a commercial broker, they call you a Veteran. So as a “Veteran” representing corporate clients to find suitable office space locations and landlords with my current portfolio of over one million s/f of exclusive building listing assignments, let’s outline what has changed in deal making over the years and what has not. Obviously, we have come a long way from canvassing with index cards and using Hagstrom maps to get around. Web based sources of information and the internet at large provide tremendous access for listings, pools of tenants/landlords and buyers/sellers. The internet provides the ability to obtain company background and financial data and valuable market intel instantaneously. We can use this data to prospect for clients, properties to represent and provide our clients with real time facts they need to make intelligent decisions. But even with laptops, tablets and mobile phones, you have to “touch and feel” real estate. Real estate is not a commodity. Real estate has to be experienced to truly be understood. What remains constant through the years, I believe, is the process to touring properties; analyzing data; developing Requests for Proposals; and, reviewing documents. While the process can be enhanced by technology and software, the process itself cannot be replaced by it. A good broker is also a good listener. Appreciating and truly understanding a client’s needs including space and financial requirements as well as corporate expectations. The individuals making these decisions are accountable. These decision makers need brokers not to take short cuts because technology allows them to. Experiencing and physically touring the real estate is irreplaceable. In analyzing financial information, one must compare each property to create a level playing field to see where the differences in expenses exist between alternative property opportunities. Whether you’re using Argus or an HP-12 to perform the analysis, the data produced needs context. That context is best provided through experience and expertise. Document review along with legal counsel is paramount to closing a transaction. There are many potential interpretations of document writing that can lead down various paths with different consequences. While brokers should not practice law, they should not abandon a deal at legal review. I see younger people entering the business who try to short cut the real estate process by relying only on their computers for all things real estate. They must be out of the office to see the differences in architecture, location, access and amenities and learn tenant rosters, space availabilities and how a property is maintained by the owner. All this makes a new broker keenly aware of which properties compete with one and another, so clients know how to negotiate off the strengths and challenges of building choices. The fundamentals are important to conduct a professional and successful representation assignment for new and repeat business. I applaud the value of how we obtain critical information in the 21st century, but beware, integration of logical and well thought out personal involvement with clients and their real estate cannot be understated. Robert A. Dinner is executive vice president with NAI DiLeo-Bram. NAI DiLeo-Bram & Co. is a full service commercial real estate firm with an excellent reputation and a strong base of operations combined with the powerful support of the NAI Global Network. Our client-driven and results-oriented approach is designed to develop a strategy that is specifically tailored to meet our client’s objectives with the highest standards of service and expertise in the corporate real estate industry. Our professional team is equipped to offer you a unique combination: the individual attention of a local boutique with the clout of a global company. n Businesses are under intense pressure to create or extract value from their real estate, to contain and reduce occupancy costs, to select optimal site locations and to operate facilities with maximum efficiency. As a full service provider, NAI DiLeo-Bram can support all of your commercial real estate requirements. Our team has expertise in all property types, including Office, Industrial, Retail, Investment, Hospitality and Land.
Our solutions are based on accurately identifying current market conditions, understanding and anticipating potential issues and carefully evaluating both the short and long term goals of each client’s unique business situation. Only then can we identify the appropriate course of action and make timely cost effective decisions.
Whether the assignment involves one property or multiple properties, in a single market or in numerous markets around the world, the NAI DiLeo-Bram structure is designed to listen, evaluate, advise and perform. No matter how large or small…you can rest assured knowing that NAI DiLeo-Bram has a vested interest in seeing your business succeed.
We are proud of our tradition and the quality relationships that we have established with our clients. We look forward to building upon those rich and sincere relationships that have been the key to our success and are the foundation for the future.