David Zimmel is president and owner of Zimmel Associates, a highly successful boutique corporate real estate services firm located in Edison, NJ. Founded in 1986 by Zimmel and his father Bernard, Zimmel Associates is well known in the state for industrial and office space leasing, sales, on-and off-market investment opportunities, advantageous sale/leaseback transactions and 1031 exchanges that help investors retain capital.
His positive point of view about the challenges of competing with large, big name brokerage companies is the foundation for Zimmel Associates’ standing as a CoStar Power Broker. His tightly-knit firm represents more than 5 million s/f of office and industrial space in many of New Jersey’s hottest markets and handles roughly 100 transactions a year. As 2016 reaches its mid-point, Zimmel Associates is approaching $200 million in building sales alone.
“The trend today is that smaller brokerage firms are being acquired by larger firms and yes, the larger brokerage firms have more widespread name recognition,” said Zimmel. “However, it is not unusual for customers of large brokerage firms to be assigned a junior broker who doesn’t have our level of expertise.
“We have a solid niche of in-depth localized market knowledge, especially in Union, Somerset, Middlesex and Monmouth counties and their surrounding areas. That, and the fact that our clients know they will be working with seasoned sale and leasing brokers sets us apart.”
Zimmel explains that today’s technology and use of CoStar’s database levels the playing field for smaller firms. “We use the same CoStar reports to analyze and review commercial property values, availabilities and market conditions as the larger firms.
“Today’s technology combined with the long-term relationships we have with owners, developers, financial institutions, attorneys, community leaders and other professionals who serve the commercial real estate industry gives us an important edge,” he added.
Zimmel says the biggest challenge boutique brokerage firms face is improving the comfort level some potential clients have about working with a small organization. “When we compete with nationally known firms they often have a presentation with lots of bells and whistles, but we don’t do that to the same degree. Our strong point is our market knowledge and ability to advise clients well. That advantage and the amount of deals we close each year sets us apart from the larger firms.”
Zimmel says that market knowledge is more critical than ever for today’s investors, as there are more investors than buildings for sale, making off-market deals a highly competitive arena. His firm has closed two major off market sales this year, as well as numerous on-market transactions.
The firm’s most recent building sale, handled by vice president Jordan Zimmel, is 655 Howard Ave. in Franklin, NJ, a 74,325 s/f building purchased in May by developer Denholtz Associates. Denholtz is renovating the building and Zimmel has the exclusive to market it. Potential buyers showed immediate interest.
“More and more investment groups are being formed as real estate is viewed as more viable for the long term than the stock market right now.” Zimmel says. “Banks are open to lending money for office and industrial. Capital is attainable for financing today.
“At Zimmel, we are all about ‘the deal’, one that benefits all parties,” he said. “Our marketing is straightforward. You can be sure that our website is current, our signs are prominently up at our exclusives, our property data sheets have clear-cut information and are well distributed. We know the key players in our market on a first name basis. Most importantly, we enjoy our work and each other’s successes. We have freedom, yet operate as a team. It works for us.”