Q: What is your firm doing differently today than a few years ago?
SB: Our hiring practices have changed with the “E-Verify” program and I believe in today’s market only candidates that are qualified come in to apply. In addition to the hiring practices we are doing more research into government rebate programs for lighting upgrades and reduced tax benefits for certain types of projects.
We have also taken steps to continually upgrade our technology to improve our project communication with our clients and project team members. This would include teleconferencing, digital video and pictures of field conditions. We are also scanning job records to try and minimize the amount of paper which enables instant access to any information that might be needed for future issues that may come up as well as using an FTP site so subcontractors and get the necessary information for bidding purposes.
MC: Nothing. We are still putting just as much emphasis on making every deal we can. While activity in our market has improved some, it is still extremely competitive out there.
KM: Our business, like everyone’s, hit rock bottom a few years ago. My partner and I decided it was the right time to start our own capital advisory firm with nowhere to go but up. Capital is back in the marketplace and we are actively placing debt on commercial properties. We have also been doing some “out-of-the-box” financing such as providing net worth and liquidity guarantees for clients and recourse guarantees for select construction deals.
Q: What advice would you give anyone looking to start a career in commercial real estate at this time?
BM: Starting a commercial real estate career is always a challenging endeavor, regardless of the condition of the economy. Competing with experienced professionals who have established relationships is a very daunting task. Recognizing that, a down market can be an excellent time to enter the commercial real estate field because many people and companies are being forced to “reinvent” how they do business, so there are opportunities to find ways into relationships that are looking for new ideas and new energy.
For those currently considering the business: Best of success and welcome to the profession. It can be a rewarding career if you are committed to working hard and always doing the right thing.
MH: Commercial real estate is a dynamic industry that offers financial rewards to those that work hard and smart. Whether you are just getting started or have been in the business for a number of years, it’s important to have discipline in your business plan and evolve as the market continues to change. Success in our business is the result of long hours, creating and maintaining relationships and persistence.
KM: Run like hell! Just kidding. Align yourself with the best in the business. Pick a specialty and become the best broker, capital advisor, manager or owner. Learn the markets and be active in the various associations within commercial real estate (i.e. NAIOP, ICSC, ULI, etc.).