By Kurt Schellenbach
All real estate is local. Or is it? In an industry where markets compete nationally and trends move globally, professionals are increasingly crossing geographic borders. So what are the best ways to successfully relocate from one part of the country to another?
A good case study is the recent move of Lawrence (“Larry”) Pobuda to Phoenix. In June, Pobuda was named senior vice president at Transwestern after leaving Minneapolis where he was most recently a partner at Stewart Lawrence Group, and was previously Senior Vice President at United Properties/NorthMarq. He had been based in Minneapolis for 24 years. But he was not new to Phoenix.
“My move started with a personal connection to Phoenix,” says Pobuda. “We have family living here, and my wife and I bought a vacation home in 1999. So we have spent the last 14 years loving the area.”
Pobuda has crossed professional borders as well. The Transwestern position attracted him because its flexibility – interfacing between the realms of development, investment and brokerage – mirrored the multiple roles he performed up north.
“At United Properties we emphasized geographic expansion,” he says. “As far back as 2004 I had been considering a move to Phoenix.”
Pobuda operated on a larger stage again in 2010 when he was appointed National Chair of the NAIOP trade organization. With NAIOP active in 55 markets, Pobuda observed best practices from many cities, participating in dozens of industry events and expanding his professional network.
“It’s important to understand how people compete differently in, say, San Francisco as opposed to Boston. And serving on the national board, I got to meet even more people from Phoenix.”
When Larry decided to relocate for good, he immersed himself in Phoenix: “I met 75 individuals in four months. One meeting led to the next. It was informational, and very valuable.”
Pobuda also put boots on the ground: “It was driving, walking properties, touring buildings, talking to everyone I came across. That’s how I got the lay of the land, especially peering into the patterns of growth in the Chandler/Tempe region, along with North Scottsdale and the Camelback Corridor, which is getting more and more attention from national companies.”