Your Competitive Edge: Reframing the Impact of Technology on CRE

Change Is On the Horizon for Commercial Real Estate

The digital revolution of the last decade has left no industry untouched. Companies across all sectors are leveraging advanced technologies — artificial intelligence (AI), mobile platforms, data analytics — to engineer innovative products, services, and customer experiences. The rapid and continual advancement of technology has ensured that it plays an integral role in our lives. 

We are entering an era of “data ubiquity,” one in which a new generation of nimble, data-centric apps exploit massive data sets generated by both enterprises and consumers.1 In 2021, data is central to our existence — whether you’re a giant enterprise or an individual person.

These significant large-scale advancements have entirely reshaped consumer behavior. The proliferation of data sources, and the explosion of user data they generate, has created an environment in which consumers are more educated and savvy than ever before. As the table stakes rise across markets everywhere, consumer demands change, and service providers have to adapt in order to meet their expectations.

Adapting to ubiquitous digital connectivity is now essential to competitiveness in most sectors of our economy.2 Both established and start-up players in every industry are being forced to compete in new ways.

We hear it all the time: while the commercial real estate (CRE) industry has been slower than other industries to adapt to change, conditions are ripe for disruption. We’ve already seen the far-reaching impact of technology on residential real estate. Before the rise of IDX websites, home buyers relied on real estate agents to identify available properties. Today, 89% of people begin their search online.3 Database sites like Zillow and Trulia have enabled buyers and sellers to access market data instantly, with the click of a button.

The evolution of residential agents foreshadows the changes to come in CRE. Already, tenants and buyers are able to access commercial listings and data through free websites such as Crexi, and property owners can utilize these same websites to list properties without the help of a broker.

Although innovation has already begun to alter the role brokers play in CRE transactions, the ripples of change should not be feared. In fact, industry leaders are now face-to-face with immense opportunity: brokerages that choose to lean in and embrace technological advancement are sure to gain a sharp competitive edge through more efficient operating and delivering higher levels of client service.

Using Technology & Automation to Create Efficiencies

“Time is money,” they say, an old adage that certainly rings true for CRE.

Utilizing tech and automation streamlines operations and increasingly enables brokers and brokerage firms to eliminate the manual administrative tasks that typically slow processes down. Leveraging technology to work smarter, faster, and leaner allows brokers to focus their time on building strong client relationships, winning more listings, and maximizing their success. 

In order to understand how CRE tech can and will pull us into the future of the industry, let’s discuss some of the common inefficiencies found within brokerage models today.

On the marketing side, creating and maintaining multiple pieces of marketing collateral, listings, and websites fosters data duplication and increases the odds of human error. When listing data changes, each piece of collateral must be individually updated and possibly reformatted.

Ensuring cohesive branding across all collateral and platforms is another vital yet time-consuming task for brokers. Simply put, a consistent brand is a recognizable brand. Greater brand recognition boosts credibility, creates a sense of reliability, and improves client loyalty. Creating, implementing, and maintaining templates for property flyers, offering memorandums, and personalized proposals for potential clients often requires a dedicated staff member with specialized training. For brokers who produce their own materials, these administrative tasks cut down on the time they have available to spend building the essential one-on-one relationships that close deals.

Long recognized as an early tech adopter, SVN has positioned the brand to be on the bleeding edge of CRE technology for over 30 years. SVN co-developed the industry’s first online publishing platform, Buildout. Available to all SVN offices, Buildout’s best-in-class software technology provides database management, pipeline reporting, back-office tools and more, enhancing your entire deal cycle in a single platform.

Buildout eliminates redundant administrative processes and increases productivity by automating and updating listing data across all marketing channels with one single click. SVN Advisors are able to utilize professionally designed templates to generate a wide range of marketing pieces and proposals so they can secure a listing more quickly and sell faster. In short, efficient and cohesive marketing technology effectively streamlines backend work and, in turn, generates more listings.

Buildout also streamlines back-office operations. Advisors can efficiently generate commission vouchers and track payable/receivable invoices and deposits. The platform also features a deal pipeline management dashboard with the ability to share listing activity reports with clients directly.

Much of the technology being used in CRE today streamlines the tedious back-and-forth of buying and selling of commercial real estate. Models like SVN, which leverage tech and automation to streamline operations, are able to provide greater value for their clients than competing firms operating under traditional methods.

Tapping Into Tech for Advisor Insights

Commercial real estate data is an enormously powerful resource. Ownership, transaction details, and the financials surrounding a property listing offer an endless number of insights that brokers can leverage to advise clients and win listings. However, curating data into meaningful reports manually is a time-consuming endeavor.

Real Capital Analytics (RCA) is the leading supplier and authority on data that drives commercial real estate. All SVN Advisors have access to the entire U.S. Portal (including Canada) to use RCA’s unique knowledge and perspective coupled with timely transaction data. This includes access to their 100,000+ detailed investor bios and their valuable intelligence on marketing and pricing, capital flows, and investment trends. Additionally, RCA regularly provides informative newsletters and bulletins which can be used to support marketing efforts.

Collaborative data exchange services, such as CompStak, are quickly gaining popularity in CRE. Compstak is a free broker-focused platform that compiles lease comparables and allows users to filter by submarket, base and effective rent, asset class, transaction size, and more. Brokers are able to exchange comps for credits and redeem those credits for other comps when needed.

Ultimately, brokers who tap into the sophisticated data tools available in the market today will continue to differentiate themselves from the competition and bring greater value to their clients.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

Executives in every industry are keeping a close eye on emerging technologies and the correlation to their business, from impact to leverage. For CRE, evolving tech and automation trigger fundamental shifts in client demands, expectations, and behaviors. SVN is positioned on the forefront of these industry changes, continually adapting to remain ahead of the curve in order to provide value for our clients and communities.

Clients today expect a fast, seamless experience from start to finish — powerful search capabilities, a transparent brokerage process, on-demand flexibility at every stage. SVN utilizes emerging tech and automation in its platforms to provide clients with analyses of current market conditions, investments, future opportunities, and new projects. SVN uses new tools and technologies to analyze information from multiple data sources, inclusive of the valuable data clients already have, and then provide actionable insight to clients that goes way beyond the transaction.

The effects of tech and automation in the industry won’t negate the need for experienced and knowledgeable CRE professionals. Rather, brokerage models like SVN understand that technology could be a key enabler for talent transformation, allowing companies to streamline existing talent systems and processes, drive efficiencies, and make more informed and effective decisions.4

Models like SVN, which embrace automation, collaboration and cooperation, are uniquely positioned to take market share in this era of change, as client behaviors and expectations evolve.

For CRE professionals, leaning into the adoption of new technologies will enhance the selling and buying experience for clients now and in the future. Companies that move to embrace these changes in technology will find that both they and their clients benefit from it. Those who choose to embrace collaboration and harness innovative technologies are the ones who will bring the future forward, make real change, and help to redefine the CRE industry.


  1. https://www.informationweek.com/big-data/big-data-analytics/the-age-of-data-ubiquity-sensors-spread/d/d-id/1109327?
  2. https://hbr.org/2014/11/digital-ubiquity-how-connections-sensors-and-data-are-revolutionizing-business#:~:text=Adapting%20to%20ubiquitous%20digital%20connectivity,most%20sectors%20of%20our%20economy.&text=We%20have%20seen%20that%20digital,replacement%20but%20connectivity%20and%20recombination
  3. https://ipropertymanagement.com/research/zillow-statistics
  4. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/financial-services/future-of-commercial-real-estate-talent.html

Career Growth Is In Your Hands at SVN

We all have moments in our lives that can be considered “defining moments” — times when a certain thing happens that changes our life trajectory completely. The funny thing about these life-altering moments?

We rarely see them coming.

The Origin

For me, it was October 2017 in Chicago, and I was being interviewed by a person who would not only later become my boss, but also my mentor, role model, and most importantly, my friend. That person was SVN Chief Growth Officer, Solomon Poretsky. This specific situation was not brand new to me — I’d had my fair share of job interviews — but as Solomon sat there across from me and spoke about SVN and about the role I was pursuing, I couldn’t help but think, “this feels… different.”

As if cued by my thought, Solomon said something that will stay with me forever:

“Whoever steps into this role will be responsible for the livelihood of the clients they oversee… and these clients are more than just clients. They’re people who have dedicated their lives to this business.”

As a 25-year old just a few years out of college, this level of responsibility both shocked and thrilled me. I’d never come across someone with as much sincere devotion for the people they worked with as Solomon had. Solomon’s enthusiasm for his work and for his clients matched a certain “fire” I had for years recognized in myself but had yet to harness in my professional life. I soon realized my spirited ambition, zealousness, and passion for serving others made me the perfect candidate for the job.

A Culture of Accelerated Development

As the Business Development Manager for SVN, I was the single point of contact between SVN Corporate and our Franchisees. This was both a support role and a development role, as it was critical that I helped accelerate growth and expansion for our franchise offices.

As I grew in my role, I began to realize that my job was fulfilling in a way I never thought possible. I was having meaningful face-to-face interactions and building relationships with people who, as Solomon had revealed, truly dedicated their lives to their businesses. I quickly realized that these people – our clients – were so much more than that. I started to see in each and every person values that continue to drive the SVN brand today. In my travels I collected invaluable wisdom, insight, and stories from all different corners of the country. Like a puzzle, I began piecing together the shared values and beliefs that make up the SVN Core Covenants.

It was immensely rewarding to see new places, hear new perspectives, and understand firsthand why SVN is so special. Getting personal time with our clients brought the SVN Difference to life for me.

Being out in the field was intensely educational. I learned something new every day, and I appreciated being encouraged to apply my new knowledge to not only increase my personal impact but also to help other departments across the organization.

Something worth emphasizing at this point in my story: in my entire SVN career, no two days have been the same. For someone who thrives in a dynamic and engaging environment, this is why I am truly excited to come to work every day. My enthusiasm today is just as genuine as it was on my first day with SVN.

In my three years as Business Development Manager, I personally helped support our 200+ global offices. I ran hundreds of demonstrations and trainings on our platform, educated our Advisors on the advanced tools and resources available to them, and supported our franchisee offices daily. I helped offices build their websites, assisted in structuring an internal SVN onboarding program, and worked directly with our Franchisees and the SVN Corporate Development team to build comprehensive business plans to help offices grow.

Opportunities for Growth

Deeply rooted in the SVN culture is an emphasis on professional growth and development. Unlike other brands in the commercial real estate industry, SVN takes a modern approach to talent acquisition, retention, and development, and it didn’t take me long to understand that SVN truly “walks the walk” in this area.

SVN does this in a number of ways. Here are a few:

  • Role autonomy and flexibility, allowing you the freedom to use your unique strengths to deliver your best work
  • Ownership and opportunities to grow within & outside of your role, giving you control over your professional future 
  • Exposure to new challenges and an environment of continued learning & stepping outside of your comfort zone

SVN encourages you to be the architect of your own career. Because of this, I felt (and still feel) empowered to bring my best self to work each day.

Now, in my fourth year with SVN, I am eager, honored, and proud to transition into my new role as Sales Director. This promotion is a significant development opportunity for my career growth and something that was both encouraged and enabled by leadership at SVN.

It’s amazing that the very people who hired me have had a hand in every aspect of helping me grow personally and professionally. And Solomon was absolutely right during that interview in 2017 — our clients are so much more than clients; they’ve dedicated their lives to this business. And through the years of witnessing that firsthand, I realize that I’ve done the same.

After years of direct client support (often in-office), it is thrilling to jump to the other side of the organization and apply this knowledge to my work with prospective offices and partners. Anyone that knows me understands that I love the SVN brand and, more than anything, our clients.

We talk a lot about the SVN Difference at SVN. What the SVN Difference exemplifies to me, personally, is the audience reading this post today. The SVN Community, both the corporate team and our large ecosystem of offices, is truly a special group of professionals that care about the work they do and the people whom they work with.

I am thrilled for this next step in my career and grateful that SVN has opened so many doors for me, both personally and professionally. It’s an environment that fosters learning and growth and with this, I am both hopeful and confident that I can move swiftly from supporting our offices to expanding our footprint with more exceptional partners. This is what gets me so excited about the future of SVN, and our journey to building a billion-dollar brand together.

Something tells me this will be my next defining moment.

Planning for Post-Pandemic Success: Preparing for Commercial Real Estate’s “Next Normal”

With the global vaccine rollout now underway, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about an economic rebound ahead. As lockdowns end, restrictions lift, and new COVID-19 cases continue on a downswing trend, the commercial real estate industry can certainly expect some relief as we enter into the “Next-Normal.”

The CDC COVID Data Tracker (below) tracks daily trends in the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. as reported to the CDC by state and territory. As the below Data Tracker illustrates, the COVID-19 surge trend appears to be behind us.

Source: CDC COVID Data Tracker

While we aren’t completely out of the woods yet, things are looking up for industry recovery. And although we still have many unanswered questions, we also now have the forward momentum we lacked for so long, which allows for the big-picture planning needed for success in a post-pandemic world.

The global pandemic upended daily life for more than a year. It has changed how we live, where we work, even what we wear on our faces. As a result, we are seeing major shifts in consumer behavior, consumption, and lifestyle, among other things. Data collected during 2020 and currently in 2021 shows that several sectors of the commercial real industry are certainly still feeling the weight of these shifts.

Sectoral Impact


The Retail sector took a significant blow as the pandemic made nonessential in-person shopping quite literally illegal for a period. As Americans sheltered indoors, everyday activities such as going to the grocery store were now weighed under a contagion risk analysis. Consumption that would have normally been completed in-person has quickly flowed into online orders. The e-commerce share of retail consumption has steadily risen for more than two decades, reaching 11.8% in Q1 20201, but as the full effect of the lockdown reached a fever pitch in Q2, the share ballooned to 16.1%. While the share came down to 14.0% through Q4 2020, reflecting some natural reversion, the familiarity gained by consumers cannot be undone, and the pandemic has permanently accelerated some retail activity away from brick-and-mortar.

At the same time, manufacturers don’t have the same options they once did: As governments enacted state-wide lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders to limit the spread of COVID-19, manufacturers across the globe — which typically operate with long lead times — were brought to a complete halt. The manufacturing sub-sector has since been fighting an uphill battle, but as market conditions continue to improve, there is hope that factories will have the capacity to gain back some of the productions they lost in 2020.


For the Industrial sector, particularly warehouse spaces, there was a period in 2020 just ahead of the pandemic and the rapid shift to record levels of online shopping when rent growth for the overall Industrial sector was pacing ahead of cold storage. (A cold storage warehouse is used to store fresh and/or frozen perishable fruits or vegetables, or any combination thereof, at the desired temperature to maintain the quality of the product.) Cold storage rent growth has been rising since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Prior to the pandemic, rent for cold storage space averaged around $10 per square foot; currently, that number could vault to as much as $30 per square foot.2

As of February 2021, the Industrial sector has seen production drop by nearly 5%, compared to a year prior, while retail sales have increased by over 6%.3


Hospitality was, and continues to be, among the hardest-hit industries during the pandemic. Some research suggests that recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels for the industry could take until 2023 or later. However, things already seem to be looking up for Hospitality: For the week ending March 13, 2021, U.S. hotel industry RevPAR was $53.45 — a decline of only 15.8% from the same week in 2020, which is mostly a function of easier comparisons, according to data from STR, CoStar’s hospitality analytics firm.4

Looking Ahead: The Road To Recovery

Economic recovery in a post-pandemic world depends on several factors. The economic impact of COVID-19 is being felt on a global scale, and with specific sectors more severely impacted, some may experience a quicker rebound than others once the crisis is behind us. Given the universal lifestyle changes people have had to make, and their subsequent effects on the economy, the COVID-19 crisis has pushed many industries to adjust rapidly… and continuously.

The recovery rate of various sectors will have a massive impact regionally over the next two years, according to a report by KPMG. And not all industries are equally affected: certain sectors of the economy will thrive once the pandemic is over, while others will face a seemingly endless headwind.

The Industrial sector seems poised for post-pandemic growth. A few sub-sectors are already beginning to see significant recovery:

  • Warehouses underlying e-commerce, such as cold storage space
  • Big-box retail selling essential goods, such as Walmart and Target
  • Office space in certain locations, such as suburban areas

In the long run, the Retail sector is likely to be the biggest casualty as we exit the pandemic. This sector was already struggling before COVID-19, with vacant suburban shopping malls and big retailers shuttering stores across the country. Since the pandemic hit, many well-known brands have all filed for bankruptcy. The weakness of the retailers themselves, the accelerated growth of e-commerce, and questions about how quickly shoppers will head back to the stores all weigh against a strong recovery.

If the laws of physics extend to commercial real estate, then 2021 should be a year of recovery in the Retail sector, especially as restrictions on density are further relaxed and the resumption of normalcy gains steam. Notwithstanding the short-term recovery, Retail remains in a period of secular reorganization, and the sector remains open to disruption for the foreseeable future.5

Like so many industries, Hospitality will also see both subtle and substantial shifts in the post-pandemic era. Oxford Economics reports that gross domestic product grew by 9% in the first quarter of 2021, which has positive implications for the American travel industry. Jan Freitag, National Director for Hospitality Analytics at CoStar, reported that the March 2021 revenue per available room percentage change was “very positive” at 34%.6

We are still far off from “normal,” though an accelerating vaccination rollout brings the promise of a more rapid return to normalcy. As the economy recovers, leaders in the commercial real estate industry must begin to turn their attention to preparing for opportunities presented in the post-pandemic world.

Seizing Our Opportunity

The Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey (SBPS) measures the effect of changing business conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic on our nation’s small businesses. According to the SBPS, companies are consistently marking up when they expect conditions to normalize. As leaders in the industry, we now have clear opportunities to re-strategize asset attribution and ultimately redefine what post-pandemic success means for commercial real estate.

Source: CoStar7

Looking at history, other crises and external events show that generally, the CRE industry tends to lag the trajectory of the larger economy. But with the far-reaching effects of this pandemic, the CRE industry has felt the effects much earlier. In many ways, the pandemic has accelerated trends already occurring. While there is no specific answer or one-size-fits-all solution at this time, organizations that are able to move nimbly through the phases of recovery and embrace the “next normal” will thrive post-pandemic.

As the economy gains momentum, we will begin to see a split: organizations built to last, and those that are not. Those built to last, like SVN, are using this time to not only learn and emerge stronger, but also to prepare for and shape the future of commercial real estate.

Catalysts to Recovery: The SVN Difference

There are several components of SVN’s DNA working together to pull the future forward. For example:

  • A strong and established brand, foundation, and community backing Advisors, attracting new talent and supporting local independent ownership
  • Information & Fee Sharing: Every Monday, SVN Advisors present new and featured commercial real estate property listings on SVN | Live®. This live property broadcast is open to everyone in the industry.
  • Product Council meetings and collaboration tools for all asset classes such as Industrial, Office, Self Storage, and Healthcare
  • Online and scalable training to expand teams quickly, such as our SVN System for Growth courses and digital onboarding support
  • Advanced digital recruiting tools, such as Mike Lipsey’s System for Success online training for Advisors
  • Consultation support for asset attribution to establish team development

SVN was built to be future-proofed. That’s why, from 2019 through 2020, SVN’s gross commission income grew 3.1%… when everyone else was down. When all publicly traded CRE brokerages were up against double-digit declines — some facing 30% or more in lost revenue — SVN had its best year in company history. Models like SVN, which embrace automation, collaboration and cooperation, are uniquely positioned to take market share in this era of change, as client behaviors and expectations evolve.

The SVN brand offers something completely different from what any local, regional, or national firm is offering. This is the SVN Difference. And this difference is what ultimately creates 9.6% more value for our clients.

The Future Is Now

There is significant hope that 2021 will be a year of earnest recovery. As of the March WSJ Economic Forecasting Survey, on average, leading economists expect the US economy to grow by 6.0%. If reality ends up matching expectations, 2021 will mark the fastest annual growth since 1984.

SVN Advisors are leading the way into the “Next-Normal,” pulling the future forward, enacting change where and when it matters most.

The future is here. Are you ready?




  1. Census Bureau; through Q4 2020
  2. https://product.costar.com/home/news/19461
  3. https://product.costar.com/home/news/848506453
  4. https://product.costar.com/home/news/1802437521
  5. SVN Asset Class Report, Retail, 2021
  6. https://www.costar.com/article/1537124142/recovery-of-us-hotel-industry-is-firmly-underway
  7. https://product.costar.com/home/news/848506453

Looking to the Future: The Disruption of COVID-19 and the Transition into the Next-Normal

Exactly one year ago, eight governors across the US took the initial move to close bars and restaurants, and the Dow Jones posted its largest one-day drop ever, finishing down a record 2,997 points. The world as we knew it was hitting the proverbial fan. New incoming information —none of which was encouraging — came across our screens at a frantic pace, causing our stomachs and portfolios to drop in tandem. 

With a full year now passed by in the COVID economy, the universe of uncertainty has thankfully compressed. While it was not an advanced degree that any of us had applied for, the pandemic has imparted a lifetime of lessons, offering clear clues about the future of commercial space demand and the ways we as humans interact with the built environment.   


Starting first with the economy as a whole, I know we have all become a bit numb to sideways numbers during the past year, but to dig ourselves out of this hole, it is important to understand just how deep we are. Early last year, while we were all still finishing our champagne and settling in after the holiday season, the Congressional Budget Office released its estimates of 2020 economic growth, serving as a reliable benchmark of where the economy would have stood without the pandemic. Actual output last year fell short of the CBO’s early 2020 forecast by $1.2 Trillion Dollars, good for an average loss of $3,560.06 for every American.

More workers filed for initial unemployment claims in the first nine weeks of this crisis than during the entirety of the 2007-2009 recession, and the unemployment rate hit a stratospheric high of 14.8% last April. Through the most recent Jobs report, it looks like we are once again starting to see some positive momentum toward an eventual recovery. The civilian unemployment rate ticked down 6.2% through February as the economy added back 379,000 jobs. We remain a long way to go, but between vaccination rollout and the onset of warmer weather, the W-shaped recession we have seen so far should have enough fuel in the tank to prevent another near-term downturn.   


An often-peddled refrain during the early days of the pandemic was that the multifamily, and apartment sector as a whole, would maintain its stability by the simple fact that people will always need somewhere to live. If anything, the same optimists argued that the resiliency of cashflows could actually improve as renters were spending more time in their homes due to involuntary quarantines. With a year of data available now supplanting conjecture, we find that residential rentals have indeed performed up to expectations. No, conditions have not been ideal, and distress is not too hard to find, especially in gateway markets. However, compared to worst-case scenarios, the apartment sector has lived up to its reliable bedrock status. According to the National Multifamily Housing Council’s rent tracker, which follows the performance of more than 11 million professionally managed apartments, 93.5% of renter households paid rent in February— only a 1.6% drop off from the same month last year. These data may, however, likely understate some sector-level underperformance, as they do not include vacant units or self-managed “mom-and-pop” properties. According to Freddie Mac’s latest forbearance report, we know that small balance originations, which tend to cater to the “mom-and-pop” investor class, make up 75% of loans in forbearance.1 

The CDC’s eviction moratorium remains a pressing challenge for the industry and an impediment to its return to pre-pandemic health. The market for rental housing is a circular flowing ecosystem between lenders, investors, and renters. There is no net-positive corrective policy that achieves more benefit than harm by breaking the symbiotic process, much as the moratoriums have.  The NMHC offers that moratoriums “fail in their purpose of addressing renters’ underlying financial distress” and “jeopardize the stability of housing providers and the broader housing market.” Despite two different federal judges ruling against the CDC policy in the past month, the ban remains in place. There are, however, green shoots forming, which could signal a return to more normal conditions in the near future. At the end of this month, the moratorium is scheduled to expire— a deadline that we should accept with a coarse-grained piece of salt. Nevertheless, the appropriations bill passed at the end of the year, and the American Rescue Plan of 2021 passed last week collectively set aside $46.6B for rental assistance programs. A CPPB analysis of Census Bureau survey data finds that roughly one-in-five renter households are behind on rent— a crisis that should see meaningful relief as funds are released.2

The permanence of COVID-induced migration will be a hot-button topic as more jabs land in arms. Taken together, the trifecta of New York, California, and Illinois, the states that are home to the three largest US cities, collectively lost more than 275,000 residents in 2020. The human density that has historically attracted demand toward superstar cities has had the complete opposite effect in the past year. Without accessible cultural amenities or the need to be in an office Monday through Friday, a significant share of the workforce became untethered to their home cities and have made their way toward the exit. According to CoStar, New York, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Boston, and Washington DC are all among the list of cities to post year-over-year declines in asking rents through Q4 2020. 

While the outgoing flow of residents has been lumped together as one homogenous cohort, there appear to be at least two major groups leaving. The first group of COVID-nomads is defined by those that already had eyes towards more affordable and spacious housing options over the next couple of years. Given the urban context in 2020 and the attractively low borrowing costs, many of these renters simply said, “Hey, why not now?” and moved up their progression timeline. These are the types of households that are more likely to be buying baby carriages before the next time they step on a subway, and their transition out of major metros is probabilistically permanent. The second group contains those who are transient, often early into their careers, working remotely, and still seeking the lifestyle amenities they had enjoyed pre-covid. Watching how this group behaves as large companies start calling workers back into the Office and cities look more like their pre-pandemic selves will be telling.   


Today, there is no property type subject to more speculation than the Office.

Unlike multifamily, Retail, and industrial, where COVID has mostly magnified pre-existing trends, the pandemic has led to rampant reimagination in the office sector. Our understanding of how both firms and workers interact with physical office space to optimize productivity is permanently changed. According to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, an estimated 38% of working American adults have transitioned to remote work in some capacity due to COVID. The share is even higher in large office markets like New York and Los Angeles, rising to 47% and 45%, respectively. En Masse, The American Workforce traded morning commutes for Zoom links, an illuminating natural experiment that has challenged the Office sector’s core-assumptions. When PwC launched its remote work survey in June, 44% of employers thought that the transition to remote work has allowed their teams to be more productive than before the pandemic.3 When the same employers were polled again in December, the share climbed to 52%, indicating that not only has a consensus emerged, but that efficiency has improved following the initial learning curve. The realization that companies can not only maintain but actually improve performance through a remote infrastructure is a ‘no turning back,’ Pandora’s box type of moment. It should therefore come as no surprise that, according to the same survey, only 21% Of US executives think that a full five days in the office every single week is the best setup to maintain a strong corporate culture. 

The likelihood that total office space demand will have a smaller footprint in the post-pandemic world is a consideration that we cannot afford to take lightly. A Fitch research report released just last week estimates that an additional 1.5 work-from-home days per worker would lead to a 15% reduction in property-level net cash flow— a development that would meaningfully recalibrate our understanding of risk and value. Given the long-dated lease structure common throughout the sector, it will take a few years for emerging preferences to filter through fully. Moody’s Analytics REIS forecasts that vacancy rates are likely to rise to near-record levels through 2023 before beginning a gradual recovery in 2024. 

Of course, not all metro-level office markets will move as one. Some of the migratory demand that is leaving large cities and contributing to localized weakness ahead will also lead to strength in other markets, particularly in major Metro adjacent suburbs. According to Real Capital Analytics, Central Business District-located Office properties posted a 0.2% decline in value for the year. On the other hand, suburban located office assets saw valuations continuing to grow at a healthy 6.6%.


The industrial sector remained the undisputed top performer of commercial real estate through an otherwise challenging 2020. Secular tailwinds, such as e-commerce adoption, grew from a healthy gust to a sustained hurricane force. Over the past decade, online retail sales have increased by an average of 15.2% annually. Brick and mortar retail sales over the same period have only grown by an average of 3.4% per year. The share of total Retail sales satisfied by online orders has steadily risen, entering 2020 At 11.3%. In the second quarter, as nonessential retailers across the country closed their doors, this share skyrocketed above 16%. While the share has reverted down to 14%, the pandemic has permanently transitioned some in-person retailing onto online platforms. Online grocery delivery services, a concept that had faced greater consumer resistance than other E-platforms before 2020, stood uniquely positioned to benefit from the demands of a lockdown economy. According to grocery e-commerce specialist Mercatus and research firm Incisiv Projects, online grocers accounted for 3.4% of all US grocer sales in 2019, before swelling to 10.2% in 2020.4 Further, the same study estimates that online groceries will satisfy 21.5% of domestic demand by 2025. Surging demand for E-grocers also means an increased demand for distribution and fulfillment facilities in close proximity to consumers. In the most recent Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, fulfillment facilities ranked as the subsector with the best prospects for future investment and development opportunities. 

Another source of new industrial demand can be traced to the supply chain disruptions experienced this last year. The pandemic exposed critical sensitivities, and e-commerce retailers are looking to better safeguard their ability to match inventory supply with order demand. Doing so has meant a transition away from “just in time” distribution models in favor of “just in case” models instead. The latter requires excess warehousing space to stock contingent inventory. 


There was no shortage of pessimism surrounding the retail sector heading into 2020, even before there was a pandemic to contend with. Pre-pandemic, Retail was in the midst of what was widely expected to be a 10-year shakeout and a painful rightsizing process. As noted in the 2021 ULI / PwC Emerging Trends Report, the US retail sector had three major headwinds going into last year: the US has more retail square footage per capita than any other country in the world, an increasing share of core-retail activity has transitioned online, and domestic consumers have experienced a long-term stagnation of wages. Concepts that were on the path towards obsolescence, with hopes of maybe squeezing out a few more years of economic solvency, are those that have struggled the most during COVID— none more so than department store retailers.

While the outgoing companies will argue otherwise, a case can be made that 2020’s pain will help the retail sector pave a quicker path back to recovery. The sector has gone from Darwinism to ‘Darwinism on steroids.’ Though, before we can imagine a radical future where physical retail demand sits just a bit higher than supply, the existing glut of obsolescent space needs to find adaptive reuse. After all, not every struggling mall will be turned into an Amazon distribution center. Lifestyle centers, where fitness centers, housing units, and mixed Retail are blended together, are one of the leading concepts to aid in re-positioning and re-absorption. According to Real Capital Analytics, Lifestyle Centers have an average price per square foot that is almost three times higher than average assessed for Mall assets, reflecting some of the value that can be recaptured through re-positioning.  

As Retail continues to match physical footprints with the forward-looking consumer behavior, the short-term reversion back to normalcy will at least provide some much-needed relief. Cabin-fever-consumers armed with unspent stimulus checks should give Retailers a potent shot in the arm, even if the upside effects are only temporary.


Whether it be the public health front, the economy, commercial real estate, our lives in general, or how all the above are inexorably linked, 2021 has all the makings of a year defined by recovery. The Federal government’s push to have vaccine availability for every US adult by May 1st means that herd immunity is not too far behind. 

Between the safe resumption of our pre-pandemic lives, the commitment by the Federal Reserve to maintain low interest rates even as inflation pressures rise, and the unprecedented level of stimulus in the hands of consumers, a perfect storm of economic momentum is brewing just offshore. If anything, there is increasing concern that the economy has the potential to overheat in the year ahead as too much fuel enters the fire all at once. According to the February and March iterations of the Wall Street Journal’s Economic Forecasting Survey, a majority of leading economists believe that this year will have more upside risk than downside risk, and more than 80% think that the newly passed stimulus will generate inflation higher than the Fed’s 2% target.

In many ways, we as an industry remain in wait-and-see mode, with questions over a return to the office timing and rightsizing are still swirling overhead. Although, overly conservative and reactive strategies rarely make winning formulas in Real Estate. Now is the time for landlords to engage tenants and companies to engage employees about emerging preferences, then execute on a strategy. If 2020 has taught us nothing else, it’s that the pace of change can accelerate quickly, and falling behind the curve of innovation is a costly and often un-correctable mistake.


1. https://mf.freddiemac.com/docs/January_forbearance_report.pdf
2. https://www.cbpp.org/research/housing/housing-assistance-in-american-rescue-plan-act-will-prevent-millions-of-evictions
3. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/library/covid-19/us-remote-work-survey.html
4. https://www.supermarketnews.com/online-retail/online-grocery-more-double-market-share-2025

Two Questions Every CRE Advisor Must Always Ask

Some things in commercial real estate really are simple, and this is one of them. Here are two simple questions that you need absolutely no industry expertise to ask, but that you absolutely need to be asking your clients.

Our business doesn’t always seem like an easy one. After all, we deal with extremely valuable assets or with complicated legal arrangements that can last for years. Those of us who are in property management are responsible for countless parts of a building’s operations and for managing scores of relationships.

You’d probably think that the most important question in the commercial real estate industry is like the Accounting oral test question in the movie Back to School – one question, with 27 parts. In actuality, the two best questions in a savvy commercial real estate advisor’s arsenal contain a combined total of just five words. When asked at the right times, these five words will help you better understand your clients’ motivations, wants, and needs — and in turn, how you can best help them achieve their goals.

Question 1: Why
For a single, simple word, “why” is amazingly powerful. When you’re a new-to-the-business advisor, you can use it to keep a prospect talking while you’re figuring out what to say next. The most senior advisors in the industry, on the other hand, use it to gain deeper insights. Just about any response from a client can be met with “why,” and in just about every case, “why” will get you closer to the information you need to help a client take the appropriate actions to achieve his or her investment goals. Here are some examples:

  • I bought this asset to hold it long-term… Why?
  • I manage this asset myself… Why?
  • It might be time to 1031 to a new property… Why?
  • I usually like to put my tenants on short-term leases… Why?

As long as the answer to the question isn’t completely obvious (and sometimes if it is, too!), “why” is one of the most powerful questions that you can ask. It can also be a good follow-up and, with the addition of a few words here and there, can even be used a few times in a row. Here’s an example:

“I manage this asset myself.”
“Because property managers are too expensive and don’t do a very good job.”
Why do you say that?
“I’ve worked with three different ones and that’s been my experience.”

Question 2: What If You Don’t…
“What if you don’t…” is the second important question. It is extremely powerful because it strips away artifice and leaves true motivation behind. How many times have you had a client tell you that he was going to sell a building and then turn out not to do a transaction? To avoid this problem, consider asking “What if you don’t sell your building?” Sometimes, the client will tell you that she is fine holding onto it. In other cases, she’ll tell you that she has no other option or that the other options are too unattractive to stop her from selling.

Some commercial advisors are scared to ask a client about not taking action. However, just as it’s almost impossible to talk a client into doing something that she doesn’t really want to do; it’s equally hard to talk her out of doing something that fits her strategy. In either case, what you really want to do is to find out the truth of what the client actually will do so that you can begin making plans to help her.

These two questions are both easy and difficult to ask. Though simple, they are powerful. And in addition to helping you uncover which prospects need your help, they’ll lead you closer to how you can help them.

Re-thinking Talent & Recruiting In Commercial Real Estate — And How To Do More Than Just Talk About It

SVN’s Leslie Bateman discusses how the talent and recruiting landscape in commercial real estate is changing, and how we can seize the opportunity it presents.

Rapid and continual advances in technology have been disrupting many of the sectors that anchor the U.S. economy, including the commercial real estate industry. However, the commercial real estate (CRE) industry has long been known to be slow to adapt, often “lagging behind” others when it comes to large-scale industry transformations. While other industries blaze forward to embrace technology and digital disruption, for the most part, CRE has only budged.

Experts suggest that this industry-wide delay in advancement is due in part to the age imbalance of the industry. This isn’t new information, as aging of the CRE industry is known and well documented: According to CIRE Reader Surveys and NAR Commercial Member Profiles, the average age of a CCIM member is 54 and the median age of a commercial Realtor is 60.1

In addition to age diversity, another area ripe for improvement lies in the adoption of new technologies. Much of the commercial real estate industry still relies on traditional methods of doing business, preferring the experienced and familiar over the new and risky. As a cyclical result, the industry has become less attractive to younger people, who often prefer organizations and job roles with a high degree of technology integration and support.2

What the CRE industry has now is an incredible opportunity — to harness new technologies, redefine its talent processes, and alter the trajectory for future success.

Digital Disruption, COVID-19, and CRE
Today, digital disruption is all-pervasive, leaving no industry untouched. Digital innovation has the power to change markets and economies, accelerate business operating models, and wholly reinvent the way business is done across the globe. While certain industries feel the profound influence of this digital transformation immediately, others – such as commercial real estate – are a little late to the game. With the surge of CREtech over the past two decades, CRE companies have begun building momentum by integrating technology with the built world and associated systems. However, at its slower pace and with nothing forcing it to move any faster, commercial real estate still largely remains behind.

Until the COVID-19 pandemic.

The global pandemic has changed the nature of office and work culture considerably, forcing all industries to adapt to remote work and rely on new methods and tools for virtual engagement and operations. Some companies (such as Spotify and Facebook) experienced cost-cutting epiphanies early in the pandemic, taking action after recognizing that the in-office concept simply won’t be necessary into the future.

While the pandemic has forced some CREtech innovations to flourish, it has also placed a magnifying glass on industry problems and shortcomings. For CRE, an industry still reliant on handshakes, years of experience and Rolodexes, the immediate shift to virtual work hasn’t been easy. The industry-wide disillusionment has accelerated the need for CRE companies to acknowledge, accept, and lean into major change. It’s not the catalyst we expected, but the pandemic has opened a large window of opportunity for the industry to make big strides toward a more prosperous future.


The Pre-Pandemic Talent Landscape
It’s becoming increasingly evident that, as CRE companies figure out the technologies required to support digitization shifts, they need to secure the right “talent” in order to accelerate the pace of adoption and implementation.

Prior to the pandemic, the talent landscape in CRE skewed heavily toward the Baby Boomer generation. There was little to no focus on recruiting Millennial and Gen-Z talent. In 2019, 45% of CRE employees were 55 or older compared to 4% in the 19–24 age range. In comparison, 24% of the workforce across all industries and 22% of the banking and insurance workforce were 55 years old or older.”2

This imbalance is both emphasized and continued as the industry prefers experienced hires, over-indexing on industry experience and comfort with traditional job roles. The outcome here is compounding: firms continue to contribute to the rift by favoring experienced hires and maintaining conventional practices; meanwhile, the industry becomes less attractive and less accessible to younger generations.

Preparing for the Workforce of the Future
To help companies attract and retain up-and-coming talent, reduce the demographic gap, and create a more fulfilling work environment, leaders will likely need to reexamine the talent function and its processes.2

As Deloitte Insights states: “The pandemic is expected to force a paradigm shift in the way the industry operates and how work is done. Digital transformation could play an important role as companies wrestle with liquidity and profitability in the near term and prepare for the post-crisis world. And so CRE companies should look at digital and talent transformation in tandem.”

While change is not easy and certainly not always comfortable, the sooner CRE companies understand and embrace the shifts they need to make, the better off they will be. Clearly, digital advancement is critical for CRE organizations’ success and relevance. The talent implications are vast.

CRE leaders must work to balance the talent landscape by rethinking and adapting to the way their employees work, embedding technology into their decision-making, and redefining skills, talent processes, and practices to meet new demands. The bottom line: Hiring younger talent is no longer optional, it’s essential.

At SVN, we often talk about “pulling the future forward.” This concept is so much more than a tagline. We live, breathe and practice this mentality daily through promoting a culture of learning, embracing remote work flexibility, hiring for location-agnostic roles, providing remote/online systematic training for new hires, and by believing in the powerful data on workplace diversity.

Diversity has long been a hallmark of the SVN brand and business model, and we strongly believe in the research proving that workplace diversity (e.g., gender, age, ethnic, cultural) leads to smarter teams and greater company success.3

Studies show that the most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability4, and we’ve seen this firsthand at SVN.

To further underscore our company-wide belief in the power of diversity, here’s an inside look at SVN’s employee base:
· 73% women
· 40% minorities
· 53% under the age of 45


The Opportunity of a Lifetime
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed unsustainable truths about the CRE industry’s approach to recruiting and retaining talent.

So now what?

If CRE firms want to find success in the future, many will need to step back to analyze and upgrade their current talent processes. Digitization, remote flexibility, and diversity should hold more weight in the talent landscape, and it’s time for us to do more than just acknowledge the known lags, more than just talk about where we can improve. It’s time for us to take action… to really make change.

In this challenge lies immense opportunity. For those in leadership positions, I challenge you to think about your own recruiting strategies, open roles, and growth goals. What adjustments can you make? Are some required skills now irrelevant with technology, and years of experience an arbitrary line in the sand? Are you willing to place your trust in the positive research on workplace diversity and prioritize it in your next hires? If these initiatives seem daunting, scary, overwhelming… you’re not alone. But just as we must trust in the data on diversity, we must also trust that great things rarely come from comfort zones.

As Virginia Rometty so eloquently states: “Growth and comfort do not coexist.”


1. CCIM Institute, “The Millennial Way,” accessed March 4, 2021
2. Deloitte Insights, “Preparing for the future of commercial real estate,” accessed March 4, 2021
3. Harvard Business Review, “Why Diverse Teams Are Smarter,” accessed March 4, 2021
4. McKinsey & Company, “Diversity wins: How inclusion matters,” accessed March 4, 2021

5 for Friday with Louis D’Lando, CCIM from SVN | Angelic

Louis D’Lando, SVN | Angelic

This month’s Five for Friday features Louis D’Lando, CCIM, who serves as a senior advisor and business development manager with SVN | Angelic based in Austin, TX.


What advice would you provide to an aspiring advisor who is new to the industry?

I think the most important advice I could provide is know that you’re going to make mistakes. You need to learn and grow from your mistakes. Dissect where you came up short and think through how you could improve in the same or similar situation going forward.


What does the SVN Difference mean to you?

The SVN Difference is an important symbol of community. This kind of community enables and fosters growth, support, and business productivity. I’m thankful to be a part of it.


What learning tools (book, blog, website, etc.) would you recommend to your colleagues to further their knowledge and enhance their careers?

I am a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) and highly recommend utilizing and leveraging the educational tools provided as a result of being part of this organization. They offer courses ranging from mathematical expertise to psychological and behavioral techniques as negotiating tactics. I have found these to be extremely helpful.


What was your most memorable deal and why?

One of my most memorable deals was actually one of my first deals just starting out in the business. It was a small leasehold interest deal for an off-market single-tenant Kohl’s location in Tallahassee, Florida. I called on a public REIT that would consider accepting unsolicited offers on some non-core properties they owned. I approached another public REIT that specialized in acquiring single-tenant real estate, they liked it and decided to move quickly. Soon thereafter, they closed on the property. It was memorable because it showed me I knew the right contacts to complete transactions in this business and gave me the confidence I would need to move forward.


List a fun fact to share about yourself – something that people may not know and that they may be surprised to find out.

My wife and I are expecting our second daughter this coming Spring, so I’m working feverishly on putting together as many deals as I can! If you have daughters you’ll know what I mean!

Develop your career in commercial real estate with SVN. Check out our career opportunities.

Why Millennials Should Embrace CRE Investments

This post was originally published on the SVN | Graham, Langlois & Legendre blog. 

In my first couple of months working here at SVN | Graham, Langlois & Legendre (SVN GLL), my mentors and colleagues introduced me to the many sides of commercial real estate (CRE). Each facet of CRE holds its own individualized characteristics that make different property types unique. I believe that many millennials, like myself, have yet to realize the vast opportunities that CRE investments hold. In the following article I talk about the fears many in my generation have, and offer reasons why CRE investments are appealing and something Millennials should really consider.

Millennials’ Reservations

Millennials CRE InvestmentsI’ve observed that the concept of CRE investments carry a pretense of the dreaded idea of “debt” among my generation. Millennials seem to believe that these opportunities are too overwhelming and are better left for the future. Having observed the market crash in 2008, this generation is often hesitant about spending money on investment properties. We find it easier to simply set our money aside in savings. However, investing in commercial real estate is not something that we should be intimidated by at all. Quite the contrary! CRE investments should be something that we look to as a profit tool.  It should be viewed as an opportunity to put our money somewhere that can appreciate in value.


Contrary to what we many may think, millennials and CRE investments share several similarities. Chief among these, in my opinion, is the concept of “change.” One of our generation’s trademarks is our tendency to seek out new ways to improve the previously established systems. Change is often something that millennials embrace. It’s also something that occurs often in the world of real estate. Our generation should be looking to real estate precisely for this reason. Millennials should be tapping into this market as a tool to shore up our investment portfolios and to shape our communities where we live.

[bctt tweet=”Millennials embrace change. Change also occurs often in the world of real estate.” username=”svnic”]

Community Development

CRE investments empower investors to not only create profit for themselves, but also to stimulate the growth of their communities. Commercial real estate investment allows for new business ventures to move in, and for those previously established businesses to expand. We can’t afford to continue selling ourselves short by missing out on these opportunities. The processes of buying and selling commercial real estate are in continuous motion. This ebb and flow allows for both development and redevelopment of our communities, which should appeal to millennials.

Get Excited About CRE Investments

Now, commercial properties are not only profitable, they are relevant to our lives. investing in CRE is exciting! And it’s time millennials get excited about the opportunities CRE provides. Thinking of real estate in these senses, we should be on the lookout for opportunities to invest in commercial real estate. The realm of CRE investments is not consigned to older generations. All too often, a world of financial opportunity that is available in commercial real estate is overlooked or deliberately unexplored by millennials. These opportunities come in unexpected forms, so be sure to open up to unexpected possibilities. Embrace what is different and challenging. It may be the investment of our lifetime!

[bctt tweet=”It’s time #millennials get excited about the opportunities #CRE provides” username=”svnic”]

An Advisor's Take on ICSC: Noticing the SVN Difference

Experiencing the SVN Difference at ICSC in Las Vegas

Walls, doors, whispering and winks. All of these were present at this year’s ICSC convention. Not that these are in and of themselves bad, but it was these differences that I noticed between our SVN booth and most others.

Our SVN booth was not the biggest, definitely not the most extravagant, but it was packed, well-lit, there were no back rooms for private conversations, or doors to suggest that only someone more important than me can go there.

As I walked around, almost 2 years into a Commercial Brokerage career with SVN | Cornerstone in Spokane, WA and my second ICSC, it struck me, that’s another example of our SVN Difference.

Opening Closed Doors: The SVN Difference

SVN Difference at ICSC
The SVN booth at ICSC in May.

We aren’t about walls and doors or whispering and winks. We are about visible opportunities and “sky’s the limit” access to information with our culture of collaboration.

At SVN we have regular access to our top Executives, our Managing Directors, other offices who have done what we are trying to do and world-class technology platforms to do it well. And that kind of environment is exactly what our industry needs to attract future talent.

Professionals my age want to know we have a chance. We want to know that if we work hard we will have as good of a chance as any to create a respectable income for our loved ones. That if we don’t have access to closed doors and are separated by fancy walls, we still have access to opportunity.

And that’s a big part of the SVN Difference. Opportunity. And that’s exactly the opposite of what those walls, doors, whispering and winks produce.

We are a country founded upon the value of opportunity. If I can just get a chance, don’t give it to me, but give me a chance and I will out work the other broker.

That’s what SVN does. We get all the tools, the right culture and a chance. What else can someone ask for?

To learn more about the SVN Difference, visit the Why SVN page here.

[bctt tweet=”That’s what SVN does. We get all the tools, the right culture and a chance. #CRE” username=”svnic”]

SVN Restaurant Resource Group Gears Up for 2016

Focusing on Mixed-Use Property, SVN Restaurant Resource Group Starts the Year with New Goals in Mind

After a record-setting year of sales and leasing volume, the SVN Restaurant Resource Group is heading into 2016 with refined focus on mixed-use assets. The team has identified 25 ‘high-opportunity’ retail corridors in Chicago and nearby transportation oriented suburbs.

Why Mixed-Use?

SVN Restaurant Resource GroupMixed-use properties in Cook County offer a unique tax advantage over strictly commercial properties. A mixed-use property’s assessed value is based on 10% of market value while a commercial property’s assessed value is based on 25% market value. Based solely on classification, two properties with identical market values may have dramatically different real estate tax liability.

Better federal tax depreciation benefits are also available for mixed-use property owners. For instance, if residential rentals account for more than 80% of the asset’s overall income, the property improvements are depreciated over a 27.5 year period versus a typical 39 year period.

Investors of mixed-use buildings are often entrepreneurial, making it a “natural fit for our personalities and results-driven market strategies,” as described by SVN Advisor Marcus Sullivan.

High-Opportunity Neighborhoods

SVN Restaurant Resource GroupSVN Advisor Tim Rasmussen details the methodology in determining the 25 target corridors: “We recognized several common characteristics in neighborhoods where our team and clients were most successful: well-defined retail corridors, shifting demographics, high walkability scores, and close proximity to rapid transit.”

It is estimated that over 50% of neighborhood retail/commercial space is occupied by restaurant and other food related business. This trend is likely to continue as traditional brick-and-mortar retailers dwindle in the wake of e-commerce. However, the SVN Resource Group concedes the shifting dynamics present repositioning opportunities for savvy investors and restaurateurs.

Top Tier, Middle Market

The SVN Restaurant Resource Group emphasizes assets valued between $500K- $5.0M. According to SVN Advisor, Jim Martin, “These tend to be fairly easy to finance with local and regional banks, i.e., the MB’s and Bridgeview Banks of the world.”

Martin explains the strategy is consistent with the mid-market world where SVN typically contends. “We rarely compete with the likes of CBRE or JLL, yet we’re able to leverage a national platform, the most sophisticated commercial real estate tools in the industry, and ultimately win the business.”

New Blood

Christian Peppler has joined the SVN Restaurant Resources Group and will provide advisory services for mixed-use property owners throughout the Greater Chicagoland Area. Christian brings six years of commercial real estate experience and has overseen $10M in real estate transactions.

About The SVN Restaurant Resource Group

SVN Restaurant Resource GroupThe SVN Restaurant Resource Group provides first-in-class advisory to clients in the foodservice and hospitality industry. Landlords, restaurant and nightclub operators, bakeries, caterers, hotels, food processors and manufacturers rely on the experience, local market knowledge, industry relationships, and technology advantages possessed by this highly specialized team of commercial real estate professionals. SVN has over 200 offices throughout the US, Mexico and Canada.

To learn more, visit the SVN Restaurants website here.

[bctt tweet=”“We’re able to leverage a national platform, the most sophisticated commercial real estate tools in the industry, and ultimately win the business.””]

Millennials Perspective on the CRE Dinosaur

Millennials and CRE

The current CRE workforce is aging and it’s important to not only recruit young talent, but to listen to what they have to say about the current state of our industry. The oldest Millennials, also called Generation Y (those born 1980 to 2000), are now 35 years-old, and in five years many of them will be in leadership positions. We at Sperry Van Ness are dedicated to a collaborative culture, and feel it’s of the utmost importance to share new viewpoints among the CRE industry.

Millennial Advisor Kathryn Juneau with SVN/Graham, Langlois and Legendre in Baton Rouge, LA recently shared her views as a Gen Y-er on common CRE practices and how we can make them better, stronger and more efficient. We encourage you to take a read by clicking the image below, as you will definitely walk away with food for thought for your CRE business.



[bctt tweet=”#CRE is a dinosaur industry. Time to evolve. The #Millennial Perspective by @KatJuneau”]


Sperry Van Ness Advisor Earns Certified Property Manager Designation

Property Manager Sperry Van Ness International Corporation is pleased to congratulate Frances P. Eldridge of SVN-RICORE in Cincinnati, Ohio on her recent achievement of the Certified Property Manager (CPM) Designation. As Vice President of Property Management, Eldridge is also a member of CREW Greater Cincinnati and serves on the Community Service & Outreach committees. She has 17 years of professional experience in commercial real estate.

Eldridge earned her degree in real estate and marketing from the University of Cincinnati. She is a licensed sales agent in Ohio and Kentucky and licensed principal broker in Indiana. In addition to her CREW-Cincinnati membership, Eldridge is a member of IREM Chapter 9, the Greater Cincinnati Commercial Real Estate Council and the Greater Cincinnati Board of Realtors.

To learn more about the CPM Designation click here.

To find an experienced Sperry Van Ness commercial real estate Advisor in your local market, search here.

5 Key Retail Market Insights from ICSC's RECon 2015

What are the major retail market trends driving today’s real estate economy? That is a huge question, but luckily SVN’s Shari Tucker-Gasser has some answers. As the National Council Chair of Multi-Tenant Retail for Sperry Van Ness, LLC, Tucker-Gasser shared some of her expert retail market insights with GlobeSt.com at this year’s RECon in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Retail Market Insights: 5 Key Takeaways

1. Real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) are dominating the retail market space. This means that it’s a tough market for independent investors, who can’t compete with the deep pockets of real estate investment trusts. With greater financial resources, REITs have the ability to take more risks with their property investments. This shuts many independent investors out of the market, because they can’t afford what REITs are willing to pay for properties.

2. Anchors are popular, but not a necessity. Due to the threat of an anchor possibly vacating, some investors prefer to buy unanchored strip centers. So while independent investors may be excluded from certain deals because of powerful REITs, they still have some attractive (and affordable) investment options.

3. “Green” properties in urban areas are purchased based on curb appeal. People often enjoy being able to say that they purchased renovated or “recycled” properties. “Green” buildings are trendy and appealing for certain types of investors, who are typically not as motivated by cash.

4. Revitalization projects can be attractive and mutually beneficial. Developing an area is exciting, because you are uplifting a previously struggling community. Millennials tend to prefer inner city areas, where they can easily commute to work and spend time with their peers. This poses a great opportunity for developers, who can revamp inner city communities to meet the needs of the growing number of city-dwellers.

5. The lack of good leasing brokers is a problem. Due to the recession, many good brokers have left the business. The industry needs a new crop of talented leasing brokers to sustain the commercial real estate field. This new breed of brokers will not appear overnight, but Tucker-Gasser remains optimistic.

To read more on retail markets in the commercial real estate industry, download the 2015 Retail Market Update report.



Racing to the Finish Line with Your NNN Investment

It is Thoroughbred racing season, one of my favorite times of the year. It was a great Kentucky Derby and Preakness with the favorite, American Pharaoh, prevailing down the stretch for both races. There are some real similarities between horse racing and commercial real estate investing. In the next few paragraphs, I’ll talk about horse racing, and share my views on how it parallels NNN investing.

1. Distance of the Track – Length of Lease TermNNN Investment and Horse Racing

Commercial Real Estate Insight – The distances of the track for the three races is different: the Kentucky Derby is 1 ¼ miles, the Preakness is 1 3/16 miles and the Belmont is 1 ½ miles. This correlates well to a NNN investment lease term. If you have a longer term lease, then location is not as big of a concern. If you are buying, for example, a cell phone or mattress store that will typically have 10 year initial terms, then there needs to be a high barrier to entry and a strong corner location with great visibility and access.

Horse Racing Insight – Given that American Pharaoh had drawn the first door on the race track (one in which it is easy to get bottled up and stuck in the back) and the Preakness is the shortest of the three races (a sprint), I was not surprised to see that Bob Baffert instructed his jockey, Victor Espinoza, to take American Pharaoh right to the front from the start of the race. Otherwise he may have ended up in the back in a “bad location” and lost the race (not get his lease renewed).


2. The Jockey Really Matters – Carefully Time Your Investment

Horse Racing Insight – A Thoroughbred race horse weighs over 1,200 pounds. It is very important that the jockey has a strategy about where to position the horse on the race track and to regulate the speed of the horse. The jockey will only get one chance to “ask” (or kick) the horse up to full speed. I will never forget the 2004 Belmont Stakes where Smarty Jones was going for the Triple Crown. Smarty Jones was clearly the best horse, but the Belmont is the longest race at 1.5 miles – a full ¼ of a mile (one time around a standard high school track) longer than the Kentucky Derby, so it is crucial to manage distance in this race. Smarty Jones was in the front and pulling away, but his jockey may have “asked” him to sprint too soon, and Birdstone came out of nowhere. Smarty Jones never saw him, and Birdstone passed Smarty Jones at the end to take the Belmont.

Commercial Real Estate Insight – You have to manage your lease term for a NNN investment. If you NNN Investment Commercial Real Estateplan to sell, it is best to sell with ten years left or a minimum of five years. If you have less than five years remaining, you may need to hold until the renewal or be prepared to take a significant discount. It’s important to have a plan in place when you purchase a NNN investment as to how long you will hold and when to exit the investment.  A real estate investment professional can help you evaluate the best time to dispose of an investment in light of the market conditions.


3. Horses Have Personalities – Know Your NNN Investment Assets

Horse Racing Insight – If Smarty Jones had been eye-to-eye with Birdstone as the jockeys “asked” their horses to sprint, there is no way Smarty Jones would have lost. Horses know if they are winning or losing, and if Smarty Jones had been head-to-head with Birdstone, his heart would have pushed him for the win.

Commercial Real Estate Insight – Tenants have personalities, and there are some store managers and district managers who have livelihood riding on your real estate. With today’s technology, they know day in and day out whether they are winning or losing. Make sure you know how the store is doing and get to know the manager. They will share a wealth of information that will help with your long-term planning.


Click here to view my bio/listings and click here to view my other blog posts. 

Invest Like the Big Dogs by Carlton Dean

Strategies for Small to Medium Size CRE Investments and Portfolio Growth

One of the niches that Sperry Van Ness®  advisors typically focus on is being very active in the investment property sale market for assets within the $1,000,000 – $10,000,000 range. Of course, we have talented advisors who regularly complete larger, institutional, >$100MM size deals in the larger cities and core markets, but the “bread and butter” of many of our advisors is working in the trenches, in primary (non-core), secondary, and tertiary markets across the United States.

If you are a real estate investor, or you are considering getting started in real estate investing, I would like to offer you the following concepts, tips, and suggestions for creating a successful plan that mirrors what many of the larger public and private real estate investment groups do. It’s not rocket science, you can do it too!

Define your Investment Parameters

mark-516277_1280One of the mistakes I often see both new and seasoned investors make is to not properly define their investment parameters before getting started. This is important because it sets the course for the strategy and allows you to execute the plan more efficiently; and ultimately be more successful, because you have a baseline to which you can compare your investment portfolio.

You could write pages on many of these concepts, but for this post, I will provide a brief outline.

  • Niche: Do you like apartments, office space, self-storage, retail space, etc.? The reason this is critical, is because you can get lost quickly, without a plan. Consider this: If you like retail, do you like single tenant, multi-tenant, big box anchored centers, smaller shadow centers (i.e. think small strip center in front of Wal-Marts, etc.), If you like single tenant investments, because of the typically limited landlord responsibilities, then in which industry sectors would you want to focus? Food/beverage retailers? Tire retailers? Drug stores, or all of the above? As you can see, each individual niche has many potential decisions that need to be considered and evaluated.

Tip: My recommendation is that you consider investing in product types that have a basic appeal to you. For instance, if you just despise the idea of warehouse or industrial properties, for whatever reason, that might not be the best personal choice for you as an investment property (however industrial property investments can be very lucrative in certain markets).

  • Financial Criteria: An important part of this first step is to define realistic expectations and goals for the investment criteria of your defined niche. This step helps you expedite deal reviews by being able to quickly determine if a potential deal fits within your criteria or not. It makes the decision less emotional, and allows you to cover more of a larger geographic area by focusing on deals that fit within your criteria. Keep in mind, your individual criteria will differ from that of someone else, based on your goals, your cash on hand, your financing sources, location, product type and timing.

Educate Yourself

glasses-272399_1280Once you have defined investment parameters, the next step is to educate yourself. You need to study your respective market, in the particular product type niche or niches you have chosen. Research sale comparables and what properties are on the market for sale. This is where teaming with a trusted real estate advisor, like those at a Sperry Van Ness office, can greatly enhance the success of implementing your strategy. Picking a great commercial real estate advisor who specializes in the niche product type is critical to being able to quickly get up to speed and accomplish your goals (see our other post “3 Tips to Finding a Good Commercial Real Estate Broker).

Develop an Action Plan and Execute it

Part of being successful after you have defined your niche and educated yourself, is to formulate a plan of action to acquire properties. Perhaps part of your plan is to rehabilitate C-class multifamily properties and attempt to raise the rents after renovations. Whatever it is, you need to write it down and review it often and tweak as needed. It’s easy to get distracted, especially as the real estate market continues to heat up and the velocity of deal flow continues to improve. Having a solid action plan and a commercial real estate advisor to assist you with the plan will minimize your wasted time and increase your chances for success.

Exit Strategy

sign-575715_1280Every commercial real estate deal needs to have an exit strategy. It’s important to think about this exit strategy early on; in fact, before the purchase is even made. Granted there will be times when the exit strategy will change, due to rising or falling market conditions, or supply and demand, and you will have to adjust your exit strategy. The main point here is that an exit strategy needs to contemplated in the beginning, not the end of a commercial real estate transaction. If you buy an office building at an 8% cap rate that is 70% occupied and your plan is to spruce it up, apply aggressive leasing tactics with a CRE advisor, and increase the revenues, only to find out later that the market for those types of investments are trading at 8.75% cap rates, due to the smaller tertiary market the property is in and the smaller, shorter term leases, then your exit strategy is flawed because the market will not pay you for the work you have done. Of course, this is a simplified example. The point is, have a defined strategy to exit the investment at the proper time, and always be willing and able to review your exit strategy and make adjustments. In the words of a favorite Kenny Rogers song, sometimes “you got to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run!” Hope is NOT an exit strategy.


This is a very brief overview of some of the basic tactics and format that individual and small to medium size group commercial real estate investors can apply to model their CRE investment strategy after the larger, institutional players in the industry. Employing the use of a qualified CRE advisor as a resource in your toolkit will serve you well. The Sperry Van Ness organization has over 1,000 advisors in scores of markets across the United States, specializing in all niches of commercial real estate. Contact one of our advisors today to answer any questions or to get started investing today.


About Carlton Dean – Carlton has nearly 20 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry, with a special focus in the retail and multifamily sectors. Carlton is based in Tallahassee, Florida, but serves clients throughout the entire Southeastern US. Click here to view his full profile and listings, or if you would like to contact him, you can call him at 850-877-6000 ext. 101, or email him at cdean@svn.com


2014 SVN Specialty Award Winners

Congratulations to all of the SVN Specialty Award winners who were recognized for their outstanding efforts in 2014 during the Awards Banquet at last week’s National Conference in Orlando. We appreciate all that you’ve done over the past year as a part of the Sperry Van Ness organization and in your communities, and are proud to have you as part of our team. Your dedication to the Core Covenants and culture of collaboration make you some of the best in the commercial real estate industry!







Diana Parent – Humanitarian of the Year

Advisor who makes an extraordinary effort to give of themselves and to their community.








Doug Wilson – Collaborator of the Year

Advisor who takes the SVN dedication to collaboration to the next level.








Kurt Lord – Trainer of the Year

Advisor who most exemplifies the qualities of a high-caliber mentor.








David Wilk – Innovator of the Year

Advisor who embraces the latest CRE technology, including the SVN tools, to further his/her business/career.








Michael Thanasouras – Team Player of the Year

Advisor who collaborates in a significant way with either another SVN office(s) or Advisor(s).








Catherine House – Prospector of the Year

Advisor who consistently prospects and develops a strong foundation of contacts and a good pipeline for the future.








Tony Yousif – Ambassador of the Year

Advisor who embodies the Sperry Van Ness culture and helps contribute to the success of the company.

Office Spotlight: Sperry Van Ness/Percival Partners in Charlotte, NC

This week, we turn the spotlight on Sperry Van  Ness/Percival Partners with offices in Charlotte, North Carolina.

N.J. (Joey) Godbold | Managing Director and CEO | SVN/Percival Partners
N.J. (Joey) Godbold | Managing Director and CEO | SVN/Percival Partners

What has been your strategy for growing your firm and also your market area?

Like many firms across the country, we contracted during that little downward cycle we experienced a few years ago. As activity has become much more robust, we have a goal to increase our staff by five Advisors by the end of 2015. We have found that the demand for sales people has increased significantly lately and we are competing with other industries for good folks. We have enrolled in SVN’s RPO Program which has been very helpful in identifying mid-career candidates. A significant portion of my time and energy is spent in recruiting, which will pay off in market share over the coming three years.

What are some of the unique activities you do to motivate your team? 

We have always enjoyed a family atmosphere and that in itself goes a long way toward a positive, motivational office. As Advisors take advantage of technology to work more outside the office now, it has become more important to create opportunities for team-building and motivational activities. Annually, we participate in a large charity volleyball tournament. Monthly, our sales meetings are lunch affairs. We are now in the midst of a listing contest with the grand prize being a weekend at a posh hotel in Charleston, SC.

What’s been the biggest challenge in running your business in the last few years?

Our firm has been in the Charlotte, NC market for over 50 years. We have been blessed with long-serving, top-notch Advisors who have been with our firm for many years. The other side of that blessing is that we need to be attentive to bringing in younger Advisors – those who will become the next generation of performance and leadership. That was not our focus over the past few years because of the state of the economy. Thus, the need to re-focus on recruitment.

How many Advisors/Staff did you have when you joined SVN? How many (in total) do you have now? 

For the past few years, we have refrained from growing our firm size. Upon joining SVN in June of this year, we have gone back on the recruiting path to increase from the current level of 7 Advisors. The SVN move has certainly created some interest in the market and I regularly interview 5 – 8 prospects per month. Some of the interviewing activity comes through the RPO program. To date, I have not found the right mix but with the current activity, expect to bring 2 to 3 new Advisors on board in the next few months.

N.J. (Joey) Godbold
Managing Director and CEO
Sperry Van Ness/Percival Partners, LLC
Charlotte, NC

*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.

5 for Friday with Cooper Stetson of Sperry Van Ness Florida Commercial Real Estate Advisors

This week, our 5 for Friday features Cooper Stetson, Senior Advisor with Sperry Van Ness Florida Commercial Real Estate Advisors based out of Jupiter, Florida.

Stetson_Cooper1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?

My geographic market extends from West Palm Beach to Port Saint Lucie, Florida. My product specialties include sales and leasing of Office, Industrial, Multifamily and Retail properties. I also handle national portfolio acquisitions for PI groups and family offices including Student Housing, Hotel and Multifamily.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?

Two words – Business Development. That means going the extra distance and helping buyers/sellers with local contacts in banking, land planning and business development agencies. Being the buyer or sellers “go-to guy” has provided me with sustainability through referrals.

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?

The biggest challenge for me has been diversifying and adapting to market changes and client needs without going too far out of my lane and/or getting distracted.

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?

I don’t have a specific book to recommend, but I would say to find one in whatever area best suits your strengths and interests. This ensures you can add value to your client and not be replaceable.

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?

I am a semi-professional poker player.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

Understand Your Lease, Avoid Unexpected Expenses

It is not uncommon for our office to receive phone calls from commercial tenants whose leases are nearing expiration and who feel they did not get what they bargained for when they originally signed their lease. Often, these tenants incurred significant unexpected charges or expenses during their lease term, which soured their relationship with their landlord and motivated them to find space elsewhere rather than extend their lease.

I feel the majority of these situations are not the result of intentional wrongdoing or purposeful deceit on the part of the landlord, but rather they emerge due to a lack of knowledge and understanding, primarily on the part of the tenant. This makes sense when you consider that landlords typically generate the lease documents and are therefore very familiar with their content. In addition, the majority of landlords have signed numerous leases with many tenants over many years. In contrast, a business tenant may only be a signatory on a commercial lease a couple of times during their entire career, and gaining an in-depth understanding of an unfamiliar and complicated multi-page legal document packed with small print can be a daunting task, not to mention an unwelcome interruption to running a business.

signature-389933_640I would say that many landlord/tenant financial misunderstandings relate to “operating expense” clauses in the lease. Property investors (aka landlords) purchase commercial property in anticipation of a projected return, and they, quite logically, seek to reduce risk and maintain that return over the life of the investment. Therefore, it is reasonable that landlords typically look to pass property operating expenses on to their tenants by way of a “net” lease. The problems arise, however, when, due to the complexity of the property operating cost language: 1) tenants do not understand what they are signing and the affect that operating expense clauses will have on their total rental expense; or 2) the tenant is suddenly hit with a crippling increase in operating expenses due to broad and open-ended lease provisions that were not negotiated or limited to any degree. If tenants take the time to understand the true financial implications of their lease up front, or secure representation from experts such as real estate attorneys or commercial real estate brokers, then they will have the opportunity to negotiate lease terms that are realistic and acceptable to their business needs, or alternatively, choose another building that falls within their budget.

Property operating expenses generally fall into three primary categories – property taxes, insurance and maintenance. The term “triple net” (or, “NNN”) relates to these three expense groupings. A triple net lease therefore would be a lease where your base rent payment is “net” of taxes, insurance and maintenance charges, but where these expenses are billed to you separately in addition to your base rent. A “net” lease rate will, therefore, typically be less than a “gross” lease rate which already has operating expenses built in.

To avoid unpleasant and financially burdensome surprises when considering signing a net lease, I recommend the following:

  • Request from the landlord a detailed breakdown of the property operating expenses over the past few years. From this, you should be able to determine which expenses are actually being passed through and whether there have been wide swings in the amount of total expenses each year.
  • Examine closely the lease language defining “operating expenses.” Operating expenses should NOT include things like: i) capital expenditures (a tenant should not have to pay for the landlord’s brand new roof); ii) personal property (the lawn mower the landlord bought primarily for his home); iii) income and capital gains taxes; iv) expenses for which landlord is reimbursed by any third party, other tenant, or insurance proceeds; v) loan fees, mortgage payments; vi) un-earmarked reserves; vii) various other costs that sometimes appear in leases but that do not relate to typical building operating expenses.
  • Pay special attention to any property tax related lease clause(s) as property taxes are often the most expensive component of operating expenses. Can items such as municipal improvement bonds be included with property tax pass-throughs? If so, be sure to know what these items total. If the property sells at a much higher price than currently assessed, are you fully obligated to pay the entire tax increase when the property is reassessed?
  • Request that triple net charges (sometimes called “CAMs” or common area maintenance fees) be estimated annually and billed in equal monthly installments that can only change upon prior written notice by landlord.
  • Attempt to negotiate a reasonable cap or limit on the amount that operating expenses may increase each year. If you are paying $.15 per square foot in triple net charges and then they suddenly increase by 100 percent to $.30/sf, this could gravely affect your operational cashflow.

To learn more , please contact Lock Richards, Managing Director of Sperry Van Ness | Highland Commercial at Lock.Richards@svn.com or 530.470.1740.

5 for Friday with Craig Hau with Sperry Van Ness/The Group Commercial, LLC

Craig Hau | Senior Advisor | SVN/The Group Commercial
Craig Hau | Senior Advisor | SVN/The Group Commercial

This week, our 5 for Friday features Craig Hau, Senior Advisor with Sperry Van Ness/The Group Commercial, LLC based out of Fort Collins, Colorado.

1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?

I specialize in the sale and leasing of office and industrial properties as well as the development and construction of small office commercial real estate. My geographic market is in North Colorado/North Denver to the Wyoming border, East (including Greeley, CO) and West into the Foothills communities.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?

I use DocuSign for coordinating contract and LOI client signatures electronically on-line.  It saves time and works great, I highly recommend it.

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?

Over the past decade we have been doing a lot more buyer broker listing agreements with larger regional/national buyers/tenants. We locate land to buy for their proposed business improvements, as well as buildings for their proposed business expansions.

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?

“Brokers Who Dominate: 8 Traits of Top Producers” by Rod Santomassimo.

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?

When asked a question that I do not know the answer for, I always respond with, “I’m sorry, but I do not know that answer to that question”.  I then say, “I will find out what the answer is and I’ll get back to you”.  I then find the answer, follow up with them, and let them know what it is. Most people think you’ll forget so it’s really fun to see how they respond.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

Office Spotlight: Sperry Van Ness – Miller Commercial Real Estate in Salisbury, MD

This week, we turn the spotlight on Sperry Van Ness – Miller Commercial Real Estate with offices in Salisbury, Annapolis and Bethesda, Maryland, and Lewes, Wilmington, and Seaford, Delaware.

Brent Miller, CCIM, CPM | Managing Director | SVN - Miller
Brent Miller, CCIM, CPM | Managing Director | SVN – Miller

What has been your strategy for growing your firm and also your market share?

Our focus has always been to provide the best service possible to our clients, and we have worked to do this by growing our firm into a full-service commercial real estate company and by bringing on Advisors with unique specialties.  Not only do we offer sales and leasing, but also property management and receivership/asset recovery.

In the past year we have taken our office to the next level by bringing on a Marketing Director to ensure consistent branding and to improve both our online and physical presence and also a Director of Business Development for Property Management.

We’ve expanded our market area to cover not only the Eastern Shore of Maryland but also Virginia, Delaware, Annapolis and Bethesda by recruiting Advisors to open satellite SVN-Miller offices. We have advisors in Annapolis and Bethesda that also do “boots on the ground” property management for us while we handle all of the back-office accounting and property management in our Salisbury office. We also offer the back-office property management service to other SVN offices that don’t have an established property management team but would like to provide full-service property management to their clients.

What are some of the unique activities you do to motivate your team? 

photo (3) (1)
SVN – Miller team participates in local Mud Run.

We do a number of team building activities each year, both for enjoyment and to give back to our community. These have included a Wicomico River cleanup, multiple Mud Runs, a Habitat for Humanity build, a Ropes Course challenge, off-shore fishing trips and more.

Each month I schedule one-on-one meetings with each of our Advisors to talk to them about their personal and business development. We also just held our Annual State of the Company Meeting this week, and we welcomed Solomon Poretsky, Vice President of Organizational Development for Sperry Van Ness International Corp., who gave a great all day training session to our Advisors and staff.

We encourage our Advisors and staff to engage in continuing education and professional development & affiliations (IREM, CPM, CCIM, SIOR), and we make a concerted effort to recognize their individual achievements.

What’s been the biggest challenge in running your business in the last few years?

The great recession was a huge challenge for us and it significantly impacted the livelihood of our Advisors. We also literally weathered the storm when we were hit by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and consequently had to move out of our office for a month to remediate the flood damage. While this was a big challenge for us, the silver lining was that it cemented our SVN-Miller culture of working together as a united front.

How many Advisors/Staff did you have when you joined SVN? How many (in total) do you have now? 

SVN – Miller Annual State of the Company meeting

We actually started as a commercial property management company which led to our move into commercial real estate. When we started SVN-Miller we had two Managing Directors, ten Advisors, one Property Manager and a Receptionist. Now, we have two Managing Directors, twenty-three Advisors throughout our main office and five satellite offices, eight Property Managers, one Virtual Assistant and six staff members, including our Marketing Director and support staff for brokerage.

Brent Miller, CCIM, CPM
Managing Director and Senior Advisor
Sperry Van Ness – Miller Commercial Real Estate
Salisbury, MD

*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.

Office Spotlight: Sperry Van Ness/BlackStream Commercial, LLC in Greenville, SC

This week, we turn the spotlight on Sperry Van Ness/BlackStream Commercial, LLC with offices in Greenville and Columbia, South Carolina.

Ford Elliott | Managing Director | SVN/BlackStream Commercial, LLC
Ford Elliott | Managing Director | SVN/BlackStream Commercial, LLC

What has been your strategy for growing your firm and also your market share?

From day one, our strategy at SVN/BlackStream Commercial, LLC has been providing premiere service to our clients. We always go the extra distance to satisfy their needs, making them feel they are getting more by working with us.  Over time, we have built a nice reputation in our market. Our level of service has spread by word-of mouth and business has flourished as a result, garnering more referrals than by any other marketing means. We are generally a 100% referral program, though we are always looking to get new leads through additional avenues. Another strategy we utilize is staying informed, and on top of, trends in the market place. We try to be very innovative and think outside of the box, often presenting sites to our clients that most people may not know about, i.e. The city has plans to put a new park at a certain location.  It is necessary that we have a pulse on our market in order to help our clients understand where the value is, and where it is headed. We also look to the Sperry Van Ness platform whose systems and name recognition have been extremely beneficial for business.

What are some of the unique activities you do to motivate your team? 

Our number one motivation is helping our team understand and hone their respective talents. Once defined, we aim to help them stay focused and specialized by utilizing their best strengths.  We hold a staff meeting every week where we collaborate and share ideas. On the horizon, we plan to have more team building activities.

What’s been the biggest challenge in running your business in the last few years?

The biggest challenge has been recovering from the commercial real estate market downturn. It was difficult with banks not loaning money to investors and the market just not being where it needed to be. As the market has recovered, more and more opportunities have been presenting themselves.

How many Advisors/Staff did you have when you joined SVN? How many (in total) do you have now? 

When we joined Sperry Van Ness we had a staff of  6: 2 Managing Directors, 3 Advisors and an Administrative Assistant. We recently added another Advisor, bringing our team total to 7.

Ford Elliott
Managing Director
Sperry Van Ness/BlackStream Commercial, LLC
Greenville & Columbia, SC

*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.

Office Spotlight: Sperry Van Ness/Fortune Real Estate in El Paso, TX

Karen Hurd, Vice President of National Franchise Development for Sperry Van Ness International Corporation, recently sat down with Laura Salome, CCIM, Managing Director of Sperry Van Ness/Fortune Real Estate out of El Paso, Texas.  Karen is the host of the Sperry Van Ness (SVN) CEO Roundtable Webinar and invited Laura to join the June Roundtable discussion as a guest speaker. Below is what Laura had to say about SVN.

Laura Salome, CCIM | Managing Director | SVN/Fortune Real Estate
Laura Salome, CCIM | Managing Director | SVN/Fortune Real Estate

Laura, Please tell me about yourself, SVN/Fortune Real Estate and how you came to Sperry Van Ness.

I joined Sperry Van Ness two years ago in December. My father has had Fortune Real Estate for 40 years and when I joined him full time, I knew we were was missing something….I was searching for something bigger than what our little local firm could accomplish. I wanted bigger and national deals, and I knew that an affiliation with a national flag was the answer.  I spent 13 years in California and remembered that Sperry Van Ness was a well recognized brand among a few others.  So I decided to call a few.  In an exhausting interviewing process of several companies, I ultimately chose Sperry Van Ness because it was a national CRE firm where the people make the company.

What did you find different about our SVN Brand versus the other firms you were talking to, and what have you found since you joined?

The model and the culture is different than other models, in that the environment at SVN is much more entrepreneurial in nature.  Of course, we want to stay consistent in our look and there are franchise policies to which we must adhere, but it is very much MY business.  Being affiliated with SVN has empowered me to grow into the direction I want to go.  I have felt empowered since the day I joined and continue to feel that way. There is a high level of professionalism that comes with the Sperry Van Ness name.  There is a certain culture within this organization that is contagious. I joined the group shortly before a national sales meeting which was in Miami.  That trip reaffirmed that I had made the right decision.  The friends and colleagues I met on that trip I still talk to and work on deals together.

What do you find working with other SVN Advisors in other markets?

Collaboration is the key component to get the most you want out of this franchise. Each week I try to talk to at least one SVN colleague either by phone, text, or email…or personal visit, even when I travel. I am a bit of a generalist here in El Paso and partnering up with experts in other cities has most definitely won listings for me.  Mark Alexander from Florida, who is on our Medical Product Council, and I joined forces a little over a year ago on a medical building. I would not have gotten that listing without Mark’s expertise in medical office.  Mark prepared a colorful slide presentation showing the physician medical investment cap rates and the SVN national reach and we won the listing.

This week we just signed a new $2 million dollar listing for a NM Nursery and I partnered with Tim House in Albuquerque.  It was my relationship with a banker here in El Paso that started the lead, but it was the fact that I told him I would partner with a SVN NM colleague that got us the listing.  The client felt comfortable that he was getting a local boots on the ground with a national “army” behind me. It’s fun to partner, and clients feel that we have “reach” , “national appeal” and that we are a “unit”.  This SVN fraternity is a very strong selling point to win listings.

I know you believe in the Compensated Cooperation model and actively participate in our National Sales Call each week.  What do you find most important about these calls?

The National Sales Call is like the backbone of SVN — the SVN Difference.  It’s a 30 minute national sales call held every Monday morning that highlights recent sales made, and Advisors pitch their properties for sale.   Promoting a client’s listing on these calls is a key selling point when I compete for a listing.   No other firm offers these calls!  It’s rare that I don’t get on one of these calls.

How useful have you found the CRE tech tools, systems and platforms offered by SVN?

The tech tools within the company are efficient and streamline marketing efforts.  Each time I need to do a proposal or put a new listing online, I jump on BuildOut which syndicates real time to multiple commercial search engines with a single point of entry automatically.  Our brochures look consistent and professional.  It’s very simple to use and my clients are happy.

Client Look I’ve used from the beginning.  It has the ability to categorize your contact by type.  This feature I find very useful.  If I want to narrow my marketing efforts to “retail developers” or “multifamily”, I can do so.  Virtual Assistant is another very useful feature of Client Look that enters contacts into the system.  You can do this with a phone call while you are driving or even snapping a photo of a business card and emailing it to them.  All of this syncs to your phone and iPad which is great!

SVN Resource Portal is the center of information gathering and posting.   There I can blog on the SVN blog, create postcards for marketing, customize newsletters, see the calendar of events, or just log on to my email.  It’s colorful and easy to navigate.  In today’s world where speed and simplicity is coveted, this tool fits right in.

What SVN Product Councils do you participate in regularly?

There are 14 product councils within the company that are lead by veterans and experts in that asset class type and I am involved in several.  Once a month or so, there are product council calls where ideas are shared, challenges are discussed, and deals are made.  I make it a point to participate each week on the 15 minute Single Tenant Net Lease one that happens right before the Monday Morning Call.  I like it because Peter Colvin creates an environment where everyone feels comfortable to share a quick thought and I always hang up learning something new and it helps create value for my clients, especially the 1031 exchange clients.

Bottom line, the tech systems and tools are some of the best available in the industry, and I leverage them all so I can be more efficient, visible and productive in my business.

What do you like best about SVN?

What I’ve realized is that it’s the people within SVN that make the company.  I’m the kind of person that works best in a collaborative environment and I like to be known within in the company.  SVN is a national CRE company where collaboration thrives — it’s like a family. Clients’ interests are ALWAYS placed above everything else and I like that because reputation is very important to me.  If I can ever help anyone on the call, I’m available anytime for help, advice, deal making, market insight in El Paso or SVN.  Happy to be a resource.  I can be reached at laurasalome@svn.com  or 915.474.0306.

To view the most recent Sperry Van Ness CEO Roundtable Webinar, click here.

To learn more about franchising opportunities, or to join an existing SVN Team, please contact Karen Hurd at karen.hurd@svn.com or 781.812.4272.

*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.

5 for Friday with Bill Menish of SVN Auction Services

This week, our 5 for Friday features Bill Menish, CAI, AARE, BAS, Senior Advisor/Real Estate Auctioneer with SVN Auction Services out of Louisville, Kentucky.

1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?
Through SVN Auction Services, we are capable of conducting auctions coast to coast, but our office focuses on the five-state region of Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Our specialty is auctions but we execute them in many ways. In fact, we are about to roll out the brand new SVN Auction Services proprietary online bidding platform for timed and simulcast auctions. We also offer live onsite auctions, ballroom multi-property auctions and sealed bid auctions for all property types.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?
“Use the media to your full advantage. Don’t worry, they realize they are being used.” I can say that with confidence having been a broadcast journalist in 4 states over a 20 year period with my final stop in San Diego where I was the morning anchor of the top rated morning news cast for 7 years. The walls of our SVN office are covered with framed newspaper articles and we have plenty of newscast footage saved that shows our success at inspiring the media to cover our auctions. They will cover your listings too “IF” you can find the story that their viewers and readers want to hear or see. You can load every listing platform ad buy every ad you can afford, but that free media is what is really going to help you get the word our about your property and why they should buy it. Every property has a story to tell, you just have to find it.

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?
In a word, it is Technology. It is not a bad word. In fact, we embrace the technological changes the industry is seeing. I heard someone the other day say that nothing has changed in the way we sell real estate or conduct real estate auctions since the economic downturn. I don’t think that could be further from the truth. So much has changed! How we get the listing, how we promote the listings and the sale, how we close them and especially how we turn that success into the next success has absolutely changed. I do believe that face-to-face time is invaluable, but with the clock moving faster than ever before, clients don’t feel they have the time, so you have to be able to connect and inspire even when you are not face to face, and often, that is through the proper use of technology.

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?
I don’t have a business book recommendation, but rather just one word: Auctions! SVN Advisors don’t realize the powerful tool that could be in their toolbox, that if used, would deliver more checks and create extremely satisfied customers. We know why they are not using it. It is that darn word AUCTION. People have a pre-conceived notion of what it means and most of the time, they have the wrong pre-conceived notion. We are selling a c-store / gas station now with a 60 day listing that transitions into an absolute auction after the listing period. That is what this seller needed and we created a solution set that fit their needs. They can test the traditional waters, and if we cannot produce the buyer, the absolute auction will absolutely produce the buyer. Auction clients are easy to spot if you listen to them. Every seller wants top dollar, but auction clients have a need to sell in a time defined manner, or they need the kind of exposure that auction marketing produces or  they have a product that will glimmer in the spotlight of national exposure with an event surrounding their sale. I promise that you have talked to a client who would have considered an auction. Maybe you just didn’t hear them asking for it, but hopefully you will now. I promise it will help you sell more properties and close more deals.

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?
I have run 5 marathons and my wife has run 6. If someone ever claims I cheated, it would mean that I ran a marathon without her knowing so I could catch up with her. On a serious note, I am very proud of my accomplishments in my former career where I awarded 15 Emmy’s and the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award. I tell people often that I was training to be an Auctioneer the whole time I was a newscaster, I just didn’t know it. The broadcasting business helped me hone skills that I use every day to succeed in commercial real estate.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

Office Spotlight: Sperry Van Ness l RICORE Investment Management, Inc. in Cincinnati, OH

This week, we turn the spotlight on Sperry Van Ness | RICORE Investment Management, Inc. with offices in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Rickert_John1. What has been your strategy for growing your firm and also your market share?
We do this by understanding our clients’ investment objectives and formulating strategies to achieve these objectives in the context of the current and anticipated market forces. Specifically, our clients will experience SVN-RICORE’s superior real estate investment modeling, strategic thought process, rent collection and operating expense escalation management, attention to detail, prompt and accurate financial reporting.  We are enhanced by having the brightest and hardest working people join our firm who bring with them their expertise in the market and their specific disciplines.  Having seasoned professionals, we are able to position ourselves as a full service real estate firm, where we can provide professional services for Receivership, Property Management, Investment Brokerage, Leasing and Construction Services, with “Maximum Value and Minimum Risk” for our clients.

We have also implemented the use of our website www.svn-ricore.com for marketing our services and staff along with our properties, and have complemented it with our daily postings of property sales and lease listings on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and Tumblr.  We also regularly advertise in the local Business Journals, Midwest Real Estate News and National Real Estate Investor publications. Our social media marketing initiative has opened up our client base to new avenues of advertising our services from listings to Property and Facility management.  It allows our firm the ability to have interaction with clients in the ‘new media market’ and the property owners are ecstatic to see their properties appear in this medium, along with case studies, well researched market reports and client testimonials.

RICORE2. What are some of the unique activities you do to motivate your team? 
We hold monthly birthday and anniversary cake tastings and go to and participate in events as a group.  We recently held an open house for our new space and invited clients, past, present and future, along with public dignitaries for an evening of food, social time and entertainment.  We have gone bowling, trap shooting, a vineyard and plan on attending a Cincinnati Reds games for team building events.  SVN-RICORE is also pleased to corporately sponsor and participate in many civic, community and philanthropic organizations that make a difference.

 3. What’s been the biggest challenge in running your business in the last few years?
With the downturn then recovery of the Commercial Real Estate market, weathering the storm has been a challenge, however, with well positioned managed properties, accounting services, receivership services, along with a few good investment sales opportunities completed, we have been able to maintain and grow our staff in anticipation of the full boom currently beginning in our market. Bringing in additional staff in this economy for some firms could not have happened, but for us, it was a necessity in order to keep up with the business lines as they were expanding during these years.

RICORE Team4. How many Advisors/Staff did you have when you joined SVN? How many (in total) do you have now? 
In the beginning of our SVN Franchise in 2010 we started with 3 Property Managers, 2 Property Services Administrators, 1 Facilities Manager,  2 Advisors, 1  Brokerage Administrator/Office Manager/Marketing,  2 Construction Staff, and 2 Accounting personnel.

Currently we have 4 Property Managers, 5 Property Services Administrators, 5 Facilities Managers, 9 Advisors, 2 Brokerage Administrators, a Marketing Manager, 3 Construction Staff, and 5 Accounting personnel. We also have a CFO  & Controller to round out our services staff, in addition to the Executive Managing Director.

Increasing our staff has been an integral part to create an environment for well-rounded commercial real estate professionals the ability to provide services to clients that are world class in nature.

John Rickert
Executive Managing Director
Sperry Van Ness | RICORE Investment Management, Inc.
Cincinnati, OH

*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.

5 for Friday with Mark Alexander of Sperry Van Ness (Mark Alexander)

This week, our 5 for Friday features Mark Alexander, CCIM, Managing Director of Sperry Van Ness (Mark Alexander) based out of Ft. Myers, Florida.

Alexander_Mark1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?
I specialize in NNN medical office sale/leaseback closings and have been the National Director of MOB sales for SVN for many years. I currently host the SVN National Medical Call where I teach fellow Advisors how to work with doctors and list their MOBs. I have closed 87 MOB sales in my career to date located in six different states. Due to working with such a specific product specialty, I do not have a ‘defined’ geographic market, but rather work nationally across the United States, though most deals are in my home state of Florida.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?
Get involved, both in communication and collaboration! First, no one will hear from you, and subsequently think of you, if you do not reach out. If you are not comfortable with that, than I suggest you get comfortable.  My two recent listings came about from me sending monthly post cards and a monthly e-newsletter called the “Alexander Medical Report” to my database of doctors who own medical office buildings. To collect additional content for my e-newsletter, beyond my own closings, I set-up a Google alert that sends me links each day to articles published with keywords “Medical Office”. Due to my research, I am able to share news of MOB closings from around the country, in addition to my own, each month. Second, get out there and collaborate with your fellow Advisors! The sales of my two recent listings (in Sebring and Bradenton totaling over $11 million combined) closed due to collaboration with SVN advisors who provided the buyers in each case. For additional information on those deals, see here and here.

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?
I joined Sperry Van Ness eleven years ago. When I first joined I had a 2000 SF office where I managed multiple Advisors (including the former Mayor of Ft. Myers) and personally did a good amount of office leasing and property management in addition to working on my MOB sale/leaseback specialty. I was spread too thin, in too many directions, all at once.  At one of my first SVN national conferences I was attending a session on “How to grow your SVN business” and I happen to sit next to Mark Van Ness. I mentioned to him that I did a little bit of leasing, property management and sales. Van Ness said, “Property management can be a decent profit center if you have critical mass”. In other words, you need a lot of it to make money. I realized that my dabbling in property management and leasing was eating up my most important asset – my time. It had created an artificial income ceiling for me.  Shortly after that national conference I started outsourcing my leasing and property management to focus on my specialty and passion…which is medical office sale/leaseback.

Before joining SVN, I had been so busy running my business as a small independent boutique firm, I had really not taken the time to look back and analyze my business and how I might improve it. Over the past ten years, thanks to things I learned from SVN, I slowly phased out my office and now work out of my home and focus solely on MOB sale/leasebacks. My model of business in not for everyone but it works for me. I am more happy now and making more money than I ever did in the past.  Thanks to coaching from SVN at national conferences, I had finally realized that I had been a reluctant manager of sales people in my office and my true passion was just working on deals.  SVN gave me the national network and support to compete on the national stage to provide the best possible service for my doctor clients.

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?
It can never be just one book. Our business is constantly evolving with changes in the economy and technology so it is important to consistently read as much as you can to keep your finger on the pulse of our industry and your specialty. Earlier this year, I helped an SVN Advisor in Milwaukee list a $35M MOB solely because I had recently attended two national conferences (one in Scottsdale, AZ and one in Miami, FL) on the medical office market. During a conference call, when the Wisconsin MOB seller started telling me what he thought was the state of the MOB market, I was able to correct him and quote national speakers (who were CEO’s of National Health Care firms) from both conferences on topics that countered this seller’s pre-conceived opinions. The seller grew suddenly quiet, and shortly after we signed the listing. That deal is under contract now with a 1031 buyer and due to close near the end of June for $33.5 million. Interestingly, after we signed the contract, the seller admitted to us that every other competing broker who had pitched this listing before SVN had said it would never sell over $30 million.

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?
my new viewAs a shameless sharer of news and family pictures on Facebook, there is probably little that people don’t know about me already. But I can say, the best part of my day is taking our dog buddy for a walk out our front door along the Miami Beach Marina each morning. I enjoy looking at boats while Buddy intently studies the bushes.  The picture to the right shows the view from the 17th floor condo where I live and work. I moved here in April after spending the previous 33 years in Ft. Myers. My daughter Lauren starts college in the fall at FIU in Miami.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

Office Spotlight: Sperry Van Ness Commercial Realty in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

This week, we turn the spotlight on Sperry Van Ness Commercial Realty with offices in Ft. Lauderdale and Hialeah, FL.

Keith Kidwell | President | Sperry Van Ness Commercial Realty
Keith Kidwell | President | Sperry Van Ness Commercial Realty

1. What has been your strategy for growing your firm and also your market share?
For over the past 11 years our strategy has not been to grow the firm, it has been to keep the firm small with seasoned commercial brokers and to run a highly efficient office to better serve our clients.

2. What are some of the unique activities you do to motivate your team? 
We have goal challenges with rewards.  If agents meet their goal challenges we will offer free or discounted trips to our state and national conferences, gift certificates, etc.  In addition, we sponsor golf and sporting clay teams for charity fundraisers.

 3. What’s been the biggest challenge in running your business in the last few years?
The biggest challenge has been in ensuring our agents have all the tools necessary to be as productive and as efficient as possible.  This includes keeping up with the latest in technology, social media, etc. and training them to use these tools.

4. How many Advisors/Staff did you have when you joined SVN? How many (in total) do you have now? 
We started the company 11 years ago with 5 agents and 1 staff member and currently have two offices, 6 agents and 2 staff members.  Small and efficient.

Keith Kidwell, SIOR, CCIM
Sperry Van Ness Commercial Realty
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.

Office Spotlight: SVN/HINT Advisors in Houston, TX

This week, we turn the spotlight on SVN/HINT Advisors with offices in Houston, Texas.

1. What has been your strategy for growing your firm and also your market share?
I focus on retail investments, retail stand-alone (NNN) and retail land. I have a focus in my practice where I go after markets first, then retail opportunities within.  One of my best Advisors continues to emphasize the importance of discipline, and I have a daily discipline that extends to a weekly and monthly schedule, divided in blocks of time and activities. It is driven by a set goal but it comes down to execution. My weekly schedule includes daily follow-up calls, business development calls, and conference calls with clients or colleagues morning to noon, followed by emails and computer related tasks after lunch.  Next, I do calls to West coast and Central time leads since I cover California and Houston, then I depart to business engagements in the evening or otherwise do research and plan an agenda for the next day. Just before going to bed I check emails for any last minute updates. Throughout the day I also read trade journals and news on relevant retail and check my social networks.

Libby Cadillo | Managing Director | SVN/HINT Advisors
Libby Cadillo | Managing Director | SVN/HINT Advisors

2. What are some of the unique activities you do to motivate your team? 
I believe in clarity and definition when it comes to relationships. Therefore I make an effort to communicate the goals upfront, to share the vision, and to share the expectations from each other. I use technology to send reminders, reconfirm agreements, and multitask as efficiently as possible.

 3. What’s been the biggest challenge in running your business in the last few years?
Since starting my practice, the biggest challenge has been high productivity per hour.  Sometimes I have been guilty of getting distracted by events around me, but I am learning to minimize my distractions as much as possible when I am to be focused on work.

4. How many Advisors/Staff did you have when you joined SVN? How many (in total) do you have now? 
Right now just one, but I have a network of peers and three strong Board Advisory Members who assist me when I need something.

Libby Cadillo
Managing Director
SVN/HINT Advisors
Houston, TX

*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.

Relating “The Extra Mile” by Glenn Morshower to the SVN Core Covenants

How does “The Extra Mile” by Glenn Morshower correspond and relate to the SVN Core Covenants?

We had the distinct pleasure of being exposed to an outstanding keynote speaker, Glenn Morshower, recently at our SVN National conference in San Antonio. As always our Executive team, Advisory Board and conference team hit a home run in my opinion with Glenn; certainly entertaining, definitely memorable and hugely credible. I think he hit on all facets of our SVN life, our business and our sense of community. For fun, I overlaid his “Extra Mile” concept over our Core Covenants. See if you agree that they line up very well.

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Cooperating proactively with all brokers and agents and always placing my client’s interests above my own.

“Do unto others as you would have life do unto you”.

Showing respect and support to my clients and colleagues.

“Who I am anywhere is who I am everywhere”.

Honoring my commitments.

“There is no boundary on good or truth”.

Personifying and upholding the Sperry Van Ness® brand.

“We are winners by design”.

Creating tangible benefits for my clients, colleagues and community.

“It’s not I’ll believe it when I see it, but rather I will see it when I believe it”

Resolving conflicts quickly, positively and effectively.

“I am no longer disposed to be in conflict with myself or anyone”.

Taking personal responsibility for achieving my own potential.

Like the “Circle of Habit” for Gill in the Fish Bowl…we know how to find and fill a bathtub…no limits.

Excelling in my market area and specialty within the firm.

“What do I want to do most?”

Focusing on the positive and possible.

“Impossibilities become possibilities; possibilities become probabilities; probabilities become inevitabilities”; it is up to you.

Nurturing my career while valuing the importance of family, health and community.

The balance of life is Spiritual, Emotional, Financial and Physical. Is what you are doing a “contribution or a contamination?”

5 for Friday with Jimena Sayavedra of Sperry Van Ness Chicago Commercial

This week, our 5 for Friday features Jimena Sayavedra, an Associate Advisor with Sperry Van Ness Chicago Commercial based out of Chicago, Illinois.

Jimena Sayavedra | Associate Advisor |SVN Chicago Commercial
Jimena Sayavedra | Associate Advisor |SVN Chicago Commercial

1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?
My geographic focus is Metropolitan Chicago industrial corridors and my product specialty is Industrial sales and leasing.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?
I believe that targeted well-planned networking is a very powerful tool to grow connections not only for career advancement but especially to grow our real estate practice. Either face-to-face networking or via social media, It creates opportunities to initiate conversations to connect with people and discuss problems and solutions with sellers, buyers, landlords, and tenants.

Another foundation of any real estate practice is cold calling, which goes hand-and-hand with networking, since both require excellent communication skills, industry knowledge and confidence. Tackling these two tasks I think are fundamental steps to develop and maintain a strong database of clients, which is the groundwork for my practice as a commercial real estate advisor.

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?
Since I am newer to the brokerage business, I would say definitely social media is a game changer in all that we do. It makes us more efficient because it allows us initiating or following up on connections and relationships  with more people.  For us in the commercial real estate business, it is a great advantage to connect digitally with members within companies, groups, associations where we can start conversations and find leads. I think it is a great complement to the permanent cold calling that is part of our daily practice.

I am now focusing on prospecting and will follow with developing my “presence.”

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?
“Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. I think Sandberg with this book has opened up so many issues related to women and  work and how women tend to hold back when we actually have everything to succeed in the business world and bring more women to leadership positions. I think a lot of what she says in her book is very applicable to women in the male dominated real estate sector, where we women bring skills that add great value to this profession.

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?
I am a marathon runner, I have completed 18 marathons, including 2 Boston, 10 Chicago, 1 New York among others. I just finished Boston.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

Office Spotlight: SVN/Walt Arnold Commerical Brokerage, Inc. in Albuquerque, NM

This week, we turn the spotlight on SVN/Walt Arnold Commercial Brokerage, Inc. with offices in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Walt Arnold | Managing Director | SVN/Walt Arnold Commercial Brokerage, Inc.
Walt Arnold | Managing Director | SVN/Walt Arnold Commercial Brokerage, Inc.

1. What has been your strategy for growing your firm and also your market share?
The strategy has been to create an environment for brokers to have the tools to compete, fulfill and win business, employing brokers and staff that are committed to showing up and working hard, hiring quality brokers that fit into the culture of Sperry Van Ness, whether new to the business, mid-career or established veterans. And to have fun in the process, realizing that so much of our careers and life is about the journey. Sperry Van Ness has provided an outstanding platform to recruit high quality individuals to SVN/WACB, Inc. and the Sperry Van Ness story has been instrumental in growing my company and market share.

2. What are some of the unique activities you do to motivate your team? 
Almost every Monday is a “Lunch and Learn” and these sessions encompass not only title underwriters, attorneys, contractors, bankers and many other businesses associated with CRE, but we also work on sales skills and other activities that help us all grow in the CRE business. A recent series of Mondays involved going through Terri Sjodin’s tape series title, Small Message, Big Impact, which was about creating an elevator speech. We capped it of by bringing in a local expert on the subject and everyone developed a 30 seconds elevator pitch and presented it. It was a great exercise for everyone regardless of the years of experience.  We also schedule events (baseball games, football tailgate, bowling, billiards, non-profit events, etc.) outside the office quarterly to get out and spend some time together.

 3. What’s been the biggest challenge in running your business in the last few years?
Obviously on of the biggest challenges has been to manage cash flow the past several years, which hopefully is starting to improve as we come out of the pit of recession. Another is our goal of continuing to create an environment that’s a great place to work. I mention this as a challenge because it has to be top of mind and takes some detailed effort and energy to continue to improve and to ask how we can do things better for our clients, customers and each other.

SVN/Walt Arnold Commercial Brokerage, Inc. Staff at Halloween
SVN/Walt Arnold Commercial Brokerage, Inc. Staff at Halloween

4. How many Advisors/Staff did you have when you joined SVN? How many (in total) do you have now? 
When I started with Sperry Van Ness 7 years ago, I had an assistant, a property manager and one broker. Currently now in the office are 8 brokers, a property manager, a property management accountant, a marketing director, and 3 part-time support staff in property management, brokerage and accounting.

Walt Arnold, CCIM, SIOR
Managing Director
SVN/Walt Arnold Commercial Brokerage, Inc.
Albuquerque, New Mexico

*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.

5 For Friday with Gail Bowden of Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisory Group

Gail Bowden | Senior Investment Advisor | Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisory Group
Gail Bowden | Senior Investment Advisor | Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisory Group

This week, our 5 for Friday features Gail Bowden, an Advisor with Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisory Group based out of Sarasota, Florida.

1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?
My major geographic market is Florida, with Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte Counties being my sub-markets. I have also co-listed with other SVN Advisors on various projects outside of Florida. My specialty is in coordinating and completing complex commercial transactions with multiple players and many moving parts, such as when dealing with a 1031 exchange. I find this type of transaction interesting and challenging at the same time. It is always very rewarding to bring a complicated deal together for my clients. I have a significant amount of experience in dealing with venture capital, project finance, construction, and development.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?
My best practice tip for Advisors is to utilize innovative thinking and collaboration. From a client relations perspective, I would recommend finding ways to nourish your relationships through embracing all the tools technology has given us, such as social media as a means for establishing greater relationships with existing clients as well a strong web presence for attracting new clients. If you are not very tech savvy, outsource it. You have to be where your clients are, and the importance of making yourself visible on the web will only increase with time.

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?
I would have to say technology has had the biggest influence on how I run my business as well as being a great contributor to my success. In fact, technology is changing the way everyone does business and has become a driving factor behind the shifting landscape of the commercial real estate industry as a whole. Technology has caused a major paradigm shift in regard to just about every aspect of our lives.

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?
“Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”, by Susan Jeffers

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?
Not everyone knows that I am a grandmother of two amazing grandchildren in Utah. They are an absolute joy and I frequently travel to see them just about every two months. It may also come as a surprise to most that I recently completed a 120-mile ride from Orlando to Sarasota on a Tandem bike with one of my SVNCAG coworkers, Bruce Dilges. I like challenging myself and trying new things. I always say that I will try just about anything at least once.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

Office Spotlight: Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisory Group in Bradenton & Sarasota, FL

This week, we turn the spotlight on Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisory Group with offices in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida.

Tony Veldkamp, CCIM | Managing Director | Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisory Group
Tony Veldkamp, CCIM | Managing Director | Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisory Group

1. What has been your strategy for growing your firm and also your market share?
We are very fortunate in our tertiary market to not have any other national commercial brokerage brands with a presence here.  The big firms dabble in our market from Tampa, but our biggest competition is three strong independents and a Coldwell Banker firm.  Commercial agents in our market were seeking a pure commercial real estate firm with national strength and power, but that was still very entrepreneurial and could adapt to the local market.  So Sperry Van Ness was a great fit for them.

My advisors are my best recruiters.  When they are out in the market they keep their ears open to hear of any agents with good talent, who might be looking to make a move.  They all believe in synergy and “activity begets activity”.  So they do not hesitate to bring someone of good quality, and reputation, to my attention.  Reputation and dealing fairly are very important attributes at our office.

Our market area consists of three counties with ten different cities to work in.  So while we have our main office in Sarasota and a branch office in Bradenton to show good market presence in those two counties, we will expand to add a branch office in our third county so no property is further than 30 minutes from any office.

2. What are some of the unique activities you do to motivate your team? 
Well you have to be self-motivated to be in this business for sure.  But I do believe in accountability.  I’m constantly questioning my team on their deals, market area, and specialty to have them constantly thinking about how to improve their business.  I also introduce “out of the box” ideas to get them thinking about alternative ways to seek new business.  I make prospecting suggestions and show them potential holes in the market that they can take advantage of.  But ultimately it is up to them.

 3. What’s been the biggest challenge in running your business in the last few years?
Since we are only in our 3rd year as a group working together, one of the biggest challenges has been budgeting.  Determining what services we can afford to provide to our agents based on the split arrangement we agreed upon.  We are now able to look back at the past two years and arrive at something everyone is comfortable with.  Also since we only take on experienced agents, and we’ve had tremendous growth there in the past two years, a challenge has been trying to figure out how much coaching each agent will accept, what they need, and what they don’t need.  Some folks you just need to stay out of their way, but be there when they need to bounce ideas off of you.

4. How many Advisors/Staff did you have when you joined SVN? How many (in total) do you have now? 
When I joined the group there were nine advisors and two staff in one office.  Now we have 15 advisors, with 3 staff, in two offices.  Interestingly 4 of the original 9 left us due to poor performance.  So we’ve recruited 10 new advisors in two years.


Tony Veldkamp, CCIM
Managing Director
Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisory Group
Sarasota & Bradenton, Florida

The Sperry Van Ness Florida Team consists of experienced Commercial Real Estate Advisors in 22 offices throughout the State. For more information on Tony Veldkamp, CCIM and his team, visit http://suncoastsvn.com.

*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.

5 for Friday with Mary Ridberg of Sperry Van Ness, LLC

This week, our 5 for Friday features Mary Ridberg, an Advisor with Sperry Van Ness, LLC based out of Phoenix, AZ.

1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?
My product specialty is Retail Leasing, Tenant Representation, and Investment Sales in the Phoenix market with a special focus on my own backyard in the East Valley including Gilbert, Chandler, Ahwatukee, Tempe, and Mesa.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?
The power of team work. My partner Rommie Mojahed and I have found that team work extends our business plan beyond where we could reach as individuals. We have found that the male/female team has allowed us to serve the needs of many of our clients’ communication styles. We collaborate, continuously cross check, divide and conquer when necessary, and gain strength from each other’s prospective. We serve as Directors of Leasing for Sperry Van Ness, LLC in Phoenix. We use team work within our office and meet to collaborate twice each month as a group. We find these group meetings a great strategy for producing results internally.

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?
The past decade has presented the greatest dichotomy to our industry. There was a time of what seemed to be limitless potential followed very closely by a time of great challenge. Survival and compassion for those around us gave way to navigating strategies with colleagues, clients, institutions, and asset managers. Collaboration with individuals we may never have had the chance to serve in such a powerful way took place and as we look back we cherish the place we are today in the journey and the contribution we were able to offer.

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?
Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. I find this extremely helpful especially when working in teams to identify individual strengths and how to complement one another. I also recommend The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn.

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?
I traveled for a few years at the beginning of college performing with a group that toured with Doc Severinsen, Sergio Mendez, and Carlos Santana. I was in two T.V. commercials in New York and modeled in Chicago. I lived in Wisconsin at the time and all travel for our performances was by bus. After two years on the road I welcomed the chance to go to college and live in a dorm.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

5 for Friday with David Wilk SVN/Miller Commercial Real Estate

David Wilk, CRE, MAI, with Sperry Van Ness/Miller Commercial Real Estate
David Wilk, CRE, MAI, with SVN/Miller Commercial Real Estate

This week, our 5 for Friday features David Wilk, CRE, MAI, Corporate Real Estate Council Co-Chair and an Advisor with SVN/Miller Commercial Real Estate based out of Wilmington, DE.

1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?
Corporate real estate earnings measurement and optimization, strategic marketing plans for excess or under-productive properties, place-making economic development strategies, and corporate/university real estate’s connectivity to social value creation on a national basis.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?
Be a great listener first and always make your conversations with others about the value that you can bring to them whether they are a client, friend, fellow human being, or loved one.

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?
In today’s market, clients don’t like to pay for consulting or advisory services when most other real estate companies give that service away for future transactions.  If you can’t clearly articulate why you add value to someone’s life, business, or real estate, either re-invent your business plan or don’t expect to win much business.

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?
Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim or The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?
I developed a “Best of Delaware” restaurant and nightclub called “The Polo Club” in Greenville, Delaware. It was a hot spot from 1988 to 1993 until we sold it to a competitor in 1993.  The Polo Club hosted performances from national recording stars America, Dave Mason, Mamas and Papas (when Papa John was still alive), Drifters, Coasters, Marvellettes, John Sebastian, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Mitch Ryder, and Badfinger. The most interesting takeaway from this business was the marketing and branding benefits to my real estate business that came out of this experience, and the priceless relationships and social intelligence that was gained from those who I met and got to know there.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

James Blake honored with Charles D. Tandy #CRE award

James_BlakeJames Blake, CCIM, Managing Director for SVN/Summit Commercial Realty, recently received the 2013 Charles D. Tandy Commercial Realtor award, the top honor of the Society of Commercial Realtors. This award was established to recognize commercial realtors who best exemplify the highest in professional standards.

Integrity, leadership and outstanding character are really what this award is about, and no one exemplifies those qualities better than James Blake

2014 SCR Chairman Bill Makens

With more than 28 years of Dallas/Fort Worth commercial real estate market experience, Blake has combined sales and leases in excess of $320 million. While Blake’s shopping center and industrial clients are all across the United States, his focus is retail and industrial income producing properties in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex area.
*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

5 for Friday with Zach Schwarzmiller with Coast/SVN

Zach Schwarzmiller with Coast/Sperry Van Ness
Zach Schwarzmiller with Coast/Sperry Van Ness

This week, our 5 for Friday features Zach Schwarzmiller, an Advisor with Coast/Sperry Van Ness based out of Everett, WA.

1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?
My geographic market is Washington State. While a strong concentration of our deal flow centers within Snohomish, King, Pierce and Spokane Counties, we are often conducting deals in all four corners of the state. I primarily specialize in assisting clients with the acquisition and disposition of multifamily apartment buildings and/or multifamily land deals.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?
At the moment, my best practice tip has been to return to good “old fashion” mailing campaigns with handwritten letters and envelopes. I’ve discovered that handwritten letters have greater success than the standard mailing procedure. Following this practice, clients have opened, read and followed up with me in greater numbers than in prior campaigns.

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?
I have not been involved in this business for a decade, however, I’ve teamed up with a Senior Advisor, Blake Stedman, who has been involved within this field over the past decade. Our different skills in this business complement each other very well. I add a lot of new tricks and tools in regards to technology, advertising and overall online presence.

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?
I enjoy “Gung Ho! Turn On the People in Any Organization” by Ken Blanchard. The principals taught within the book are equally as important to your personal life in addition to your professional business life.

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?
I am a certified pilot and enjoy performing acrobatic stunts. In the past decade, I’ve circumnavigated the globe on both ship and planes. I’ve traveled through 26 countries exploring all continents with the exclusion of Antarctica. During my time traveling around the world, I’ve “couch-surfed” on 52 different people’s sofas. Lastly, I have a pet bunny named Harley, a black lab named Zula, and my fiancée Molly whom I will marry in July 2014.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

Robert J. Pliska Inducted Into the Midwest Real Estate News Hall of Fame

Robert Pliska, Managing Director of Sperry Van Ness/Property Investment Advisors, LLC
Robert J. Pliska, Managing Director of Sperry Van Ness/Property Investment Advisors, LLC

Robert J. Pliska, CRE, , CPA, Managing Director, Sperry Van Ness/Property Investment Advisors, LLC was selected as an inductee into the Midwest Real Estate News Hall of Fame. The publication recognizes individuals who are “the biggest names in the commercial real estate” industry. Mr. Pliska’s profile in the December 2013/January 2014 issue of the Midwest Real Estate News attributes this honor to his in depth knowledge of the commercial and investment real estate industry, his work ethic, his level of trust he earns from his clients and his expansive community, industry, and nonprofit service work.

Mr. Pliska specializes in the sale, financing, leasing, managing, consulting, auctioning and accelerated marketing of office, retail, multi-family, industrial, hotel and other investment and commercial properties. With over 35-years of commercial and investment real estate experience, Pliska has secured over $1.5 billion in real estate transactions. Pliska served as president and/officer of several commercial real estate firms. As a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), he advised real estate and financial institution clients.

Pliska is a local and national speaker, author, radio guest, panelist and social media expert for many local and national organizations as the Counselors of Real Estate of the National Association of Realtors, the Commercial Board of Realtors, the State Association of Realtors, the State Association of CPA’s, the Chamber of Commerce, CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member), the Real Estate Answer Forum and many others on investment and commercial real estate. He is quoted in numerous publications as Globe Street, CCIM, The Counselors of Real Estate, local news publications, Midwest Real Estate News and others. He is followed by thousands in social media on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. He sits on local, national and international Board’s of CEO’s and other organizations. He has been honored as Humanitarian of the Year by several organizations.

Pliska’s professional activity includes former president of the Commercial Board of Realtors, Chairman of the Detroit Board of Realtors for the Detroit Metro Commercial Investment Division, member of the Michigan Association of Realtors and recipient of the “Realtor of the Year” Award and member of the Counselors of Real Estate (CRE) and recipient of the CRE designation. Pliska’s community involvement includes officer and/or board member of numerous community and nonprofit organizations.

Pliska received his masters of business administration (MBA) from Michigan State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Detroit.

“I am humbled at my selection to the Midwest Real Estate News’ Hall of Fame. Such an honor can be largely credited to the exceptionally talented individuals and organizations that I have had the pleasure to work with over my career”


Robert J. Pliska, Managing Director
Sperry Van Ness/Property Investment Advisors, LLC
Email: robert.pliska@svn.com
Phone: 248.433.1400

*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.

5 for Friday with Ken Rhinehart from SVN/Rich Investment Real Estate Partners

Ken Rhinehart, Senior Advisors with SVN/Rich Investment Real Estate Partners

This week, our 5 for Friday features Ken Rhinehart, Senior Advisor with SVN/Rich Investment Real Estate Partners based out of Los Angeles, CA.

1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?
It is what I call the Foothill Retail Corridor. I specialize in retail properties and the geographic region is a collection of about twelve cities and towns along the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County. This is where I have lived, worked, and gone to school. I know the area very well.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?
I am excited about having recently joined an SVN Vital Factors Team. In fact, I’m the facilitator. I love it! It really prompts me to focus on the important things I have to do, write them down, and then be accountable to the rest of my team.

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?
I haven’t been a broker for the past decade, so I can’t say how my business has changed in that regard. However, I started in commercial real estate in 1992 as a commercial appraiser. I’ve seen quite a bit, including investors scooping up properties from the RTC for cheap. Unfortunately, I think a lot of today’s investors that I talk with have long-term memories, and think they are going to pick up properties at RTC prices, but that just isn’t happening.

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?
I am currently working through a book called “Fire Your Excuses” by Dr. Bill Dyment. Just like the title indicates, it asks a lot of penetrating questions and presents practical solutions for eight areas of life, including career. It starts with a free assessment on the website (click here).

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?
I am married to a wonderful wife and we have a two year old named Max. I love to BBQ. I also love history, Route 66, philosophy and theology. If time and money were no object, I would be studying philosophy and theology at Biola University.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

Wesley Cox Honored with 2013 National Commercial Award

Wesley Cox, CCIM, Senior Advisor, SVN/Miller Commercial Real Estate
Wesley Cox, CCIM, Senior Advisor, SVN/Miller Commercial Real Estate

Wesley Cox, CCIM, Senior Advisor with SVN/Miller Commercial Real Estate in Salisbury, MD was awarded the National Association of REALTORS 2013 National Commercial Award. The award recognizes excellence in the commercial real estate industry by honoring accomplished realtors for their local achievements. Cox is one of only 59 national award recipients, and the only recipient from Maryland. When asked about the award Wesley said, “It is a great honor to have been selected for this national award and to be a representative of the commercial real estate industry. As community stakeholders we should all have goals that help preserve and improve our enviable quality of life we have on the Shore and to help our community move forward in a positive direction.”

A factor in Wesley being an honored recipient was receiving the Rotarian of the Year Award from the Wicomico Rotary Club. The purpose of that award is to recognize someone that carries out the Rotary’s Four Way Test on a daily basis and someone that has demonstrated exemplary humanitarian service with an emphasis on volunteer efforts. Mission of Mercy, The Christian Shelter, Salvation Army, and the Village of Hope are a handful of the organizations that have benefited from Wesley’s work. As the Managing Broker of SVN/Miller Commercial Real Estate, Brent Miller, CCIM, CPM commented, “I am extremely proud of Wesley’s accomplishments which go to show his and our commitment to the community and the commercial real estate industry.”

As a 12-year veteran of commercial real estate, Cox specializes in the sale and lease of commercial investment property, industrial, retail, self-storage, office, and land located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Southern Delaware.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

5 for Friday with Ben Alder from Sperry Van Ness Miller Commercial Real Estate

Ben Alder, Land Product Council Chair, SVN/Miller Commercial Real Estate
Ben Alder, Land Product Council Chair, SVN/Miller Commercial Real Estate

This week, our 5 for Friday features Ben Alder, Land Product Council Chair and Senior Advisor with Sperry Van Ness Miller Commercial Real Estate based out of Salisbury, MD.

1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?
My product specialty is land. My market area is the Delmarva Peninsula – Maryland, Delaware, Virginia.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?
I recommend setting aside time for monthly business planning. It helps me stay focused on the big goals while working each day to make business happen. This is equivalent to working ON your business and not IN your business –

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?
My biggest challenge was committing to focus on one product type which for me is land.

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?
I highly recommend,The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Changeby Stephen R. Covey

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?
Not a lot of people know that I am a wetland and waterfowl biologist by training.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

5 for Friday with Ava Terry from Sperry Van Ness/AVAT Realty, LLC

Ava Terry, Managing Director, SVN/AVAT Realty, LLC

This week, our 5 for Friday features Ava Terry, Managing Director with Sperry Van Ness/AVAT Realty, LLC based out of Huntsville, AL.

1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?
Our market is Northern Alabama, with a focus on the Huntsville area. As the broker of record for our company, I seldom work on projects alone. I partner with Advisors as a primary training tool. My product specialty is retail leasing and land, but our brokerage has specialists in multifamily, property management and STNL properties. Of course, with the STNL properties, they could be located anywhere in the US, but again, particularly the South.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?
I would recommend specializing in a specific property type. Sometimes we think we can do it all, but in this business, you cannot. If you are not an expert in your field you will not be taken seriously, and people expect SVN Advisors to be experts.

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?
I would have to say the smart phone. It has decentralized the office. We can perform just about any task on the fly.

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?
What Every Real Estate Investor Needs To Know About Cash Flow” by Frank Gallinelli

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?
I’ve moved from Harley’s to Porsche’s in the past few years and I will be tracking my Porsche for the first time this spring.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

Mark Alexander Says Change is Coming for Medical Office Building Marketplace

Mark Alexander, CCIM, Medical Office Council Chair
Mark Alexander, CCIM, SVN’s Medical Office Council Chair

SVN’s Medical Office Council Chair, Mark Alexander, CCIM, recently wrote an article for News-Press.com in which he predicts,

The manner in which healthcare is delivered to Americans is changing. Increased demand for new types of medical office building design is part of that, along with locations different from past conventions to meet the needs of healthcare service providers of the future.

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

news press




*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

5 for Friday with Ashley Bloom from Sperry Van Ness Florida

Ashley Bloom, Land Product Council Chair, SVN Florida Commercial Real Estate Advisors
Ashley Bloom, Land Product Council Chair, SVN Florida Commercial Real Estate Advisors

This week, our 5 for Friday features Ashley Bloom, Land Product Council Chair and Senior Advisor with Sperry Van Ness Florida Commercial Real Estate Advisors based out of Sarasota, FL.

1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?
My geographic region is on Florida’s Gulf Coast with land as a specialty. Our team is currently working through several significant land transactions with national developers & homebuilders that entail re-zoning or site plan development.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?
Keeping building your database and stay in constant communication with it. In 2013, we had a strong response to our e-blast campaign that resulted in not only new members to our database but closings with new buyers. As part of my effort in helping to launch SVN’s Land Product Council, we are working on a cooperative marketing program to highlight the SVN brand’s presence in land.

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?
The biggest change in how I run my business from a decade ago can be described as “leaner and meaner.” Obviously, the advances in technology in the past decade have allowed all of us to become more efficient. Besides technology, I continue to be conscious of controlling overhead as well as time management. My team has been focusing on high quality listings that are properly priced.   

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?
“Man’s Search for Meaning” by Dr. Viktor E. Frankl. It’s a book written by a Holocaust Survivor (he had the choice to escape but chose to stay with his family) and was completed in just 9 days shortly after he was liberated from a concentration camp. According the Library of Congress, this book has been named one of the 10 Most Influential Books in the United States. A favorite quote from the book is “Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue…”

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?
I recently volunteered to “crew” a local theater production of Peter Pan where I was responsible for “flying” kids.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

5 for Friday with Scott Skogmo from Sperry Van Ness/Skogmo Commercial

This week, our 5 for Friday features Scott Skogmo, SIOR, Managing Director with Sperry Van Ness/Skogmo Commercial based out of Columbia, MD.

Scott Skogmo, Managing Director, Sperry Van Ness, Columbia, MD
Scott Skogmo, Managing Director, SVN/Skogmo Commercial

1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?
My geographic market is Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC region. I primarily specialize in Industrial properties but some office and flex properties as well.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?
Get out of the office at least once a week for cold calling, warm calling, and to see the properties. I always get new ideas when out on the road. Also, improve client communications and marketing through ClientLook and other tools such as BuildOut, ProspectNow, broker emails, postcards, etc.

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?
More efficient operations by strategic use of technology; less paper, less overhead, better access to mobile tools, less time wasted on non-productive activities. I can be more focused on sales due to better focus and fewer distractions. For example, completing a broker email on a property is so easy now using BuildOut and iContact. It only takes about 5 minutes to set up a new mailer once the property is entered in BuildOut.

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Although it is an older book, it is a great lesson about how government can strangle business and the entrepreneurial spirit.

We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency by Parmy Olson provides a great warning and illustration of how dangerous cybercrime and the hacker community can be to business.

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?
I reached my goal of cycling 3,000 miles in 2012, and came close in 2013, mostly in Maryland. I hope to branch out and possibly do more distant adventures next year. On the water, I always enjoy jet skiing with my son on the rivers and bays of Maryland, Delaware and in the Atlantic Ocean.


*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

5 for Friday with Jim Morgan of Sperry Van Ness/Investec Services

This week, our 5 for Friday features Jim Morgan, CCIM, Managing Director with SVN/Investec Services based out of Jacksonville, FL.

Jim Morgan, CCIM, Managing Director, SVN/Investec Services
Jim Morgan, CCIM, Managing Director, SVN/Investec Services

1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?
Northeast Florida and Jacksonville SMSA. Lately, I have focused on distressed assets and helping SVN advisors bring clients to this area. As the market returns, my specialties are land, office, retail, and motivated clients. My CCIM and Master’s level qualification, can handle most market types. SVN’s marketing program is a great boost.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?
Talking with clients, sharing educational information, experience, valuation techniques, and sharing current market information while listening to their objectives and measuring their abilities leads to cooperative success.

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?
The speed of technology and the ability to attractively answer inquires and produce information is amazing. You still have to ensure the information is received and understood.

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?
“Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t” by Jim Collins and “Brokers Who Dominate” by Rod Santomassimo.

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?
I flew as a commercially trained instrument pilot privately for 28 years and my family are the descendants of Florida’s pioneers that were here before statehood in 1845.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

5 for Friday with Brian Heller of Sperry Van Ness/Rich Investment Real Estate Partners

Brian Heller, Senior Advisors, SVN/Rich Investments Real Estate Partners
Brian Heller, Senior Advisors, SVN/Rich Investments Real Estate Partners

This week, our 5 for Friday features Brian Heller, Senior Advisors with SVN/Rich Investment Real Estate Partners based out of Los Angeles, CA.

1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?
I specialize in commercial investment transactions in the Greater Los Angeles area; with further focus in the West Los Angeles submarkets including Beverly Hills, Westwood, Brentwood, Santa Monica, Palms, West Hollywood, and Pico-Robertson.  Additionally I’m part of a team with our Managing Partner Dan Baird and Advisor Michael Chang that collectively specializes in the areas including Downtown LA, Koreatown/Mid-Wilshire, Hollywood, and the San Fernando Valley.

My prime focus is representing clients in the acquisition and disposition of apartment buildings, sourcing real estate investment opportunities, marketing properties, negotiating contracts, financial and market analysis, 1031 exchanges, and escrow management.  Furthermore, I’m proficient in property management and am currently overseeing multi-family units in West Hollywood.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?
Improve your social media presence on LinkedIn.  Have a strong profile with a professional photo along with your skills and experience, links to your Sperry Van Ness Bio, personal website, etc.  Add two or more connections weekly, and devote thirty minutes a week to posting off market deals, joining groups, and sharing news articles and personal updates with your sphere of influence, clients and related industry connections.  It’s a great way to add value to the relationship and helps illustrate you are an expert in your market and product type!

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?
Two Words: Constant Contact.  A good email marketing campaign is now more effective than a good call.  I’m not saying that cold and warm calling isn’t a huge part of our business, but if you can get the information to your entire client database in two seconds, and let them come back to you for more information, you’ve immediately determined who the top candidates are for the deal without having to make 2,500 calls.  If your deal doesn’t get sold from the “first responders” you can still make those calls.

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?
“Getting To Yes” by Roger Fisher and William Ury. Bottom line, it’s all about negotiating the coveted “win-win” scenario and based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project, a group that deals continually with all levels of negotiation, conflict resolution from domestic business to international.

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?
I worked on several seasons of the acclaimed reality television show Survivor, helping to produce the Challenges and Rewards.  You can’t imagine how much time, effort, manpower, money, coordination and government support is required to make a hit television show, especially in China, where I lived for three months while on set.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

SVN/Miller Commercial Real Estate Lends a Helping Hand

Members if the SVN/Miller Commercial Real Estate team assisting in the renovation of the Hope and Life Outreach in Salisbury, MD.
Members if the SVN/Miller Commercial Real Estate team assisting in the renovation of the Hope and Life Outreach in Salisbury, MD.

The members of Sperry Van Ness/Miller Commercial Real Estate, based out of Salisbury, MD, were among the groups and individuals around the country who volunteered on October 26 for National Make a Difference Day. The team helped to make a positive difference in other’s lives by making improvements at the Hope and Life Outreach (HALO) emergency shelter. SVN/Miller supplied paint and many volunteers.

“We brought a whole crew of office members and some of their family and put some paint on the wall to spruce it up,” said Nicole Abresch, 25, marketing director for Sperry Van Ness/Miller Commercial Real Estate. “We just wanted to give back to an organization that does so much for the less fortunate in the community.”


*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.


5 for Friday with Steve Rodgers of Sperry Van Ness/Norris Commercial Group, LLC

Steve Rodgers, CCIM, SVN/Norris Commercial Group, LLC
Steve Rodgers, CCIM, SVN/Norris Commercial Group, LLC

This week, our 5 for Friday features Steve Rodgers, CCIM, Director of PM Services with SVN/Norris Commercial Group, LLC

 1.   What is your geographic market and product specialty?
My geographic market consists of the entire Central Texas region including the cities of San Antonio, New Braunfels, Austin, San Marcos, and Seguin. I work in several product types including Retail, Office, Medical Office, and Industrial with a focus on Property Management.

2.  What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?
The latest best practice tip that I have found valuable in my day-to-day routine is the adoption of the Google Suite of products offered through SVN, specifically Google Drive. It has enabled me to be completely mobile without sacrificing my productivity.

3.  What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?
The biggest change for me in how I run my business is, again, the use of online or cloud-based resources.

4.   What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?
“Build the Fort…Today” by Jim Kern. Dr. Kern spoke at a Leadership retreat I attended a couple of weeks ago. It is very motivational.

5.    What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?
Twenty-five years ago, I saw my future wife standing by the flag pole at Sharyland High School. She was a sophomore and I was a Senior. We married 8 years later (after nursing school and college) and now have two boys, 15 and 11.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

5 for Friday with Steve Martin of Sperry Van Ness/Martin Commercial Group

This week, our 5 for Friday features Steve Martin, CCIM, CPM, Managing Director with SVN/Martin Commercial Group.

Steve Martin, CCIM, CPM, Managing Director, SVN/Martin Commercial Group
Steve Martin, CCIM, CPM, Managing Director, SVN/Martin Commercial Group

 1.   What is your geographic market and product specialty?
We have two offices with one in Evansville, IN and the other in Indianapolis, IN. Our geographic market is primarily from Indianapolis to Evansville, IN through Western KY down to Nashville, TN. My product specialty is apartments although my team does a fair amount of NNN in our as well.

2.  What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?
Keep your technology simple and yet effective. I love technology and yet it is easy for technology lovers, like myself, to look at the capabilities and forget about the difficulty of implementing it when multiple people are involved. The biggest challenge is learning how to effectively use technology to improve our business instead of using it because it is the latest and greatest gadget. We are working hard this year to make our technology effective but simple for our team’s success.

3.  What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?
There are two major changes for me. First, I have become a firm believer in Richard Flint’s mantra, “Behavior Never Lies”. Whether it’s clients, employees, advisors, friends, family or just “people”, I have changed my approach to business by watching their behavior more and listening to their spin less.

Secondly, we are changing to a much more collaborative accountable & mobile organization and believe we will be paperless by the end of 2014. This requires totally different management styles and business approaches than paper and filing cabinets has in the past.

4.   What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?
I have a “Mastermind Group” of people of a similar age with many of the same business issues but in unrelated, non-competitive industries. We meet every month and always have a book that is part of our self-examination of the members of the group. We started with “Good to Great” by Jim Collins and it is a staple of our discussions and actions. It has paid great dividends for everyone in the group. Our current book is “The 4 Disciplines of Execution” by Sean Covey. It is likewise making a great impact and I recommend it highly.

5.    What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?
I have only had one job other than owning The Martin Group of Companies and it lasted 6 months after college & then my Father and I embarked on building an apartment development company.  That was 36 years ago and I am blessed to work with my father everyday for the past 36 years.  In addition, I asked my wife to fill in for us in accounting for a few weeks 14 years ago but I’ve never stopped her temporary job!  Lastly, our third generation (Alex & Andy) is now joining us in our Indianapolis office and we are most excited about the future.


*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.