Big Commissions in Government Contracts and Bankruptcy

Editor’s Note: This blog post is part of SVN’s August focus on Accelerated Sales, and was submitted by David E. Gilmore, CCIM, CAI, AARE  and Louis Fisher III, CAI.

The commercial real estate market is always changing,  and each SVN Advisor should consider every area of possible sales and income. Following we discuss two segments of the market that most may not have considered but which often lead to big commissions: government real estate auctions and bankruptcy auctions. Following are case studies to illustrate how these work.

Government Real Estate Auctions: SVN Alta Commercial and UDOT

CASE Chet Barber, Managing Director, and Tia Shim, Esq. of SVN Alta Commercial in Salt Lake City, Utah had a client relationship with the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and heard about an upcoming Request for Proposal (RFP) for Real Estate Auctions. Chet immediately called in David E. Gilmore, CCIM, CAI, AARE and Louis Fisher III, CAI of the SVN Accelerated Sales Team to review the RFP. Dave and Louis put together an 85-page proposal illustrating the team’s ideas and qualifications  and  how local market experts, SVN Alta Commercial, would be integrated into the team. The combined team made it to the oral presentation phase and won the five-year contract to provide auction services to UDOT.

In the first six months of the contract the SVN Accelerated Sales/SVN Alta Team held two online events, offered 27 UDOT properties, closed 10 properties for $7.8 million, and had another 14 properties under contract for more than $10 million. And, the third and fourth online auction event are schedule to happen before the end of the year, and it’s only the first year of the five-year assignment.

Bankruptcy Auction: SVN Miller Commercial Real Estate’s Retail Client

Bankruptcy is a fact of life, and it could affect your clients. However, bankruptcy doesn’t mean that you necessarily lose the listing.

Brent Miller, CCIM, CPM of SVN Miller Commercial Real Estate in Salisbury, Maryland was the property manager of a Class A neighborhood retail center with national anchor tenants such as Outback Steakhouse, Chico’s and Talbots.

Once Brent was notified of the shopping center’s Chapter 7 filing, he contacted Louis Fisher and Dave Gilmore to make a proposal to auction the property for the Bankruptcy Court.  The combined team of SVN Accelerated Sales and SVN Miller submitted the proposal, won the assignment, then conducted a live auction with simultaneous online bidding in the bankruptcy courtroom. With four bidders in the courtroom and five bidding online, the auction began at $4,200,000 and quickly rose to the final sale price of $5,925,000 which happened to be $1,325,000 more than the appraisal.

The bottom line

SVN Advisors should be aware of solicitations and RFPs for auction services from local municipalities and states. They should also be looking for bankruptcy opportunities.

SVN’s Accelerated Sales team has recently won contracts with the FDIC, UDOT, State of Rhode Island, State of Louisiana Land Trust, State of Michigan, and 18 Bankruptcy Districts across the United States.


5 for Friday Double Header: David Gilmore and Louis Fisher of SVN Auction Services

We are posting August’s Five for Friday early to give you enough time to read our double-header! Since SVN is focused on Accelerated Sales and Auctions in August, this month we feature Louis B. Fisher III , CAI, National Director and David E. Gilmore CCIM, CAI, AARE, Marketing/Operations, Managing Director, who are both part of the SVN Auction/Accelerated Sales Services team specializing in government auctions and bankruptcy.



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

Fisher:  I’d give two main pieces of advice. First, choose a successful mentor to shadow. And second, learn the power to say NO to clients with unrealistic expectations

Gilmore: I also have two pieces of advice. Number one is learn good sales techniques for the real estate business. And number two is to hire a coach.


What does the SVN Difference mean to you?

Fisher: Collaboration, and ability to have doors opened to opportunities otherwise not available.

Gilmore: It means an international group of professionals collaborating and sharing, all for the benefit of the client.


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

Fisher: Attend SVN’s Annual Conference every year. It’s invaluable for learning and making connections.

 Gilmore: I recommend the Sandler Sales Institute’s books and programs. Sandler teaches you how to ask questions, find the prospect’s pain, and close the sale. And, get into a Vistage group.


What was your most memorable deal and why?

Fisher: It was a contract that came from the State of Utah Department of Transportation to sell all state-owned surplus parcels through a newly created online auction program with the entire legislature’s support. The development of this program has created a successful public and private partnership not ever seen previously.

 Gilmore: Mine was in August 2005. I auctioned an office building in New Orleans on Friday for $800,000. I then evacuated to Tunica, MS for the impending arrival of Hurricane Katrina on Saturday. On Sunday, I flew to Michigan to help Louis Fisher auction a $31.5 million former psychiatric hospital for the State of Michigan. Meanwhile, I watched Katrina flood my hometown. After, I lived in a casino hotel for three weeks while working on a $10.8 million auction in Oklahoma City. Both good times and bad times, but certainly memorable.


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

Fisher: I played two years of collegiate basketball, and never saw a shot I didn’t like or wouldn’t take.

 Gilmore: I have always had a desire to be a rock and roll drummer. When I was about seven years old, my dad said, “We can afford to buy you a drum or a set of shoulder pads for football.” I chose the shoulder pads. It was a good decision, as football paid for my college degree. Many of you that know me probably think I played too many games without a helmet, but that’s another story…..

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

5 for Friday with Louis Fisher, CAI with Sperry Van Ness Auction Services

This week, our 5 for Friday features Louis Fisher, CAI, National Director/Founding Member of Sperry Van Ness® Auction Services as he and his team prepare for the upcoming Q4 National Auction, a nationwide end-of-year online event sponsored by Sperry Van Ness International Corporation (SVNIC).

Louis Fisher | National Director | SVN Auction Services
Louis Fisher | National Director | SVN Auction Services

1. What is your geographic market and product speciality? 

My core product specialty is Government Contracts focused on 363 sales and auctions, as structured in the Federal Bankruptcy Code for the United States Bankruptcy Court, located throughout the country. I have performed services and successful sales in 21 different districts. Another product I service is State Court Receiverships which are often a prelude to a Chapter 11 proceeding in Bankruptcy.

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

There is power and reward in saying “No” to a potential client or customer when you are unable to properly manage their expectations.

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

Without question the biggest change has been the power of online technology. Today’s buyers are very accustomed to underwriting and purchasing assets online from the comfort of their office or home. The due diligence review process has also been made easier and less time intensive by the use of data rooms/document vaults. In terms of marketing and advertising a new asset for auction, online exposure has been extremely more cost effective as compared to traditional methods.

We were very aware of utilizing all available online technologies with the Q4 National Auction. We have set up a dedicated landing page for the event and Advisors and sellers can use this online listing form to submit assets for the event.

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

“Awaken the Giant Within” by Tony Robbins and “Winning thru Intimidation” by Robert Ringer.

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

I am an avid sports fan, especially college sports and love going to see games. GO GATORS!


Q4_Logo_FullQ4 National Auction Co-Chairman:
Louis Fisher, CAI

Dave Gilmore, CCIM, CAI, AARE


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