A Statement On Ukraine from Kevin Maggiacomo, SVN President and CEO

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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.

Change

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”]

Mid Summer 2016 Commercial Real Estate Update

Discerning Solid Demand Drivers from Fads in Commercial Real Estate

As economic data suggest the US macro economy is just slowly growing, 1.2% annualized GDP growth for the second quarter of 2016 as a prime example, it is worthy to question the source of sustained demand growth for commercial real estate. Overall, commercial real estate prices are at or near all-time highs according to Real Capital Analytics and occupancies are generally near normal peaks. Thus, it is anticipated that many investors and market participants will begin or have begun to question where commercial real estate is in the proverbial “cycle” and if some form of a downturn is probable for the future. While it is difficult to forecast the future, determining whether present property fundamentals and pricing is a result of solid demand drivers or just potentially fleeting “fads” is highly worthwhile and more important for long-term investment decisions.

Demographic Waves Driving Commercial Real Estate Demand

In real estate, demand trends are ultimately governed by demographics. There are two major demographic waves that will persist for years to come. First, the rising of the Millennials and second, the aging of the population (also known as the Baby Boomer bust). While this is hardly a new topic of conversation in the real estate industry, some of its most primary implications to core demand seem lost during said “cycle” discussions. To illustrate why these discussions must be merged, a simple snapshot of 30-year-olds in America is presented courtesy of data from the US Census Bureau. In 1975, 71% of 30-year-olds had married, had a child, completed schooling, and had moved out of their parents’ house; as of 2015 the number of 30-year-olds meeting all four criteria had fallen to 32%. Further, this trend is worsening and not likely to reverse anytime soon. Now, given that data, consider where a rational person who is unmarried, childless, and potentially in school is going to live when they finally move out of their family home – clearly the answer is in rental housing. Thus, those analyzing the apartment sector without considering the impact of such changing demographics are more likely to see oversupply, when in fact the actual condition for some markets is undersupply.

Demand drivers - apartment buildingsA similar story regarding the aging of America can also be made using Census data which shows that the percentage of the population over 65 will go from less than 14% in 2010 to almost 22% by 2030. Now, consider the prototypical 65-year-old household; it will likely be childless (at least under the age of 18) with just one to two adults with potentially limited income. With a little creative analysis, it is apparent that the prototypical Millennial household (i.e., a single person or two adult individuals with limited income) is actually quite economically similar to the Baby Boomer household. Further, while not identical, both will have somewhat similar demands for real estate. Thus, the ever insatiable demand for multifamily, certain types of retail, and other properties seems far more logical when all sources of demand are considered. In short, apartments are doing well today, in both fundamentals and pricing, because they benefit from solid demand drivers; meaning those not likely to deteriorate in the short term and most likely to persist for the long term.

Finding True Demand Drivers Across Product Types

When analyzing all other sectors such as office, industrial, retail, and hospitality, it is equally important to assess how “solid” the demand drivers are for those sectors’ product. E-commerce appears very “solid” and thus its impacts on retail and industrial are likely to persist as well. For the contrarian example, consider trends in co-working, clustered work spaces, and other trends in office space; they may all end up being a “fad”, as they are not backed by a solid demand driver. Thus, savvy investors do not spend time assessing “cycles”, they spend time discerning true demand drivers from fads. Most, if not all, “bubbles” that burst are fads being discontinued. This includes the housing “bubble” of the 2000’s; the “fad” was mom and pop investors buying multiple houses just to flip, even though they could never live in or afford them as rentals.

To learn more about the current CRE market and economic conditions throughout the US, read the 2016 Market Outlook Reports here.

CRE Market Outlook

[bctt tweet=”Overall, commercial real estate prices are at or near all-time highs #CRE” username=”svnic”]

SVN Wins CRE Industry Award for Social Responsibility

Industry Peers Recognize SVN in NREI/IMN Awards

SVN International Corp. (SVN) recently announced it has earned a National Real Estate Investor (NREI) & Information Management Network (IMN) 2016 Commercial Real Estate Award for Social Responsibility. The inaugural awards recognize top performing organizations that exemplify the highest degree of business excellence and forward thinking in the commercial real estate industry.

The NREI/IMN 2016 Commercial Real Estate Awards are given for superiority in the areas of Innovation, Disruption, Social Responsibility and Social Media that have contributed significantly to the commercial real estate industry over the past 12 months. SVN was named as the winner in the Brokers: Social Responsibility category due to the firm’s qualitative and quantitative measures to enhance the industry’s image, give back to the community, improve society as well as promote diversity and the next generation.

Bringing Diversity to the Commercial Real Estate Industry

“This award is a testament to the importance we place on diverse thought at SVN, and more importantly, that the industry is listening,” says SVN President and CEO Kevin Maggiacomo. “In 2015 we rebranded with a goal of creating a Shared Value Network of openness, inclusiveness and innovation, which meant bringing intentionality to recruiting and empowering women, Millennials and minorities. By the end of last year, 40% of all new SVN franchises were minority or women-owned. For comparison, in 2004 98% of SVN franchise owners were male. Since then we have increased the number of women and minority owners by over 1000% percent. It’s truly been an incredible and rewarding shift.”

This year the NREI/IMN 2016 Commercial Real Estate Awards saw an unprecedented number of nominations making the final decisions no easy task. All awards are based on a system of nominations and peer selection. Winners, selected by NREI’s esteemed panel of judges, were announced at the awards dinner on June 13th in New York. By recognizing outstanding achievement in the industry, the Industry Awards hope to inspire innovation and leadership among participants, creating a meaningful annual benchmark that acknowledges and rewards excellence in the commercial real estate industry.

To learn more about joining the innovative SVN platform, visit the franchising opportunities page here.

[bctt tweet=”This award is a testament to the importance we place on diverse thought at SVN #CRE” username=”svnic”]

Recruiting Millennials: An Interview with a Talent Acquisition Manager

Tips for Recruiting Millennials

Patrick Church - Recruiting Millennials
Patrick Church – Corsica Partners

Recently our Chief Operating Officer, Diane K. Danielson, sat down with Patrick Church, Talent Acquisition Manager for Corsica Partners to talk about recruiting Millennials and attracting them to a suburban location. Patrick works mainly with a company located in Waltham, MA called Care.com. Care.com has about 750 employees total with 250 employees at their headquarters and provides child, adult and senior, pet and home care for over 19 million members.

DKD: Care.com is HQ’d in a suburb outside of Boston, is it hard to attract Millennials to the location?

PC: It’s not hard due to the quantity of people in the immediate area and the fact that there are a number of colleges nearby. While it’s difficult to get people from the city to come out, we’ve had success recruiting local college graduates, as they know the area and may still have friends there.

DKD: What workplace benefits do Millennials ask for that older generations don’t?

PC: First, they want to know about the company culture and growth opportunities. Then they want to know about team structure. Work-life flexibility may also come up. Even though most of the jobs at Care.com are traditional 9 to 5 jobs, people want to know there’s some wiggle room when life gets in the way.

DKD: I completely agree. I’m much more efficient when I’m not stuck in traffic. We’ve heard all the stereotypes, what do you look for to find the Millennial who can succeed in business?

PC: I look for curiosity and their ability to communicate what they’ve done and want to do. So many great people aren’t able to fully convey that in a resume, which is why referrals work. Depending on the position, we might also look for a consistent trend or theme of interests. If it’s not consistent, I want to know the story behind the changes. I especially like candidates who have taken an interest in something and gone above and beyond to pursue it. Internships help. We give a lot of credit to someone who can explain the benefit in a job, even if it was mundane. The bottom line is that you want to hire the person who has the ability to communicate something of value.

DKD: That final point is especially true in commercial real estate! Do you see differences between the different generations in the workplace?

PC: Young people today don’t want to just put their head down to work for 40 years and collect a pension. They don’t value the mailroom to office career path. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to work hard. It means that they want a different experience. Today’s firms can offer that. It boils down to a different work style, not a different work ethic. They will still work hard, especially for something they believe in. It’s just a different expectation of how their career path will flow. Part of that expectation does include flexibility. Millennials are willing to sacrifice a little in the paycheck to do something they like or have that balance. For them, it’s about compromise and flexibility.

DKD: How prepared are college graduates for the marketplace?

PC: Not very. Our colleges are not preparing graduates for the types of jobs that are needed in an innovation economy. College students are coming out of school with 90s and 2000s era business and marketing practices. They’re missing what’s really going on in the culture and environment today. This is a gap in the structure. They are also not learning the interpersonal interactions. The better applicants are those who have the intangibles. They can see a deadline and work well with others. It’s crucial that they learn how to deal with people.

DKD: Sounds to me that internships and customer service jobs are becoming more meaningful!

Conclusion:

Thank you to Patrick Church for a recruiter’s viewpoint. It sounds like he is seeing first hand a lot of what we’ve been researching and reading about the younger generations. In the commercial real estate industry, we need to look for:

  • Curiosity and the ability to communicate that curiosity and/or something of value.
  • Current insights and people skills that are not being taught in school (they will likely have had to pick this up during an internship).

Our companies are also going to also have to be able to lay out a clear career path and test out flexibility (not just for Millennials but for others, too). And, the bonus real estate tip: if you want to lease a suburban office campus and attract young people, make sure it’s in an area near colleges.

For more information about commercial real estate job opportunities, check out the SVN Careers page here.

[bctt tweet=”The bottom line is that you want to hire the person who has the ability to communicate something of value.” username=”svnic”]

Business Trends: Millennials Rejecting the Default

Millennials Are Rejecting the Default

… and It’s a Very Good Thing

We all know that Millennials are challenging our traditional work environments. But the big question is “why?” Why are Millennials challenging the system rather than assimilating like earlier generations? I struggled with finding an explanation other than demographics until I read a sentence written by professor Adam Grant in his recent book: Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World.

“The hallmark of originality is rejecting the default and exploring whether a better operation exists.” – Adam Grant.

Millennials are rejecting the default and it’s disconcerting, but necessary and in my view, a very good thing. When it comes to the work environment, Generation X, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation don’t just represent the default … we are the default. This might be why so many of us take this personally. Why are Millennials so eager and able to reject a default that has been in place for generations?

Two reasons: technology and societal shift.

Technology. Millennials are digital natives. They grew up with technology and view everything through a technological filter. They look at our daily lives and think “there’s got to be an app for that.” It’s ingrained in them to use technology to question, dismantle, and reconfigure processes. They are rejecting the default option in search of a better way.

Societal shift. Generation X and Baby Boomers actually know people who worked 40 hours a week for 40 years at the same company, earned that gold watch and retired at 65 to play golf in Florida. We also know of people who had pensions; who were protected by unions; and for whom a single breadwinner could support a family even while working for a minimum wage. This is the default.

But, Millennials are not part of that default. Retire at 65? Not if they are still paying off their college loans. Pensions, funded 401ks, or a home with equity for retirement? Not likely. Even if we set aside monetary limitations, people are living longer. Retiring at 65 is no longer that appealing or feasible for most. The default no longer works, and this is why Millennials are forcing us to re-examine everything about our work culture.

One example of this came out of our recent SVN Millennials Career report (How Commercial Real Estate Firms can Attract and Retain Millennials) around the topic of flexibility in the workplace. According to our survey, flexibility of hours and location for work was a top five “must have” for Millennials and in fact, more men than women cited it as an important factor when choosing companies. This is quite a switch from 5-10 years ago when flexibility was a “woman” or “parent” issue. To even mention the word back then would set you on the Mommy track.

But, what is driving this new quest for flexibility? Part of it goes back to the technology filters. If technology allows us to work wherever and whenever we want, why can’t we? If culturally no one is racing to retirement and the other default rewards don’t exist, why do we have to stick to a 9-5, 5 days per week schedule? Flexibility does not mean Millennials want to work less. In fact, most want to work more, but they also want to work smarter… and to avoid rush hour. When the default is sitting an extra 30 to 60 minutes in traffic, when you don’t actually have to… why do we?

It’s not about a different work ethic. It’s about a different work style.

That’s an important distinction to make; especially because that different work style benefits more than just Millennials. Opening up the flexibility conversation beyond women and parents is a benefit to all employees, whether it’s the single employee who doesn’t have anyone to help them drop off a car for repairs or wait for a furniture delivery; the Gen X’er dealing with aging parents; or the Baby Boomer who wants to take a brief career pause or sabbatical.

If you look around, the default no longer works for the majority of us, and this is why the Millennials’ rejection of the default is a very good thing.

Please visit our SVNICorp YouTube page to see my recent keynote to learn more about the how Millennials are challenging and changing how and where we live and work.

[bctt tweet=”If technology allows us to work wherever and whenever we want, why can’t we?”]

SVN President and CEO Kevin Maggiacomo Speaks at "Closing the Gap" Conference

Kevin Maggiacomo on Gender Balance and Shared Value 

In December 2015, Kevin Maggiacomo was invited to speak at the very prestigious Greene Institute “Closing the Gap” conference on achieving gender balance. Other speakers at the conference included New York Times Columnist Tom Friedman and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair. Kevin used this opportunity to expand upon his earlier TEDx talk about including everyone in the American Dream. In his latest talk, he connects his message of inclusion with a transformative and profitable business strategy based on shared value.

Check out the 6-minute video here.


We believe our success at SVN comes from growing our network by intentionally recruiting women, minorities and millennials as franchisees, Advisors and employees. We believe their proven, innate drive for openness, collaboration and success will give SVN a distinctive competitive advantage.  To view new career opportunities visit our Careers Page. If you are interested in learning more about how your firm can join as a franchise, visit our Franchise Sales Page.

SVN Annual Conference 2016: Highlights From San Diego

My Top 4 Moments from the SVN Annual Conference

The 2016 SVN Annual Conference was easily the best reason to miss class. As a college student and the youngest member of the SVNIC team, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to San Diego, California for a three-day commercial real estate extravaganza: #SVN2016. The SVN Annual Conference, held in the Westin San Diego, proved to be the highlight of my entire year working at Sperry Van Ness International Corporation (so far). As you can probably tell, it was difficult for me to narrow down what I thought were the best parts of the event. While I’m sure everyone had a different set of high points, here are mine:

1. Kevin Maggiacomo’s Opening Address

Kevin Maggiacomo
Kevin Maggiacomo, SVNIC CEO & President.

SVNIC CEO & President Kevin Maggiacomo kicked off the conference talking about transparency, shared values and supporting women. As it always has, the commercial real estate industry currently lacks diversity, particularly in terms of including and promoting the interests of women – SVN aims to change this. As quoted in the Globe St. article about him, Maggiacomo says: “Having more successful women on our teams will make all of us more successful and generate exponential value and more profits.” Personally, as a college student interested in business, I was particularly interested in how hiring gender-inclusive talent as well as transparency across the organization (i.e., openly sharing fees with the entire brokerage community) can result in higher profits. As I better understood from Kevin’s opening speech, implementing a shared value strategy enables Advisors to have even more “meaningful conversations.” Kevin wants Advisors to strive to have five “real” conversations per day… every day. This is something that even us interns can try.

2. Advisor Headshot Session

SVN Annual Conference 2016 Poolside Roof Deck
The background: San Diego buildings and sunshine.

The 400+ SVN Advisors and staff from across the U.S., Canada, and Russia probably didn’t expect to have a professional photographer waiting for them at the hotel poolside – on the first full day of the conference. With the help of two extremely resourceful SVNIC assistants (yes, I was one of them), the photographer shot hundreds of new professional headshots for over 150 SVN Advisors and staff within that one day. Not only did dozens of SVN Advisors receive complimentary up-to-date professional headshots to help market themselves and their businesses – it was also an unexpected networking event. I met so many members of the SVN organization while helping them get ready for their photoshoots, and I’m happy to say I have 150 new friends.

3. Diane Danielson’s Business Trends Talk

Diane Talk – Annual Conference 2016
Diane updates the full house of SVN Advisors.

Yes, Diane Danielson is my boss, so at the risk of sounding biased, I’ll say it anyway: she nailed it. Her talk, which focused largely on Millennials (me!) was spot-on. We want flexibility in work hours and location, a clear path for advancement, a conscious capitalist mission, but we still want to work hard. It seems like Millennials are often accused of being lazy, self-absorbed, and all around not the sort of people cut out for the corporate environment that their Silent Generation, Baby Boomer, and older Generation X parents worked hard to cultivate. In her talk, Diane shattered this stereotype about my generation by emphasizing our desire for efficiency. While the business trends discussed spanned more than just Millennial issues, this part of Diane’s speech resonated most with me because as a Millennial, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Click here to see a video of the full talk.

4. Specialty Awards

Everyone likes winning awards. If you don’t, I kind of think you’re lying. What makes the SVN Specialty Awards so wonderful is that they recognize more than just good Commercial Real Estate Advisors – they recognize good people. The awards – which included Team Player of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Collaborator of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Prospector of the Year, Innovator of the Year, and Firm of the Year – looked beyond production results and instead focused on culture. The winners of this year’s SVN Specialty Awards each embody traits that the SVN culture values immensely: practicing collaboration, cooperation and conscious capitalism while excelling in commercial real estate. Yes, numbers don’t lie. But neither do the people – all members of the SVN organization were invited to nominate individuals for the SVN Specialty Awards. This year’s winners are a group of SVN Advisors and Managing Directors who motivate and inspire me and countless others to strive for excellence in every sense of the word. In case you were curious, here are the winners:

There you have it – my top highlights from the 2016 SVN Annual Conference. I’m sorry, professors – the experience I gained from my three days outside of class was worth its weight in California gold.

For other SVN Annual Conference news, check out the SVN Blog for additional content.

[bctt tweet=”I’m sorry, professors – the experience I gained from my three days outside of class was worth it. #SVN2016 #CRE”]

 

The SVN Gen Y CRE Report on Attracting Millennial Talent

The Survey Results Are In – Millennial CRE Is Our Future

In the Fall of 2015, Sperry Van Ness International Corp. (SVNIC) surveyed over 325 Millennials (born between 1980 and 1995) in the United States, Canada and South America about careers, specifically asking about commission-based jobs and what they are looking for in future employers. With the oldest members of Generation Y moving into the upper echelons of their respective fields, a discussion about Millennial real estate careers is as timely as ever.

Why You Should Care About Millennials in CRE

The commercial real estate (CRE) industry has been around since small-time businesses first opened their doors; and it will continue to be around as long as there is commerce. Yet, the industry, which was hit hard during the last recession, has an aging employee base. For a full five-year period (2008-2013), commercial real estate was not a lucrative career option for many licensed brokers, and especially not attractive to younger professionals. This means that the CRE industry needs to work harder to attract and cultivate the top talent of tomorrow, or risk an industry brain drain.

The Millennial Commercial Real Estate Career Study conducted by SVNIC (“The SVN® Study”) attempts to answer how an industry led by a majority of white males, many of whom began their careers before the Internet was open to commerce, can attract diverse young men and women. In commercial real estate offices run by Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation, the Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are often operating under a completely different paradigm. It’s not just about the technology, but how their access to the world through that technology has changed expectations of what is desirable in a work environment. Millennials are still as ambitious as any generation that came before, but to capture the attention of the best and the brightest, commercial real estate companies need to make a few changes.

Interested? There’s More…

SVNIC COO Diane Danielson summarized the survey findings in this brand new report. Download the entire Millennial CRE Report E-book here.


[bctt tweet=”The CRE industry needs to work harder to attract top talent or risk an industry brain drain.”]