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.


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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.

Office Spotlight with Sperry Van Ness | Property Investment Advisors, LLC

This week, our Office Spotlight focuses on Sperry Van Ness | Property Investment Advisors, LLC based in Birmingham, MI (Detroit metropolitan area).

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

A few of our key strategies that allow us to be strongly poised for future growth and should assist other SVN offices include:

  • Knowledge: We feel knowledge is power!  We have probably the best access to information in our Detroit and Michigan market than most of our local competitors.  Not only do we have data supplied by the normal informational sources as Real Capital Analytics, CoStar, LoopNet, SVN market updates and SVN training, but this knowledge is supplemented by over 25 trained local area product type specialists connected nationally with 60 other offices.  This is through our adjacent office “partner” Integra Realty Resources, one of the largest appraisal firms in our local market and the country.
  • Technology: We have a great toolbox of all the latest technology in commercial real estate – Tablets/Smartphones, commercial property apps, databases, BuildOut ™ (SVNIC is an enterprise user of BuildOut’s single point of entry online marketing and tracking system), SVN app (SVN Connect), etc.  With this technology, we can operate from anywhere and effectively market our services to and for our client.
  • Website: We have a highly active local Detroit metro and Michigan website with blogs, news and listings supplemented by online/real time Twitter feeds.
  • Social Media: We are active in social media with thousands of followers on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook (currently more than 8,000 connections). This provides the added advantages of  keeping us instantly updated with current market trends; providing great search engine optimization; and giving us an exceptional marketing tool for maintaining high visibility and close relationships.
  • Individual Visibility: We are highly visible both locally and nationally not only on the internet but on a personal one-on-one basis. We are members of  numerous local and national boards and committees, including individuals on our team serving as president of the Commercial Board of Realtors, as committee members with the Counselors of Real Estate of the National Association of Realtors, on the  boards of local and national CEO/business groups and the boards/committees of many non-profit groups. All this is supplemented with speaking engagements, publications, articles, press releases, and other outreach.
  • Connections: Our 40 years of strategic networking have led to us being connected to most of the movers and shakers on the local and national levels.  
  • National and International Access: We achieve national and international access through our association with Sperry Van Ness International Corporation (175 locations nationwide), Integra Realty Resources (60 locations nationwide), the Counselors of Real Estate (1,100 high level executives in most markets) and our national CEO group (80 locations nationwide).
  • Location: We are located in Birmingham, Michigan, which is a north-central suburb of the Detroit metropolitan area. Our strategic and central location allows us to reach most of the  Detroit metropolitan area in 20 minutes. That’s easy access to more than 4.5 million people!
  • Demographics: Being in the Birmingham/Bloomfield market allows us to be near the wealthiest individuals in Michigan. These are the people that can purchase real estate on an investment basis or CEOs and high level executives that can lease or purchase properties for their companies.


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

Enthusiasm! Motivation for us comes from liking what we do and liking the people we do it with. It has been said that if you love what you do, you don’t have to work a day in your life.  It is always exciting, for example, to deal with the top ½% of wealth in the population and work with them to achieve their goals, whether it is for investment purposes or helping them with their companies.  We have access to all the credentials and people needed to solve our clients’ problems and properly market their properties (e.g.:  Counselors of Real Estate (CRE’s) , CCIM’s, MAI’s, CPA’s, CPM’s, MBA’s, SIORs, etc.).  We pride ourselves on working and “playing” with our clients to achieve together what we consider the four key elements of a successful great life:  family, faith, business and social.


3. What’s been the biggest challenge on how you run your business over the last few years?

Our biggest challenge was the difficulties faced by the  Detroit market from 2008 to 2011. The auto industry was in the worst shape it had ever been in, impacting the health of  local businesses.  This was compounded by one of the worst real estate markets nationally.  Since then, there has been a tremendous turnaround in the auto industry and the area, causing a large potential of new business and many outstanding opportunities both for us as an office, and for our clients.  Now our challenge will be to close new business, which can take some time to finalize, and replenish what was previously a deteriorated cash flow.


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

Our SVN office’s intent has been to maintain quality not quantity.  We may not be the biggest but we are one of the best! As mentioned above, we use everything possible, including the latest technology,  to give the best service to our clients.  We subcontract out to specialists when necessary to reduce unnecessary overhead. We have adjacent office space with Integra Realty, which not only provides quality information and synergy, but great conference facilities, audio visual, printers, administration, copy machines, distribution services and a great professional office setting.


Sperry Van Ness | Property Investment Advisors, LLC    Birmingham, MI

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

Robert Pliska

Managing Director

Sperry Van Ness | Property Investment Advisors, LLC




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