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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.

Endnotes

  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

RETAIL

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.

INDUSTRIAL

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

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?

 

 

Endnotes

  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.   

Macroeconomy

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.   

Multifamily

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.   

Office

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%.

Industrial

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. 

Retail

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.

Outlook

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.

 

Endnotes
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

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.”

 

Endnotes
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

CPE Features Latest Article by SVN's Solomon Poretsky, The High Cost of Inaction

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Solomon Poretsky, EVP of Organization Development for SVN International Corp., takes a look at the possible ramifications of buying or not buying a real estate investment property in his latest article, The High Cost of Inaction, which is featured in the Viewpoint section on Commercial Property Executives website.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

We know what it costs to buy a piece of investment real estate. But do we think about what it costs to not buy? – Solomon Poretsky

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][button size=”medium_rd_bt” t_color=”#ffffff” b_color=”#f47c00″ url=”https://www.cpexecutive.com/post/the-high-cost-of-inaction/” target=”yes”]Read full article[/button][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”9989″ add_caption=”yes”][rd_social_sc mb=”10″ twitter=”https://twitter.com/solpo?lang=en” linkedin=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/sporetsky/”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][rd_line color=”#e0e0e0″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Top 3 Things that Keep #CRE Leaders up at Night

Recently I was asked to speak for the Society of Exchange Counselors at their marketing conference in Burlington, VT, where commercial real estate brokers, principals, developers, owners and investors were in attendance. I have adapted this talk for the SVN Blog so that our readers can find out what I think are the top 3 things that keep #CRE leaders up at night.

I know, because I talk to dozens of #CRE leaders every single day that there are 3 things that are always top of mind.

  1. Deal Flow
  2. Growth
  3. Happy Clients

Today I am going to show you how SVN can drive a lot more deal flow to you and your local market.

I am also going to tell you some exceptional ways how SVN is helping our Advisors grow.

Lastly, I will share how the SVN Difference has proven time and time again that our model of open communication, collaboration and sharing of information not only within SVN’s Shared Value Network, but the entire CRE community, yields a 9.6% higher price per SF on average on deals involving broker cooperation compared to deals that are double ended.

How does SVN do this?

Well, with regard to Deal Flow – Our advanced technology tools and marketing platform help Advisors be able to automate processes that in the past have been manual, labor intensive and time consuming, preventing more deal flow.

Growth – We all want to talk about this and know it’s important. SVN knows it’s important to you… and how it impacts your bottom line. SVN helps drive this growth in various ways: through SVN’s System for Growth which is our online training program, our award winning marketing platform powered by Buildout, recruiting assistance, education, product councils, deal making calls, national and regional seminars and conferences and more. Outside of training and recruiting tools that SVN provides, I personally help different markets grow through the relationships I have and the global marketing reach of SVN.

Happy Clients – Everybody wants a happy client. I want happy clients – don’t you? SVN knows how important it is to create amazing value for you as Advisors and your clients so they want to do multiple future transactions with you again. How? It’s the people at SVN who put clients’ interests first – it’s our culture. We’ve found in an independent study that deals sold through broker cooperation achieve a 9.6% higher price per square foot, on average, than deals that are double-ended. SVN is the only CRE firm in the country that invites outside CRE firms and their clients to a live open sales call each Monday morning and I invite you all to join.

SVN join the svn live call-01

The SVN Difference is a difference that will drive increased deal flow, growth and at the same time create a happier client that will want to do more transactions with you and send referrals to you in the future.

[bctt tweet=”SVN is the only #CRE firm that invites outside firms and their clients to a weekly live open sales call” username=”svnic”]

Breaking Down the Elevator Pitch

In my most recent blog post 3 Tips For Delivering the Perfect Elevator Pitch I provided an overview on creating a succinct and persuasive sales pitch. I don’t need to tell you why having sharp and perfected sales pitch is important. As a commercial real estate professional, I network a lot. In our industry having that elevator pitch in your back pocket is a necessity of the game and one that can make or break your success in it.

3 Basic Parts

There are three basic parts of your :30 or less sales pitch: (1) Say Who You Are, (2) Say What Your Product or Service Is, and (3) Provide a Compelling Reason to Hear More. Below I delve further into these three areas providing my exact elevator pitch and how you can properly refine yours.

Say Who You Are

This shouldn’t be the bulk of your elevator pitch. Use the K.I.S.S. method and describe yourself in 15 words or less. For example:

Hi, I’m Karen Hurd. I am SVP of National Franchise Sales at SVNIC.

Say What Your Product or Service Is

Here you will explain what you are selling. After you introduce yourself, it’s time to introduce your product and/or service offerings. Instead of focusing on your skills, your elevator pitch needs to describe your company and the people you serve. For example:

SVN is a full-service CRE firm and the 6th most recognized brand in the country with over 200 offices covering 500 markets, including Canada, Mexico and Russia. We provide property solutions to Institutional, Corporate and Individual Owners, Tenants and Investors.

Provide a Compelling Reason to Hear More

You have to give your listener a reason to hear more. What does that sound like? Ask yourself, “What attracts your customers and their loyalty?” Be prepared to differentiate yourself from the competition. Look at the news, adapt to what is relevant and important to your listener. Revamp and refine all the time! Example:

One of the more compelling reasons investors work with us is because we are able to assist them with their real estate investment needs in secondary and tertiary markets.

Refining the Elevator Pitch

End With a Question

Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions and tell people about yourself as your conversation evolves. Maybe you are the difference why people want to work with your company. For example:

Is there something we can help you out with today?

Be Yourself, Sincere and Most of All Genuine

At the end of the day, everyone is out working hard to build their network. It is all about relationships, and how you treat people is how they will remember you. Be yourself, sincere, and most of all be genuine; these are very important, key things to remember. For example:

One of the compelling reasons investors refer business to me is they know I am reliable and have immediate access to market information in secondary and tertiary markets.

or

One of the compelling reasons investors call me is trust. I am reliable and get back to people in a timely manner.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice, practice, practice! Practice until you can introduce yourself and your business in less than 30 seconds, which is about how long most prospects will give you to grab their attention. Here’s my full 30-second elevator pitch:

Hi, I’m Karen Hurd. I am SVP of National Franchise Sales at SVNIC. SVN is a full-service CRE firm and the 6th most recognized brand in the country with over 200 offices covering 500 markets, including Canada, Mexico, and Russia. We provide property solutions to Institutional, Corporate and Individual Owners, Tenants and Investors. One of the more compelling reasons investors work with us is because we are able to assist them with their real estate investment needs in secondary and tertiary markets. Is there something I can help you out with today?

However you spin it, practice it on someone until it sticks! Once you get your general pitch down, remember to then adapt it to your audience. In a situation when I address a principal of a brokerage or property management firm, I say something different than the previous version I shared.

My name is Karen Hurd. I am SVP of National Franchise Sales at SVNIC. SVN is a full service CRE firm with 200 offices covering 500 markets across the country including Canada, Mexico, and Russia. I focus on the strategic growth and development of the brand here in the US. I help owners of brokerage and property management firms achieve growth in their business. I do that by empowering our business owners with some of the most advanced tools, technologies, and training available in the industry today. Do you know anyone looking to change firms or who wants to own their own firm?

The Best Advice I Have Received

As you are out in the market every day meeting new prospects and relationship building, keep in mind these tried and true tips that I have received over the years.

  • First impressions make a difference…be prepared! Handshake, smile.
  • Make the focus on the person across from you, not yourself. Listen.
  • Call to action: Advancement vs. Continuation…Before you exit your mini-interview, ask people to take the action you want.
  • You won’t connect with everyone – know when to bow out.
  • Send a follow-up thank you in a timely manner.
  • Set up 30-minute coffee meetings and leave it at that…time is precious. If you know your prospect better, offer to buy them lunch.
  • Be prepared for your next meeting. Do your research.
  • Stay in touch. Keep up a good CRM system.
  • If you read something or have a newsworthy item, send it along.

It’s About Them Not You

Lastly, you always want to be able to learn as much as you can about the person you are speaking with so eventually you will be able to help further the goals of that individual. How you can help them? THEM not YOU. When you start thinking this way, your questioning and whole persona are genuine: Always be genuine and the person across from you will sense this. I believe and have found this is how you build credibility, rapport and trust. Happy pitching!

[bctt tweet=”In the #CRE industry having that elevator pitch in your back pocket is a necessity of the game” username=”svnic”]

SVN CEO Recognized as Top Commercial Real Estate Leader

Kevin Maggiacomo Named as a Best CRE Boss for Promoting Diversity

Kevin Maggiacomo Best CRE BossIn case you missed the July issue of Real Estate Forumthe magazine recently announced SVN International Corp. President and CEO Kevin Maggiacomo has been named a 2016 Best CRE Boss for his efforts promoting diversity throughout the commercial real estate industry. The annual awards recognize inspirational and innovative CRE company leaders who exhibit ambition, financial prowess and people skills while also leading by example.

Chosen from over 100 highly qualified nominees, each featured leader was given a title that best corresponds with the individual’s leadership qualities, professional reputation and presence in the industry. Maggiacomo was selected as a 2016 Best CRE Boss in “The Diversifier” category for his continued dedication to improving gender and ethnic diversity in both SVN and the industry overall.

“We place a very high importance on diverse thought at SVN; it is a message we consistently communicate loud and clear,” says SVN President and CEO Kevin Maggiacomo. “Being recognized as a diversifier shows me that the industry is listening, and that a much-needed shift toward gender-balanced leadership and empowerment is underway.”

One of Maggiacomo’s main passions is spreading the message of diversity in leadership. Starting with his own company, Maggiacomo gender-balanced the SVN leadership team in 2014, has testified in front of the Massachusetts legislature on behalf of a Women on Boards bill, spoke on “Awakening the American Dream,” in his highly viewed TedX talk and most recently joined former British Prime Minster Tony Blair at the Closing the Gap conference speaking on the importance of diversifying leadership boards.

To learn more about diversity’s role in the innovative SVN platform, visit our Franchise Opportunities page.

[bctt tweet=”We place a very high importance on diverse thought at SVN; it is a message we consistently communicate loud and clear #CRE” username=”svnic”]

The Summer Season: Setting Yourself Up For Success

Summertime… and the Earning is Easy

When I picked up my kids from preschool, I noticed that just about every pair of snow boots was gone. (That’s right, in Minnesota, we keep snow boots handy well into May!). Summer is upon us. And, soon, you’ll hear people making the usual excuses for taking it easy:

  • No one does business
  • All of the clients are on vacation
  • I can’t make money

And they’re all untrue.

Now, let me be clear. If you want to take it easy this summer and can afford to, go for it. It’s your business and your choice. However, if you want to solidify your year and maximize your chances of going to Partners Circle, it’s time to buckle down. Think it won’t work? Well, let’s work backwards….

  1. December is, by far, the busiest month of the year for sales.
  2. Deals that close in December go under contract in September or October.
  3. Deals that go under contract in September and October usually get listed somewhere between July and September.
  4. Deals that get listed between July and September usually come from client contacts between June and September.

What does this mean? In brief, summer sets up the best month of the year.

Making the Most of the Summer Months

So what do we do about it? First, let’s face the facts. Yes, people are more likely to take vacation in summer. Yes, they’re more likely to kick off early on Friday. And, yes, some even spend the whole summer at a vacation home or cabin. So what?

If your client is someone who works for a living, they probably aren’t as flaky as you think. Call them any time other than Friday afternoon, and understand that they could be gone for a week or two out of the season. The rest of the time, it’s business as usual, especially if you have something good to talk about. Summer’s a great time for lunches at outdoor restaurants, playing golf with clients and the like. And if you have their cell phone, Friday afternoons can be a great time to reach them. If they’re heading to their cabins, odds are that they’re sitting in traffic and have nothing better to do than talk to you. While New York city traffic to the Hamptons is legendary, this happens everywhere – try taking the Golden Gate Bridge on Friday afternoon to leave San Francisco and get to Wine Country or going out I-94 or US 169 into the lake and cabin area in Minnesota north of the Twin Cities.

Clients who have more free time can be a little bit more challenging, but they’re still reachable. Believe it or not, cabins have phones, computers, and Internet connections. Furthermore, if you’re willing to make the drive to meet a couple of clients in their cabins, you might find that they’re completely different people. Wouldn’t you like to meet prospects that are more laid back, more open and more engaged?

In other words… Business gets done in summer. You just have to do it!

[bctt tweet=”In brief, summer sets up the best month of the year. #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”]

The SVN Commercial Real Estate Cooperation Report

The Commercial Real Estate Cooperation Report Changes Everything

SVN CRE Cooperation ReportIf you read National Real Estate Investor, or follow the SVN Twitter feed (@SVNIC ), you may have noticed a recent piece that I wrote entitled, “When Brokers Cooperate, Sellers Net More.” The NREI article made a bold claim:

Deals sold through broker cooperation achieve a 9.6 percent higher price per square foot, on average, than deals that are double-ended.

In other words, everything we say about the SVN Difference, about Compensated Cooperation and about our Shared Value Network… It’s true. 100% true. Furthermore, SVN has been right about it for almost 30 years.

The NREI article gives you a taste of the argument. If you want to see the whole report that lays out the full analysis, including the stories, end notes, charts and graphs, click the image to the right.

The Best Way of Doing Brokerage

I think the most important part of this report is that the industry has proof to support that cooperation is the best way of doing brokerage... which just so happens is the way that about every other efficient market outside of the commercial real estate world works.

Believe it or not, it’s the first time that anyone has ever done this. We worked with an economics professor to check our numbers, and he did a review of the academic literature. No one has analyzed thousands of commercial deals to see if cooperation works. They’ve done it on the residential side, but never on our side, the commercial side of the business. So, at least for now, this is it.

The CRE (Not So) Secret Weapon

The Cooperation Report is a powerful tool for brokers to use when competing for listings. It provides an arrow in your quiver to support the argument that you, a cooperation driven real estate professional, the way you do brokerage, is proven to earn a higher sale price per square foot. Bottomline. There is no arguing with that. Happy hunting.

[bctt tweet=”Win that listing with this (not so) secret #CRE weapon. ” 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.

Have Five Real Conversations a Day for CRE Success

Conversations Drive Commercial Real Estate Sales

Last night, I had to turn on my electric snow melting mats. Again. In March. So you’ll understand why I’m spending a lot of time this morning thinking about our Annual Conference in San Diego.

And what I’m thinking about is the challenge that our CEO, Kevin Maggiacomo, issued to everyone in the room: Have five real conversations a day, every day.

real conversations - lady on the phoneMany of you are reading this and thinking that this isn’t a challenge. After all, you talk to 10, 20, 30 people every day, right? As I write this, it isn’t even 7:30 am, I’ve already spoken to 3 people, and I’m not even in a direct sales position anymore!

Let’s look at what Kevin said one more time… “Have five REAL conversations a day, every day.” That one word – real – makes a big difference. A real conversation is one that you have with a person who is truly in a position to sign a listing, lease, or purchase agreement. Real landlords, real owners, real tenants or truly real buyers. To be clear, I define a real buyer as someone who already owns or leases commercial real estate.

And here’s another kicker… If you’re already doing a deal with someone and you have to talk to them anyways, they don’t count.

Now that we’ve narrowed down “real,” THOSE conversations are usually a bit more few and far between. So, if you aren’t talking to five of those people a day, starting to do that will revolutionize your business. And if you can talk to more than five (when I brokered, my goal was 10 and my average was 8!), you’ll do even better.

How to Have Five Real Conversations a Day

If you aren’t having five real conversations a day, you probably have two questions at this point:

  1. How do I find these real people?
  2. What do I talk about when I get them on the phone or in front of me?

First question… The real people are in your database. Anyone that you aren’t working with today is someone that you need to talk to today. And if you don’t have a database, there’s no time like now to get started (take a look at the first couple of lessons in the SVN System for Growth course on “Encyclopedic Market Knowledge” for help getting started). We can give you all kinds of strategies for how to strategically segment your database and build smart call lists.  But for now, here’s a simple three-step rule:

  1. Find someone in your database that you haven’t spoken to in a while.
  2. Call him or her.
  3. Repeat until you’ve spoken to five different people.

Second question… What do you talk about? Dr. Dotzour nailed it at the conference… Owners and landlords care about two things – will my building stay full and will my value go up. Anything that can impact values (or net operating incomes) or occupancy is fair game, and a great way to start a conversation. It’s that simple.

To learn more about how SVN can boost your brokerage skills and business, click here.

[bctt tweet=”Have five real conversations a day, every day. #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.”]

2016 Commercial Real Estate Market Outlook

As we progress through the start of a new year, I am pleased to share my thoughts on the robust 12 months past and to offer my outlook for the commercial real estate market in 2016. Before I do, I would be remiss if I did not thank the SVN Advisors, staff, and fellow brokers for their contributions to driving our market forward in spite of changing times. I know that I speak for all SVN Advisors and staff when I wish you a prosperous year ahead.

The Year Ahead in the Commercial Real Estate Market

Uncertainty Breeding Opportunity

After several years of increasing domestic economic expansion and an ever-recovering and ever-growing real estate market, 2016 opens with the return of global economic uncertainty as China’s economic growth moderates, energy prices decline significantly, and geopolitical threats such as ISIS, pose a consistent threat to Europe and the rest of the world. While it remains unclear how today’s macroeconomic conditions will impact commercial real estate markets, there are two scenarios. The first is that global market weakness will impact domestic financial markets, the second is that market impacts remain moderate and commercial real estate remains stable and continues to grow due to strengths in core fundamentals. We believe that the second scenario is more probable given the unique opportunities being posed by forces – like demographic shifts – that are proceeding independently of macroeconomic trends.

Manhattan - commercial real estate market
Manhattan, NY

As for the commercial real estate markets themselves, 2015 was an amazing year. Real Capital Analytics reported a total of $533 billion in sales representing a 23% gain over 2014, and the second highest level of investment volume over time behind the peak $573 billion in activity seen in 2007. Further, the Moody’s/RCA CPPI has given an initial estimate of 12% year over year price appreciation in 2015. These trends are more likely than not to persist throughout 2016 for several reasons. First, global pressures will have two effects:  One, keeping interest rates low (despite the best intentions of the Federal Reserve) and keeping foreign money flowing to the United States, a decent amount of which will flow to real estate. Second, fundamentals are strong – in fact, many markets in almost all property type segments experienced rising lease rates and falling occupancies for most of 2015 and are forecast to continue such growth. Third, new supply remains balanced with demand growth and thus oversupply seems unlikely. The lack of increasing new supply given the growth of rental rates amidst falling vacancies can largely be attributed to rising construction costs and relatively tight lending standards for new development.

What happens in the broader United States macro economy is far more difficult to predict. First, the decline in oil and energy prices is absolutely going to cause highly localized and specific harm to those sectors and in turn cause some level of harm to the real estate markets dependent on energy production, such as those in Texas and the Midwest. Historically, oil price declines acted like a tax break or stimulus package for consumers and businesses and the overall economy thus prospered; since the United States has significantly increased its production of oil and energy following the pre-recession oil price spikes, the effect is less certain today. High price markets like those found in the Northeast and California and parts of Florida are likely to benefit the most from energy price declines as it lowers transit and utilities costs and could boost employment via the stimulus effect.

Overall, we expect that the United States economy will grow more slowly in 2016 than 2015 while still remaining positive and thus avoiding recession. Therefore, we do not see any major risks to the commercial real estate markets as long as fundamentals remain relatively strong.

Investment Outlook

commercial real estate market - chicago
Chicago, IL

Commercial real estate investors who made acquisitions during the downturn are now reaping the benefits of taking such risks. Despite, or in fact, because of these significant gains, many investors and market participants are now openly opining on the possibility of a new downturn in the real estate asset cycle. We do not find such arguments to be very compelling for several reasons. First, many of the causal conditions present before the 2008 economic turmoil are not present in 2016 and are not likely to appear in the near-term horizon. The most meaningful indicator of a potential bubble or overpricing of commercial real estate is the spread between cap rates and underlying treasury rates. According to RCA, cap rates averaged 6.5% nationwide during 2015, while the 10-year treasury rate averaged in the low 2% range for most of 2015 and early 2016. This implies a spread of over 4% (or 400 basis points). Today’s spreads are significantly higher than those observed pre-crash where they averaged slightly below 200 basis points and even below 100 basis points for class A assets in top markets according to the commercial real estate economics researchers at the Lakemont Group. In summary, the market is not presenting the same risk/return profile observed before the 2007 peak of pricing. Further, debt availability is far more constrained post crisis with total leverage utilization down significantly (in fact, the percentage of all equity transactions in many markets is staggering) and therefore the risk of default is relatively low for most investors and deals. Thus, we believe pricing in commercial real estate markets does not represent a new bubble or other significant source of risk.

This conclusion is further strengthened by our belief that interest rates will not experience significant upward pressure in 2016. The energy sector declines and overall global pressures will likely start impacting GDP and employment statistics by the end of the first quarter of 2016.  The likely result will be the Federal Reserve slowing or even pausing further rate increases in 2016. Debt markets should remain open and active in 2016 as they did in 2015. If debt costs do not rise and fundamentals remain stable or growing (even if at slower rates than in 2015), it is not logical to expect price declines. In fact, we expect modest price appreciation for most markets.

Top Markets for Property Sales in 2015

(Ranked in terms of total dollar volume)

  1. Manhattan – $55.9B
  2. Los Angeles -$27.6B
  3. Chicago – $22.6B
  4. Dallas – $19.5B
  5. Atlanta – $16.9B
  6. Boston – $16.4B
  7. Seattle – $14.9B
  8. San Francisco – $14.3B
  9. San Jose – $12.5B
  10. Phoenix – $12.1B
Source: Real Capital Analytics

The list of top markets for commercial real estate sales in 2015 appears relatively similar to lists for the past 5 years with the new additions of Phoenix and San Jose. These markets attract institutional capital from private equity, REITs, and foreign buyers and have been the most competitive to find deals, especially with attractive yields. Overall, given the increasing level of global macroeconomic uncertainty, we expect these and related top tier markets to gather an increasing share of commercial real estate investment activity in 2016 as money moves to areas of perceived lowest risk.

Top Growth Markets for Property Sales in 2015

(Ranked in terms of YOY percentage increase in sales volume)

  1. DC/Virginia Burbs – 121%
  2. Baltimore – 71%
  3. Orange County – 70%
  4. Northern New Jersey – 69%
  5. Seattle – 68%
  6. Orlando – 68%
  7. Portland – 61%
  8. Central California – 60%
  9. Inland Empire – 58%
  10. Phoenix – 54%
Source: Real Capital Analytics

The above list of markets may present some of the best opportunities for growth and price appreciation given their relative strength. Capital is starting to rotate to these markets and further price increases may potentially follow. There will likely be expansion in cap rate spreads between primary and secondary markets in 2016, especially if foreign capital flows increase as predicted and those funds seek assets predominantly in only the largest markets. Thus, yield-seeking investors will likely find the best opportunities in the non-top tier markets (such as most of those on the list above).

Miami - commercial real estate market
Miami, FL

Beyond market, property sector is equally important in terms of forecasting investment performance. According to RCA, the apartment sector has been the top performer, up 38% from the peak (defined as Q4 ’07), followed by office, up 18% from the peak. Retail and industrial have lagged at -1% from peak and up 3% from peak respectively but performed well in recent years. We find it impractical to give overall guidance for property sectors on a nationwide basis and encourage investors to work with Advisors who are knowledgeable about each sector in their respective market as finding the best performer can be challenging. Industrial properties offer a prime example of such quandaries – industrial real estate in energy markets should face decreased space demand as that sector contracts in 2016. By contrast, industrial distribution facilities in areas of high population growth (like Florida) may over-perform as retailers shift distribution from stores to warehouses as online sales continue to dominate.

Trends to Watch

Perhaps the most discussed trend in commercial real estate in recent years has been the Millennials, the age cohort who are changing work and living arrangements across the nation. A relatively less covered demographic trend of greater size and perhaps importance is the aging population. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and analyses by the Lakemont Group, the overall population in the United States is forecast to grow by 11.55% in the next 15 years while the population above the age of 75 is forecast to grow 69.21%. In fact, those over 75 years old will represent almost 10% of the population by 2030 (those above 65 will be over 20% as well). While many real estate market participants correctly use these statistics to justify the need for more senior housing, there are actually many other real estate  opportunities to service this growing segment of the population. Market rate apartments with features and locations this demographic wants, can use, and can afford is one such example. Properties to house medical services and activity retail is another. We encourage investors to think long-term when making acquisition, disposition, and asset management decisions. This is one long-term trend that could shape demand for many property types for decades into the future.

Concluding Thoughts

2016 has started with higher levels of volatility in United States equity markets as a result of justifiably significant fears of global economic pressures causing falling demand domestically. While some investors are taking a fearful stance, we see a different outcome. It is probable that global uncertainty will serve to keep interest rates low and allow for growth of fundamentals in the commercial real estate markets and in the broader domestic economy. Furthermore, even in the event of a domestic economic slowdown, the global uncertainty could lead to lower interest rates and even greater inflows of foreign capital, supporting the domestic commercial real estate market (the current risk / reward proposition of U.S. investment is unbeatable).

Commercial Real Estate Market - Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA

If such occurs, it is likely for 2016 to be another strong year for commercial real estate transaction volume, net operating income growth, and even price appreciation; however, expect all to grow at a slower rate in 2016 than in 2015. Investors and property owners should be aware that today’s commercial real estate economy has little in common with previous downturns. As such, we believe that the risk and return profile of commercial real estate is still attractive in 2016 and is likely to remain so for at least the near-term horizon.

 


Follow Kevin Maggiacomo on Twitter: @Maggiacomo.

[bctt tweet=”We believe that the risk and return profile of commercial real estate is still attractive in 2016. #CRE “]

CRE Brokerage Firms: Should You Stay Independent?

Independent vs. National Commercial Real Estate Firms

To be, or not to be, that is the question…” goes the famous opening line of an act from the Shakespeare play, Hamlet.

That very same question is what a lot of CRE Principals ask themselves every day. “To Be Independent or not to Be Independent… and Be with a National Firm.”

The decision is not an easy one, especially for an Independent who may feel as though his/her niche in the marketplace would be disruptive to current business if they were to align themselves with a national platform.

If you’re someone who wants to buy and sell for their own gain and possible syndication, well, a national platform may not be the choice for you. However, if you are an independent CRE brokerage or property management firm that wants to step up their game and compete with the national players, then looking at a national platform definitely behooves you to take a little time to gather information so you can make a knowledgeable decision.

5 Factors to Consider When It Comes to Independent vs. National Firms

Let’s first consider the information that would allow you and your firm to make that informed decision:

  1. Technology: I know, I know. It’s always changing and it’s one of the biggest expenses an independent firm incurs. If not in hardware and software, in people or outside services. A few questions to ask are: “Does this national platform have the technology I will need today and position me for future growth without a seismic shift in how I do business or in training? Is it cloud-based or on premise technology? Will the firm help train, accelerate my transition to its platform? Is what I currently have working?”
  2. Financial: As Bill Clinton once said, “It’s about the economy, stupid.” Well, in our business some would argue it’s “Show me the money!” A few things to consider: “Do I see how this move to a national firm would enhance my bottom line? Will it allow me to reduce marketing expenses or greatly enhance my marketing efforts? Is my market demanding or is it asking for more of a national presence to be competitive? How can it help me with existing and new relationships? Can it help me do more deals? Can it help me recruit and retain top talent? And last but not least, what are the commission splits and what are the fees?”
  3. Personal: What will ultimately suit my business, my people, my family and my clients? What do the next 3-5 years look like in my business?
  4. Intangibles: What are the Unknown Unknowns? I like to call them the “unk unks.” To get this perspective, it is very important to talk to the current principals of the national platform you are considering and get a mix of their experience. Do your due diligence and spend a little time with principals who have been affiliated from 1 year to 5 years with the national platform you are considering. This is imperative before making your final decision. This will allow you to see what the “real deal’ is without all the marketing hype. “Looking under the hood to make sure there is an engine there” is necessary before your final decision.
  5. Why not you, why not now? – Only you have that answer…

Brand Identity and SVN® Commercial Real Estate Advisors

Last week I was asked by a prospective SVN principal: “I am concerned my brand identity will be compromised and I will lose the local flair with a national platform. What should I do about my brand?” My response: “I don’t know about that, we can talk about it; however what I do know is what I hear from owners of independent firms who were asking the same questions before they joined forces with SVN…”

SVNHere’s how SVN can address the Independent vs. National Firm concern, from the words of various members of the SVN community:

“With a national platform, we now harness the power of one of the industry’s 6th most-recognized names with the expanded reach of an international network of over 1,300 Advisors in over 500 markets. The brand has definitely given my firm the opportunity to grow my business and client base. I now sit at the table to compete with the other nationals in my market.”

“We now have unlimited access to industry leading-edge commercial real estate tools and technology that helps maximize our clients’ returns and saves us time and money.”

“We now have expanded visibility and marketing to reach the widest possible investor audience and access to a broader array of asset classes and so much more as part of a global network. It is the SVN Advisors that make up the difference…this is a global network where each person is committed to putting their clients’ interests first.”

If you are looking to “step up your game” – now is the time to gain information to help you make a knowledgeable decision so you are ready for growth in 2016. The best of luck to you with your “to be or not to be” decision!

Read more about Karen Hurd here.

[bctt tweet=”If you’re looking to step up your game – now is the time to gain information to help you make a knowledgeable decision so you are ready for growth in 2016! #CRE”]

Project REAP Promotes Diversity in the CRE Industry

Diane Danielson REAP advertisement
@DianeDanielson appears in Project REAP ad. Photo courtesy of @ReidBennettCCIM

Project REAP (Real Estate Associates Program) provides underrepresented minorities with access to the commercial real estate industry through classes and connections to sponsor firms and supporters. Each year, several of our SVN® Advisors and Experts participate as instructors and even recruit Project REAP talent. When Project REAP President and Executive Director, Gregg McCort asked if I could say a few words about why we support the program for an ad campaign, it was simple. Diversity is good business.

“The Sperry Van Ness (SVN) organization has always taken an innovative approach to separate itself in the brokerage business. As COO, I knew that repeating past hiring practices would not serve us in the future where our clients would demand greater multicultural representation. Sperry Van Ness International Corp. (SVNIC) supports REAP because it gives us access to diverse talent that more fully represents our prospective clients. More than promoting diversity and inclusion, REAP introduces our brand to accomplished professionals who can solve problems, create opportunities and open new doors. Investigate the benefits REAP can bring to your company. Because great talent leads to greater success.”

Diane Danielson, COO, Sperry Van Ness International Corp.

[bctt tweet=”SVN supports REAP because it gives us access to diverse talent that more fully represents prospective clients. @dianedanielson of @SVNIC #CRE” via=”no”]

I caught up with Gregg earlier this week for a brief interview. As a longtime supporter of Project REAP, the SVN organization stands to benefit from learning more about the initiative.

Gregg Mccort Project REAP
Gregg McCort, President and Executive Director of REAP.

1. What is Project REAP?  

REAP is a talent delivery system that links accomplished professionals who just happen to be minorities to the commercial real estate industry.

2. Why do you feel the Commercial Real Estate Industry needs programs like Project REAP?

Same as any other industry—the necessity to tap into talent resources that are outside the normal conduits of procurement. A broadening of the search yielding more productive results.

  3. Has the program attained the desired results?  

Very qualified success. For students and companies willing to dig deeper, to make the connection, to truly explore the possibilities of a CRE careers, yes. In terms of creating a significant change in the workforce profile of CRE, no. That is a longer term effort that will eventually require a sea of change in  thinking within the industry.

4. When and where are your 2016 programs taking place?  

New York and Atlanta in the spring; Dallas-Ft. Worth, Washington and Chicago in the fall.

5. SVN has been a corporate partner with Project REAP, but what can SVN Advisors and other members of the commercial real estate community do to support Project REAP?  

Promotion—of both the entity and the cause.  Increased awareness through the efforts of our supporters/sponsors can go a long way in helping REAP gain more traction and accomplish greater things.

Click here to learn more about REAP on their website.

How to Dress for Success in 2016 with Solomon Poretsky

The Unspoken Dress Code in Commercial Real Estate

There’s something I need to get out of the way up front. This article was not sponsored by the Dry Cleaners Association of America. But they’re going to love it.

As I’ve toured offices, here are some of the things I’ve seen:

  • Athletic shoes
  • Men without socks
  • Wrinkled polo shirts
  • Ripped denims

I haven’t seen these things in smaller markets where standards of dress might be relaxed. I saw them in markets where people dress for business.

And every time I’ve seen it, I’ve asked myself a silent question: How would that Advisor do if a conservative 60-year old client wanted him or her to come over right now? And I know the answer… Most of the time, they wouldn’t get the business.

Clothes Make the Advisor

Millennials Dress for Success
Not all Millennials shun traditional business attire. Pictured: Julia Taibl and Michael Malinconico of SVNIC.

You might say that Generation Y is changing the rules and making informality the norm. I’ll see you, and I’ll raise you Frank and Oak’s banner ads with a fully-bearded – and fully suited – Gen Y model. Add in all of the new Internet custom clothiers – who are clearly targeting Millennial customers – and you can see that business wear is ageless.

With perfectly adequate business wear available at Target and Costco and multiple discounts available at Macy’s and other retailers, it’s hard to argue that dressing for success isn’t affordable, either.

While this might all still seem a bit stodgy and old-fashioned, let’s think about what dressing for business every day means. It means that you are always ready for whatever comes. If a jacket is too much, you can take it off before a meeting. Same with a tie, scarf or other accessory. Long sleeves can even be rolled up on a hot day. It’s always easy to dress down. But it’s a lot harder to dress up on the fly.

It’s Smart to Dress for Success

And, here’s the really interesting thing…. Dressing smartly makes you smarter. Research now shows that formal business attire improves critical thinking skills (as does wearing a “doctor’s” coat).

Personally, I know that I feel crisper and sharper when I have a tie on. I’m able to work longer days. And focus harder.

To that end, if you’ve embraced a week-long “casual Friday,” I encourage you to think about starting off 2016 with a new, more professional look. You’ll look better, feel better and, most importantly, broker better. And your clients will thank you for it.

Happy new year, and I can’t wait to see you in San Diego for the SVN Annual Conference! Be sure to register now if you haven’t already. You know what I’ll be wearing…

The New Generation of Conscious Capitalism in CRE

Diane Danielson on Conscious Capitalism & Real Estate

Towards the end of 2015 Diane Danielson, COO of SVNIC, co-led a live interactive talk for NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association to fill in for SVNIC’s CEO, Kevin Maggiacomo while he was on paternity leave. For this event, called “CEO Insight: Conscious Capitalism in Commercial Real Estate,” Danielson teamed up with Joy Hou, Co-Founder and CEO of MREN to conduct a structured open discussion about what motivates individuals, particularly Millennials, to jump into the commercial real estate industry.

Diane Danielson, SVNIC COO on Conscious Capitalism
Follow Diane Danielson on Twitter at @DianeDanielson.

First off, what isconscious capitalism” anyway? Conscious capitalism is the basis of your bottom line, as opposed to CSR — “Corporate Social Responsibility,” which is more of a program. What differentiates conscious capitalism is the “3 P’s:” planet, people, and profit. At SVN, this translates to a specific focus on diversity of all types: ethnic, gender, generational, and so on. From a business standpoint, this approach opens us up to new markets and to new employees who can offer fresh and valuable skills and opinions.

As Danielson and Hou pointed out, members of Generation Y (“Millennials”) have come to expect companies to practice conscious capitalism. In SVN’s Millennials Commercial Real Estate Survey, (results to be released later this month) 75% of the Millennial men and women who responded indicated that conscious capitalism is an important factor when considering where to work. Luckily, this value that Millennials place on conscious capitalism has the potential to work as an advantage for the commercial real estate industry. Danielson explains: “Real estate is uniquely positioned to work with communities,” especially those in need. Projects like eco-friendly “green” buildings can solve a lot of problems within communities. The conscious capitalist approach is about “people first” — building not just for profit, but to better the lives of the people in the community. Emphasizing this side of commercial real estate could be one solution to the “brain gap” problem: with senior leaders in the field approaching retirement, the commercial real estate industry will likely face an employment crisis, Danielson explained. “Sometimes it takes a little extra effort to capture these Millennials, to capture diversity.”

Conscious Capitalism in the Millennial Workplace

Conscious capitalism is just one of the many workplace preferences that will become increasingly important as the oldest Millennials, who are now 35, move into leadership roles. According to Danielson and Hou, in the next 10 years, Millennials will be in control of the money, and as the SVN Millennials CRE Survey preliminary results indicate, the vast majority of them consider “purpose” when making investment decisions. Clearly, there’s a social element at play. Our SVN CRE Survey further revealed that the traits Millennials value most highly in an employer are collaboration and flexibility in work location and hours. Younger adults don’t necessarily want to just work from home, but it’s not always convenient to go into the office. They want flexibility, which today’s technology can easily facilitate, even in the CRE industry.

With the increasing demand for highly skilled workers in the notoriously lucrative technology industry, what can our industry do to compete for the “brains” to fill the looming talent “gap”? As Hou emphasized, when looking for new Millennial hires, employers should try to convince them that what they do has purpose. This means taking away that corporate mentality of “I say, you do,” which most Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are accustomed to. Instead, the Millennial mentality is about “How do we work together?” In the dawn of the Age of Millennials, collaboration is key, and as Danielson said,”when you change your mindset, you see opportunities.”


Listen to the full audio recording of “CEO Insight: Conscious Capitalism in Commercial Real Estate” here.

To learn more about real-life examples of companies that practice conscious capitalism, check out the book Firms of Endearment here.

[bctt tweet=””When you change your mindset, you see opportunities.””]

8 Problem-Solving Tips for Leaders from The Martian

Leaders on Earth and Mars: To Infinity and Beyond?

If you have read the book The Martian by Andy Weir or seen the Matt Damon movie version, you can’t help but wonder, “Would I be able to survive alone on Mars?” Fortunately most of us won’t be stranded on a planet forced to solve problems that have life or death consequences. But, as leaders, we face a number of seemingly insurmountable problems that need solving on a daily basis. Here are eight tips that can help us all become better problem-solvers – and leaders – at work.

1. Reframe the problem

The bigger the problem; the greater the anxiety. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially when juggling many problems at the same time. The first step is to stop thinking about them as problems. Instead, reframe them as challenges. This entails more than simply substituting the word, but seeking out the challenges within your problem. (Warning: SPOILER ALERT ahead).

In The Martian, Mark Watney, the main character, was traveling in a solar-powered vehicle across mars when he ran into a massive dust storm. This was an enormous problem. The dust blocked the sun he needed to power his vehicle. Instead of focusing on the problem, i.e. the dust storm, he found the challenge: he needed his solar panels to receive more light from Mars’ sun. By focusing on how he could get more solar energy, he eventually found a way to navigate out of and around the storm.

2. Break the big problems down into manageable steps.

Along the way to solving any big problem, there are always smaller steps. While it helps to understand and communicate the desired end result, focus on the first step. Steps are smaller and less anxiety provoking. For Watney on Mars, there was a point when he needed to find a way to get from one small airlock back to the main one. That was the big problem. But before he could even think about that, he needed to buy some time. The first step was to fix his Extravehicular Activity (EVA) suit to preserve his air. If he focused on the bigger problem and not the more immediate first step, he would never have made it.

3. Surround yourself with experts.

While Watney had a lot of time and problem solving by himself on Mars, whenever he had communications with Earth, he took their advice … at least most of the time. There were occasions when he went with his gut because as he noted, he was now the world’s expert at surviving on Mars. Regardless of your expertise, the best teams contain diverse experts who not only know their expertise but also their limitations. See 7 Signs Your Team is Functioning at Top Capacity for tips on how to build a team that works well together.

4. Science the sh*t out of it.

This is the most famous line in the movie (although it does not appear in the book!) and it applies to even us non-scientific types. The scientific method works by testing, observing and measuring; in other words, actual facts. Lay out a plan that helps you test and observe the possibilities. Facts are not as subjective; they help extract the emotion so you can handle the pressure and make the right decision.

5. Learn from failures.

If you are sciencing the sh*t out of the problem, that means you will be having one little failure after another. [bctt tweet=”Don’t dwell on failure. Reframe the failures as learning events.”]

6. Know when to switch to plan B

Any leader can come up with a Plan A and even articulate the plan to the entire team. A good leader will also have a Plan B in mind. A great leader will know when to abandon Plan A and switch to Plan B. This is never easy because a lot of time, money and resources may have gone into Plan A. Stakeholders may be personally invested in Plan A and leaders are only human and can get attached to their own plans. But if you are learning from failure and sciencing the sh*t out of it, it will be easier to identify when it is time to switch, plus you will have the data to stand behind your decision.

7. Be an optimist.

If you are stuck alone … on Mars … you need to be an optimist. The same goes for leaders, even when they don’t know the answers. If leaders are not optimists about their own businesses, then who else is going to be? Read more on 5 Reasons Why Optimists Make Better Leaders.

8. Keep your sense of humor.

In The Martian (book version) the astronauts’ psychologist opined that of all the astronauts to be left behind on that mission, Watney had the highest chance of survival, not due to his expertise as a botanist and engineer, but due to his sense of humor. In 2010, the New York Times covered research that connected humor to creative problem solving. As a leader, you don’t have to be funny. Trust me, if your team is under pressure, almost any chance to laugh off nervous energy is welcome. Humor is bonding. And it opens the door for the much funnier members of the team to chime in.

“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Do you think you have what it takes to be a leader in the commercial real estate industry? Visit the SVN Careers page here.

2016: Making a Difference in YOUR Business

It’s Almost 2016…

Which Means It’s Time to Start Planning!

If you were at SVN, you’d hear me present my tactical business planning call. And you’d hear our CEO, Kevin Maggiacomo, teach you how to do a strategic plan in 60 minutes.

I love business plans and I think they’re important. When I brokered, I created one, reviewed it at least once a week, stuck to it and measured results quarterly.

In fact, that’s the secret to having a business plan. It isn’t that you have it. It’s that you stick to it and measure your ability to stick to it. That’s hard to do. I know. You’re busy. Sometimes you get lost doing deals. And you might even forget about your business plan.

If this sounds like you, don’t worry. I’m going to make it easy on you. Go ahead and print this email out, because you’re going to fill in some blanks. Do it now. We’ll wait.

Welcome back! Now, please write what you need more of in 2016 here:  

  1. ________________________

Now, write what you need to do to get it: 

  1. ____________________________

For instance, you might have written “more closings” on line 1 and “more listings” on line 2.

Go back and add some numbers to what you wrote (or print this out again). For instance, you might want “8 more closings” and “11 more listings.”  Now put them together as follows:

To get the (1)_____________ I need, I will do/take (2)_______________.

For instance: To get the 8 more closings I need, I will take 11 more listings.

Now, run that one-sentence business plan by someone that you can count on – like a coach or your Managing Director. He or she can help you make sure that the goal is a reasonable one and that it can actually help you move your business forward.

Once you get it blessed, execute on it.

Here’s what I mean by “execute on it.” Every day, first thing in the morning, look at that goal and think about it. Then, do tasks that directly relate to that goal first and spend as much time as possible on those tasks – at least half of your day.  It’s that simple.

In a perfect world, you’d be at SVN and you’d create a big-picture strategic plan with Kevin. You’d also create a nuts-and-bolts tactical plan with me. And you’d create a one-sentence must-do goal. All three working in concert — with you at SVN — will give you the best results in 2016.

But, at a minimum, I know that you can do – and stick to – this super-simple one sentence business plan.

To your success in 2016!

See you in San Diego at the conference!

Sperry Van Ness is Now SVN

A Letter From President & CEO Kevin Maggiacomo

 

I have always believed the status quo to be the arch nemesis of great companies. Embracing the status quo breeds mediocrity and as brand leaders, our jobs are to disrupt that mediocrity and to achieve excellence. Along these lines, I am excited to announce an exciting change we are making to our organization.

Time For Change – The world is changing and so are we.

NewSVNLogoTo better reflect the company we are today, we are undergoing a meaningful and powerful change to our brand: Sperry Van Ness® has proudly become SVN®.

This change is built atop the shared value brand pillars — open, collaborative and transparent — that underpin our business model. Our new brand more accurately represents the company’s stakeholders. It also creates a strong opportunity for us to share our story – and what we do that is better and different than the competition.

Companies that seek out and embrace change are healthy, growing and dynamic organizations, while companies that fear change are stagnant entities on their way to a painful demise.  There is tremendous opportunity in this initiative and we are looking forward to continuing to roll it out globally over the next 12-18 months.

To read the full press release on the name change, please click here.

Sincerely,

Kevin

5 Tips to Perfect the Fast Pitch by Diane Danielson

Tips for Pitching the #SVNDifference

Last month I had an opportunity to speak at #DisruptCRE, which featured a number of commercial real estate technology companies seeking to “disrupt” the industry. One of the sessions included a fast-pitch session so that companies like Sperry Van Ness International Corporation as well as venture capitalists seeking to invest could learn about a company in 45 seconds or less.

Now, 45 seconds sounds like a very short time, but it’s still enough to convey a wealth of information. Out of the 20 presentations we saw, a couple of them stood out, not necessarily because their apps and technology were relevant to SVN, in fact most of them were not, but they had perfected their fast-pitch presentations.*

As Commercial Real Estate Advisors, we aren’t pitching new business tools to clients, but we are pitching our services and systems and often within short timeframes. In any presentation, we have only the first few seconds to make a good impression and explain the #SVNDifference. In fact, we want to see how our own Advisors do their version of a fast pitch in our #SVNDifference video contest (Click here for details; entries due by November 24, 2015).

[bctt tweet=”45 seconds sounds like a very short time, but it’s still enough to convey a wealth of information through your pitch #CRE”]

Here are a few helpful hints for delivering your pitch to clients in 45 seconds or less:

  1. Analogies work. If you are trying to introduce something new and different, then you need to give people a baseline. This is why Hollywood pitches always start out as it’s “Jaws meets Twister” or “Harry meets Sally online.”

SVN Advisor Tip: Be able to describe how you can organize greater demand for a property in words and/or analogies that your clients will understand.

  1. Tell stories. If you want people to remember you, your service, or your product, tell a story about it. Here are six rules for great storytelling. And, yes, a good presenter can tell an entire story within 45 seconds.

SVN Advisor Tip: Is there a story that demonstrates how your firm has used our Open Sales Call to create greater demand and/or to sell a property faster?

  1. Differentiate from the competition. Use your stories to illustrate how your service differs from the competition.

SVN Advisor Tip: This is why you need to perfect your #SVNDifference pitch!

  1. Be able to pitch without PowerPoint or props. In 45 seconds, your verbal description needs to stand on its own, no matter the product or service.

SVN Advisor Tip: Listen to the pitches on the Open Sales Call. Make notes on which ones are the most effective.

  1. Align with their values. What does your client value? Are they tied to the local community? What is their company culture or priorities?

SVN Advisor Tip: At SVN we value collaboration, local expertise, and transparent fees to drive demand. Identify clients who do the same, and the easier it will be to make your pitch.

One final reason to really nail the fast pitch is that even if the person making the decision is excited for your service, implementation is another story. For your client to make a change, they often have to convince a lot of other people to go along with them, some of who may be reluctant. You need to help them duplicate your fast pitch internally and that’s where the tips above can help.

Looking forward to seeing some versions of our Advisors’ 45-second pitches in our #SVNDifference Video Contest!

*Just in case you were wondering, there was not a bad pitch in the whole set at DisruptCRE, but the top 45-second pitches of the day were by Raisal, Building Conversation, and CrowdComfort. Great job to those companies and all the others who presented last week.

Solomon Poretsky Promoted to Executive Vice President

Key SVNIC Corporate Staff Earns Executive Vice President Promotion 

Sperry Van Ness International Corporation is pleased to announce the promotion of Solomon Poretsky to Executive Vice President of Organizational Development. Formerly the Vice President of Organizational Development, Solomon has been serving in the capacity as a member of the SVNIC executive team. In his role as Executive Vice President of Organizational Development, Solomon is responsible for helping to grow businesses at both the franchise and individual Advisor level. He develops and delivers commercial real estate training and provides strategic planning and consulting for both SVNIC and its affiliates. He also develops and implements SVN’s System for Growth online training system for Advisors and Managing Directors. In between traveling across the country to visit and train SVN franchises, Solomon is also a popular contributor to the SVN blog, where he shares his wealth of CRE industry knowledge.

SVNIC Executive Team
The SVNIC Executive Team (from left): George Slusser, Chief Growth Officer; Diane Danielson, Chief Operating Officer; Kevin Maggiacomo, Chief Executive Officer & President; Solomon Poretsky, Executive Vice President of Organizational Development

“Solomon has delivered an industry leading edge online and in person training system for Advisors and Managing Directors that is an essential part of our recent national and international growth and recognition,” says SVN President & CEO Kevin Maggiacomo. “He is also a key member of our executive management team that sets the course for strategic growth of the brand.”

Before joining SVNIC, Solomon was a partner at Custom Skills Development, a commercial real estate consulting firm that provided coaching, development, and training services to agents and commercial real estate brokerages across North America. He began his CRE career at Marcus and Millichap, where he was involved in over $1.2 billion of listings, sales, and closings as both an agent and as a regional manager. While at that firm, he also received their prestigious National Faculty Member designation.

In addition, Solomon worked on the instructional design of one of the world’s first online master’s degree programs. He graduated cum laude from Columbia University in the City of New York with a bachelor’s degree and earned a second BA, with honors, from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

[bctt tweet=””Solomon has delivered an industry leading edge online and in person training system for Advisors and Managing Directors that is an essential part of our recent national and international growth and recognition,” says SVN President & CEO Kevin Maggiacomo.”]

SVN COO Among Women of Influence in Real Estate

Diane Danielson Earns a Spot in Real Estate Forum’s Women of Influence Issue

Diane Danielson, Chief Operating Officer of Sperry Van Ness International Corporation was recently named one of Real Estate Forum magazine’s 2015 Women of Influence. In their July/August 2015 issue, Real Estate Forum highlighted 51 of the commercial real estate industry’s most distinguished and successful women, chosen from a pool of more than 350 highly qualified nominees.

Women of InfluenceOne purpose of the magazine’s list was to recognize the positive effects that a diversified management team can have on a business. As Real Estate Forum author Kristian Seemeyer points out, “In commercial real estate, women have long busted down the doors of the ‘Old Boys’ Club’ and are quickly filling up top decision-making positions. It may take some more time to achieve full parity, but this year’s roster of powerful female CRE professionals are proof positive that women are thriving in the business, and are paving the way for generations to come.”

Like many of the influential women featured in the Real Estate Forum article, Diane did not always work in commercial real estate. She started out as an environmental attorney in Boston before transitioning into various different roles within the local CRE sphere, including sales, marketing, and business development. Then, in 2003 she briefly left the CRE industry to launch her own company, the first online social network for businesswomen in the U.S. This experience in the tech field influenced Diane’s return to the CRE industry, when in 2012 she joined Sperry Van Ness International Corporation as the Chief Platform Officer. In this role, Diane was able to draw from both her CRE and tech backgrounds in order to design the company’s technology and sales platforms. She was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2013.

Diane influences the CRE industry on a daily basis by serving as a thought leader in our community. From her SVN blog posts to her social media tweets, Diane continuously offers valuable advice and insights as a woman who didn’t need an invitation to the “Old Boys’ Club” in order to succeed in CRE.

For more information on women in commercial real estate, download our report here.

SVN Women Minorities

 

[bctt tweet=”In commercial real estate, women have long busted down the doors of the ‘Old Boys’ Club’ and are quickly filling up top decision-making positions.”]