Friday, December 20, 2013

THANKS to Social Media...and #CRE REAL people!

I provide Location Advice to owners and occupants of industrial buildings in Southern California...AKA, I sell and lease commercial real estate for a living and have since 1984.

As the year closes and we wax philosophical, we are thankful for many things this time of friends, health, life, and faith...that great CRE year!

Certainly, I am grateful for ALL of those...but...I am thankful for social media this year and the way it's connections...with REAL people...have enriched my life and my commercial real estate practice.

The title is a double entendre (of which I am a fan)..."Thank You" for the engagements that social media has generated...and..."because" of social media the connections are much deeper!

I thought it would be fun to review a few of this year's social media here goes!

Duke Long lunch and meetings: Duke and I connected in 2010. I became an ardent reader of his posts and one day picked up the phone and called him...he is a real person! We continued to talk via the social media channels until this year when he visited SoCal twice! We lunched, coffeed, and met several of the Lee folks locally as 42 Floors was gaining traction. Duke was kind enough to pen this post about our time together. I am pleased to say that I made all four Duke Long lists this year! Brokers you must follow on Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs...and the coup de grace...the "Dukey"!...Top ten most influential CRE folks.

Coy Davidson dinner, meeting, and CREW OC presentation: I began following Coy in 2010. One of the young associates in my office recommended that I check out Coy's impressive social media presence. I was blown away! I realized that Coy was the "gold standard" for #CRE and social media and that if I accomplished one tenth of his social media visibility, I should be proud. Like Duke Long, I called Coy. Whattaya know...another real person! Coy and I share the state of our birth...Texas...and realized we had several mutual connections from his days at UT. We nearly made a deal when one of my SoCal clients was considering a Houston location...I called Coy. When Coy was asked to speak at the July CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) of OC luncheon, we had dinner the night before and I was one of only four dudes...the room was packed mind you, BUT, it was a women's only the room to hear Coy stuff!

Howard Kline (CRE Radio) lunch, radio show, Lee Summit and dinner: This is a funny connection...not the people, the circumstances. Howard commented on one of my LinkedIn shares. I watched Howard's interview of Lee's former CEO, Ed Indvik. We connected on Twitter. We attempted to meet. The problem was that neither of us bothered to figure out that we live ten minutes (approximately 15 miles) from one another! I thought Howard lived in New York and he thought I lived in San Diego...oh well, we made up for it. BTW, I should mention that Howard is a real person. We lunched, I was honored to be Howard' radio show guest, Howard conducted CRE Radio from our Lee and Associates broker Summit in Las Vegas and we had dinner together with our wives. Howard is now engaged (he is a practicing attorney, you know) to help a building owner of mine with a tenant collection issue.

Matthew Smith coffee: I noticed that Matt from REA was an avid re-tweeter of my stuff...VERY kind of him. I was headed down to Carlsbad for a presentation and called Matt. We met for coffee and had a great time. You guessed it...he is a real person!...starting to see a trend here? Matt and I are scheduled to panel a webinar together on LinkedIn in January...should be epic!

Bridget Williard lunch with Tom Riggins of Riggins Construction: Bridget was an early adopter of social media for CRE...before there was such a thing in 2009. As the construction industry suffered through its most difficult time in SoCal, Bridget found herself at a desk, with a computer, and with lots of free time (no one was building or remodeling any commercial buildings) so she decided to jump into the social media fray. Thousands of us follow Bridget on Twitter, read her blog(s), and learn daily from the Guru! Well, guess what?...yep...she is a real person! We lunched, connected with her company's owner, Tom Riggins and this creative post soon followed...sorry for the pun! I learned that Riggins Construction provides building inspections (pre lease or purchase) in addition to the construction work that they accomplish...a real "arrow in my quiver" of referral partners!

The News Funnel guest blog post: My thanks to Lindsey Kacher of The News Funnel and Funnel Cast! She actually called me and discovered...I am a real person! I was honored to be her guest blogger recently...and one of the 30 most influential CRE folks on Twitter!

Linda Day Harrison: Last but not least. Linda and I became Twitter pals last summer. She, like Matt Smith, REALLY promotes CRE brokers! Linda's theBrokerList is the foremost resource for CRE practitioners through the published "haves" and "wants" and broker profiles. If Linda doesn't re-tweet one of my tweets within five minutes...I start to worry that I goofed...she is THAT responsive and supportive! The ONLY reason Linda and I haven't met in person (she is a real person, I have the photos of Howard Kline and her to prove it) is geography...She lives in Chicago...maybe we will meet in person in 2014!

Have I made any money with this stuff? YES!...but the currency of engagement...with real the special gift I received this year!

I have several notable "real people" on my "hit parade" for out Barbi Reuter, John Orr, Bo Barron, Todd Stewart, Carol Stephen, Chris Clark...I may call you for a meeting when visiting a city near you.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

#CRE Social Media content "can be" fun!

I provide Location Advice to owners and occupants of industrial buildings in Southern California...AKA, I sell and lease commercial real estate for a living and have since 1984.

 A great deal has been written lately about "content creation" and "content marketing". Some of those folks are much smarter than I am and believe that content marketing is the new SEO for commercial real estate.

I believe that content for our stodgy, buttoned down, #CRE industry can be fun as well as provide helpful information.

Enter the Dave and Al cartoons that some of you may have seen on Twitter via #HumpDayHumor for CRE.

Below is the real story behind the Dave and Al cartoons along with some of my faves! Enjoy.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Fill a #CRE vacancy...FAST!...Here's how

I provide Location Advice to owners and occupants of industrial buildings in Southern California...AKA, I sell and lease commercial real estate for a living.

If you own commercial property, at some point you will suffer a vacancy. If you have the opportunity to "salvage" an occupancy, PLEASE DO! You can read this post where I define the cost to originate a new lease...the $$ are staggering! NET, NET, it is MUCH cheaper to maintain an existing occupant.

If you cannot salvage the occupancy, most likely, you will engage someone in our profession to find you a tenant or a buyer and represent your interests in the market.

So how do you find the VERY best commercial real estate professional for the job?

Gear your search around these points and your vacancy will be filled...QUICKLY.

Define your reality: Is your building vacant or occupied...and if occupied, will it be vacant during the marketing period? Are there substantial improvements that need to be refurbishment, equipment removal, major repairs...for your building to compete for a tenant or buyer? Are you a seller? Are you a landlord? How much debt is recorded against the property? How long can you "carry" the building vacant? Are you (or a company you own) the occupant? Where will you move?
What will be the showing protocol...lock box, show card, broker meets prospects at the building?

Specialty: Most successful commercial real estate brokers are specialists...location or building category. You wouldn't seek to have open heart surgery from an orthodontist. Likewise, if you ask a "big box" tenant representative that you met at your son's volleyball game to market your manufacturing building, the results will be heartbreaking (sorry, couldn't resist).

Generally, your commercial building will fall into one of three, industrial, or retail. Each category has a number of sub-categories...Office (high rise, mid rise, walk-up, etc.) Industrial (manufacturing, warehouse, flex, etc.). The size of your available space and the location are easily determined.

You now have defined the scope...Industrial (manufacturing), 30,000 square feet, in Anaheim, California. So, you are looking for the BEST commercial real estate practitioner that sells or leases manufacturing buildings (10,000-50,000 square feet) within a 10 mile radius of Anaheim, California. Depending upon the market (urban markets drive more specialization than rural markets), you may find one or one hundred practitioners with this specialty.

Comparable inventory: The specialist(s) should be able to provide a list for you of all of the similarly sized comparable transactions they have completed and the number of similarly sized buildings they currently have available for sale or for lease. This only tells part of the story, however. A specialist may have a number of listed properties but be an absolute tool (do you want this person attached to your property? Remember, this is YOUR representative).

Competition: The specialist should be able to provide commentary on the currently available buildings that will compete with your building and a number of "market" deals that have occurred (in addition to ones that the specialist has completed). Test the specialist here. Anyone can provide the list, but only someone intimately in the market will be able to tell you "why" the deal other words, what was unique about the deal. Ask the specialist to take you on a car tour of the competition. You want to be treated as if you were buying or leasing a building. This exercise can be very illuminating on the specialist's knowledge of the market and will enlighten you on how your property "stacks up".

Cooperating brokers: Ask the specialist (that you are considering engaging) the names of his/her main competitors. Call the competitors. Get from the competitors "their take" on the specialist's reputation, competence, etc. Remember, the specialist's competition may represent a tenant or buyer that will fit into your building. You definitely don't want to engage a broker with a bad reputation.

Creativity: Every commercial real estate broker can install a sign, create a brochure, enter the building in an MLS (multiple listing service), mail post cards, alert the neighbors, talk to the active cooperating brokers, host an open house...yada, yada, yada...what is the specialist planning which will create a unique marketing strategy for YOUR building?

Lost revenue from a vacancy can NEVER be recovered. The right commercial real estate broker choice can get your property leased or sold quicker...minimizing the lost revenue.