Friday, January 15, 2021

Random Thoughts to Begin 2021

Happy New Year, dear readers! With 2020 firmly in the rear view mirror and my “prediction column” completed a few weeks ago - today, my thoughts are random. Why limit the topics? So here are a few of the tidbits echoing in my dome. 
The Pandemic brought into focus a reality for me. As commercial real estate practitioners we have two things to share - our time and our information! Make them count. Working remotely - and without a commute - allowed me to find a couple of hours each day for productive activities. 

Our time. Each of us has the same amount of time - 24 hours a day, 365 days per year for a total of 8544 hours - to ply our trade. Don’t forget, we must eat, sleep, hang out with our families and enjoy some leisure activities. If you’re like most of us, your labor is compressed into 8-12 hours every day. Tenure in the business is not a predictor. Many veteran CRE pros spend over half their days brokering commercial real estate. But, certainly, if you’re new to the business - plan on starting early and staying late. I personally start my day with a 4:30 wake up! The key is HOW your time is spent because once it’s gone - you don’t get any more. So, I would suggest computing your hourly worth. Simply set a revenue goal for next year, compute how many hours you plan to work and do some math. You’ll arrive at a figure. Surprising, huh? Now. Only spend time on tasks that will return that hourly wage. If your hourly is $200 and filing brochures consumes your day - hmmm. Conversely, calling owners of 100,000 sf buildings and getting to know them - pays the wage. Learn to be quite stingy with your hours and invest them wisely. 
Information. CoStar, LoopNet, Reonomy, ProspectNow, Catylist, and other data aggregators have commoditized CRE data. Doubt what I say? I can open my CoStarGo app and pull a list of availabilities anywhere in the US. A quick review of comps and I am familiar with values. Is ownership mostly institutional? Reonomy and ProspectNow detail the answer. You may be wondering - where does the broker fit in? Exactly! What differentiates is the analysis of the data and the ”story” of the deals in the area. Only an agent, entrenched in the market, can recite this detail and add real value to owners and occupants. So, master your command of the data! Learn the trends, become conversant with prices, know every building, understand the drivers, meet the influencers. Dominate your geography and become the resident expert. Through specialization - product type, geographical area, square footage, or business genre - can you achieve this level of competence. 
If you learn to master your data and manage your time you can enjoy a long successful career!
Goal setting. I invested in professional coaching in 2018 and have continued. The results have been transformational! As I write this column - I’m also completing a comprehensive look at 2020. What worked, what didn’t and why. This reflection will morph into 3-5 SMART goals for 2021. If you’re unfamiliar with SMART goals - as you know, I love acronyms - the letters abbreviate Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timetable. Thank you Michael Hyatt! I generally mix in a benchmark as well. After all, you must understand where you are today. 
Let’s make 2021 our BEST year yet! Shall we?
Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at or 714.564.7104. His website is

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