Investing in commercial real estate (CRE) involves a long-term commitment of your time and resources. And unless you have the immense wealth to enter the CRE market as a solo investor, you must also develop solid, long-term working relationships with the people who can help you achieve your goals, including your sponsor, broker or advisor, and other investment partners.
The primary responsibility of a commercial real estate advisor or broker is to provide sound guidance that best serves your investment interests. Yet investors often make the mistake of choosing an advisor or broker who doesn’t align with their interests. Here are some common pitfalls to watch out for as you navigate this important decision.
1. Failing to evaluate the broker or advisor’s communication style.
The most effective brokers and advisors are the ones who practice authentic communication. In authentic communication, all voices are heard and respected, and no party talks down to another.
You should assess whether your real estate investment advisor or broker communicates in an honest, transparent, and egalitarian way that inspires trust and confidence in their integrity. To effectively serve your investment needs, a broker or advisor should strive to learn more about your situation and your unique interests. Look for a professional who spends less time lecturing and making assumptions and more time listening to you and devoting attention to your needs.
2. Failing to recognize the difference between information and advice.
If you are new to CRE investing, you will have an initial learning curve to surmount as you negotiate a terrain of unfamiliar terms, concepts, and strategies. And as experts in the field, advisors and brokers have a wealth of knowledge that they can share to help you understand the unique complexities and considerations of the CRE market.
Nevertheless, you shouldn’t settle for a broker or advisor who merely recites market statistics or balance sheets of financial results. To give real estate advice that truly helps investors, a professional must draw from not only their data knowledge but their years of expertise to form sound judgments and opinions about the facts at hand. Only then can they recommend a viable course of action that falls in line with your interests.
3. Choosing a broker or advisor with the wrong client specialty.
No two CRE investors are exactly alike. They may have different market levels, capital situations, profit targets, and risk tolerances, all of which call for a different set of approaches from a broker or advisor.
For example, an individual investor with an eye toward middle-market acquisitions will benefit from a rather different guidance plan than one tailored to the needs of a large corporate-entity investor that reports to a board of directors. When considering a prospective advisor or broker, pay attention to their client list. Do they have proven experience advising clients who share your broad investor profile and market range? If not, you may want to search more actively for a professional who can offer a better fit for your situation.
4. Choosing a broker or advisor who lacks effective networking and negotiation skills.
The CRE industry depends upon the exchange of proprietary knowledge and the strength of face-to-face relationships based on mutual trust and experience. Because of this, it is especially important that you choose a broker or advisor who has forged a solid network of professional connections that they can draw upon for resources, support, and insights.
A broker who has deep roots in the local CRE community will be highly attuned to the current conditions of the market, as well as the important nuances and relationship dynamics that inform interactions between different parties including sponsors, investors, tenants, and other brokers. Ideally, a broker with strong connections and savvy interpersonal skills will be well-positioned to negotiate a fair deal that works in your favor.
Similarly, a well-connected advisor can provide you with sound guidance and referrals to other CRE professionals who have a proven track record and are highly regarded in the industry.
5. Choosing an advisor or broker based on their affiliation with a reputable brand.
Though it might seem like a safe bet to place your trust in a large, well-known CRE firm, doing so may not necessarily serve your best interests. A large firm with brand recognition certainly inspires respect, but may offer standardized solution packages that don’t adequately address the specific needs of investors.
When looking for a CRE professional to play a critical role in your investment strategy, you will benefit by performing the research and due diligence required to find an advisor or broker who is truly a good fit for you. A catch-all or one-size-fits-all solution is no substitute for a professional who can tailor their approach to your unique interests, needs, and goals.
To find the right CRE professional, you must first clearly define your own investment interests, needs, and goals. Then you can carefully research and interview promising candidates to secure an advisor or broker who will be aligned with your investment strategy and put your interests first.
This search process may take some time, but it’s well worth the effort. With the right commercial real estate advisor or broker, you will avoid unnecessary stress and enjoy exceptional value in your investments for years to come.
We trust that you find this article insightful and meaningful. Our team is available to assist you with your real estate financing and capital solutions. We look forward to the opportunity to serve you in the near future. You can reach us or call us here!