3 Old School Tactics For the Arsenal of Modern CRE Tools

BTI (Before the Internet), commercial real estate professionals worked their business the old-fashioned way, with reams of forms filled out in triplicate on an IBM Selectric and telephones wired to the office wall. (We’ll pause for a moment of silence while the Millennials roll their eyes.) Despite the lack of modern tools and technology, those brokers acquired clients, transacted business and built incredible networks that have thrived for decades. So before you dismiss them as dinosaurs, consider how well some of their old-school philosophies hold up in #CRE today.

1. Under promise. Over deliver.

It’s easy to get caught up in a moment, or misjudge the time required to complete a task, and promise a client or colleague something on a deadline you have ZERO chance of meeting. Don’t. do. it. Train yourself to take a breath, weigh the resources and requirements, and always be realistic in estimating what you can deliver and when. You’ll feel heroic saying you can turn something around in 24 hours, but if you fail, the cost is high. The loss of credibility is not always visible and inevitably weighty. On the other hand, if say you’ll get back to someone in 3 days and do it in 2, you have the potential to score a few well-earned bonus points.

2. Be 100% ethical and credible.

Don’t cut corners. Whatever short term benefit you derive will be far outweighed by the damage you do to your professional reputation. In this industry, the impression you leave with clients and colleagues spreads like wildfire. The best way to safeguard that perception is to value ethics and credibility.

In the words of TRI President Tom Martindale, a veteran industrial and office leasing agent in San Francisco’s SOMA district, “If you’re 100% ethical and credible with your clients, colleagues and competitors, you become the guy everyone wants to do a deal with,” If you’ve built a great reputation in the brokerage community, people see you as a trusted adversary, so you get better info and become more successful.”

3. Remember you’re the agent not the principal.

When you’re in the middle of negotiation, it can be difficult to know whether the agent on the other side of the table has cleared every detail with their client. Miscommunication can happen, but if a slip-up is the result of someone promoting their personal agenda over professional responsibility, then credibility and trust can be damaged. As an agent, your job is to advocate for the client. Whether you might have done things differently, it’s your job to adhere to their wishes. Remember, you’re the agent, not the principal.

Agent Spotlight: David Hosbein

Your key to success?
More effort, more calls, NOW!

Biggest moment/feeling of success?
In 2015, six-digit success. 

Greatest challenge and how you overcame it?
Challenge: Losing several big listings.  Solution: reviewing client database and brainstorming bigger, better opportunities. It’s a matter of connecting the dots – matching trade buyers who want to invest here with the right apartment properties in Sacramento.

Most notable Apartment Market trend?
Apartment pricing has reached peak levels.  Make sure every Multi-Family acquisition has a sound operational strategy (new tenants, cost savings, online marketing, etc.) At these prices, investors must know who their prospective tenants are, what they can pay, and why they will choose this property over the competition.

Favorite building in which you were involved in the transaction? 
Continental Arms, 39 units in Roseville. This is the acquisition that convinced me to focus on Multi-Family brokerage. 
It delivered significant value to my client. The property was languishing on the market, until the right investor came along and took it on. Again, it’s all about matching investors with the right properties.

Key to building great relationships with clients? 
Get to know more about them. Ask them about the type of properties they like and why. Find out what craft beer they like. Find out about their families, the names of their wife and kids. 

Key to building great relationships with other agents?   I’m happy to strike a deal to move a deal ahead. Don’t be a slacker.  If I collaborate with an agent, I basically consider them to be my client. 

When did you obtain your BRE license?
Strangely enough I did it twice, in July of 2002, and again in 2011.  When I got my license the first time, my plan was to broker apartments in Los Angeles but instead I got a job doing acquisitions for Westfield (the Australia-based, shopping center conglomerate).  I didn’t need my broker’s license while I was at Westfield and I inadvertently let it lapse. When I moved to brokerage, I had to study up and take the test again.