#CRE Checkmate: Seeing the Whole Board

Some commercial real estate agents rely on the razzle-dazzle of dollar signs to capture and hold a client’s attention, stretching projected property valuation to the limits of market tolerance.  But big flashing dollar signs aren’t always the best tool for Building Great Relationships or delivering a great outcome. For veteran San Francisco office and investment advisor Barry Bram, commercial real estate is more like a game of chess; He sees the whole board and he’s always thinking two moves ahead.

Barry is known for his tenacity, vision and immersive understanding of local market conditions and influences – qualities he pairs with bracing honesty and directness. While dollar signs might initially catch a client’s eye, from Barry’s perspective, the real value of a transaction often lies in subtler rewards, like a strategic negotiation and smooth and uncomplicated escrow. Ultimately, you just have to weigh out all the variables.

When the long-time owners of 721 Brannan St. decided to sell, they perceived a lofty valuation influenced by the abundant development occurring in and planned for the nearby properties.  This created a significant disparity between what the property “might” be worth and its realistic valuation due to restrictive development zoning.

The three-building property sits in an area with great potential expansion, right in the path of development, but use options are severely limited by an industrial zoning overlay. So as highly-profitable office, retail and residential developments spring up in the surrounding blocks, the redevelopment prospects for 721 Brannan were a little different.

To cash out their nest egg, the sellers were looking for an investor or industrial user willing to pay top price. So for a year, Barry marketed the property at the highest possible price looking for a user attracted to the area. But eventually, after counseling the owners through the process, they realized that the zoning would drive the value and not the other developments, albeit very nearby.

Once they decided to adjust the price point, Barry was determined to provide his clients with the optimal transaction process. After receiving several offers, some more credible than others, he shepherded the owners through the analysis of the terms and pursued a path for sale with a buyer who would perform without a hitch toward close of escrow.

In the end, they opted not to take the highest offer, but went with a buyer who had a proven record of performance.  With no re-trading or unexpected delays, they proceeded to close without a hitch.  The sellers were ecstatic with the results. They had the confidence of knowing the property had been fully marketed and the contract price was indeed the best the market would bear.