Uncommon View – Commercial Real Estate Development

This is a story I heard growing up:
When my grandfather was 10 years old he found a penny. With that penny he bought a pencil. He sharpened that pencil then sold it for two cents. He took that two cents and bought two more pencils, sharpened them and sold them for four cents. He reinvested his four cents in four more pencils, sharpened them and sold them for eight cents. Then, again, he bought eight more pencils, sharpened them and sold them for sixteen cents. This went on until my grandfather had amassed $10.24. That’s when my great Aunt Sophie died and left us her portfolio of shopping centers, office buildings and rental homes. Our family has been in the real estate business ever since.The story isn’t true, but it taught four valuable lessons:1) Sweat equity is a powerful tool;2) If you reinvest your earnings, wealth can grow geometrically;3) The BIG money is in real estate; and4) It would be nice to have a rich Aunt Sophie.Like most families, we didn’t have a rich Aunt Sophie, so my parents focused on lessons 1, 2 and 3. I mention this story as a backdrop. My life growing up was always about real estate.In my article “Keys to Closing Commercial Real Estate Transactions”, I mentioned my father because he was, and is, a wiz when it comes to commercial real estate. It was through him that I came to represent commercial real estate developers.What I didn’t mention was that my mother was active in the family real estate business as well. While my father focused on commercial land development, my mother focused on residential real estate. I should have known better than to mention one but not the other. This article could be sub-titled “Keys To Maintaining Harmony”.What does maintaining harmony have to do with commercial real estate development? Stick with me on this, then decide.My mother cared about “quality of life” issues. Comfortable homes. Neighborhood parks. Safe streets. Good schools. Museums and other cultural enhancements.I remember watching my mother lay out walking paths around detention ponds in residential developments and looking through catalogs evaluating park benches and playground equipment for neighborhood parks. As a residential real estate investor, developer and broker, my mother focused on “living environments”. If families were going to live in her neighborhoods then the neighborhoods had to be “family friendly”.As you might imagine, with my father focused on commercial development and my mother focused on residential quality of life issues, conversations around the dinner table were always interesting, and sometimes dicey.On one side of the table, my father envisioned expansive commercial development for retail shopping centers, office buildings, restaurants, hotels, theaters, warehouse superstores, entertainment centers, nightclubs and more.On the other side was my mother insisting upon neighborhoods with comfortable homes, safe streets, parks and other open areas, dry basements, clean air, clean water, and minimal noise and light pollution.According to conventional wisdom – derived from public zoning board and plan commission hearings and community planning group meetings when commercial development is proposed near existing homes and neighborhoods – one might expect a clash of ideas turning into heated challenges and demands to forego development. Fortunately, our dinner table was nothing like most public hearings.My mother and father each respected the vision of the other and understood the natural symbiotic relationship between residential and commercial development. Instead of complaining that one was trying to destroy the vision of the other, they anticipated each other’s legitimate development and environmental needs and sought reasonable accommodation when possible. Sometimes they couldn’t agree, but there was always a meaningful attempt to understand the viewpoint of the other, exchange ideas and come to a mutually respectful and workable plan.My mother was a resourceful advocate. She made my father think about how commercial development would impact residential neighbors and plan ways to mitigate adverse consequences on families. Long before coming into their current vogue, I learned at our family dinner table the concept of “lifestyle commercial centers” and complementary residential/commercial mixed use developments.The point for commercial developers and residential advocates is that they should each turn down the volume of their development debate and respectfully listen to what the other is saying. When the other has presented legitimate concerns or needs, those concerns and needs should be reasonably accommodated where possible. An idealistic dream? Perhaps. But I grew up watching it work.To be sure, not all expressed concerns are legitimate and not all proposed accommodations are possible. In those cases, resolution must necessarily be left up to public plan commissions, zoning boards, and municipal trustees or aldermen to arbitrate and decide the debate. As guardians of the public welfare entrusted with promoting the best interests of the community at large, they must decide. In a fair and evenhanded political environment, your best bet for prevailing is to demonstrate that you have listened with respect and have made reasonable and conscientious efforts to promote public harmony rather than discord.POINT: If you are a commercial real estate developer proposing a commercial development near existing residential neighborhoods, don’t pretend they don’t exist. Think about how they will be impacted and include in your development plan ways to mitigate any adverse consequences created by your development. Talk to your residential neighbors. Listen to what they have to say. They are not ALL crazy. Sometimes (often, actually) they have legitimate concerns about real problems. If you can include in your development plan a way to economically fix a problem they already have (such as flooding, blight, inadequate parking, lack of sufficient parks or playgrounds, poor traffic circulation, etc.), your chances of favorable governmental action to approve your development plan goes up.Whether you are a commercial real estate developer or a neighborhood advocate, understand that, whether you like it or not, conditions change. Nothing stays the same. Obsolescence and blight are natural products of time. Redevelopment is coming. If not today, then someday.Which brings me back to my point of promoting family harmony by making amends to my mother. You don’t necessarily have to read what follows. This is primarily for her.My mother retired last year but says she still enjoys reading my newsletters and articles. Perhaps a mother’s love, but she always likes to read what I write about real estate and real estate development. She says her favorite is a poem I wrote about “real estate development” called The Great Pyramids Of Egypt Are In Disrepair. She thinks I should share it.The poem was written in 1992. I have to admit, it never occurred to me that the poem was about “real estate development”. I can assure you, I was not consciously thinking about real estate development at the time I wrote it.But my mother is a smart woman and I have learned my lesson. I am not going to lightly cross her again. So, in the interest of family harmony, here it is. I leave it to you to decide if it is about real estate development. If you don’t think so, please don’t tell my mother.THE GREAT PYRAMIDS OF EGYPT ARE IN DISREPAIRWe looked deep into each other’s eyes and said:
“Our Love will last forever”.When I was two my parents built a new house
next door to the one we rented from my grandfather.
It was “ultra modern” with all the latest conveniences
A garbage disposer – dishwasher – central air –
central vac – wall-to-wall carpet – a private den –
We had a bird bath – and two hundred newly planted Scottish pines.It’s a parking lot now –
The church next door needed it.
Business was good.The church doors were padlocked last year.
God moved down the street to nicer quarters.I saw a news clip recently.
The Great Pyramids of Egypt are in disrepair.
They may not last unless work starts soon.
Sometimes the damage can be too great.
Even mummies get so wrapped up in what
they are doing they can begin to unravel.Yesterday a friend asked: “Whatever happened to that girl?”The POINT (according to my mother):Change happens.
What seems new and permanent today
Will be gone tomorrow.No time stands still.
Real Estate projects are no exception.
Redevelopment is coming.

Virtual Real Estate – Why Do You Need It?

The modern world of internet and online commercialism has lead to the developments of many new ways of earning money. This is the world of change and with every passing minute, the dynamics of the business and money generation are changing. You need to keep track of all the required things to make your mark in the current online world of commercialism and finance.Many people are only aware of terms such as online marketing or online business. However, one of the most modern ways to earn a huge amount of linear and residual income is by developing your very own virtual real estate. In many parts of the world, it is known as VRE.This is one the newest forms of making money on the internet and can be used effectively for making money in a very short span of time. We shall give you a brief introduction of virtual real estate and how your own website is the key to making money online. We are sure that after reading this write up, the first thing that you will do is to call a website developer for your very own website.Virtual real estate is a new term and can be defined when compared with the real estate of the real world. In real state of the physical world, we buy land or houses and then sell them for a profit in the future. In virtual real estate we make websites and domain names and then sell them later for much bigger price tag.You may be wondering where all the money would come from. Well, like in the real world, you have to be very careful in choosing the right kind of websites and domain names. We will explain the importance of having a quality website for earning money on the internet.The first thing you need to do in order to build a website is to add quality to the site. Once you have built your own website, the next step is to include the marketing aspect of your website. You can buy a number of domain names and then market them on your own website. In addition to this, you can build more websites and then add their links on the major website. This can lead to a lot of traffic on your website which in turn means heavy amount of residual income.You also need to have a look at the idea behind choosing and buying a particular domain name. You should buy the domain name keeping in view the fact that it is catchy, salable and can give a high return on the value. The domain names should be short, meaningful, and most of all they should have a marketing factor attached with them.Once you start getting traffic on your websites, you will see the effect of residual income on your business. You will have to keep an eye on the content of your websites and, therefore, will have to update it frequently. All in all, you are all set to build your own virtual real estate.

What’s Your Big Real Estate Idea?

I harp a lot on the idea of every Realtor® I work with developing a well defined USP, or unique sales position. You can really call it whatever you want, but the point is that in order to grow your business more quickly, with less effort, there needs to be something about your business that makes you stand out – especially on the internet.What is it about how your business works or what you offer that makes you the only logical choice for your clients? I am not talking about a tagline, or a catchy slogan. Your “big idea” is much, much deeper than that (and much bigger) because it forms the foundation for your entire real estate business.The most successful businesses I know are based on ONE simple big idea. Some way they view the world or something they offer to the market that fills a need like no one else.The Dominos franchise finally took off when they created their “big idea” of hot pizza in 30 minutes or less.Would you think that the idea of delivering a pizza in 30 minutes (with no mention of how it would look or taste) was big enough to build into a multi million dollar venture?Well it was, and then some.Now I know you might be wondering why I spend so much of my time trying to focus so much of your attention on developing this?Why does almost every newsletter, blog post or product I create somehow incorporate the idea of a USP (hint… it might just be MY “big idea”) and how to use it to market your business more effectively with technology?Most Realtors® I work with think that SEO or web marketing are their number one challenges.I would agree that they are challenging, but I think that developing your “big idea” or USP is much, much more challenging than that.It’s also far more lucrative, because once you have it, it will permeate every single thing you do in your business.I’m sure I scare some clients who come to me for the nuts and bolts knowledge about how to market their businesses with technology. What they want is to sit down and get to work on the busy work, without going through the important stuff first.In fact, I view the lack of a “big idea” as the number one problem that is keeping most Realtors® running like hamsters in a wheel on the internet. Without it, you are forced to try to make up for it by DOING more than your competition in order to be successful. More SEO, more blogging, more article writing, more tracking, more pay-per-click ads, more of everything.You have to make up in volume what you lack in content. And that gets expensive and very, very tiring. Trust me, I’ve tried it.Who wants to do business online if all it means is never being able to stop DOING all of this “stuff?”Without a well defined “big idea,” or USP, I think you are setting yourself up for failure on the internet.You can see it on most real estate websites out there. Just pick one, get it up on your screen and ask yourself, “What is the big idea that this website is trying to convey to me? What is the compelling reason that I should do business with this person?”You probably won’t find answers to either of those questions.And that means that you have a HUGE opportunity to take a giant leap out in front of your competition by getting your big idea, or USP in place and building the rest of your business on top of it.So how do you get YOUR big idea?Coming up with your idea isn’t as simple as picking up an extra gallon of milk at the super market. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. It’s probably not something you can come up with during a power brainstorming session.Your big idea is something you let come up from within you.It needs to be:1. a really good idea2. something that you are passionate about3. something that is compelling to the marketLet’s take these one by one:A REALLY GOOD IDEA
==================Here’s an example. Let’s say you are a doctor, trained at Harvard and dripping with years and years of experience… And over those years you’ve come to the conclusion that, despite the advances in modern medicine, you believe the facts tell the story that the best and healthiest way to live is to develop a completely natural lifestyle when it comes to food, exercise and helping your body heal itself.Your big idea could be this: “I’m a Harvard trained MD. I know my stuff. And I think most of it is wrong because it works against the natural way your body is designed to work. And here is my solution for living longer and being healthier without modern medicine.”SOMETHING YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT
==================================I am sure you’ve all read books about the legends of the sales industry that, despite their odd walk, bad clothes and terrible hair, rose to the top of their profession simply because they were passionate about what they were doing.Passion is something that your market can sense. By creating your “big idea” based on something you are passionate about, you will be tapping into an infinite source of energy and inspiration that will always be accessible to you.COMPELLING TO THE MARKET
==================================Let’s face it, it’s hard to be successful selling something that people don’t want. Just being different isn’t enough. But if you’ve been in the real estate business for any amount of time, you probably have a good idea of what your market really wants (even if they aren’t saying it). When you are developing your “big idea,” or USP, make sure you always remember the “court of last resort.” It’s your market. They are the only ones that get a vote.Here are some questions to jumpstart your thinking and help you get started developing your own “big idea.”-How do you view the real estate business in a way that is different than any other Realtor®?
-What is the most important thing you could be telling your clients right now?
-What is the biggest unsolved challenge your clients have right now? How can you provide a solution that is quicker, cheaper or measurably superior in some way?Now I have to warn you, there is a problem with committing to a big idea. That problem is that you can only have one. And by committing to it, you will turn off some people. Some of your market simply won’t like your idea.That means you cannot be all things to all people. There is no effective way to do that.Dominos probably didn’t do such a good job of attracting the gourmet pizza crowd. Excellent tasting gourmet pizza was not on Dominos list of priorities. They didn’t even promise their pizza would taste good.They promised it would be hot and at your door in 30 minutes or it would be free.The upside is that you will begin attracting more of your market that does want to do business with you because on some level, they like the idea you are conveying.And nothing is set in stone. People change. Businesses change. Big ideas change. Just start with something. That will put you ahead of most of your competition.The real challenge is coming up with ways to effectively communicate your “big idea” so that it is crystal clear to your market.So start thinking… Get to work on the foundation of your business… your big idea is in you somewhere.