Archive for January, 2008

Sperry Van Ness national conference

January 28, 2008

January 28, 2008. Gary returned to the office today from rainy California. It was at the Hyatt Regency in Huntington Beach that Gary attended the annual conference for the entire Sperry Van Ness company (did you know that Huntington Beach was named for the foreman of the ranch owned by the father of General George Patton, which at one time stretched from Redlands, California to the Pacific Ocean, then south to and including Catalina Island?).

The 2007 top producer sales awards were given out at the black tie banquet Saturday evening. It was interesting to observe that successful real estate people are not stereotypical. The award winners (there were over 160) were a good cross section of America. They were anywhere from 24 to 6o years old (the number in their 20s was gratifying), they were men and women, (4 of the top 10 were women), they were native born as well as naturalized citizens (3 of the top 10 spoke with heavy accents) and they were extremely good at what they do (the 14th place finisher sold over $200,000,000 worth of commercial real estate). The commonalities were that they all worked hard, worked well together (often in teams), had respect for one another and had fun doing what they do.

The conference had a full schedule with numerous speakers, seminars and break-out sessions where advisors were able to better their professional skills. Selling real estate is not persuading, which is why at Sperry Van Ness sales people and brokers are known as “advisors.” It’s apparent that we’re pretty good at it.

Working with bankers

January 21, 2008

January 21, 2008. A client that Bob and Gary are working with asked for help in negotiating a purchase and obtaining financing on some rental real estate that he has had his eye on. The property owner has finally decided to sell, but for many reasons, mainly the condition of the properties, it will be a difficult transaction to complete. So the client asked Gary to meet with him and his banker.

After talking over all of the problems, nuances and ramifications of buying these rental units, Gary suggested a strategy that neither the client nor the banker had thought of. Now begins the negotiations, which is the part that takes sales experience and skill. Selling is not talking someone into something, because that usually can’t be done. In the few instances where it can be done, it can turn out bad. Selling is listening to the needs and points of view of both sides and then matching those needs and goals. Selling is pointing out and explaining the benefits that others didn’t see. That is the fun part of selling.

Gary was so successful at matching the goals of both sides in one transaction that the buyer and seller, after the sale closed and Gary collected his (sizable) commission, pooled some money and jointly paid Gary a bonus, telling him to take a well-earned vacation.

Ann Arbor rental properties

January 13, 2008

January 13, 2008. For over 25 years Keith Pratt has specialized in income producing properties, with emphasis on student housing. He has witnessed and participated in the evolution of the industry with respect to management, city codes, leasing practices, rents, financing and tax benefits.

In the 70’s and 80’s interest rates were high on non-owner occupied real estate. Willing lenders were few and unfamiliar with the product. Today, there are more participating lenders, interest rates are quite reasonable, have just dropped to the high sixes and properties having four units or less can be financed with conventional residential mortgages.

The product quality is up, as many city rental inspection programs have over the past 40 years or so brought the rental housing inventory up to code and required high levels of maintenance.

At the voting booth, several times over the years the good citizens of Ann Arbor have defeated efforts to impose rent control, allowing competition and a free market to work. We must always monitor the politicians to ensure that this destructive practice is kept out of any community where rental property exists.

Another major impact on the benefit of investment property ownership has been the ease and simplification of moving up through 1031 tax deferred exchanges.  The brokerage industry has learned and matured using this important tool to help clients and customers create equity and increase return on investment through the ownership of quality income producing real estate.

To discuss Ann Arbor income-producing real estate; residential, office or commercial, give our office a call and ask for Keith Pratt.

Let’s get going!

January 7, 2008

January 7, 2008. It’s the start of a new year and some people are worried about the economy. Others say that now is the time to buy because “there’s blood in the streets.”There is no doubt that there are bargains out there and plenty of bargain hunters.

So if you’re a seller for other reasons, just because it’s time to sell, how do you protect yourself from being perceived as anxious and ready to sell at a bargain? The solution is to give your property maximum exposure.

It is written by investment experts that there are four dollars of investment money chasing every dollar of good investment real estate. How does one tap in to that money?The platform of the Sperry Van Ness is to put the client’s interest ahead of our own. Interesting concept, isn’t it? We serve the client instead of ourselves.

What does that mean? It means we proactively market our listings to other brokers and offer to split the commission 50/50 each and every time.You say all commercial real estate firms do that, right? Let’s give you a couple of tests to determine if that is true.

When you consider listing your commercial real estate with another broker take a look at the listing contract. If the offer to split the commission 50/50 isn’t in there, which it should be, ask the agent if they will write it into the contract. If they won’t, you can guess whose interests will be served.

Sperry Van Ness not only has the offer to split commissions 50/50 in our listing contracts, it is required of all companies, per the contracts that we sign, when we join Sperry Van Ness. You will not see that with any other commercial real estate firm.