I attended a commercial real estate conference this week hosted by one of the countries largest brokerage and property management firms. As a matter of fact I am pretty sure they may be an international powerhouse which gives them a data reach that the majority of brokerages are unable to attain. That is why I attended, for the mere fact of gaining insight that I may not be able to gather from a national comparison and bring it back to my small market which is primarily Hamilton County Indiana. When I go to this meeting this time of year it begins to make my mind work towards my normal April re-evaluation that I have relied on for coming up on 9 years. I like to gather as much information throughout the previous months and stop to ponder how that affects my company and future plans.
This conference was no different then previous that I have attended and I always seem to take something away that I may have never heard had I not sat down in that chair. Most of these events are 2 hours of prepared speeches and powerpoint presentations bookended with industry professionals name dropping and sipping free cocktails in beautifully pressed suits. So I typically try to get to my seat and think past making a quick connection and do something I never did as a student…….pay attention. Now paying attention to me is a little listening, a little applauding and lots of social media posting, but never the less I am paying attention and I think I learn best this way.
So what did I come up with this year you ask? I doubt anyone is even still reading at this point but here you go:
1. There is a commercial market out there that is doing laps around my small business that keeps me afloat. I want to get into that by growing and expanding that side of my company
2. I am in Indianapolis which has proven itself recession resilient several times and I like the consistancy. This is a blessing in a commission based business and I recognize that.
3. Change in commercial real estate is all talk and no follow through. Again, the stability in office leasing and industrial space seems to come from changing technology coming to the industry, not us chasing it. This leaves a huge amount of opportunity for brokers willing to adapt.
4. My company is right where I want it to be. I can not imagine trying to train a flock of brokers in a changing environment. Asking someone that has made a bunch of money in a particular area to try something new or chase an emerging industry would be a nightmare but as a young agile company I think we can have an impact.
Early on I was convinced that commercial real estate is the afterthought of all business activity and luckily there is a lot going on right now. I am grateful for the information these large companies share and feel lucky that my market is a “safe” investment compared to other volatile areas. Being in commercial real estate requires constant learning and trend following because our clients-clients habits change from where they shop to how they office and as commercial brokers we had better be responsive or the business goes elsewhere. Keep on learning and thanks for following along.
Curt Whitesell has been in the Indianapolis Real Estate business for nearly 10 years. He spent his first years learning all aspects of commercial management and brokerage. He has had great success in managing several existing projects and new developments. Curt specializes in tenant/owner lease deals and purchases in Westfield Indiana. Although he has worked throughout the Indianapolis Metro area on many transactions, his passion is growing his local Westfield community.