The following Q&A was completed as part of our conversational Commercial Real Estate FAQ Interview Series, we hope you find it helpful.
For real estate brokers, having a deep and complete knowledge of your market is important. Without one, you may have others tell you simply what you want to hear and have your deals damaged as a result. Part of laser focusing on a specific niche is learning all of the ins and outs that this niche entails and becoming a master of your focus area.
Richard Wilson: Great, so what is common among all of the top commercial real estate brokers that you’ve worked with besides that niche approach being hyper specialized in one area, what else is common among all the top real estate agents?
Ben Marks: In addition to thinking like an owner, I guess just really having depth of knowledge of their market. I can give you an anecdotal example: we are in the process of selling a multi-family building in Philadelphia, which we hadn’t really started, we hadn’t really sold a lot in that, bought a lot and developed a lot but we hadn’t sold yet. We were working with an agent, I hadn’t worked with him before, that came recommended and said everything we wanted to hear. And when we actually went through it and went through the listing it just sat. And at the end of the day, it was mispriced, the agent was more concerned about getting our business than actually executing on the deal. And that relationship didn’t last very long and when we found the right broker for that property in that market, instead of it having sat for 6 months, it traded in less than 30 days. And so I think those are the kinds of examples that really, again getting back to laser focus, know your market better than everyone else because like it or not sales and brokerage is a commoditized business. If you don’t know what your value add is, it’s almost reminds you of the old anecdote – if you’re at a poker game and if you don’t know who the mark is at the poker game, you’re the mark. Same thing I’d say in real estate. If you don’t know what your value add is, and you can’t explain it to a 12-year-old, you need to go back out there and improve on that value add. Because everyone is going to tell you what you want to hear to check the box.
Richard: Right, right. For sure.