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; and

4) 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 DISREPAIR

We 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.

Multiple Facets of Real Estate Development Jobs

Since the real development business is multifaceted, estate development jobs cover almost everything related to immovable properties from renovation and leasing out through procurement of land and buildings. Another aspect is sale of a developed portion of the estate to prospective clients.

Real Estate Development Responsibilities

Basic responsibility of the real developer is to coordinate the activities relating to estate and at the same time converting the ideas giving them practical shapes. Of course one should not confuse the term with “building”. A developer would buy land, finance deals, and then transfer the task of buildings to the choice builders for completing them. Most often the building job is entrusted at a fixed cost. In fact the developer’s responsibility is to develop the real estate from beginning to end.

Training and Qualifications

Although no hard and fast standards have been prescribed for taking up the developer’s role, yet certain amount of innovation and creativity is the essence of the character of a developer. Since the developers take the greatest risks involved in creation and renovation of any real estate by providing the finance, they are also likely to get the best rewards if the project turns out to be successful.

Naturally many agencies across the globe both online and offline are trying to cash on the high competition in developers’ market by providing training and classes. While one may not find such colleges and institutions in the traditional college directory, they do exist and many of them also provide online education and degrees for prospective real estate developers. Bachelor’s degree program is the only comprehensive training program available for aspirant developers.

Real Development Job Counterparts

Despite being highly innovative and unique, the job of the estate developers cannot be accomplished without working in conjunction with numerous counterparts such as the architects, planners, inspectors, engineers, contracts, agents for lease, and various others. Real development jobs are considered to be integral part of town planning under the law of many developed countries like the U.K.

Ways of Getting the Real Estate Development Jobs

Once again like the academic and technical qualifications required, no hard and fast specifications have been made in respect of the ways of getting one of the decent paying real estate development jobs. Coming from multiple disciplines like brokerage, mortgage, consultancy services, construction works, lending, legal services, as well as architectural services, the developers could have divergent ways of getting to one of their desired jobs.

Real Estate Development – The Secret You NEED to Know If You Want to Become a Property Developer

We’ve had a few people tell us that they really want to become a successful Real Estate Developer but aren’t sure if they have what it takes. So here’s some information that we thought might help…

Having our own architectural practice means we’re able to work with some of the most successful Real Estate Developers in the business and observe first hand exactly what type of mindset it takes that allows them to build property empires and accumulate massive fortunes.

Many studies have concluded that each one of us has a wealth blueprint. From our earliest moments our views towards money are conditioned by the sources around us like our parents, friends, relatives, teachers, classmates and the media. This programming ultimately influences our wealth accumulation.

We found that part of creating a ‘Developer’s Mindset’ meant that we needed to first remove any blockages that could hold us back from achieving our true potential. These blockages can be physical (a real injury), emotional (being judged or rejected), mental (not having language skills) or spiritual (taking certain teachings to their limit). Whatever its type – these blockages can be like a big rock in front of you that impede your forward progress.

The problem is – it isn’t always easy to identify these blockages. We sort help from internationally renowned Personal Development coach Paul Blackburn and during his Mental Toolbox he explained to us that it’s our money beliefs that can hold us back. Paul classifies people’s money beliefs as:

- It’s Easy: These people believe that there is never enough time to take advantage of all the opportunities they see lying around. If you can, hang around these people, their attitude may rub off!

- It’s Hard: These people grew-up hearing ‘we can’t afford it’, their catch cries include ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’. They believe money is hard to come by and even harder to keep.

- Easy Come, Easy Go: By being in ‘lucky’ situations, they find money both relatively easy to make and ridiculously easy to blow. They have a roller coaster existence, characterized by the expression ‘easy come, easy go’!

- Struggle: These people believe that it’s not OK for money to just turn up – It must be earned. They typically utter ‘another day, another dollar’!

- Always Broke: ‘Money doesn’t go as far as it used to’ these people will often say they believe wealth is immoral, wrong or shameful.

- I’m Powerless: These people feel they are powerless to earn more, complaining ‘I can’t, it’s too hard’. As their parents usually gave them too much, they never learned to make an effort themselves.

- Drama Queen: They are always broke because there is always some earth shattering money difficulty occurring.

In the first eLesson of our RED Club mentoring program we talk about how we had to change our money beliefs and reprogram ourselves so we could attract an abundance of wealth. We also talk about the mental habits as well as the amazing financial and business habits of the Rich that you should seriously consider adopting if you want to become a successful Real Estate Developer.

Many people have tried Real Estate Development in the past however not all of them have been successful. Some have failed miserably simply because they didn’t have the right mindset to begin with. This step shouldn’t be overlooked… getting our mindset right was the underlying fundamental key element to our success.

Jim Rohn, the renowned American business philosopher wrote, “The most important part of becoming a millionaire is the person that you have to become to accumulate a million dollars in the first place.” Likewise, many financial advisor’s will say, “The first million is extremely difficult to acquire, but the second million is almost inevitable.”

This is a great insight – you will need to develop a different mindset and different habits from the average person in order to become a successful Real Estate Developer. By becoming this kind of person you also become the kind of person who can then earn the second and third million. If you happen to lose all your money, you would be able to make it all back again because you have become the kind of person who can make a million. Essentially, by adopting the habits of the Rich and the mindset of successful Real Estate Developers, you can become one.

If you just sit and read this, then nothing is going to happen for you. You need to roll up your sleeves and get moving. If you want to change your situation you must take action because ahead of any other requirement is your personal motivation. Only then can the money follow!

Remember… your success lies in your mindset. It all starts with the quality of your thoughts! If you have positive thoughts, you’ll have positive results and if you have negative thoughts you’ll have negative results. You must first believe you have the ability to create successful and profitable developments before it can ever happen. Do you have a Property Developer’s Mindset?

Real Estate Development: An Efficient Option in Property Management

Do you own numerous real properties? Are these properties bring in money? Are these properties idle? If yes, read on and know the ways of using these properties to make money and to bring revenue to owners like you.

During recession, it is difficult for everyone to earn money. Idle or unused properties should be utilized efficiently and bring in money, than paying taxes yearly for these properties and without bringing in revenue.

If you decide to develop your property into something that brings profit, then consider real estate development. However, before you decide what type of development you want to pursue, you should conduct feasibility studies and assess its suitability to your goals and its sustainability to the environment. Some say real estate development is one way of becoming wealthy, but they are wrong because some property developers lost as much as they gained. Success is sure if you know how to manage risks associated with the business and know how to timely promote your product.

You should be careful and cautious in the said business because unlike small-scale real estate development that only involves purchasing homes, refurbishing properties or reselling homes, large-scale real estate development involves billions or millions of dollars worth of investment.

Becoming a real estate developer is a complex procedure because you have to consider the type of business that you want to open. Do you like to have a partnership or Limited Liability Company? Or Corporation?

You also need to consider its category. Do you want to concentrate on land development or building development.

Even though getting wealthy is a sure factor in real estate development, you have to do your research and task to get on with it. You have to be careful if you enter this type of business because it takes effort, skills and time to stay ahead and maintain your status in business. Real estate development is proven to be the most profitable among the other types of businesses provided you have patience, knowledge and skill to play the right game.

Success is assured if you purchased the right property and developed it at the right time.

Factors to consider in buying properties for development:

Location of the property. If the property is near to school, church, supermarket, offices, and other amenities, chances are, these properties will be salable to interest parties.

Lands should have access to roads and other pathways. Such feature allows consumers and clients to pass through the property easily.

Its proximity to different business centers.

Advantages of land development compared to building development:

You can profit a lot in land development because you only purchased lands and vacant lots at very cheap prices. You only need to spend thousands to develop the property, construct houses and buildings. You also incurred less in buying raw materials because they are purchased on whole sale basis. Once the development is finished, you can then sell them for millions of dollars, thus, your initial investment increased tremendously.

Real Estate Development Financing Creates Critical Situation For Developers

The real estate development industry has created a negative impact on today’s economy. Throughout the United States real estate developers are experiencing many concerns with their development projects. These concerns are mostly related to the lack of financing available and lenders unwillingness to extend or restructure current obligations. Whether you are a residential developer, homebuilder, commercial developer, or any other related real estate development professional without the proper financing terms and structure the projects will remain stagnant or be sold.

The news has hit Wall Street and Main Street that real estate developers and homebuilders require financing, restructuring, and more time to manage through this cycle. Lenders, investors, and other financial institutions have scaled back their lending programs to developers and builders due to the risk associated with real estate development. Many real estate developers rely on financial leverage to make their respective projects successful. In today’s economy the term “leverage” has been a word many people feel has created this current crisis.

The impact has created partially built stagnant projects filled with graffiti, damages, and hazards facing the immediate communities. The citizens of these communities are demanding that police patrol the projects, fire departments monitor access to water, and local municipalities ensure that the integrity of the community. The cities are also being negatively hurt because they relied upon projections of tax revenue created by these real estate development projects.

The real estate development industry has developed alternative contingency plans to adapt to the current real estate environment. Some of the most successful alternative strategies include; raising equity, developing joint venture partnerships, negotiating with their current lenders, and to secure additional debt. Real estate developers that can raise equity can reduce their leverage position and can satisfy lenders needs for paying interest or paying down principal. Real estate developers in turn give up equity into the project. Joint venture partnerships entail teaming up with other real estate development partners or investors to provide additional equity or relationships that create value for the project. Negotiating with lenders has also proven to be successful; however, many lenders are having a tough time with how they restructure the loans. Finally, securing additional debt to either refinance the entire project or pay down the existing debt and hold funds for interest carrying costs has been a strategy for real estate developers.

There are other issues and concerns facing real estate developers besides financing such as finding homeowners, builders to develop projects, and end tenants to occupy the projects. The residential mortgage industry has been experiencing an enormous increase in bankruptcy filings, foreclosures, and lack of funding available to create mortgages to buyers of new homes. The government has been creating programs and ideas to help keep homeowners in their homes and to also stimulate new buyers to the market.

The retail sector of commercial real estate has seen retailers scale back their operations in terms of growth and expansion. The retailers are also struggling to secure financing for tenant improvements for their locations. One of the most troubling concerns for retailers has been the lack of consumer spending. Office tenants have also had to scale back their operations, reduce staffing needs, and cut expenses as much as possible. Office tenants are also experiencing opportunities to move into more desirable locations at more affordable prices causing vacancies in many submarkets.

The recent economic indicators and stock market trends are showing some signs of strength in the economy while others believe that the economy is still due for a slow recovery. As the credit markets start to thaw out and lend to real estate developers the projects will start to get back on track and create momentum. There will be many learning experiences real estate developers will take away from this current real estate market and hopefully will not repeat in the future.