Becoming a real estate insider in your specific area of interest is the ultimate position you can achieve in your community. As a real estate insider, you will know the best investments, be able to take advantage of local trends, avoid pitfalls where land values are decreasing, and present yourself as an expert to the people who matter in your business and community.
Having the knowledge and ability to act quickly will increase your opportunities to build wealth, maximize profits from every deal, as well as deliver insurmountable feelings of satisfaction and happiness.
What are some common attributes of the real estate insider you should strive to be?
The real estate insider is completely knowledgeable in his or her area of interest, and literally knows that specific area inside and out. There is nothing occurring in the community regarding this area of interest that the real estate insider is not aware of.
The real estate insider understands real estate and its trends. He or she knows what causes rises and falls in land values and rental prices, as well as how to follow trends and move accordingly to the changes. A real estate insider sees changes coming before they occur, and can move before others, acquiring a first mover advantage, which can be a defining advantage in commercial real estate.
The real estate insider is always aware of the current market values in, not only the specified area of interest, but other areas as well. Knowing other areas of interest can allow you to judge how these different properties may influence the properties that are close to them, or may effect either your current, or future properties under your control.
The real estate insider is self-motivated and self-learning, always taking the initiative to gain more knowledge and increase his or her area of expertise. When you are a true real estate insider, every day there is something to be learned, understood, or acted upon that will yield results.
Now that you have an idea as to what makes up a real estate insider, let’s look at some actions you can take that will place you closer to your goal in a timely and effective manner.
Operating as a real estate insider in your own community lends you many convenient avenues in gathering and sharing information. The number one place you need to be attending is the local government meeting house for zoning and planning meetings, as well as commission meetings. Knowing the governmental action and what is planned for the city will give details of the past, present, and future of a community, regarding properties and their uses. This is the exact information that you need to identify and act on trends that others will not be aware of.
When you attend these meetings, you have three solid objectives.
The first is to observe. As an observer, you want to recognize people’s faces, names, what they do, why they are important, what stances they have on certain issues, and how they might help you. You will also want to observe new submissions for developments, changes in zoning, new restrictions to specific zoning, needs for the community, community concerns that you can address, and many, many other issues that you will want to absorb deeply, and take notes to remind you later.
The second is to introduce yourself and make acquaintances. As you attend more and more meetings, people will begin to recognize you as a concerned member of the community. You must introduce your self to the important people leading and running the city government meetings. It is mandatory that you remember names and faces. You want to introduce yourself with a practiced introduction, and always have business cards ready to deliver.
Eventually, it will be common practice to approach these important people and address certain issues, ask for advice, and generally build a rapport that positions you as an important asset to the community. If ever you have an important conversation, or are given helpful advice, jot it down and send a thank-you note explaining what it was you discussed, how you implemented the advice, and the results you experienced.
Remember, however, that you are the student, and they are the expert. In this situation, you will get most out of these relationships by asking intelligent questions that are related to your area of interest. Always respect both the position and the knowledge of the person you are speaking to, and you will see how far it gets you. You will learn more than you could have ever imagined by building rapport with the city leaders and officials.
After meeting people that can assist your knowledge campaign, schedule meetings with them, and ask who else might be able to help you. When you begin linking contacts and subject matter, an entire web of support is built that will help you in many situations. It is important to always be at your best, ask the right questions, and thank the people for their help and expertise. Without these solid efforts, your ability to make and sustain contacts will wither away.
The third goal is to use the information that you are learning! You could sit in city meetings all day long and never use the information you are gaining! You must always be thinking critically about how you can use this information to strengthen your abilities, and how it can assist you in your next commercial real estate move. Too many times I have seen people “go through the motions” without any results because of their lack of action. A person who never acts, will never succeed. Don’t let this be you!
In addition to attending zoning and planning meetings, and commission meetings, you must know the zoning codes, their uses and restrictions! It is a huge advantage and downright necessity to know the zoning, use and restriction implications in your city. Remember, zoning can mean very different things in different cities, so be sure you know what C2 is, and what can be put on the property, as well as the difference between Office and Institutional zoning and Heavy Intensity.
Along with understanding all these zoning codes, you must know when it might be feasible to change the zoning of a certain property, and when there is no possible way of making that change happen. Zoning changes can be both labor and cash intensive; so do not begin to fight a battle unless there is a possibility in winning!
Many times, you may identify a better use for the property, or you have heard concerns from local residents about a specific property that you could change and make more accommodating for the city and its residents.
The more you can help the city become a more desired place to work and live, the more support you will be given, and you may even receive some incentives as well. It does absolutely no good to anyone, especially you, if you come as a foe to the city, as opposed to an ally.
As already briefly touched upon, you must know what is going on with all real estate in your sphere of influence, not just your area of interest. You must know what is for sale and what is available for rent, because these things are change identifiers that you must be privy of as a real estate insider.
For example, new vacancies usually indicate higher rent rates. Why did the rent go up? What is changing the demand for higher rental space? Is there a new development going up near it? If you do not know why certain changes are taking place, ask around. You can learn a lot by simply asking those in the area and coming to your own educated conclusions as to why the market is changing.
Generally, real estate trends are identified with the result first, before the effect. Like the previous example, you see the result of rental rates increasing. What caused this increase? You must be a detective and often work backwards in order to find your answer. Commercial real estate often has you thinking in ways that require creativity and insight that may not be cookie cutter ready.
As you continue on your way to being a real estate insider, always have a solid goal as to what it is you want to accomplish and how you are going to position yourself to get there. Use this knowledge that you will be given to strengthen the areas that are weak, and always be looking for the next new information that will make you stronger and wiser. As your abilities and position as a real estate insider grow, so will your ability to identify new opportunities, act on them quickly, and capitalize on your efforts.