Navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic as a Commercial Real Estate Agent

Navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic as a Commercial Real Estate Agent

Navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic as a Commercial Real Estate Agent

Navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic as a Commercial Real Estate Agent

It’s now more than 6 months since reports first surfaced that a new and infectious virus had been detected, with cases popping up across the globe. And as more time passes, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

We can’t simply sit tight and wait for things to blow over – not unless we’re prepared to wait a hell of a long time, anyway. Which is why many of us are in the process of figuring out how to keep our lives running as close to normally as possible throughout the pandemic while minimizing undue risks.

As a commercial real estate agent, my goal here is simple: to continue to sell and lease commercial real estate while keeping both my clients and our staff safe in the process.

Here are some of the areas we are focusing on in an attempt to do exactly that:

Tech & Marketing

The better your marketing, the less time you’re going to have to spend answering questions, and the more likely you are to attract the right people to your listings. Since many of us are still working from home and avoiding unnecessary trips out, I also recommend you make as much information as possible available online. Our team creates a website for every listing we have that includes photos, floor plans, a 3D walkthrough, aerial photos, property descriptions, and pricing.

The goal here is to provide potential tenants or buyers with as much information as possible upfront to help them determine whether our listing is a fit for them. Not only does this save time, it also minimizes the number of people we need to meet in person.

Client Vetting

Client vetting is something that seems to divide commercial real estate agents. Some, often the more experienced brokers, see it as a vital part of the job; an early time investment that pays dividends down the line by helping them sell more efficiently (and, therefore, sell more). But others will try and tour as many potential tenants as possible based on the logic that the more lottery tickets you buy, the more likely you are to have picked a winner.

I’m a big believer that vetting is hugely beneficial both to the agent and to the client, saving time on both sides of the equation. And in the COVID-19 world where we need to actively reduce the number of face-to-face interactions we have, this only becomes more important. This is an area where I think senior brokers can really help their less experienced counterparts.

Gaining Access to a Space

I’ve always been a big fan of good old fashioned mechanical lockboxes, and the pandemic has only strengthened that viewpoint. A lockbox gives immediate access to a broker or client and provides another way of minimizing face-to-face contact.

I would only ever give lockbox access to someone I know, and since the Las Vegas commercial real estate scene is pretty small this system works really well. The only real risk of using a lockbox is if someone doesn’t lock it back up correctly, but that’s an entirely different conversation.

Touring with a Client

Even before the onset of the pandemic, I had clients that preferred taking their own car when touring properties. Now, with social distancing measures firmly in place, it’s becoming increasingly common to see a convoy of cars going from property to property.

I’m okay with one or two people in my car, so long as they’re prepared to wear a mask while in the vehicle. But that’s a personal choice, and this will vary depending on what feels comfortable to you. To me at least, wearing a mask isn’t such a big deal – especially when I get to wear my beloved Las Vegas Golden Knights one.

Signing the Deal

We sign almost all our leases digitally through DocuSign, and our tenants are able to wire deposits instead of personally delivering a check. To be completely honest, there’s absolutely no need to sign deals in person right now, and with the technology we have available to us these days this one’s a very quick win in the social-distancing stakes.

Like everyone else out there, I hope COVID-19 becomes ‘old news’ instead of ‘breaking news’ as soon as possible. But until then, there’s no reason why we can’t continue to do business and safely service our clients.

Nothing I’ve covered in this blog is difficult or inconvenient to implement, and by following these simple steps you can dramatically minimize the amount of physical contact and the number of face-to-face meetings required to sell and lease commercial real estate.

How COVID–19 Will Affect the Manufacturing Industry

How COVID–19 Will Affect the Manufacturing Industry

How COVID–19 Will Affect the Manufacturing Industry

How COVID–19 Will Affect the Manufacturing Industry

It feels like COVID–19 brought the whole world to a halt in the space of a few short months. Aside from essential workers who are just about keeping the world spinning on its axis, activity in most every major industry had halted.

The manufacturing industry has been no exception, but with manufacturing giants in China and parts of Europe now starting to wake from their brief slumbers, the industry as a whole is going to have to adapt quickly to operate successfully in this new and changed landscape.

Adding new safety gear on top of hard hats and safety goggles is an obvious place to start, and many jobs in the manufacturing space already require masks.

But how will crowded warehouses be able to function at full capacity if employees are forced to stay 6ft apart?

And how will manufacturing companies that live and die on efficiency and speed of delivery cope with the inevitable new rules, regulations, and technologies that will be required for their employees to work together safely?

It isn’t just manufacturing, either. Right here in Las Vegas we have the new Raiders stadium 99% completed. Projects like these require hundreds of people to work in close proximity day after day – how will construction companies keep their people safe while still delivering within budget and on time?

I’m not claiming to have the answers to any of these questions, but there’s one thing I’m pretty certain of – the manufacturing industry will adapt. It always does.

Through the industrial revolution, the world wars, even the emergence of the silk road – the manufacturing industry has shown remarkable tenacity in continually reinventing itself as the world around it has changed.

And now the world has changed again.

How will the manufacturing industry adapt this time?

Social distance-friendly workspaces

Will social distancing be required in warehouses? Whether by spreading manufacturing equipment further apart or by introducing minimum space requirements for staff in warehouses, we’re going to need to find ways of putting a little more distance between workers in factories, warehouses, and other facilities. What impact this is going to have on workflows and facility capacity is going to be an interesting challenge for companies to deal with.

As a commercial real estate broker, this could have huge implications for my industry – social distance-friendly buildings are going to have to be big.

Air purification systems

A few minutes research online was enough to tell me there is a lot of conflicting information out there about whether or not COVID–19 is airborne, and whether air purification systems like HEPA and PECO might be able to help stop its spread.

That said, there is some evidence to suggest this might be the case. If so, HVAC systems and other building ventilation technologies could have a part to play in reducing the spread of the virus in crowded facilities.

Automation

We’ve been hearing about the rise of robots and other automation technologies in the manufacturing industry for a good while now, and COVID–19 is likely to accelerate adoption even further.

After all: you can’t catch corona from a robot (that is, unless you really, really like robots).

The headache of social distancing measures, additional safety equipment, and other transmission-prevention protocols all melt away into nothing when all your employees are made of metal.

It’s a proposition some manufacturers will find too hard to resist.

Health cards

People working in the service industry in Last Vegas are already required to obtain ‘health cards’ before working anywhere that handles food.

At the moment, these cards are more about demonstrating certain standards in food hygiene awareness than proving the health of their owners, but it’s easy to imagine the scope being extended.

It’s a fairly controversial idea, and one that could lead to a whole bunch of new problems.

Safety protocols

I think an increase in health and safety protocols is pretty much inevitable as more and more people go back to work. But what’s going to be particularly interesting is how these new regulations are mandated.

Will it be left to companies to come up with their own policies for employee safety? Or will the government step in with blanket guidelines, perhaps even turning them into law?

On-shoring

So many decisions in the manufacturing industry are driven by a constant desire for cheap, cheaper, cheapest.

Over the years, this has led to aggressive offshoring in most every industry to help reduce labor, materials, and utilities costs.

But if COVID–19 has shown us anything, it’s that these global supply chains and just-in-time delivery systems are a little more fragile than most of us would have thought.

We’ve had a glimpse of what might happen if global supply chains suddenly get snipped, and it wasn’t pretty. I think we’ll see a strong onshoring trend as we emerge from this crisis, particularly for essentials like pharmaceuticals and food produce where ‘we should be getting something in next week’ isn’t going to cut it.

Costs will naturally go up, but I think people are willing to pay a premium to feel they’re getting better quality and more reliability. Not to mention the jobs that will be created for Americans in a time when we desperately need them.

Necessity, mother of all invention

I think we’re going to see a bit of turmoil in the coming months as we find a new equilibrium. But I predict manufacturing in the US will adapt and come back stronger than ever.

I’d love to see some of the big players show some leadership in this space in the meantime. The likes of VW, Boeing, Ford, and others have very, very deep pockets and world class R&D departments. Most of those companies are going to come through this crisis just fine (even if the odd government bailout might be needed to smooth the way in some cases).

The future for the smaller players is much less certain.

When we think manufacturing, we usually picture multinationals. But I work with plenty of manufacturers with 5–300 employees. Collectively, these companies employ huge numbers of people and contribute a lot to the economy, both locally and nationally. But individually, they don’t have the resources to give themselves a buffer in times like these.

If the big players share what they learn with smaller operators, it will save a lot of business from going under and get small and medium sized manufacturers producing sooner.

As much as I read about this situation, nobody knows what manufacturing will look like in 6 months’ time. But the industry has adapted before in times of need.

And it will adapt again.

Capture Your Audience with these 6 Winning Marketing Tips

Capture Your Audience with these 6 Winning Marketing Tips

Capture Your Audience with these 6 Winning Marketing Tips

Capture Your Audience with these 6 Winning Marketing Tips

No matter what business you’re in, good marketing is a basic key to success. In today’s highly competitive professional landscape, all of us need to jumpstart our marketing strategies to come out on top.

We all know this is especially vital in the commercial real estate biz. CRE is no joke. If you’re not keeping up with the latest advances in a marketing capacity, you’re losing business.

Blogs, killer website design, social media, tech integration, top-tier imagery; the list is endless. The marketing aspect of the job is dominating the game and becoming the baseline for a healthy and thriving commercial practice.

Marketing allows you to extend your reach, boost engagements, and generate leads to your sales funnel. In my personal practice, I like to be as detailed as possible with marketing. I like to say that we want the marketing to be so good that clients feel like they’ve already seen the property – simply by exploring my online presence.

In this blog post, I’m sharing my top 6 marketing tactics for commercial professionals looking to optimize all of their possibilities. Get ready to take your commercial practice into an entirely new level. Here we go:

Use Tech to Create Comprehensive Visuals

If you want to make your listing as realistic as possible, you’ll need to start with solid visuals. Walkthrough videos, floorplans, and HD imagery are all essential aspects of strong marketing.

If you’re not creating virtual tours yet, you’re falling behind. Virtual tours are pushing the boundaries of digital property marketing. Viewers are able to fully explore a property – anytime, anywhere.

Not only does this help professionals focus on serious leads, but it also can propel more fully-digital deals. This is especially important when dealing with global investors. Check out Matterport’s premier ervices.

Tap Into All Platforms

We live in an era of diversity, where CRE pros need to go beyond their tried and true listing platform to explore all the options out there. Make sure your properties are on as many platforms as possible. I always use Costar, Realnex, LoopNet, the NAI Vegas site, and of course individual landing pages for each listing.

Consider Mobile Integration

Today’s online world doesn’t only operate on standard computer screens. People are accessing your content on Smartphones, Ipads, tablets, you name it. Make sure that your websites and listing pages seamlessly translate on all fronts. Pay attention to mobile-friendly aspects like images that don’t take too long to load and text that doesn’t dominate the visitor’s experience.

Fancy Isn’t Always Better

We live in a world of simple. Ultra-luxe elements are nice and all, but fancy is not always better.  Sometimes, it just gets downright complicated. Clear and direct marketing elements like brochures and websites generate much better lead momentum than relying on fancy flash.

Be Straightforward

Don’t leave any information out of your e-listing. The more information you include, the better… but don’t go overboard on the theatrics.

Remember, you’re not writing a novel. It should be easy to digest and quick to read. Hit them with facts and cut out the unnecessary details. A great rule is to be specific, but be basic.  Show things easily like power, parking, size, cost, and property highlights. People get too caught up in large descriptions when people really just want simple. Don’t make it hard.

Go the extra mile for your prospective clients. Answer all of their questions before they even get a chance to ask them. This way, you’ll know that someone reaching out with an inquiry is likely a serious buyer – helping you weed out the weak leads and solely focus on the strongest options.

Get Smart About Social

Social media is a big deal. Take advantage of diversity and make sure you’re on all the platforms. Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube – the CRE community is even tapping into Vimeo. Who knows, Tik Tok might be the next target! Be ready to adopt the new trends as they roll out.

But, savvy users need to know how to use each of these platforms. Every social media outlet should be used differently. If you are trying to sell a brochure on Instagram you are wasting time. The key is honing in on each one’s unique strengths, creating a diverse digital presence for your career.  Use social media to stay engaged and, every once in awhile, try to sell.

These 6 expert marketing tips will capture the eyes of your audience and make your listings shine. Stand out from the crowd, grab their attention, and land the deal. We got this, CRE fam.

Stay tuned to VivaCRE for more industry tips and market insights.

Foreign Investment in CRE: A 2020 Look

Foreign Investment in CRE: A 2020 Look

Foreign Investment in CRE: A 2020 Look

Foreign Investment in CRE: A 2020 Look

From a global perspective, no industry has been as popular with foreign investors as the US property market. The domestic residential housing arena has been attracting investors for years now, but these gains have got nothing on the commercial side of the business. In fact, some of CRE’s biggest deals have been from foreign investment.

It’s no secret that foreign investment plays a major role within contemporary CRE. Commercial real estate has been catching the eyes of investors all over the world and it’s caused a great boom in the industry in the past few years.

This spark in investor interest has spurred an explosion of popularity for the different commercial sectors – and industrial spaces seem to be the ‘golden child’ of investment opportunities.

Industrial is in Hot Demand — Here’s Why

The need for industrial spaces in the contemporary business module is undeniable. As the world takes leaps and bounds towards cutting-edge digital innovations, web-based marketplaces, and short-term delivery demands; warehouses are the ones carrying this heaviest load. Industrial has a big responsibility in supporting the growth and expansion of tomorrow’s e-commerce culture – and it’s only up from here.

At this point, no one is expecting e-commerce to start slowing down. All of the experts are anticipating the opposite outcome, where the online shopping revolution will continue pushing the boundaries and unceasingly depend on warehousing to make it all happen.

Data shows that 65% of retailers are already promising same-day deliveries as we’re making headway into 2020. The instant-ship concept is becoming the new norm for both brands and consumers. Today’s shoppers are serious about their shipping deadlines and view delivery delays as being borderline unacceptable. So, any company looking to stay afloat amidst these changes needs to collaborate with winning industrial support.

The current outlook is getting even more intense. In response to a recent poll conducted by Afflink, 61% of consumers expressed they want their e-commerce goods to be shipped within 3 hours of making the online order. Besides flooding business into the domestic warehousing arena, the long-lasting promise of abundant business is funneling investors towards CRE’s industrial sector.

The data doesn’t lie. Savvy investors from all over the world are looking at these trends and jumping at the promising opportunities that US industrial real estate has to offer.

With all of the foreign interest zeroing in on the industrial market, it’s become one of the most sought after investment types. In fact, warehousing and industrial were the top-performing CRE sectors at the onset of 2020.

Commercial Real Estate Assets are Set to Weather Any Storm

The evolving economic outlook has driven even more investors to CRE. Global investors are hitting the US markets to beef up their portfolios with top-tier commercial assets.

In addition to being highly profitable, commercial real estate investments are reportedly the most secure investments available today. Compared to other investment outlets, economists and business experts stress the benefits of investing in commercial real estate… more specifically, the industrial market.

Expanding Opportunities within the Industrial Scene

Industrial and warehouse developments were named the 3rd strongest risk-management trends for safeguarding CRE investment portfolios into 2020 and beyond. The experts note that investors should pay special attention to the industrial market’s offshoots such as transportation, delivery, and changing infrastructure needs.

And, 2020’s investor focus isn’t just on the country’s biggest metros. Keep an eye out for secondary and tertiary market opportunities, too.

According to the report, the combination of warehouse developments and public transportation will be a superpower in establishing new hubs for commerce around the country. Investors interested in gaining the upper hand and paving the way for success will be hunting for industrial projects popping up in smaller cities.

Industrial Investment Trends to Watch

If you’re looking to stay up to speed with the upcoming shifts in industrial’s foreign investment, keep these 2 trends on your must-watch list.

Upgrading Existing Properties

Warehouse rehab will be the next big thing for investors in 2020. Since they don’t require entirely new development and construction process, industrial properties that are in dire need of an upgrade will be a major source of business.

Tech integrations will be a concern when enhancing outdated properties. Smart Technology tools, IoT, and 5G will be primary contributors to bringing older properties into the future.

Multistory Warehousing: Coming to a City Near You 

While the multistory warehousing module has been alive and well for years now in China and South Korea, it’s still a relatively new concept for the United States. But, foreign investors are set to play a strong role in expanding this industrial strategy onto US soil.

Whether it’s square footage limitations or making the most of a highly saturated market, multistory warehousing can help solve many of the issues facing the industry today.

Foreign investment is transforming the commercial real estate industry in more ways than one. Keep up with all the latest in the biz with VivaCRE.

8 Things to Do in Las Vegas When You’re Not Hustling CRE

8 Things to Do in Las Vegas When You’re Not Hustling CRE

8 Things to Do in Las Vegas When You’re Not Hustling CRE

8 Things to Do in Las Vegas When You’re Not Hustling CRE

There is always something happening in Las Vegas. Whether you’re looking for world-class entertainment, fabulous dining options, or some breathtaking natural excursions, Las Vegas undoubtedly has everything you’re looking for.

For those of us who call this Nevada haven ‘home’, Vegas is more than just fun and games. Thanks to the area’s powerful professional landscape, it’s also a place where business thrives and industries take off. Las Vegas is where the hustle happens – especially if you’re navigating in a people-centric field like commercial real estate.

But, even the hardest workers need to cool down and unwind. If you’re ready to have some fun in Vegas, do it the right way. As a local professional and guide, I’d be more than happy to show you my favorite things to do in this wonderful city. Check out these 8 things to do in Las Vegas.

Catch a Raiders Game

The Raiders have a new home, and Vegas is happy to welcome them to the neighborhood. Sports lovers can cheer on the team at the Allegiant Stadium located directly across the I-15 Freeway from the Las Vegas Strip  – a suitable place for the sports center’s location.

Thanks to the Raiders and their new state of the art $2B stadium, Las Vegas has now become a hub for the NFL. Expect a lot of events coming to the Vegas scene in 2020 – and hopefully hosting a Superbowl in the near future.

Check Out the Neon Museum

Being incredibly Instagram-worthy, Vegas’ Neon Museum is naturally one of the city’s most popular attractions. The Neon Museum is currently hosting Tim Burton’s feature exhibit, Lost Vegas, that’s imbued with unmistakable Burton’s spooky vibe. It’ll be up until the beginning of April so make sure to get out there.

Artist Craig Winslow’s exhibit called Brilliant! is also quite the attraction. It’s a multi-sensorial experience that explores the city’s history in a new and exciting way. The Neon Museum is electric, entertaining, and is a great place to bring the whole family.

Get the Last Look at Bansky’s Work in Vegas

If you love contemporary art, you need to get a look at Banksy’s work at the Immersion Vegas. The show Genius or Vandal? is an unofficial gig located inside the Fashion Show Mall. Anyone interested in the famous (and faceless) UK artist shouldn’t pass up the chance to see his show in Vegas.

Ice Skating in Henderson

Who doesn’t love ice skating? There are 3 top-tier ice skating facilities in and around Vegas – and this year, the local skating culture is expanding. The new Lifeguard Arena on Water Street is going to bring ice-skating to a new and popular location, so keep an eye out for their grand opening.

If you’re already in Henderson, Historical Water St. is worth checking out. Make sure to walk to the Hardway 8, a famed UNLV & sports themed grill. I am also a little biased – I sold the property to the ownership.

Golden Knights

Anyone who has been to a Las Vegas’ Golden Knights game knows it’s not just an NHL game… It’s an entertainment experience.

Whether you’re sitting in the very last row or the glass front row, it’s always a fun time. One of my favorite parts of the games are the intermission performances – sometimes the show itself is worth attending the game! If you’ve yet to see the Golden Knights in action, it’s worth every penny.

Hit the Red Rock

If you know me, you know I love spending time exploring Red Rock Canyon. There’s no better way to unplug and unwind from the busy routines of everyday life.

Plus, visiting Red Rock gives you a completely new perspective of Vegas. This city is much more than just a metropolitan oasis, it’s also full of natural wonders that rival even the best hiking spots in the US.

Oh, and don’t forget your furry friends. It’s one of Ruger’s favorite spots.

Give Back to the Community and Volunteer

At the end of the day, it’s important for everyone to give back. Las Vegas is a place that’s constantly creating smiling faces, lifelong memories, and riveting experiences. Giving back to this one-of-a-kind community is the best way to say ‘thanks’ and share the love.

There are tons of great charities operating in town so find one who’s message speaks to you. I enjoy working with the The Just One Project. If you’re looking for a fun volunteer project or need a place to donate, this is one of the best. I love this city and taking part in volunteer work is an absolute pleasure.

Cruise Over the Strip in Style

If you think Vegas is extraordinary, you’re right. But, it’s even more over the top than you think.

Yes – I do mean flying over the Strip in a helicopter. What could be better than sipping champagne before boarding the helicopter to go on a specialty tour over the city? This famous pastime is not only exhilarating but also makes for one hell of a memory – and an even better story. It’s all in the Vegas lifestyle.

As our new slogan states, ‘what happens here only happens here.’ There are some things that are truly native to the Vegas landscape. Enjoy your time off. And do things the Vegas way – work hard, and play harder.

Don’t forget to stay tuned to VivaCRE for more.

Interested in staying up to date with me? Let’s connect on social! Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.