Starboard Commercial Real Estate

Hans Hansson | September 15, 2005

At a recent regional meeting of TCN Worldwide, a featured guest speaker was the representative from a large pension fund responsible for real estate acquisitions. Someone asked whether he would ever consider using a local firm to market properties or to assist in an acquisition. He responded that although most pension funds are likely to choose a national branded firm, everyone in his position knows that the best brokers with the most market knowledge reside in local independent firms.

Yet, why do acquisitions managers continue to choose national firms? Clearly, name identity comes into play. Even if a local acquisitions manager would like to hire an independent firm, he or she must respond to a higher authority. If for some reason a project fails to perform, it is easier for that manager to say "I hired a national firm to market this property", than to say "We failed but our local (unknown) independent firm tried their best."

Why are local independent firms considered superior to their larger national counterparts? In most cases, independent firms are formed by top-producing agents who were disillusioned with a large corporate boss and felt they could be more successful on their own. In turn, they typically hire entrepreneurial brokers who also want more freedom and less bureaucracy. These brokers tend to be more mature and more in charge of their day-to-day activities. They also recognize that they must "drum up" their own business every day and that, to win and maintain accounts from their national counterparts, they must provide the best possible service.

In addition, most independent firms are part of a national network such as TCN Worldwide. TCN offers the advantage of connecting independent firms globally to provide "door to door" service to clients seeking locations in other markets.

Finally, the medium-sized businesses-the 20 to 25 person office-represent the core of every market in the United States. These businesses understand better than most the importance of service as well as the benefit of working with firms like their own. In the same way that the pension fund lives in the same world as the larger corporate real estate companies, these mid-range firms live in the same world as the local independent real estate companies.

Brokers who can work this niche will hit their "sweet spot" in their business.
Posted 14 years, 6 months ago on September 15, 2005
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