The Value of Real Estate Consulting for Investors, Developers, & Businesses Regardless of Experience Level
We've seen it before. Real estate brokers, lenders, accountants, engineers, etc., all have a hammer and look for a nail that fits. But where does that leave you? Usually with questions unanswered, avenues unexplored, and a real estate situation that isn't optimized for your business or goals.
In this video, we cover the importance of real estate consulting for investors, developers and business owners, regardless of experience level.
Guide to video
- The real estate industry isn't built to serve investors, business owners, or developers - it has evolved into a series of disjointed functions and is full of professionals with siloed expertise.
- That disfunction leaves a lot of important questions unanswered and investment and business decisions suffer as a result.
- A real estate consultant pulls all real estate functions together in a way that aligns incentives and expertise.
- Poor real estate decision-making can be the difference between wealth and expense.
Video transcript follows
Hey guys, it’s Matt Marsh with Marsh & Partners.
Marsh & Partners is a Raleigh based development and national consulting firm that helps business owners and investors maximize their real estate and transform their businesses.
So, I want to start by asking a question I hear not too infrequently – “Why would I hire a real estate consultant?
I mean, I already have an agent, or my general contractor is helping me through the building process, or my real estate meets my business’s needs. So real estate consulting just seems a little cumbersome.”
Well, it’s a fair question, and one that we’ll cover in this video.
If you think about the real estate industry as a whole today, it’s really become segmented into disjointed functions and it’s full of professionals that have a siloed expertise.
Think about it - most real estate agents are transactional – they’ll help you buy and sell or lease a property, but don’t offer much by way of strategy or investment advisory.
A lender will help you secure and line up financing, but really, that’s all they do. They might never discuss creative options like a real estate syndication, a sale-leaseback, ground-up development or a build-to-suit to meet your strategic needs.
An architect or designer might help with space planning and office design. But how that space plan impacts your business’s ability to grow, or how it affects the value of your real estate is likely outside of their wheelhouse.
An attorney can help you navigate zoning laws and municipal ordinances, but they’ll likely struggle if you need their help assessing a property’s highest and best use, for instance.
The point is, real estate is much more nuanced than many give it credit for – what’s the right ownership structure, how do I optimize financing, how can I minimize my tax burden, should I build or should I buy or should I lease, how can I craft a development budget - they’re important questions that need to be asked and they’re often overlooked. And not asking them can make the difference between wealth and expense.
And the problem is that oftentimes, these service providers will sell you on whatever specific service they have to offer – because that’s how they get paid. But it’s an incentive structure that works well for them and not so well for your business or your investments – think about how antiquated the 6% flat fee is nowadays.
So instead of the traditional service provider model, the role of a real estate consultant is different. Success in real estate relies on the intersection of so many different disciplines – operations, strategy, finance, management, design and development, interpersonal skills, and economic expertise.
A consultant blends these disciplines under a single profession helping stakeholders make better-informed investment and business decisions and ultimately maximizing project outcomes.
And before I lose some of you seasoned operators or investors who think you have it all figured out, here’s the kicker. A quality real estate consultant will add value regardless of your experience level.
Every investor has a different set of goals. Every developer has a different set of objectives. And just because you’ve always done something a certain way, how do you know your underlying assumptions are correct?
Most investors agree that real estate is a localized asset – its value is subject to influences like the local economy, municipal government policies, and local demographic factors.
But frequently investors discount the influence macro-economic factors have on values as well – the business cycle, federal reserve policy or human migration patterns – and that unawareness leads to poor decision making.
Understanding how micro and macro-economic factors coexist is critical to identifying market inefficiencies and exploiting value-creating opportunities.
Even if you’re a seasoned investor, it’s important to have a sounding board. I’m always bouncing ideas off my partners, even if I think I already have something figured out. It’s a key aspect of the problem-solving and creativity process that often yields much better results than if I had tried something myself.
The point is a project needs to start with your goals – and then to honestly challenge some of your assumptions about what’s possible or optimal.
A real estate consultant can help investors craft a strategy, guide them through informed decision making, and ultimately help solve for the right.
Now let’s instead try a different scenario. Let’s pretend you’re a small business owner. Your day-to-day existence is spent dealing with employee headaches, angry customers, management challenges, and just putting out fires.
As your business has grown you’ve needed more space, and then more space – so you’ve moved from one property to another meeting your current space requirements to keep operations up and running.
But through the course of that process, what questions were overlooked? Should you lease a space to keep cash available for business growth? Or buy to lock in a mortgage payment? How will this impact your balance sheet or bottom line? Should you become a landlord to diversify risk?
The way you own real estate, finance it, lease it, build it – even the options for how and when can make the difference between a strategic business asset or management headache.
You’re always going to be stuck in the proverbial foxhole – and probably won’t ever have the bandwidth to take a step back and seriously think about your space as a complement to your operations. A real estate consultant can help companies challenge some of that traditional wisdom and habit and in turn help owners align their real estate with their business goals.
So after all this, what’s the key takeaway? Whether you’re a business owner, investor, or developer, real estate consulting shouldn’t be viewed as a luxury, but rather a necessary part of your team.
A real estate consultant can help you optimize your real estate decisions because their expertise spans traditional industry boundaries.
Thanks for watching – if you enjoyed the video hit the like button and subscribe to our channel below, follow us on Instagram at marsh partners real estate and check out our site for more real estate insights at marsh-partners.com
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