Commercial real estate prices have more than doubled from their level in mid-2009. And according to economists at the National Association of REITs, the climb is far from over. They predict the market will remain strong through 2017, with sustained momentum in the economy and increased leasing demand.
“Indeed, we expect this real estate cycle may last much longer than the average cycle in the past,” says Calvin Schnure, NAREIT SVP of research and economic analysis. Others agree. A commercial real estate report from the National Association of Realtors shows the market will remain steady throughout the year. In February, CRE pricing was up 8.5 percent over the previous year.
Though the market is hot, there are still opportunities to be found—but where do you find them? If you mine old colleagues and contacts, build new relationships, and use technology, you’re apt to find your next exciting investment.
Girl Scouts sing about how important it is to make new friends but keep the old. “One is silver and the other is gold,” they sing, and you should take a page out of their songbook. You never know when an old connection might pay off. Jacob had left his job at a real estate office years ago, but kept in touch with former colleagues. One of them stumbled onto a great deal on a commercial real estate property, and she called Jacob, who ended up with a great investment opportunity.
Like Jacob, you may be sitting on a gold mine with past connections and colleagues. When you’re looking for an opportunity, spread the word around your network of former colleagues, business connections, and friends. That’s a great way to find investments before they even hit the market, and the number one reason to never burn bridges with former co-workers. You’ve spent years building your networks, and you never know when a former colleague will be in a position to work with you.
Don’t neglect those silver connections, though. Never stop building your networks, but be genuine and take the time to get to know people. Connections are how you find investment opportunities, and you can never have too many. Join a trade group, club, or professional association. Take people out to lunch and really get to know them. Volunteer to mentor people starting out in the industry. Become a networking guru and help other professionals build their connections. And don’t stop with in-person relationships. Digital platforms like RealConnex are great places to meet other professionals and build relationships with people close to and far from home. RealConnex in particular focuses on real estate connections and has thousands of members building their online professional connections and networks.
As much time as you spend pounding the pavement looking at physical locations, you have to hit the digital streets even more. Platforms like RealConnex assist you in locating investments you wouldn’t find otherwise. When you join RealConnex, you can tap into other geographical regions, and find out about projects before they’re finalized. It allows you to post your investment property needs from pursuit to core. You can even get involved in crowdfunding through the site—just submit your requirements and the site will connect you to the right opportunity for your funds. Using technology is a great way to find new investment opportunities that you didn’t know existed.
When the commercial real estate market is hot, it can be hard to find good investment opportunities. But if you mine your former colleagues and connections, build new relationships, and use technology, you can still find great deals.