Let's Make a Deal

CCIM Partners creates new business-building connections.

A longtime client has asked for your help in selling one of its out-of-state properties. You're not licensed in that state and haven't worked with any brokers in that market. Potential buyers are ready to deal and your client wants to sell today, but you're at a standstill until you find a local broker to co-list the property. There are dozens of commercial real estate groups in the area - how can you identify a knowledgeable professional who has proven experience in the industry and a good reputation in the marketplace?

This scenario is not uncommon in today's commercial real estate industry. Brokers and other real estate pros who limit their services to their local markets quickly are becoming obsolete as more deals cross state and even national borders. While the Internet is not a substitute for the solid relationships that seal many deals, it rapidly is becoming the most quick and efficient way for brokers to make these critical business connections. The expanding marketplace also requires real estate pros to research new areas and establish qualified business contacts on a moment's notice.

After conducting detailed research on the increasing role of technology and the growing importance of networking in commercial real estate, the CCIM Institute has created a platform that combines these two driving forces. Launched in January 2005, CCIM Partners is a formalized business network that provides CCIM designees with a suite of high-quality marketing tools and instant online access to qualified colleagues across the country. Partners allows participants to designate specialized areas of expertise via their online professional profiles, offers face-to-face deal-making events in various markets, and provides more exposure for designees who offer non-brokerage services to build business relationships.

Making the Deal Connection

CCIM Partners' underlying principles are nothing new - CCIMs have been using the designation as a means to conduct business with fellow designees since the institute was founded more than 30 years ago. But formalizing the network gives CCIM Partners a number of new ways to make unique business connections, and oftentimes those relationships are the critical link to successful transactions.

The CCIM link helped John P. Rosser, CCIM, president of John Paul Rosser & Associates in Key Biscayne, Fla., save a deal last year. As a result of a local yacht company's bankruptcy, Rosser was awarded the listing for an 8.79-acre boat yard in Miami. The property was scheduled to be auctioned in May 2005, and upon receiving the bids, Rosser discovered that fellow Partner, Jacqueline Huttoe-Boen, CCIM, president of the Huttoe-Boen Group in Coral Gables, Fla., represented the second-highest bidder. At the time, the highest bidder was awarded the sale, but because of their CCIM connection, Rosser and Huttoe-Boen remained in touch. Ultimately, the highest bidder was not able to fund the $13 million purchase, allowing Huttoe-Boen's client to step in and buy the property for $12.9 million. "Our relationships as CCIMs can hold transactions together if for no other reason than confidence in the CCIM brand," Rosser says.

CCIM Partners also use the network to find qualified colleagues nationwide. For instance, Jim Tucker, CCIM, a senior investment adviser with Sperry Van Ness in Williamsburg, Va., had established a relationship with the Virginia-based owners of the Dry Ridge Outlet Center in Dry Ridge, Ky. The owners asked Tucker to represent them in the property's sale but he was hired subject to facilitating local representation with a Kentucky commercial real estate licensee. Tucker identified Jerry W. Ward, CCIM, owner-broker of Sperry Van Ness Ward Commercial Group in Louisville, Ky., and contacted him to co-list the property. "Jerry's professionalism and use of the STDBOnline tools helped us immensely in our preparation of sales materials," Tucker says. The pair sold the property in March 2005 for $6.4 million to a California-based investor.

Spending face-to-face time with colleagues at the CCIM Partners deal making events has generated profitable leads for CCIMs such as Jim Nowak, CCIM, president of Site Systems in Seattle and Conner Ivy, CCIM, an adviser with Sperry Van Ness in Dallas. The pair initiated talks at the Indian Wells, Calif., CCIM conference that led to a more than $7 million sale of two suburban Houston office properties to For 1031's parent company Discovery Acquisitions. "Jim and I met at one of the forum roundtables, discussed the deal, and it was put under contract and closed in July [2005]," Ivy says. Last October Nowak was honored as the 2005 CCIM Partner of the Year for completing more than $100 million in Partner-to-Partner transactions.

Partner Perspectives

CCIM Partners evolved from several years of research on how to improve CCIM designees' business-building opportunities. Commercial Investment Real Estate asked a few of the current CCIM Partners Advisory Board members to share some insights on the program, specifically what it offers to designees.

CIRE: Commercial real estate has always been a networking-based, people-to-people business. Why is it important to formalize the process now?

Richard E. Juge, CCIM: We have the potential to be the broadest association of qualified commercial real estate professionals out there. There is so much talent and know-how in our midst that CCIM designees can really benefit from participating.

Arie Salomon, CCIM: CCIM Partners is designed to allow brokers to use their CCIM knowledge beyond their local markets. It allows designees to collaborate with other Partners across the United States.

CIRE: Today's transactions move faster than ever before and are becoming more national in scope. How does being a CCIM Partner help facilitate deals in this evolving environment?

Scott A. Morse, CCIM: I now have a legitimate way to match people and places in a timely fashion and facilitate my clients' needs in a timely manner. Before it would take days to locate people, interview them, and negotiate working arrangements. Today I can do that in literally minutes. It's all about client service.

Juge: If you take CCIMNet and STDBOnline - the institute's two main technology tools - and marry them with CCIM Partners network, you have the most powerful set of tools in the industry. For example, if I have a request from another CCIM to help them find properties in my market, I can immediately forward my CCIMNet listing reports and couple them with demographics, mapping, and other information from STDBOnline. It's a state-of-the-art platform to communicate with other Partners.

CIRE: What commercial real estate marketplace advantages do CCIM Partners have?

Thomas E. Hankins, CCIM: CCIM Partners creates a centralized virtual network of designees with listings, comps, client relationships, references, marketing, and branding materials available at your fingertips.

Morse: CCIM Partners gain knowledge, common focus, and shared experiences, which create immediate credibility for positive working relationships. This allows us to act more quickly and deliver a higher level of service to clients than they can normally find when dealing market to market.

Salomon: It also allows CCIMs to participate in the largest available real estate network without the need to belong to a national company.

CIRE: How has being a CCIM Partner improved your own business?

Morse: I have done three deals this year with other Partners and have been able to present my company's services to a larger audience. Partners enhanced our services scope immediately.

Hankins: First and foremost, it saves me time and money. I can locate an ideal counterpart in a matter of minutes and find the right person to handle the assignment. That used to take hours.

Juge: Since the launch of Partners I have done numerous deals with other CCIM Partners. I've had others contact me as a result of the face-to-face deal-making meetings that I would not otherwise have been able to reach.

Other Partners Advisory Board members include Cindy Morse, CCIM, and Mike Merrifield, CCIM.

Jennifer Norbut

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