The Counselors Of Real Estate® (CRE)
by Cindy Chandler, CRE, CCIM, Signature Series Speaker and 2012 NAR Commercial Legislative & Regulatory Subcommittee Vice-Chair
Several years ago, I received an invitation to join the Counselors of Real Estate (CRE) from a commercial appraiser friend of mine who was already a member. I didn’t know much about CRE at the time, so I put his offer on the back burner.
On the day my CRE application was due, I was talking to another longtime friend, a commercial broker who runs a large commercial firm in Charlotte, North Carolina. He earned his CPM and SIOR designations, and his father is a CRE member. When I told them I had been invited to join CRE, the father was quite impressed, and equally stunned that I hadn’t jumped at the opportunity.
So based upon his assessment of CRE, and with his added encouragement, I went home and worked several hours on the necessary paperwork to complete my CRE membership application. It went through the evaluation process and I was soon accepted as a member.
My first CRE meeting was at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., and it was like no other meeting I had ever attended before. The speakers, program topics, and attendees were all so stimulating that it was like a breath of fresh air. Everyone was welcoming and truly interested in my business. After that first meeting, I started to refer to CRE events as “food for my brain.” But CRE has more to offer than just truly beneficial meetings.
Recently, when I proposed doing some feasibility work for a regional bank that handles commercial real estate REOs, the team that presented to this prospective new client was comprised of another CRE member and me. The bank’s executives were impressed, and gave us their business because we were there to consult – not list, not sell, not lease, not manage, just consult. It’s what I do – consult.
This is a perfect example of how CRE has given me additional tools to better meet my clients’ needs and to more sharply focus my business. I know that I can always contact any CRE member anywhere for help and get it quickly. What a great group to have as a resource! In my own market, the local CRE chapter is very active, and seeing these members on a regular basis I feel close to them. I know they send referrals my way, but more importantly, I get great friendships!
REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI)
by G. Edmond Massie, IV ALC, CCIM, Signature Series Speaker
To many, land is simply dirt that sometimes has trees, livestock, or a cash crop growing on it. However, you cannot build a home or a commercial building on a left-handed skyhook; you can build only on land. And not all trees are equal in value, either. Historically, land has been the source of all the wealth in the world. Every product consumed originates on land or through the use of land.
There is only one source that provides REALTORS® with the specialized knowledge of land they need: the REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI). The designation identifying real estate professionals with the specialized knowledge in land is the Accredited Land Consultant (ALC), awarded and administered by RLI.
Through ALC training I came to understand soils, land values, uses, and trends. I learned how wealth is created in real estate through changing the use of land. The land use matrix is amazingly complex, and earning my ACL taught me to understand it.
While all of us enjoy seeing agricultural uses of land – pastoral scenes are popular in various art forms – society places higher economic value on land when it’s used for residential development, office, retail, or industrial purposes. This synergy between land and its best-use potential demands similar synergy in real estate expertise.
So in addition to my ALC designation, I’ve also earned the CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) designation through the CCIM Institute. CCIM training gave me tools that are the key to understanding the value of improvements built on land. The combined knowledge gained through ALC and CCIM training has been a powerful force in my career, because clients seek me out for my comprehensive expertise.
by Sam Foster, CCIM, Signature Series Speaker
Earning the CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) designation has directly affected my career in various ways, the first and most obvious being the business I’ve conducted in partnership with fellow CCIM designees, often former students. (I teach the CCIM course CI 102, Market Analysis for Commercial Investment Real Estate.)
Most of these transactions are just deals made easier by the simple fact that CCIM designees use common tools and speak a common language. I know that I can call a CCIM designee in some city remote from where I usually do business and have confidence in the contact. It’s an arrangement that works both ways too, so CCIM designees call me for the same reasons.
But sometimes a transaction partnership takes more than that. The CCIM designation has helped me at those times, too. One recent transaction – a $10,000,000 deal – would never have happened without trust, and it was trust based on a relationship developed in a CCIM class I taught. Three of the attendees in that class were related, a brother, sister, and her husband. Together they ran a family investment business, which, while very prosperous, was quite small.
Fast-forward a couple years. I was representing a known, publicly traded firm in the sale of a manufacturing plant. For twenty months a buyer had tied it up. But in that time, my seller worked diligently with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control to ensure that the property was entirely environmentally clean and could get so certified. Yet when we received the No Further Action letter this buyer couldn’t perform. My seller was furious.
Though he had no contractual right to do so, the buyer then said he’d like to assign his contract. Whether or not to agree to this was up my clients, based on their own best judgment about the assignee, which was a family business none of us had ever heard of.
To help make the decision, the seller’s corporate office gave me the following instructions: “Find out if this dog will hunt, and if not we’ll put the plant back on the market. And, Sam, don’t screw this up. If you say this deal will work, it better.” So, with great trepidation, I made the call to the assignee.
Turned out this family business was the same one run by the three friends I had made two years before. Our mutual trust already established, all I asked for was a conversation with their banker, which they of course allowed. The banker assured me that he would make the loan (and what banker would lie?), so I told my sellers the assignee could perform. And this family business of CCIMs did.
The lesson? Trust is one of the things that come with that CCIM pin.
Institute Of Real Estate Management (IREM)
by Richard Muhlbach, CPM, CRE, Signature Series Speaker
My first assignment working in commercial real estate was managing and leasing a portfolio of properties that included a regional mall, medical and office buildings, and large apartments. I quickly assessed my situation at this development company, and realized that I was the only property manager there. I had no one to mentor me. To fill that void, I joined the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) and pursued the Certified Property Manager (CPM) designation.
The courses I attended and publications I read, along with the discussions with members at chapter meetings, provided me with the foundation of knowledge I needed to manage and lease such a large and complex portfolio. After I earned the CPM designation, I remained active with IREM, attending chapter and national meetings, eventually serving as chapter president and IREM’s international president.
Years after I took that first assignment, when I reflected on that time, I realized that I actually did have a mentor then. While I earned my CPM designation, IREM became my mentor, and it still is my mentor to this day.
Society Of Industrial And Office REALTORS® (SIOR)
by Paul Waters, SIOR, CCIM, CRE, FRICS, Signature Series Speaker
Since I earned it twelve years ago, the SIOR (Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS®) designation has been a competitive differentiator in my business. The designation signifies a number of things, but potential and existing clients primarily recognize it as a leading industry credential, an indicator that I’m a student of and an expert in the industry who has invested the time to gain added knowledge and skills – beyond just what’s required – to ensure future success.
SIOR’s extensive member network has also helped me develop my business. Over the course of my career, as I’ve taken on national roles in fairly large platforms and have expanded my own market-to-market resources I can rely on to convert and deliver, the impact of this network has been reduced. But the SIOR designation never fails to create a differentiator with prospective clients.
Sophisticated decision makers and other influential business people are typically aware of the designation’s value and so invest added confidence in me because of it. Those who are unfamiliar with the designation and organization usually inquire about its meaning and relevancy, which creates opportunities for me to tell stories that illustrate how SIOR training has positively impacted my decision making. Either way, I know the SIOR designation distinguishes me as a leader in my market and the industry.