In extremely tight market conditions, clients and brokers need to think creatively to find the right solution to acquire real estate. Such is the case today. With a shortage of real estate inventory for sale, prospects seeking to acquire property to meet their needs may wait for months or years, if ever for a solution to hit the market. Even then, tight supply leads to pent up demand, heavy competition and increased pricing.
A creative strategy can include the client identifying off market target properties that are appealing and then have their broker inquire with the respective ownership as to possibilities for the target properties being for sale. Incredulous that this is a worthwhile endeavor? Earlier this year, one of my clients took on this strategy. After identifying a target property that was not on the market, I contacted the owner to inquire as to the possibility for the property being for sale as an off-market deal. The property was currently under lease at the time but with a flexible term. Turns out that 1) The existing tenant desired to terminate its lease 2) The owner, being older and seeking to simplify his portfolio was indeed seeking to divest this asset and 3) He had already been in discussions with another party to sell. This was indeed fortuitous timing. We quickly structured mutually agreeable terms for a streamlined transaction. The Seller was interested in a fast-tracked sale with a strong comfort level of closing and my client was able to deliver. The deal was finalized within 60 days and both parties were happy.
It is important that the client work through its broker to communicate with potential sellers for several reasons. A professional broker will know how to present the inquiry on the client’s behalf and ask the right questions. A buyer may also want to shield its identity to not reveal it is in the market and further protect it’s identify and financial capacity. For example, if the client has high net worth, it is prudent to not allow the Seller to think there is very deep pocket to reach into. The Seller will also more likely reveal more to a broker than directly to a potential buyer. So the broker serves an important role to be a buffer between the parties.
In addition to targeting properties that are not at all on the market, a similar strategy can be implemented to target properties that are on the market for lease only. Sometimes, these properties linger on the market for a lengthy period and the owner gets frustrated with carrying an empty property. There is no harm in submitting an offer. This may sit while a seller ponders his options. It is important to present an actual written offer to indicate serious intent. The important point is that the broker must follow through and make the inquiries. Clients should retain a professional broker that is dedicated, will follow through, ask the right questions and represent the client’s interests as its trusted advisor.
Acquiring property for your business is a multi-faceted and complicated process. Please contact me to review your specific real estate requirements and find the best solution.
Warren Brown, President, Boston Commercial Properties, Inc.