Lease It and Keep It Leased

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Craig is the most well-organized person I know. Not only is he one of the most highly regarded commercial real estate brokers, but he is also an investor in his own right, and together, he, Kim, and I have done several deals together. I say that Craig is organized, but I really mean he is very goal oriented. He has accomplished more in his life than many of us could achieve in several lifetimes. He attributes this to goal setting and prioritizing what he really wants from life. Craig is one of those rare people who chooses what he wants carefully, then goes after getting it with a vengeance.

He has his days planned to the minute and is constantly self improving. He studies and invests in his personal development on a regular basis. Yet, his family takes the highest priority, and he is very involved in his children's lives. Again, what I learn from Craig beyond just about everything I know about commercial real estate is priorities.

Craig has a lot of designations after his name, but I don't need them to know that he knows what he's talking about when it comes to commercial real estate investing, leasing, and brokering. His track record and his guidance speak loud enough. He has shown us that commercial real estate takes a different set of eyes than the ones we have as investors in multifamily residential properties. Whenever Kim and I see a commercial building that we think looks interesting, we call Craig.

It usually only takes a few answers to a few questions that Craig asks us before he tells us whether the property is worth any more of our time or if we should keep driving the deal. He's that good.

He takes the time to teach with every deal, and he actively teaches and mentors others in his profession. Like the other contributors in this book, Craig practices what he preaches. He lives the real estate life he talks about.

—Robert Kiyosaki

If you build it, they will come. And if you own it, they will lease it from you.

No they won't! On both counts. As much as you may like to think that everyone will be as excited about your real estate investment as you are, this simply is not the case. In most markets, there are several buildings for rent and lots of choices for business owners regardless of whether they are looking for a Class A high-rise for their $500 per hour law firm partners, or a master carpenter looking for multiuse workshop space to create custom furnishings, and everything in between. Choices abound, as they say.

So what does it take to lease your building and keep it leased? It takes attracting good tenants. It takes professional management that makes the experience of being in your building an exceptional one. And it takes understanding the difference between a leasing company and a management company. There is a big difference.

I see so many first-time commercial property owners, and even those who should know better, think they can lease their properties themselves. While many of them know they don't want to manage the properties themselves, after all the thought of the Friday 5 p.m. toilet clog is enough to tame that crazy notion, I'm always surprised when people say they want to do their own leasing. My only conclusion is that they don't realize what is involved. I know from experience if they are not set up for leasing—and most building owners are not— it is nearly impossible to successfully lease a building. Building owners may also rationalize by asking why should they pay a commission to an agent when they can do the leasing themselves.

In my book, right up there with being able to analyze a deal and performing good due diligence is leasing your property. Why is this so important? Because leasing drives your cash flow. And cash flow is a significant definer of property value.

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