Commercial Symposium: Best Practices Brought to Light

The 2019 RE/MAX Commercial Symposium aimed to shine a light on the best practices and the evolving nature of the commercial real estate industry. The 12th annual event more than lived up to that mission.

Nearly a dozen panels on topics such as “The Art of Winning Listings,” “Succeeding in a Team Structure” and “The Global Nature of Commercial Real Estate” featured insights from some of the RE/MAX network’s top Commercial Practitioners and often generated such interest that panelists continued fielding questions from attendees well past the end of a scheduled session.

As always, networking was a huge part of the two-and-a-half-day gathering, held Sept. 15-17 in Denver, and it’s a safe bet that some deals will result from new friendships and alliances formed. It was easy to see why RE/MAX boasts more than 3,400 Commercial Practitioners representing 73 countries.

“I keep coming back; this is my third year,” says Fred Louis, an Associate with RE/MAX Elite in Little Rock, Arkansas. “I’ve made great contacts.”

As Louis puts it, “What I got out of this will probably pay for this trip.”

“It’s about meeting new people, sharing new ideas that you didn’t think about and listening to people’s success stories.” Shafiq Hirani

He explained that he had been unsure of how to structure a deal for a client who wants to purchase an auto body and paint shop until he talked to fellow Symposium attendee Tony Saldi, the vastly experienced Co-Owner and President of RE/MAX Commercial Midwest in Omaha, Nebraska.

“I asked Tony, ‘What’s the best way to help this guy with this purchase?’” Louis recalls. “He says, ‘Do a lease with an option.’ I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, that’s so basic and simple!’”

That experience prompted Louis, a regular attendee of the RE/MAX annual convention (R4), who is pursuing his Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation, to wonder why anyone would miss the chance to attend an event like the RE/MAX Commercial Symposium.

“Somebody from my office asked me, ‘Do you think I should go to this?’ I said, ‘Abso-freaking-lutely!’” Louis shakes his head. “And they’re not here. Wasted opportunity.”

But it was an opportunity seized by many, and they came away feeling rewarded.

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“The feedback has been pretty much universally positive,” says Doug Winfrey, Brand Manager, RE/MAX Commercial. “I think it was good to bring on more panels than we have in the past. RE/MAX Commercial Practitioners like hearing from our membership, people with the brand who are out there doing the big deals. It’s encouraging, and it gets them excited. And it’s reassuring to them that we are a brand that’s powerful, has a big reach and is a force in the commercial real estate space.”

That would get no argument from Shafiq Hirani, Broker Associate with RE/MAX Distinctive Real Estate, a brokerage with offices in Washington, D.C., and McLain, Virginia. This was Hirani’s fifth RE/MAX Commercial Symposium.

“It’s about meeting new people, sharing new ideas that you didn’t think about and listening to people’s success stories,” says Hirani, a former developer and real estate investor who was the Broker/Owner and founder of RE/MAX Elite until recently merging with RE/MAX Distinctive Real Estate, which boasts about 80 agents – including five commercial specialists – in two offices.

Hirani notes the substantive and wide-ranging content presented in the many panels, specifically citing “The Art of Winning Listings” panel featuring Jorge Yamzon of RE/MAX Masters Realty in Chino Hills, California, in the Los Angeles area; Patrick Buckhoff of RE/MAX Elite Properties in the Houston suburb of Tomball, Texas; and Keith Kanemoto of RE/MAX Traditions in Longmont, Colorado.

“All three of them are successful, but their approach is totally different,” Hirani notes. “And that’s the diversity that makes us so special – we all don’t have to fit into a cookie cutter mold, we’re not brainwashed to sort of do the same thing. We’re in business for ourselves but not by ourselves. That, I think is what RE/MAX really helps with. RE/MAX helps you build your own brand and your own way of doing things, but with a lot of support when you need it.”

“RE/MAX helps you build your own brand and your own way of doing things, but with a lot of support when you need it.”Shafiq Hirani

That support was evident later during the Symposium when the aforementioned Louis had a question during the panel, “Succeeding in a Team Structure,” as panelists Mark Hulsey (Managing Broker, RE/MAX Results, St. Paul, Minnesota), Jeff Wright (Broker/Owner, RE/MAX Right Choice Real Estate, Trumbull, Connecticut) and Scott Hughes (Broker/Owner, RE/MAX Commercial Capital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) talked about their experience and years of hard work now paying dividends for them and their teams.

“How would you go about doing that today?” Louis asked. “I’m hearing a lot about experience, like this is what it looks like 15 years down the road — ‘We’re killing it’ – but I’m not there; I’m really young.”

“You make a huge point,” Hulsey responded. “I don’t know that there’s an easy answer. You start with being smart in education; and you need to be extraordinarily focused, and then you’re going to leverage your success. We’re all about best practices, just doing everything as well as it can be done. And with that, in time, the success absolutely comes.”

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