Saturday, March 2, 2013

Crazy Money / The Yin and Yang of Texting / Velkommen Norway! / Cornell Real Estate Council Meeting

Crazy Money

For months I’ve been hearing the term ‘Crazy Money’ uttered by commercial real estate folks.  So what exactly do they mean?  A New York City-based commercial real estate broker shared his answer as “People who are simply paying too much for a building.”

Maybe this particular group knows something others don’t. Notwithstanding commercial real estate’s popularity with global investors, I wonder if we’re on the verge of another real estate bubble like the early / mid-2000’s? 

The Yin and Yang of Texting

Texting is a key component to the age of brevity in communicating with one another. We have become a society of instant gratification that causes potential negative consequences. Consider the possible impact of a typo, a message not understood or just taken the wrong way.  Yes, technology has presented us with some cool tools; we just need to be smart in how we apply them.  My thought on this:  Reread any text message before you ‘Send.’ Think about whether a reply is even warranted before you respond (something I’m working on myself :).  Be mindful of brief and hastily sent messages - it’s very easy for someone to misinterpret the intent and then a lot more time is spent setting things straight. Remember:  Haste makes waste.

Recently I was with a group of middle-aged people who were voicing concern that young people, by relying mainly on texting, will not develop necessary social skills. However, I thought, might this sort of communication actually improve interaction? I realize given the paragraph above it may seem like I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth. Isn’t it possible that older people have misplaced concerns about younger people who may have actually discovered a new way of communicating - one that results in more frequent, positive and efficient interactions - thus improving interpersonal relationships?

Velkommen Norway!

On February 27, 2013 Real Capital Analytics subscribers received their January 2013 U.S. Real Estate Capital Trends Report which mentioned Norway’s sovereign wealth fund making its first venture into U.S. real estate.

One by one, offshore sovereign wealth funds are discovering real estate investment opportunities in America. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, that there will be more of these entities appearing in the headlines of publications like PERE (Private Equity Real Estate) Magazine for investing in U.S. real estate.  Who do you think will be the next sovereign wealth fund to make their presence known? 

Cornell University Real Estate Council Meeting

Thanks to David Funk, Beth VanDine and Mark Foerster of the Cornell University Baker Program in Real Estate for inviting me to their Real Estate Council Meeting in New York on February 28, 2013. The program was designed to help students from many universities in their job search. 

In addition to several speakers, there was a job fair where representatives from a dozen companies talked with students about employment opportunities. 

Speakers included Tony Lopinto from Korn/Ferry International, and Doug Weill of Hodes Weill & Associates. Here are some of my takeaways:

Tony Lopinto

·      “Companies are asking fewer people to do more things reducing the number of available jobs.”
·      “There’s nothing we hear more from our clients than their interest in hiring diversity.” 
·      “Hospitality, REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) and
Senior / Assisted living are seeing robust hiring.”
·      “Institutional capital raising is the single most active area of our real estate search business.”
·      “Employers are underwriting people more than ever.  Some of the areas being scrutinized include:
o   Ethics
o   Ability to learn
o   Attitude
o   Attention to detail
o   Passion for the real estate industry”

Doug Weill

·   “Do your homework before an interview.  Know the company and the person(s) with whom you will be meeting.  Turn the conversation around by asking thoughtful questions.  Ask about the role and the culture. Be prepared to answer the question, “Why do you want to work for our firm?”

Susan Phillips, CEO of, and I chatted over lunch. is the leading web-based service dedicated to careers in commercial real estate.  In addition to job postings they offer some very useful resources such as Candidate Tips and Advice, Salary Resources and a Job Barometer Report.  Check it out.

A number of the students asked if I had any suggestions to aide in their job search. An interesting approach is to differentiate oneself from the competition.  Be bold.  What do you have to lose?  Consider starting the cover letter / email with a thought-provoking question instead of the usual.  Put yourself in the seat of the person who receives - and theoretically reads - all the submissions.  What would stand out?  Be creative. 

Restaurant of the Week

Arno, 141 W. 38th Street, New York, NY.  A great place for an after work drink and appetizer. 

On The Road…

Mar. 14-15:  PREA (Pension Real Estate Association) Spring Conference, Washington, DC 

Mar. 17 -19:  NAREIM (National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers) Spring CEO Meeting, Santa Monica, CA (Invitation only).

Apr. 9 -10:  PERE (Private Equity Real Estate Magazine) Global Investor Forum, Los Angeles, CA 

May 29 – 30:  IMN (Information Management Network) U.S. Real Estate Opportunity Fund and Private Fund Investing Forum, New York, NY 

June 4 – 5:  PERE Summit (Private Equity Real Estate Magazine), London, UK


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