Building a Brand for Success

  Commentary by Robert McAdams Jr.

Commentary by Robert McAdams Jr.

During real estate conversations taking place at conferences and in boardrooms across America, the topic of brand often takes center stage. How can you build a brand? How do you sustain it? How do you make it grow? While there isn’t one simple answer to any of these questions, there are many different approaches to tackling the challenges and rewards associated with building a brand.

Robert McAdams Jr. is president of Real Living Real Estate. For more information, visit

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One approach is to simply spend money on media advertising as a way of attracting consumers who will be the source of future business. Although this tactic may be among the easier brand-building options, I don’t believe that consumers today are swayed by this in the long-term.

In my opinion, a real estate brand is at its strongest when it emerges naturally and authentically, grassroots-style. This type of grassroots brand is built from the quality of the brokerages in the network, from the excellence in customer care their agents provide, and, most importantly, from the consumers who are overwhelmingly satisfied with the service they receive. All members of the team—brokers and agents alike—are in complete alignment with their goals and objectives, and consumers are inherently attracted to the consistency and straight-forwardness of a brand built this way.

That’s how I’ve steered our Real Living Real Estate network, with a keen focus on consumer service and creating a real culture. It’s also why the Real Living team invests a tremendous amount of time and resources into the tools, products and systems that our brokers and agents use to build local recognition and distinction in their marketplaces.

Our strategy has resulted in steady progress, and, more recently, nationwide recognition. I’m proud to say Real Living Real Estate was named Real Estate Agency Brand of the Year and Most Loved Real Estate Brand in the 28th annual Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study.

When I first heard the news about the study, I was honored, of course, that our brand and network garnered such prestigious praise. Still, what stood out the most about the achievement was that these top rankings were based purely on the sentiment of consumers. For the study, Harris Poll EquiTrend® asked 97,000 consumers how they felt about a brand’s familiarity, quality and consideration. In other words, the titles of Real Estate Agency Brand of the Year and Most Loved Real Estate Brand didn’t arrive by corporate consensus or from a small committee vote; they came from the people we help buy and sell homes every day: the consumers. And a culture of consumer satisfaction is the surest way to build a successful brand.

The Day After Brexit: What About Real Estate Owners?

  The offices of HSBC, Bank of America and Citigroup in the Canary Wharf financial district of east London. (AFP/Getty Images)

The offices of HSBC, Bank of America and Citigroup in the Canary Wharf financial district of east London. (AFP/Getty Images)

We discussed last week how the decision by British voters to leave the European Union could affect European lenders like Deutsche Bank. Now, let’s take a look at how Brexit might affect owners of U.S. commercial real estate that are based in Britain or have significant UK exposure.

Some of the British-based owners of commercial properties in the U.S. are banks like HSBC, which owns multifamily properties such as 2723 Cruger Ave. in the Bronx and 7442 S. Maplewood Chicago.

But non-bank CRE owners with offices in London or other UK cities don’t always have the same resources as banks and could potentially push off buying additional U.S. properties in the near term. And if the situation worsens, they might even consider offloading the U.S. properties they already own. (Here are more details on how Brexit could affect a wide variety of CRE players.)

Take LCN Capital Partners, a private equity firm with offices in New York, London and Amsterdam that has dollar-denominated and euro-denominated private equity funds. In 2014 it purchased the property portfolio of Wisconsin-based Vintage Parts, which provides inactive service parts manufactured by companies such as Chrysler, Harley Davidson and Caterpillar, in a $35 million sale/leaseback deal that Colliers described as one of the top 10 investment deals in Wisconsin in 2014.

The portfolio, which totals 682,092 square feet, includes the Vintage Parts headquarters and 15 warehouses located on three campuses in Beaver Dam and Columbus, Wisconsin. Vintage Parts has a 20-year lease as part of the transaction. 

In addition to involving an owner exposed to the UK and EU, the deal was financed by a $22.9 million CMBS loan originated in March 2014 by a British lender, Edinburgh-based Royal Bank of Scotland.

Now that more than two years have passed, LCN could, if it chooses, pull out of the CMBS deal and go into defeasance. It would have to make up the lost revenue for investors, but would potentially be able to refinance at a better rate or sell the property if it thought the market rate was going up.

For owners as well as lenders, much depends on whether the UK referendum is just a momentary shock or will have broader, more lasting effects, such as an exodus not just of Britain from the EU, but also of financial institutions and multinational corporations from the UK.

The stability of the U.S. market could outweigh any currency exchange risk as long as the pound and euro are stable, even if somewhat weakened. But if the pound and euro become highly undervalued or prove volatile, owners of U.S. commercial properties who are exposed to weaker economies could potentially seek to realize gains on the exchange rate and sell their U.S. holdings.

Ely Razin is CEO of CrediFi, a big data platform serving the commercial real estate finance market. He can be reached at

By Ely Razin, CEO of CredFi. Article is sourced from

Negative Jobs Report Prompts Drop in Mortgage Rates

Average fixed mortgage rates following 10-year Treasury yield lower after the May employment report came in well below expectations, according to the recently released Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®).

According to the PMMS, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.60 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending June 9, 2016, down from last week when it averaged 3.66 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.04 percent.

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