Another commercial broker takes the leap into the 21st century

I was excited to recently discover that a fellow commercial real estate professional has decided to come full throttle into the world of technology by creating a blog devoted to commercial real estate activities in Chicago.  The Chicago Commercial Real Estate blog will hopefully provide another well-written, frequently updated source of insight on commercial real estate activity in the Windy City.

Somebody in the internet cloud loves me…

I was reviewing the sites that have driven traffic to Corporate Real Estate today and saw a link that I didn’t recognize – http://reiratings.com/Blogs.htm.  Not familiar with the domain “reiratings.com”, I followed the link and came upon a ranked list of real estate blogs.  I was flattered to find myself ranked reasonably high on the list – it’s always nice to get feedback on what’s working well and what you would like to see improved on my blog.

The site is impressive in its simplicity; sporting no frills, it manages to provide lists of real estate articles, blogs, books, sites and tools (coming soon – I’m very interested!).  Especially if you are an investor, this is one site to bookmark.  Even if you are not, I am eager to see where Julien, the editor, takes the site.  It would be very cool if he integrated community ratings into the system, so visitors like you or I could review the resources and get a more accurate stack-rank of value.

Brought to you by the letters MSRBOT

I must be on a public television kick.  After writing about open offices and Mr. Rogers, I was inspired to provide another PBS reference in the title of this post – anyone recognize the reference?

This post has very little to do with commercial real estate, except insofar as it relates to the Corporate Real Estate blog.  In fact, it actually has to do with blogging and particularly RSS feeds.  This Wednesday afternoon, I was visiting Feedburner to review activity on my “burned” RSS feed.  Essentially, Feedburner – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google – has some really neat free services for bloggers and other web publishers.  I can track statistics like who is viewing my feeds and how they are accessing them (see Competitors are keeping an eye on me for more details).
Continue reading

The Four Types of Commercial Real Estate Explained

Jordan Crouch and I met a while back as we both delved into the world of blogging.  I can say with pride that I’m elated to be able to reference his post on The Four Food Groups a.k.a. the four major types of commercial real estate.  For the lay-person, the residential real estate professional or the real estate enthusiast, Crouch’s explanations of the four types – office, industrial, retail, multifamily – can help anyone understand what is unique about each type.  Jordan, if you are reading this, I’d love to partner on a more thorough write-up diving into the details of each facet of commercial real estate and how they might vary for both the occupier and the investor.

And winner for “Shortest Article on Commercial Real Estate” goes to…

Wall Street Journal’s “Real Estate Journal”, with this tiny gem Capitalization Rates for Offices Sink to Low.  Weighing at at a whopping 4 lines, it’s almost hard to believe there is any useful data contained within.  Actually, there isn’t.

Although the explanation of capitalization rate – or “cap rate” – is handy for the beginning real estate professional, the quoted cap rate for central business district (CBD) office properties tells the reader absolutely nothing about which property types were considered, if it includes mixed-use buildings or only pure office towers, what they define as the CBD for the value quoted, or what the rate dropped from (historic values for the last month, quarter or year).  I’m sure that there are other things missing, but these immediately struck me as odd.  Seems like they were struggling to provide anything newsworthy, but the real estate analyst was out sick today.  It’s almost like if I commented on a short article about commercial real estate, simply to have provided my readers with a post for the day, without actually providing any insight or value to them.  Oh, wait…

Commercial Real Estate Blogging Begins to Draw Attention

To be honest, I should say that it is continuing to draw attention.  In the last few months, I have had hundreds of readers visit my site to read what I have written or comment on my thoughts around commercial real estate, particularly in Chicago.  Because of the initiative I have made within my firm toward getting more outbound blog activity, it’s refreshing to see the Commercial Property News article, To Blogging … & Beyond!

I discovered the article thanks to David Stejkowski, author of The Dirt Lawyer’s Blog, a local blogger showcased in the article.  Brad Berton, the reporter on the article, acknowledges that real estate professionals are slow to adapt technology and the corporate real estate users are typically not the same demographic that is savvy on RSS feeds and blogging.  I observed something similar in my article for the Illinois Real Estate Journal – User Friendly: Smarter Kick-Off Forms.  As a result, using a blog as a means to demonstrate credibility and promote oneself and one’s services is currently an uphill battle in our industry.  However, I still feel very strongly that those of us who start early will have a distinct advantage over the coming months and years, as those late to the game play catch-up.  Just like I said a few posts back, I invite any employees at competing brokerage houses (or even corporate space users who would like to give this medium a test run) to contact me if you would like to start blogging – not only will I help you, but I’ll also add a link to your blog if it’s focused on commercial real estate.

Like I say, I’m a glass-is-half-full, there’s more than enough to go around kind of guy.  When it comes to blogging about commercial real estate, the more, the merrier.

Competitors are keeping an eye on me…

I guess it’s a sign that I’m doing something right.  A couple days ago, I was reviewing my subscriber rates at Feedburner.  For those of you unfamiliar with Feedburner, you can think of it as an RSS routing engine – my RSS feed for my blog is wrapped by Feedburner, allowing them to track statistics of RSS subscribers and usage via this feed.  As a result, I can get fairly specific feedback, like which RSS readers my fans are using and from what domain they are browsing.  Wouldn’t you know it, but under the “Uncommon Uses” tab, I found that there was one particular subscriber consuming my feed on their corporate Sharepoint site?  Click here to find out which real estate firm is keeping an eye on me.

To be honest, I’m flattered.  If my blog makes the grade to be syndicated to a corporate Sharepoint site, I’m going places.  In fact, I’m in such a good mood, that I will offer my blogging services to any commercial real estate firm that would like to get on-board.  Since I’ve been blogging for about 4 years cumulatively, if you have a broker or analyst who would like to start a blog for your firm or local office, I will take them under my wing – for a nominal fee – and teach them what they need to know to get started.  There’s more than enough room on the world wide web for a few more commercial real estate blogs and it would be my pleasure to advise you.  Email me via my Contact Me form and I’ll follow up with you directly.