IRVINE, CA-Everyone’s talking about Gen Y. What do they want? How are they different? How are they shaping, or better yet, re-shaping the commercial real estate industry?
“Gen Y-ers are not only changing how apartments are being built, or what strategies retailers are using to attract new consumers, but they are also changing the way commercial real estate is being bought, sold and leased,” according to three Voit Real Estate Services brokers we recently chatted with. “Today, a new generation of brokers is driving this change.”
Patrick Wood, a vice president in Voit’s Inland Empire office, says that a major trend among next-gen brokers is a deep-seated persistency when it comes to work. He attributes this to the fact that many of these brokers began their careers during the Great Recession.
“When you launch your career in a market like that—where nothing is moving and the whole world feels like it’s stopped—you learn some really interesting things about perseverance,” he explains.
Wood notes that next-gen brokers found out from the start of their careers that creativity is the key to making deals happen. “We will continue to see new, creative real estate solutions being presented to clients throughout the US,” Wood says. “As next-gen brokers, we cut our teeth during a time when repositioning properties became the norm. Now, we’re uniquely equipped to think creatively, and we have the persistence needed to make deals happen.”
Jason DiRocco, a senior associate in Voit’s Anaheim office, agrees, and notes that it’s not only creative solutions that are on the rise amongst next-gen-ers. “Another trend that has emerged is a real-time ‘street knowledge’ of off-market deals in the markets we serve,” he says.
While knowledge of a broker’s home market is not something new, DiRocco notes that it’s the off-market deals that have really emerged as a driver in today’s commercial real estate market.
“Knowing what’s coming next before it even arrives has become the norm among our generation,” he says. “And what’s really interesting is that clients now expect it.”
DiRocco notes that many clients have come to understand the value of a broker with knowledge of off-market deals, and it means that top brokers must stay in the know in order to remain competitive.
To do that, Chase MacLeod, a VP in Voit’s Irvine office, says that brokers are gaining a deeper understanding not only of a client’s needs, but also of any other factors that may affect a client’s business. “Tenants, buyers, and users are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and they expect their brokers to be equally sophisticated and educated,” says MacLeod.
As a result, next-gen brokers are becoming increasingly expert in research and analysis within their clients’ various industries.
“Because general market information is easier for people to access than ever before, we’ve learned to use that information as a Launchpad from which we can deliver a deeper value to our clients,” he says.
According to MacLeod, it’s not enough to simply “find a building” for clients anymore. Today’s brokers see themselves as full-service advisors to their clients from the very beginning of their careers.
“Our role is to help clients make informed business decisions, and that means going beyond maximizing space,” he says. “We are guiding each client through the process, while anticipating roadblocks or barriers that may not be evident to them.”
MacLeod notes that this push toward a more advisor-level service really applies to all brokers. “However,” he says, “It’s certainly something that will continue to increase among this next generation of brokerage professionals.”