A building that makes "no sense" to most investors could be a diamond in the rough to another — and knowledge and information is key in the current rising rate environment, according to one industry watcher.

"You can't add value to bonds — and unless you own a VC firm or you're Warren Buffett or Elon Musk, you really can't create value by owning stocks," says Marcus & Millichap's John Chang. "Other than owning a company or a franchise, only real estate allows investors to roll up their sleeves, either physically or metaphorically, and create value in an investment."

And Chang says this happens in one of three ways: repositioning, management, or knowledge.  Repositioning can be as simple as upgrading common areas and as complex as transforming high-rise office towers into apartments (a trend that's happening at a rapid rate in some major metros).  It can also fall somewhere in between those extremes: think moving a Class C property to Class B or repurposing an outdated shopping mall into a mixed-use asset.

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