Commercial-Residential Real Estate Collision

Kim Ford

My husband suggested that I offer residential services a few times (okay many times over ten+ years) and I always shrugged him off. I couldn’t even imagine the Commercial-Residential Real Estate Collision.

The truth is, I’m a commercial expert. And many of us commercial people, including myself, put ourselves on a pedestal as if we are better than the others, as if commercial is in a league of its own. I think some of that belief stems from the multifaceted complexities of many commercial transactions. In Commercial Real Estate, to be successful, we must become an expert in an entire metro area, multiple space types, different pricing models, hidden fees, architectural and construction processes, in addition to understanding how to structure transactions to align C suite goals with shareholder demands.

Many of these deals take years before they cross the finish line and some die in the red zone. I think that’s the moment many of us Commercial experts climb up on our pedestal and refuse to get down. When you are working on a $50M transaction for a CEO, you don’t take your role lightly. For most clients that’s their second highest operating expense behind talent and it’s an incredibly important business decision. Many businesses are growing, and some are rightsizing. Every deal is unique and critical to the company’s success.

As you can see, I’m still on my pedestal. But when you take a step back and look at the actual deal, you are working with a person, or group of people, who needs to make an informed business decision. Those people have confidence and trust in you. They chose you to help them with an important decision. That is no different than when a family chooses a residential agent to work with them. That family is trusting their agent with the biggest financial decision of their lives. Okay, I have come down from my pedestal.

The fact is, both commercial and residential agents/brokers act in the capacity of the trusted advocate. They are both equally important yet equally challenging roles. So how does Commercial collide with Residential Real Estate?

When Covid hit, the office space marketplace came to a screeching halt and the work from home (#WFH) movement began. Our team at Rise Pittsburgh is fortunate to do a lot of work in the R&D, tech flex, and logistics sectors so we still had work flowing but not nearly as much as pre-Covid. I felt a strong desire to pivot but I wasn’t sure the best way to leverage our expertise in a volatile environment and continue to be profitable. At this point, I kicked my pedestal over.

During my entire career I’ve tried to improve the traditional deal process. I’ve focused on creative solutions using technology to save clients and brokers time and money. That is why we started to develop the Rise Dashboard™. My goal was to provide transparency through real-time communication for everyone in a transaction. We just released version 1.0 and began rolling it out to some of our clients over the past month. At the same time, it started to become abundantly clear the WFH movement was here to stay (at least for the time being) and that is when my darn husband mentioned the R word again. The difference is, this time it clicked.

We don’t have to provide residential services the way everyone else in Pittsburgh does it. What if we do it the commercial way? What if we use our business expertise, technology, and extensive skill sets to provide buyers and sellers in residential real estate with the same proven process we’ve used successfully for over 20 years for Commercial Real Estate?

“I’ve spent years helping people in companies find the perfect office and suddenly people are looking for the perfect office at home.

We can help them continue to accomplish their goals and enable them to have the most exceptional experience possible in both Commercial and Residential. Then I started looking at the Commercial process:

  1. Understanding the goals/objectives and issues
  2. Market Research & strategic positioning
  3. Tours
  4. RFP’s and Proposals
  5. Financial Analysis
  6. Site Selection
  7. Architectural and Construction Estimates
  8. Letter of Understanding
  9. Lease Review
  10. Lease Execution
  11. Permits and Construction
  12. Occupancy
  13. Punch-List

The high-level Residential process is almost identical. We already know the market inside and out. Why wouldn’t we represent those same CEO’s, CFO’s, Controllers, Directors of Real Estate, and Operations professionals help them find an office and a home? Why wouldn’t we extend the same exceptional experience we provide in office, industrial and tech flex to residential?

Damnit, my husband was right…again.

Kim Ford, SIOR, LEED AP – follow me on LinkedIn

Rise Pittsburgh | Businesses have trusted us for over 20 years because we offer the highest levels of market expertise, transparency and strategic positioning. Rise Pittsburgh brings sophistication to both commercial and residential real estate, striving to create a smooth journey and exceptional experience. Through our technology-driven dashboard, we have reimagined how you buy, sell, and lease real estate.  

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