RE’s Schizophrenic Desperation


Note: This post was originally written by Donald Teel for residential Broker-Owners. It is syndicated from REALonomics because of its relevance to commercial brokerages and investors. “REALonomics” is a registered trademark ┬« of The Teel Group, Inc.


The real estate industry is not too unlike an organization living in a state of collective schizophrenia. Figuratively speaking, we are hearing voices that are not real.

Our hallucinations are mostly self-induced; the voices we hear are actually our own mumblings and business babblings disguised as forces we do not control.

I’m now convinced the real estate industry is delusional but not in the classic clinical sense of schizophrenia. Rather, we are deluded by the notion that what we are experiencing is beyond our control.

Since we don’t have an alternative point of reference for our dilapidated and dysfunctional (not to mention unprofitable) business models, we willingly succumb to the voices that keep telling us all will be well and in time the market will return to normalcy (whatever that is).

We have come to actually believe there is a quick cure for our collective malady. We have long ago stopped taking the medications of self-reliance that can eliminate the voices and have instead turned to a political pill that only fuels the illness and delays the inevitable.

The Great Delusional Grip

Franchisors continue to pimp and prescribe, increasing their delusional grip on Broker-Owners, convincing them, mistakenly, that their brands are necessary as a market value proposition and to their survival.

To control the delusions and squelch the voices we pretend our economic survival can be optimized by merely changing the colors of the pills we ingest. We hallucinate about technology solutions that magically produce profitability through Internet lead generation. The voices continue.
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2010 – The Disaster Verses Recovery Conflict

comm bldgs sunrise - cwpLike many who find themselves connected to the lifeblood of the commercial real estate market, I have been listening, researching and studying the myriad voices and have come to the conclusion that we are entering 2010 in a state of conflict.

Two camps have emerged. The first is what I will refer to as the “Disaster Camp” and the second is the “Recovery Camp.”

The Disaster Camp (DC) is the illusive analysts whose cryptic research clearly indicates we are entering an era of melt-down. The DC guys and gals come at us armed with their complex charts and narratives that prove conclusively that we are headed into doomsday.

The Recovery Camp (RC) is equally persuasive with their slick, bullet-pointed PowerPoint presentations. The RC camp trumpets phrases like “sidelined investor capital waiting to be spent” and “Bond money waiting to pounce on market opportunities.”

After all is said and done, more will have been said than done! I’m conflicted as a result of the plethora of combative voices that leave me feeling as if I have just stepped off a wild roller-coaster and cannot gain my bearings.

As we enter 2010, I’m a lot like many of my clients, nauseated and bewildered and I am vowing here and now to never ride that roller coaster again.

For at least the opening stages of 2010, I am going to go back to trusting the basic fundamentals of investment and my instincts. In the early part of 2010 I’m resolving to delete all of the emails that are in the DC and RC camp. Away with the charts and the PDFs that tell many tales.

Here is what I am going to do in 2010…return to trusting me, myself and I. Oh, I will be forced to gaze at many more PowerPoint prophets and read many more detailed documents designed to either scare me into sleeplessness or fill me with the phony messages of hope beyond reason.

My thought is that 2010 is going to be a year of disaster AND recovery. We will eat at both sides of that aweful table made up of vinegar and sugar. That is why I am going to return to trusting myself and to a healthy avoidance of investment extremism. I’m inviting you to do the same.


Donald Teel is Senior Associate with Arizona Commercial, an Arizona commercial brokerage and property management firm. Need more information? Please call 1-877-777-9100 or, if you prefer, you may email Donald Teel

Is the President Ignoring Commercial Property?

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

Many experts are predicting further declines in commercial property values and performance, at least through 2009 and some are looking for recovery as late as the fourth quarter of 2010.

The Obama Administration has been funneling billions of dollars into lending institutions and dedicating billions more to the housing industry and its hoped-for recovery. This begs the question, is the President ignoring the problems now surfacing in the commercial property sector of the economy?

The short answer is yes. The longer and more complicated explanation may lie in understanding the fundamentals of the lending and insurance industries as they are the prime note holders and owners of much of the nation’s commercial real estate.

Although commercial property value declines are now underway in almost every property category, lending institutions may be free to use TARP and other funds to shore up the ailing commercial market.

A high percentage of commercial real estate owners (estimates are between 40% and 80%) will find refinancing difficult from 2009 through 2012 as 3 and 5 year note calls begin to kick-in and owners face a new set of qualifying requirements designed to reduce lender risks in commercial property lending.
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