Upon these Three the Deal Hinges

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Posted by Donald Teel, Arizona Commercial

Taking the guesswork out of commercial real estate investment requires more than a hope, a prayer and signature.

The genesis of commercial real estate investment is found in the analysis of the basic math surrounding the transaction. Costs, cash flow, depreciation, appreciation, money in and money out. Math is the science of the deal.

While the origin of commercial transactions is found in the science of basic mathematical functions, the art of performance is found in the crafting of the document; this is the model. Well crafted documents are extensions of the numbers and the intentions of the principals.

If there is to be any semblance of predictability of performance such must be memorialized and embedded in the language that constructs the investment, i.e., the purchase agreement or lease agreement.

Then too, the document’s credibility is only as good as the integrity of its signatories; their motivations. They who sign are those who are called upon to act in accordance with their written promises.

Summary: the deal is as good as the numbers (the Math), the performance is as good as the document (the Model) and the execution of the promises is only as good as the integrity of the principals (the Motives). Upon these three the investment hinges.

The numbers are the science, the document is the art and the performance is the warranty. Upon these three the deal hinges and the door of performance opens and closes.

I have seen and written a lot of documents. In my career I have seen short documents that were good and long documents that were bad. There have been times when the short word accomplished as much as the long word and vice-versa.

Good numbers, contrary to the opinions of some of my contemporaries, are seldom the guarantor of performance. My experience has shown me, countless times, that the integrity of the transaction is always found in the fulfillment of the promises of the principles and this only as a result of superior documentation, whether short or long.

In retrospect, I have seen great documents backed by great numbers end in disaster due only to the diminished capacity, whether intentional or not, of a Principal Party to perform as promised. Lawyers want us to believe that documents are everything. I have seen good deals with superior documents go south because of bad intentions.

Nothing can overcome a Principal with a misguided principle, no matter the document, no matter the math.

Then too, I have seen miserable documents when placed in the hands of principled Principals run their course without incident.

After more than two decades I have learned that the math, the model and the motives are the three inseparable ingredients of any commercial real estate transaction; the most powerful being the later.

To me, this is the holy trinity of real estate investment and one cannot function without the other two.

Upon these three the deal hinges.


Note: Donald Teel is a Senior Associate with Arizona Commercial and he can be reached by email or, if you prefer, by calling him toll free at 877-777-9100.

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