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Two Keys To A Win/Win/Win Approach To Commercial Real Estate

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Midsection Of Businesswoman Discussing With Buyer

Chris Sands, Founder and CEO, Sands Investment Group (SIG).

In commercial real estate sales, a common philosophy is the “win-win or no deal” approach. This suggests that both parties in a transaction should aim for a mutually beneficial outcome or walk away from the deal altogether. This brings both parties’ needs into consideration while anticipating an agreement where both the client and the broker feel as though they’ve “won” a positive outcome.

Businesses have traditionally used approaches that lend themselves to a survival-of-the-fittest mindset, such as this win-win or no deal approach. In a dog-eat-dog market with limited supply and demand to make a deal, making that sale feels like a ruthless competition. Commercial real estate is often perceived as one such market, in which brokers are working to get a deal done at any cost and a transaction takes precedence over any external factors. This approach assumes that there are only two parties affected by the outcome: the broker and the client.

Instead, in the commercial real estate space, the concept of a win-win-win situation may work better. This brings in a third party: the broader, external community. Derived from John Mackey’s Conscious Leadership: Elevating Humanity Through Business, in which he describes the third win that introduces a positive community outcome, I’ve seen this third factor come back to a full-circle benefit for our clients.

By approaching each deal from a place of servant leadership, we’re able to create community and collaborate with experts in their markets to seek the best possible outcome for all parties involved. When this win-win-win approach is applied, there are two key ways commercial real estate can work to impact the community.

Add Value

When the brokerage takes the time to ask how we can add value for the client, we’re positioned to identify areas of need and offer long-term advisory, whether it’s to buy, sell, reposition, refinance or maintain a property for their portfolio. This in turn gives the brokerage a net-positive result in creating long-term business and referral traffic, allowing us to continue to build new and existing relationships. 

In my own firm, we’ve created an environment that empowers brokers to grow into the best versions of themselves, making ethical decisions for their clients and community and upholding their personal integrity. This has allowed us to continually find new ways to add value for clients. 

Give Back

Another key to success in the commercial real estate sphere is to intentionally give back to our community, whether by financial means or by providing brokers with opportunities to give time through service projects. It’s crucial to consider our environmental footprint and the mark we’re leaving on a broader community scale, and giving back allows us to do just that. You get more back when you give — and there is so much more reward and fulfillment to be gained by giving back proceeds, time and talents in our surrounding communities.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, many commercial real estate brokerages were able to weather the storm. While deal production slowed and pipelines were down, the industry as a whole performed well. It’s important to be cognizant of what we stand for on the other side of these challenges, as well. What a great ripple effect it could be for all brokerages to invest their resources into starting a charitable arm and giving back to their communities, especially during challenging times.

At the end of the day, every decision made — every motive and every mindset — should be about more than yourself and your client. Ask what gives a better quality of life and what selfless considerations can be made within a deal for a greater positive impact. When you approach business deals with a win-win-win attitude, the impact can be felt throughout the community. This servant leadership mindset allows us to focus on being more interested in helping others than on being interesting, and the byproduct of these actions and mindset will allow us to grow our businesses and ourselves organically.


Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry. Do I qualify?


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Real Estate

1031 Exchange: Deal Or No Deal

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Handwriting text writing Commercial Real Estate. Concept meaning Income Property Building or Land for Business Purpose

Is “deal or no deal” a popular refrain from a successful game show or is it the voice of real estate investors who are growing concerned about the potential repeal of Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code?  

A recent read of the Biden/Harris tax plan reveals a $4 trillion tax hike, and one of the considerations for funding this massive tax increase is a change of 1031 Exchanges. 

President Biden’s administration has proposed eliminating 1031 “like-kind” exchanges for investors with annual incomes of more than $400,000, as part of a plan to fund future government spending on childcare and elderly healthcare. 

1031 exchanges have been a part of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code since 1921. The law was originally passed by congress to stimulate economic growth. They allow real estate investors to defer capital-gains taxes when they sell properties by directing the proceeds into new investments, usually within a few months after the sale.  As written, the rule allows investors to perpetually roll over capital gains into successive replacement property purchases, effectively eliminating tax liabilities through estate planning. 

Throughout U.S. history, investors have relied on real estate as a means of generating both income and capital appreciation. Low investment returns and stock market volatility have converged to create enormous demand for income-producing real estate that is often used to fund future liabilities. 

Now, more than ever, investors are looking to their real estate holdings to diversify away from market risk and provide a steady stream of income during retirement. For many 1031 exchange investors, their real estate holdings make up the largest portion of their net worth and are a key pillar in retirement planning.     

Today individual investors and limited partnerships control more than $ 7 trillion in residential and commercial rental property. It’s estimated that one in four Baby Boomers own one or more investment property and annual 1031 exchange transaction volume exceeds $100 billion per year.  

Given forecasted economic and demographic trends (primarily driven by the Boomers), the question is not whether or not investors will be buying investment real estate but rather what types of properties will they buy. 

In light of potential policy changes and evolving tax reform, a possibly even bigger question is will commercial real estate investors be able to utilize 1031 tax deferred exchanges as a means of buying and selling properties in the future?  

If Section 1031 of the IRS code is reformed millions of small retail investors may stand to lose billions of dollars in property values. 

This is not the first time that attempts have been made to eliminate 1031 exchanges but so far it continues to survive threats of repeal because lawmakers generally understand its positive impact on the economy. 

As Brad Watt, CEO of Petra Capital told me, “eliminating exchange rules at a time when the economy is suffering from the coronavirus pandemic would deal a ‘one-two punch’ to real estate values. 1031 exchanges benefit the “everyday” man by allowing smaller and less capitalized real estate investors to increase their income and net worth by temporarily deferring tax on reinvested real estate sales proceeds.” 

Eliminating 1031 exchanges from the current tax code could have a profound negative impact on future real estate values and the economic prosperity of the many small investors who own investment property.    

For investors looking to sell their current investment property, there has historically been a long line of willing buyers. Investors have been eager to purchase stabilized income property with the added benefits of tax-sheltered income and the ability to protect future capital gains by utilizing 1031 exchange rules. 

Now with the twin-threat of coronavirus and looming tax reform, sellers and buyers of investment properties are beginning to recalibrate pricing and income expectations. A modification, or outright elimination of IRC section 1031, could potentially create a real estate recession that mirrors the impact of the Tax Reform Act of 1986. 

However, the impact this time around could be much worse as real estate is now considered the fourth asset class behind stocks, bonds and cash. 

Now, more than ever, investors are relying on the stability of their real estate holdings to hedge against an unstable and unpredictable economy. Adverse changes or elimination of 1031 exchanges would send a shockwave through the economy that would have irreversible consequences on existing investors and potentially eliminate trillions of value in future generational wealth transfer.

Meanwhile, perhaps in anticipation of the elimination or modification of 1031s, there has been a mad rush to get deals closed. Paul Getty, CEO of First Guardian Group, told me, “our phone is ringing off the hook.”

Getty’s firm sees more 1031 transactions as anyone; as he put it, “we have a front row seat.” In December 2020 his company saw a significant spike in 1031s. Mountain Dell Consulting, which tracks 1031 transactions, reported a 15% increase from first-quarter 2020 citing, “the market does not have enough supply for current demand.”

The 1031 exchange law is one of the most important tools in the toolkit for real estate investors and odds are good that there could be changes on the horizon.

Kim Lochridge, executive vice president at Engineered Tax Services told me that “the elimination of the 1031 exchange program would be absolutely detrimental to the real estate markets and industries.”

She added, “real estate folks are learning a current work around by selling and in the same year buying another property and using the bonus deprecation (from a cost segregation study) in order to offset the capital gains on the sale.”

That’s an interesting work around, however as she pointed out, “bonus deprecation begins to phase out in 2023 and is totally expired in 2027, so this would only be a short-term alternative solution.”

Decisions, decisions.

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Real Estate

Montecito Trophy Compound With Historical Cottages And Ocean Views Asks $72.5 Million

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outside main house 2535 Sycamore Canyon Road luxury home montecito

Outside, it’s part private park, part sanctuary. Inside, it’s an elegant, designer hideaway worthy of a magazine centerfold. Altogether, it’s a compound for the ages and the latest trophy to hit a surging luxury real estate market in Montecito, Calif.

Called Mira Vista, the sprawling estate of more than 28 acres listed for sale last week for $72.5 million. The Grubb Cambell Team at Village Properties, led by Natalie Grubb-Cambell, holds the exclusive listing.

The property, dotted by mature oaks and approached by a meandering drive, centers on a graceful residence of nearly 13,800 square feet with five bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms. Two historical cottages dating to the 1930s, a four-stall barn, a gatehouse, a riding ring and a tack room are among other structures on the estate.

Tall hedges conceal a swimming pool area and changing rooms on the verdant grounds. The 50-foot-long swimming pool and separate spa are surrounded by a checkerboard-patterned stone, while the pool’s mosaic tilework draws the eyes to its depths.

Built in 2013, the primary residence opens through tall glass doors that flood the vaulted entry with natural light. Arched doorways across the hallway open to a bright sitting area that takes in an unobstructed ocean view.

Handcrafted millwork, custom prints and colorful accents lend a distinctive character to each of the formal rooms. The formal rooms include multiple sitting areas, a wet bar and a dining room with seating for seven.

Designed for entertaining, the chef’s kitchen is outfitted with a dual island, high-end appliances and a butler’s pantry.

Two separate offices and a whimsical theater with its own stage round out the floor plan. The primary suite, located on a separate wing, expands to include dual walk-in closets, dual bathrooms and a covered fitness area.

The Sycamore Canyon Road compound comes up for sale as Montecito’s real estate market continues to reach new heights.

Last year, the coastal neighborhood saw a 66% increase in residential sales when compared with the previous year. According to Village Properties, the run on Montecito real estate resulted in home prices appreciating roughly 20-30% in 2020.

Montecito’s luxury sector, in particular, has continued to see a high demand for luxury homes in 2021. Among recent headlines was actor Rob Lowe’s purchase of three brand new Montecito homes totaling about $47 million. Musician and television personality Adam Levine and his wife, model Behati Prinsloo, are among others who reportedly purchased a Montecito home this year.


Village Properties is an exclusive member of Forbes Global Properties, a consumer marketplace and membership network of elite brokerages selling the world’s most luxurious homes.

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Guggenheim CIO Pays $12.5 Million For Two Miami Penthouses, Forming City’s Largest Condo

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Biscayne Beach

In yet another sign of the white-hot residential market in Florida, Guggenheim Partners chief investment officer Scott Minerd bought a pair of penthouses in Miami for $12.5 million, sources familiar with the transaction tell Forbes. The purchases comprise an entire floor of the 51-story Biscayne Beach tower, in what appears to form the largest penthouse in South Florida.

Combined, the two units boast 22,547 square feet and feature 11 bedrooms, two swimming pools, 12 parking spaces and more than 4,000 square feet of terraces. Both penthouses include a wine room, sauna, library, and private elevator access. Biscayne Beach, a 399-unit luxury building, is located about 20 minutes west of South Beach. 

Bill Hernandez and Bryan Sereny of Douglas Elliman, who represented the buyer and seller, declined to comment. A representative for Guggenheim Investments did not respond to a request for comment.  

Minerd is a founding managing partner at Guggenheim, an investment colossus with over $300 billion of assets under management that traces its roots to Meyer Guggenheim, the mining magnate who emigrated to the U.S. from Switzerland in 1847. Minerd joined Guggenheim in 1998—a year before it launched—according to his LinkedIn page, after stints at Credit Suisse First Boston and Morgan Stanley’s European operation, and currently helps oversee investment strategy. 

He follows some heavy hitters who have bought into the Miami boom recently. Last week, the billionaire Larry Ellison acquired an $80 million megamansion in North Palm Beach (though he reportedly plans to tear it down). In February, a partner at Tiger Global Management set a record for Palm Beach, shelling out over $120 million for a beachfront estate. Shutterstock founder Jon Oringer, Keith Rabois of Founders Fund and Playboy mansion owner Daren Metropoulos have also struck deals of late. Not to mention Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who bought a $32.2 million lot on the “Billionaire’s Bunker,” Indian Creek, in December.

“Prices have just gone higher than anyone ever could have imagined,” billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene told Forbes last week. While flagging the likelihood of a correction once vaccines proliferate and more wealthy Americans head back to New York, Los Angeles and other major cities, he said there is still strong appeal in the region’s luxury market: “I’m a long-term believer in this area.”

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