No Boundaries

Throughout history, many successes have been gained and obstacles overcome through people leaving home to get what they needed or desired. The early explorers sought new lands for the riches and opportunities they offered. We who deal in real estate have similar objectives: to improve our situation and that of our clients. Through national real estate marketing meetings, licensed real estate professionals can find the good opportunities that they and their clients might not have in their territory.

For some real estate professionals, moving onward and outward as a pioneer was a necessity created by the economic conditions of the early 1980’s. At that time, says Steve Barker, SEC, of Charlotte, North Carolina and formerly from Michigan “commercial brokers and salespeople were dying on the vine in the Detroit area…people were losing their properties, there was no money to be had, and interest rates were high all around the country, but more so where we were. Steve knew he had a problem in Detroit, and he addressed it with the spirit of a pioneer. Over time he developed knowledge of new territories outside his home area and began to work with property or clients there. Barker’s accurate view of the country as a “piece of Swiss cheese” – the holes are the bad area, the cheese is good – helped him to work carefully “outside his back yard, get access to more inventory and get himself and his clients through a difficult time.

Some of the benefits to an exchangor working outside his or her back yard are easily seen…the liberation effect, the increased access to inventory, and the enlarged playing field. Darrell McCullough, SEC, based in Canada has the ability to recognize the holes and non-holes and has capitalized on these opportunities in different areas of both countries. Knowledge of how these cycles work, how long they last, and how to use them to you advantage can take years to develop – “you have to live through them.”

Getting a client to make the leap to a different area, however, may be a bit challenging. “Not so,” says Bill Warr, SEC, of Illinois. When Warr began to focus in this area of the business, he found that clients were not geographically limited to their area, and that if anyone was limited, it was the brokers. In his experience, “clients were willing to go a long way to get a great deal.”

Colby Sandlian, SEC, from Wichita, Kansas finds it particularly exciting to identify an opportunity in emerging markets. His philosophy is “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” and is invested in 20 different cities in 11 different states. His knowledge of economic cycles and his practice of minimizing risk through geographical diversification is key to his success.

The professional growth that develops through working in other markets can result in better deals and more income, of course, but here is an intangible that begins to emerge with this broadening perspective. You will have more than increased inventory to offer and more clients to reach – you’ll have greater knowledge and credibility. Gaining knowledge takes time and homework, but the payoff is well worth it. The main thing is to work with what you know. As Bob Zink, SEC of Portland, Oregon cautions, “specializing in seven different things in 48 states doesn’t create credibility.”

Larry Browning, SEC, of Indianapolis, Indiana, finds that people, not property, often come from outside his area. He does half of his business with people outside his locality. Browning emphasized that an important component in working successfully nationwide is the development of reliable contacts.

So, all of this sounds great, right? More good inventory, opportunity, knowledge, credibility, and income! All those interviewed pointed to these benefits of working outside their backyard, but they also stressed using common sense. As Bob Zink pointed out, management of situations nationwide can be difficult, but a network of trusted professionals around the country can help.

To sum it up, then, branching out to different geographical areas – being a pioneer – can be a challenging, exciting, and an effective way to achieve greater success in equity exchanging.

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