MNCAR Focus/State of Brokerage Program Recap

State of Brokerage Program Recap


MNCAR “State of Brokerage” Report – March 14, 2013



Written by Mike Bowen of Colliers International | Minneapolis - St. Paul


The MNCAR State of Brokerage event featured moderator Scott Moe of Duke and panelists Bill Wardwell, Russ Nelson, Mark Evenson, Mike Ohmes, and Blake Hastings. Each panelist’s experience and market knowledge contributed to an entertaining and insightful discussion on a number of topics.


Moe began the conversation by prompting the panelists to discuss the facets of brokerage that have changed most dramatically. Nelson pointed out that technology is drastically different and has dramatically altered the way we do business.


Next, Moe asked the panelists to discuss recent changes to their company’s corporate structure, which was fitting considering all of the changes that have taken place across shops. Wardwell discussed the challenges of conveying to clients what “Colliers” is, Evenson discussed DTZ’s global reach and the challenge of understanding cross-cultural differences while working deals in China and Europe, and Ohmes added that developing new relationships within Cushman & Wakefield has presented challenges.


Although each panelist has found that new affiliations bring about new challenges, all agreed that becoming associated with a larger firm certainly is beneficial and almost necessary in today’s real estate market. Hastings discussed the benefit of clients being able to work with CBRE, the largest firm in the world, and receive all real estate services. In addition, specific practice groups, such as healthcare services, have been established to provide expertise to clients who have unique real estate needs. Ohmes added that it is absolutely necessary to have a global presence in order to compete for big business, stating that the way brokerage firms are selected is far more stringent than it was 10 years ago.


Moe then asked each panelist to discuss the attractiveness of the Twin Cities market from an institutional investor standpoint. In response, Wardwell pointed out that new players like Shorenstein and Sam Zell have aggressively entered our market because greater returns are being realized when compared to coastal markets. Hastings added that our market has seen such tremendous activity as of late that he believes we will begin to see significant cap rate compression in the next 12-24 months. Each agreed that significant investment sale activity will continue into 2013.


Moe then switched topics and prompted each panelist to discuss what it takes for a rookie broker to be successful. Nelson began the conversation by stating that rookie brokers should get involved in the community, be passionate, hard-working, and be sure to allow time to serve others, which resulted in an uproar of applause from the audience. The other panelists agreed that Nelson’s recipe for success is spot-on with Evenson adding that he has developed the “Russ Nelson School of Business Development” for young brokers at his office.


Moe wrapped up the discussion by asking each panelist to provide one piece of wisdom that has stuck with them through the years. Perhaps the most compelling of all answers came from Ohmes, stating “always work hard, do your best, care for others and serve them. Do this and you will find the best version of yourself”.


This hour and a half discussion was insightful, intriguing, and certainly encouraging as to the direction the real estate brokerage market is heading.