Alphabet soup

As the northern Nevada commercial real estate market matures, so too has the number and quality of professional organizations and affiliations. The emergence of these organizations has, over the course of time, given greater credibility not only to individuals with these credentials, but to the market as a whole. More importantly, it allows you as a potential client to gauge and measure who has the most experience, the most knowledge and the most credibility. The Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR), the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), Certified Commercial Investment Members (CCIM) and Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) all have strong representation in Northern Nevada and are important designations to look for when you begin your search for a reputable broker.

The Society of Industrial and Office Realtors is the most exclusive designation a commercial industrial or office Realtor can achieve. SIOR has more than 2,500 certified members nationwide accounting for only 1.7 percent of the total commercial real estate brokers receiving the designation nationwide. The group encompasses 526 cities in 21 countries and is a very active, very elite group.

The national organization meets in locations across the US and Canada and requires its members to attend classes in ethics, technology and law. Additionally, they re-invest a portion of the money they make from membership dues for goodwill causes including scholarships for those already in the industry, but wish to further their careers with a masters of business administration.

In Reno, SIOR has a strong representation. In 2006, SIOR members closed over 68,400 transactions with cumulative dollar volume in excess of $51 billion.

The National Association of Industrial and Office Properties was formed in 1967 and currently has nearly 15,000 members in 53 chapters around the US. NAIOP is unique in that it supports a think-tank, the NAIOP Research Foundation, dedicated solely to conducting research assessing the trends, economic viability and needs of the built environment. In northern Nevada, NAIOP recently formed a chapter and has found great success with more than 100 members. Interested in NAIOPs standards of educational programming, networking and government affairs, several agents have happily climbed on board to see that the Reno chapter grows.

The Certified Commercial Investment Members Group has gained significant support and credibility in this market. Only 6 percent of the estimated 125,000 commercial real estate practitioners nationwide hold the CCIM designation. This reflects not only the caliber of the program, but also why it is one of the most coveted and respected designations in the industry. Last year, CCIMs successfully completed approximately 156,000 transactions annually, representing more $400 billion nationwide.

Commercial Real Estate Women is a well-known, high-profile organization in northern Nevada. CREW annually awards top performers in the commercial real estate market, cross-discipline, after meeting rigorous standards of excellence. Nationally, CREW incorporates 7,000 professionals located in 60 major markets across North America. The Reno chapter is extremely strong and participates in several community-focused events throughout the year, including the Summit Awards - the most prestigious awards designated locally.

Now you know what you should be looking for, how do you go about looking for a certified broker well versed in transactions and the potential challenges thereof? Sure, you can hope to happen upon a SIOR or CCIM designation after a name on a sign, but what else can you do to secure your success in a lease or sale of property? Use the following steps as a general rule of thumb to ensure success:

First. analyze and prioritize what you expect and need in your service provider. Consider the experience, market knowledge and the resources available to what will soon become your partner in undertaking the arduous process of finding and negotiating for the right facility. No one person can do it all in commercial real estate. Therefore concentrate efforts towards selecting someone with experience in the proper discipline.

The next step is to request proposals describing the broker's qualifications before scheduling an actual "in person" meeting. Personalities are a factor; consider who you would want to work with on a long-term basis. In moving forward, weigh how the experience pertains to your particular needs. Has the broker been successful in similar type transactions? What is their training and knowledge? Do they keep up on industry practices and continue to grow with knowledge? Can the candidate provide support materials to back their claims? Investigate the candidate's professional affiliations. This can be an important indicator as to the willingness and efforts a broker sets forth in keeping a commitment to excellence, ethics and success in the business. Membership in SIOR, NAIOP, CCIM and CREW confirms these commitments.

Look at more than just the individual. Look at the firm's history as well. What is the reputation of that business? Are the back-of-the-house skills and support functions in place, including research and support staff? Often just being an "affiliated firm" is not the answer; the personnel and experience combined with support are what counts. Discuss and weigh the broker's workload, and whether you will receive the attention you need and desire. Is there a teaming concept in place where you will not only benefit from an individual's experience, but from others in the firm who also hold an organization's designation? Many times another member of that team can be objective in identifying alternate means of overcoming obstacles and assist in concluding a successful transaction. Remember, if the candidate is a member of SIOR, CCIM, NAIOP and/or CREW, they are held to that organization's code of ethics.

As the northern Nevada market has grown over the course of time, professional organizations have made their appearance as well. Many of the senior commercial real estate professionals remember a day and time when there were no organizations and affiliation in this market. In the last 40 years, however, that has changed significantly. SIOR, NAIOP, CCIM and CREW are extremely well-represented and well-respected in northern Nevada. Additionally, by officially recognizing significant experience with a professional membership, commercial real estate agents gain credit both locally and nationally. The sheer number of active members in each organization demonstrate that the northern Nevada market is fully capable - and professionally certified - to hand all your commercial real estate needs.

Michael J. Hoeck is a Senior Vice President for the Industrial Properties Group of NAI Alliance. He has worked with local and national clients including: Wal-Mart, R-Supply (Ferguson), Nations Rent, Passco, Seagate Properties and Panattoni Development. For more information contact Michael at


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