There are a multitude of details to be properly handled in any complex commercial real estate transaction. Thus, considering an investment in real estate, the investor would be well advised to engage the services of a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), a recognized commercial real estate professional.
A team of professionals from various disciplines should be assembled to concentrate on specific aspects of a transaction. A CCIM, as a member of this team, is best able to understand the components of the transaction and to shepherd the activities of everyone in concert toward a successful conclusion for the investor.
A CCIM has the professional training, education and experience to serve the members of the investment-decision team, which should include the investor's lawyers, accountants and bankers. A CCIM is able to see the transaction as more than merely the buying, selling or leasing of a particular piece of real estate. He or she will view the situation as finding a solution to a problem expressed by the buyer or seller.
Before discussing the specifics of the parcel of real estate the investor is interested in, a CCIM will first focus on the motivations, goals, experience, needs and fears of the client regarding real estate investment. These early discussions will include the investor's long-range plans, including retirement plans. From these discussions, an idea of the return on investment the client desires will be determined. Also of primary importance, a CCIM can determine the appropriate time for the eventual disposition of the property and the alternative methods available: sale, exchange or refinance.
The expert analysis of the investor's situation by a CCIM will also reveal the investor's comfort level with the risks/rewards of each of the disposition alternatives. This will determine what form of ownership should be considered and what type of real estate should be acquired. It may be decided, as a result of the analysis, that a REIT or a limited partnership, as opposed to sole ownership, would be most appropriate.
Following the decision on what property or properties will be targeted by the investment team, the data gathering begins. Among the data that is assembled is information on tax law changes, financing alternatives and other pertinent facts. While a CCIM is not expected to be a tax accountant or attorney, he is expected to be familiar with these areas and to use the knowledge to negotiate the best terms with the client's banking resources.
When all the various professional disciplines work in concert for the client's benefit, the result of their coordinated efforts, orchestrated by a CCIM, should be a real estate transaction that will serve the investor well in the present and in the future.
The CCIM Institute, Chicago, confers the Certified Commercial Investment Member designation through an extensive curriculum of 200 classroom hours in addition to professional experiential requirements. CCIMs are recognized experts in commercial real estate brokerage, leasing, asset management, valuation, and investment analysis, and form a business network encompassing 1,000 markets throughout North America, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. There are currently 6,500 CCIM designees, with an additional 5,500 professionals pursuing the designation.
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