Midwest Minute- Jan 9/19- “Variety is the Spice of Life”

Variety is the Spice of Life

The last four weeks has been quite hectic, especially considering the mainstream real estate market generally goes quiet around the holiday season.

In my practice, it starts with the return of the “snowbirds” for Christmas with their families. They usually also want to check in with their accountant, lawyer, and Realtor.

It’s fun to reconnect with these folks and hear about their adventures in Spain, Hawaii, Mexico, Arizona, Florida, and California.

Maybe someday I can join them!
Seriously though, we do take some time to talk business.

I update them on market conditions, and if we are working on a part of their portfolio, plan our strategy for the next four to six months.

Then there are the panic calls from adult children who come home for a visit with Mom or Dad and find them in deteriorating health.

Planning relocation to a more supportive living environment, or simply one without a lot of maintenance concerns, begs the question about what to do with the parental home?

Here is where I find my background in health care to come in very handy, as I participated in hundreds of family conferences over the years, albeit for a different reason.

Sometimes, sons and daughters need to be reminded to not worry so much about the ups and downs of the local housing market and place their energy instead in assisting their parent to adjust as comfortably as possible to a new environment.

I guess it is easier to concentrate on tangible things than to worry about what the future will inevitably bring to the family dynamic.

Early to midwinter is prime time for farmland activity with valuation requests, estate planning discussions, lease contract renewals, and the occasional market placement.

Not all brokerage services are on the Multiple Listing Service or by sealed tender.

Personally, I spend a surprisingly amount of time acting as a facilitator between sellers and buyers who want to do a deal but need some assistance in pulling it all together.

My term for this is private brokerage. You could call it consulting.

And not just for farmland either, there is a fair amount of commercial work as well including share sale agreements or business transfers.

A new wrinkle is the commercial / industrial tenant requesting a discount in rents in their existing multi-year contract.

They want the landlord to recognize the pressures of the present economy and do their part to help reduce fixed costs.

Most landlords gained their wealth through hard work themselves, running businesses in good times and bad.

My role is to provide them with an independent perspective on the market including current lease rates, competitive space availability, and generally help them think it through.

Of course, in an investment property, any reduction in lease revenue also erodes capital value, so in a very real sense the owner must come to grips their property isn’t worth what it was before.

I like to advocate trading a reduced rental rate for an extension of term, providing something of value to the owner as well as the tenant.

Homeowners in the Midwest face these same facts daily, I’m afraid, and with 9% of the last six months residential sales being on foreclosed property, it is not going to get better soon.

All in all, this can be a very busy time. Professionally challenging, yet interesting.

Vern McClelland is an associate broker with RE/MAX of Lloydminster. He can be reached at (780) 808-2700, through www.vernmcclelland.com or by following the Midwest Group Lloydminster on Facebook.

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