As a thriving independent commercial real estate firm, Investors Realty has been asked several times over the years to consider joining a national company. Each time the opportunity has been presented, IRI’s management team has given it careful consideration, weighing the pros and cons. However, each time the conclusion has been the same: that we can better serve our clients as an independent firm, maintaining our flexibility to provide customized solutions to our clients and partners. We also like the idea that we are contributing to our local economy versus the bottom line of a major corporation located outside of Omaha.
While there are certainly advantages to aligning with a national firm, maintaining our independence means we can stay nimble and adapt to changes in the industry or marketplace. Decisions can be made quickly rather than getting stalled in committees or layers of management. Implementing new technology in a national firm with multiple offices and hundreds of employees, for example, requires months or even years of advance planning, huge licensing fees and hardware or software costs, and multiple staff to manage the process. We can move much faster when it is time to update or adopt new technology.
One area where national firms have seemingly held the advantage is research. National firms have whole departments dedicated to collecting research and data including market data, analytics and comps – an expense independent firms cannot always justify. However, with services like Xceligent, Co-Star and Loopnet now available to all firms, the playing field has become more leveled. These tools allow us to provide accurate, valuable information and analysis to our clients.
Just as they are in national firms, our team members are committed to industry involvement and training with organizations and certifying bodies such as Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR), Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), Strategic Coach and others to ensure they are current on industry trends and are continuing their education. While on the surface it may seem as though national firms have much broader networks, they are often restricted by their loyalties to certain partners or firms. As an independent firm, IRI can work with whichever partners will best meet the needs of our clients. We have been able to refer work to companies located all over the United States and have done regional deals with partners in Kansas City, Tulsa, Des Moines and Lincoln. Furthermore, we are often looked to as the “broker’s broker” by national firms without a presence in Omaha due to our industry and market leadership.
Overall, we still believe our success over the past 41 years as an independent commercial real estate firm is due to our culture and our people. At IRI, we embrace an entrepreneurial spirit. We hire people who are committed to providing outstanding client service and empower them to make decisions in the best interest of their clients.
This article appeared in our quarterly newsletter from September of 2016. The full newsletter is available at http://files.investorsomaha.com/download/online_newsletter_9-2016.pdf