When we examine the major donors to worthwhile causes, especially schools of business within universities, why are some of the largest donors so often real estate professionals? This fact alone should wake up those universities who do not pay sufficient heed to a critical industry. Unfortunately, real estate academics suffer through a career of hearing “why do you need to teach that in school? A license is easy to get?” Those in the industry know otherwise and know that studying real estate is one of the most important industries, deserving of far more attention by universities. Real estate is now one of the most important and active asset classes, included as part of any more enlightened investment portfolio.
Some of us enjoy the real estate industry because the idea of creating something durable is exciting, even if your role is merely a minor part of the process. Others love it because, in order to be good, you need to understand the perspectives of occupants and owners, lenders and investors, business cycles and regulation, politics, finance and more. We love the complexity and breadth of this all-encompassing business field.
Take the perspective of a landlord trying to entice tenants, lease space and manage a building: Aside from needing to know finance and investment analysis prior to purchase, or ground up development design and construction, landlords now must incorporate data analysis to find suitable tenants, understand how to market (including via social media) and persuade potential tenants to consider new space and be able to analyze the business of the tenant to evaluate the chances of success in paying future rent. It gets worse. If the space is retail, they must know how this new tenant affects the sales of all the other tenants and how resilient they are in a pandemic, as well as when (time of day) they impact parking, how much parking their customers require and much more. Lease negotiations and finding the best space for a tenant representative also requires knowledge of finance, location analysis, data visualization and more. Then, once tenants are in a building, the managers need to keep them happy. This requires important people skills aside from utilizing the best of Proptech and dealing with transitioning to a nearly touchless facility for tenants.