Last week I asked my blog readers to take a short survey of seven questions.  These questions can be summarized into one of three categories:

  1. Who is reading my blog?
  2. What topics would you like me to write about?
  3. What keeps you up at night (other than a weak bladder)?

WHO IS READING MY BLOG?

Not surprisingly, 90% of my blog readers are men.   Most of us who own commercial real estate or work in commercial real estate are men, so no surprises there.

What was surprising is that 76% of my readers are 50 years of age and older.  No one under 30 responded to the survey and only 24% where in their 30s or 40s.  I believe this reflects the hit the commercial real estate industry took during the Great Recession.  There are no statistics to prove my thinking, but I believe between 2008 through 2011 we lost about a third of the commercial real estate professionals in the business.  And those who didn’t survive, this survey suggests, were the younger generation, the ones who didn’t have the deep pockets to wait it out.

When asked what was their CRE profession, they responded accordingly:

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When asked, “What CRE property type is your primary focus?” almost half responded with apartments.  The next answer most given was, “No specialties.  All property types.”

So the typical respondent to the survey was 60 years of age or older (probably white) who is a CRE Broker/Sales Agent specializing in apartments.

WHAT TOPICS WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO WRITE ABOUT?

Shown below in order of interest are the top 6 topics that the survey respondents asked me to write about:

  • Current events and how they affect commercial real estate
  • Trends in commercial real estate
  • Case studies – real loan quotes on real deals
  • Book reviews on topics of interest to CRE professionals/investors
  • Tips on how to get the best possible loan
  • Tips on how to invest in CRE

The top 2 picks were of no surprise to me.  But to be honest, they are the hardest to write about as it requires more than just reporting the facts; it requires interpreting the facts and then giving an opinion.  I’ve lost more than a few readers for sharing an opinion that they don’t agree with.  But I understand that that’s what happens when you lay bare your views for all to read.

I was surprised by the interest on the third choice of things to write about: Case studies – real loan quotes on real deals.  I’m wondering if all my readers know that on every blog post I share a real case study which includes the following:

  • A brief explanation of the property and the lending issues.
  • A detailed comparison of the 3 or 4 best loan quotes received.
  • An estimated sources and uses statement with all the costs associated with each quote.
  • An estimated cash-on-cash return comparison for each loan alternative.

About once a quarter I provide a new case study to review.  I don’t believe any other lender or mortgage broker in the country provides that detail of case study.  If you know someone who does please send me an example, I’d like to see it.  Take advantage of the Mortgage Solutions that are available for your review.  Click on this link to see the last dozen or so I’ve posted.  They are there for your benefit.

WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT?

The response to this question can be divided into 2 distinct groups.  Almost 40% of respondents when asked, “What keeps you up at night?” responded with, “Nothing.  I sleep like a baby.”  I interpret their answer as their way of saying, “Life is good.”  They likely have achieved financial freedom with their CRE investments and they are doing well with personal matters too.  Good for them.

Now for the 60% who answered otherwise, shown below in order of importance are their top 6 concerns:

  • The economy tanking
  • Factors that adversely impact my CRE portfolio
  • Not retiring well
  • Interest rates zooming up
  • The risk of inflation or deflation
  • Vacancy rates rising

Let me comment on these concerns.  I think there is a high probability that the economy will go into recession sometime early next year so you have legitimate concerns.  I don’t believe that interest rates will zoom up because that runs counter to what The Fed will do in a recession.  Vacancy rates will not rise until overbuilding occurs. I’m not aware of any overbuilding going on in the Pacific Northwest.  Are you?   I believe there is a higher probability of deflation happening than inflation over the next few years as both Europe and Japan are currently caught in this downward spiral.  If you’ve bought good properties at good prices and leveraged them appropriately, I believe there is a high probability your CRE portfolio will weather the economic downturn that is coming without any significant problems.   And yes, some of us are not going to retire well unless we make some significant changes in our lifestyle, pay down our debt and invest in assets that will grow over time.

I want to thank those who took the time to complete the survey.  You provided me with valuable information about who you are, what you want me to write about and what concerns you most.  Going forward I will try my best to write on those topics that are of interest to you.