STRATEGIES: REITs Think Realty Coaches


by Carole VanSickle Ellis

omewhere in the heart of nearly every city’s capitol building is a cluster of offices with a relatively dis- creet set of letters: EDC. In larger metro areas, those offices may actually have their own floor, while in smaller ones there may be only one or two rooms or even a shared cubicle on an open floor. No matter where you find those letters, however, when you see them you can go ahead and pat yourself on the back. “EDC” means you’ve struck gold. Actually, EDC stands for “Economic Development Corporation,” and some- times may read “EDD” for Economic Development Department, depending on the municipality. The important thing for real estate investors to under- stand, though, is that the best source of insider information about that particu- lar market, the city’s economic develop- ment director, sets up shop behind that desk each morning. “EDCs have a wealth of information about their cities,” explained Pamela J. Goodwin, owner of boutique commer- cial real estate firm Goodwin Commer- cial and Think Realty’s own commercial real estate coach. “From providing you with a large aerial map to laying out demographics for the entire area to delivering information about properties owned by the city itself, these individ- uals should be your first stop when you get ready to invest in any area.” S

Goodwin uses the valuable informa- tion that local EDCs provide her about retailers, restaurants, and businesses they are hoping to bring into the com- munity to identify good commercial deal opportunities. Residential investors can also benefit from this type of highly specific information about residents in the areas in which they already own or are planning to buy. “They’ll even help you list proper- ties if you have them available in that community,” Goodwin noted. Center representatives often attend local real estate conferences and will hand out lists of available properties to attendees, many of whom, like Goodwin, are on the prowl for opportunity. “I recently attended a real estate con- ference where most of the booths were actually local EDCs throughout the Dal- las metroplex, and they were all handing out available properties that owners or brokers were selling,” she said. HOW TO GET INSIDE THE OFFICE While it might sound intimidating to waltz right into a city official’s office, sit down, and ask for the world, Goodwin insists they really don’t mind and make a practice of encouraging investors to meet with them. “They know where their city needs to grow, and real estate investors are often a source of answers,” she said. “A lot of them have done surveys on

what they need in terms of real estate and development, and sometimes you will even find out if you have a certain type of property for sale, they’re actually looking to acquire that type of land for a government building or school.” Of course, it is definitely polite to make an appointment before just show- ing up. You want them to remember you because of the opportunity you repre- sent, not your unannounced arrival. Goodwin notes one of the best ways to be remembered is with a profitable deal: “One of my primary investing strategies involves building relationships with the EDCs in my Texas markets. One EDC director remembered me, and when he moved to a new city recently he contacted me because their city owned more than 100 acres on a main interstate and they wanted to sell. I now have that listing for the city.” GETTING STARTED IN A GROUP If the idea of going straight to the EDC director’s office is too much for you, you can always go to a local real estate conference. EDCs provide lots of great information for both commercial and residential investors, but they tend to congregate especially at commercial real estate conferences and expos, where they can make sure that active com- mercial investors and other industry members are aware of the needs of their specific communities.

4 GO-TO QUESTIONS FOR YOUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CENTER DIRECTOR I f you find you are at a loss for words once you get in the door at the EDC, consider asking one of these common questions to get the ball rolling:

1. What are the latest retail developments in the city?

2. What are the top 10 retailers you want in the city?

EDCs often have information on special grants and funding for different types of projects, including real estate development and community revitalization, which may be relevant to investors flipping or renting their properties. Some EDCs even have scholarships and grants for real estate investors and entrepreneurs. “Just go to those booths and talk to them,” said Goodwin. “They’ll have lots of information on their city right there. Once you meet them at that type of event, you should always follow up with them afterward.” She emphasized the follow-up does not have to have a specific outcome, but that it is import-

ant to meet the EDC director a second time to learn a little more about the area and also cement yourself in their mind so when an opportunity arises, they think of you and reach out. Check out the sidebar for four of Goodwin’s go-to questions when she meets an economic development director for the first time. “It’s really all about building relation- ships with that person. They’re very nice, and their goal is to help you bring new economic growth to their community, so it’s a win-win situation,” Goodwin said. •

3.  Do you have an aerial map of the city?

4.  What properties and

buildings are currently for sale in the city? Follow up: Would you

consider using our company for marketing/listing those properties?

Note: Goodwin’s extended commentary on this list and

Pamela J. Goodwin is the founder of Goodwin Commercial, a boutique com- mercial real estate and consulting firm, and a Think Realty Coach. Learn more about her at

more suggested questions were recently published on


18 | think realty magazine :: december 2017

thinkrealty . com | 19

Made with FlippingBook - Online Brochure Maker