Expert Insights with Joe Killinger: Companies Should Look towards Transparency
For our latest entry in our Expert Insights series, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Joe Killinger, experienced broker and partner at Commercial Brokers International. With over 25 years of experience in both residential and commercial real estate, Joe was directly involved in selling and marketing over 5,900 assets, closing transactions amounting to over $900 million across the United States.
We asked Joe to tell us more about where he got his passion for real estate, what he thinks the state of the industry is at this moment and where he thinks it will go next. Read on to find out more about his journey to being a successful real estate professional.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background and why you chose a career in real estate.
I grew up on a small farm in central Nebraska and my father saw that the farming industry was going to go through a significant change and quite honestly he wanted to have a better life for his family so he trained and became a licensed Auctioneer and Real Estate Broker. Killinger Auction and Real Estate launched and I immediately got the real estate bug.
When I graduated high school I immediately began taking courses to get my Nebraska real estate license and when I went off to college I got my license and was lucky enough to be introduced to Pace Woods that was the CEO of Woods Bro’s Realty in Lincoln, Nebraska. I am not sure why he gave this 18 year old with no experience a start but he gave me a phone book and said there’s your potential clients…good luck!
I chose to go after selling and leasing farm land as I thought there may be less competition and I was correct but at my first meeting of a potential client he immediately asked me how old I was, (I look back at some old pictures and I see why he asked as I looked like I was about 13 years old) I started parting my hair to the side and found some very cheap designer glasses that had simple plastic lenses with no prescription and I felt it made me look a bit older and maybe a bit smarter. I was not the greatest at selling farms but had some luck, and it truly sealed the business as my career and I am thankful.
Q: How have you seen the industry evolve in the past 25 years you’ve been involved in it?
Tech has been such a game changer for our industry, it used to be you focused more on a specific area so you knew everything there was to know about the market, properties, potential sellers or leases coming up and anything that could affect that market. With the technology we have at our disposal today you can handle a broader market place as well as multiple asset classes as most of the information is just a click away. These systems create incredible efficiencies that allow Agents to make more money and Investors/landlords to be better informed in their market place.
Q: Where do you see it going in the future?
On the brokerage side I feel there will be more consolidations as many of the current platforms are struggling to keep up with the changes in the industry. For many companies when a slowdown does happen they won’t be able to survive without some significant reworking of their platform or will need to sell to a competitor. Real Estate investors in general will be able to better find potential assets to invest in due to the new platforms that are coming out that will allow them to find more investment opportunities as the up and coming generations are more likely to use these technologies. Companies will need to adapt and be able to show the value they bring to the table to maintain these client relationships. The office market is already seeing a significant change due to office sharing companies like WeWork and Knotel and I can see how these will cause change to the office market even more significantly over the coming years.
Q: What is your general assessment the real estate market so far in 2019? Have you spotted some interesting market trends?
The market has been strong to this point in 2019 and really hasn’t shown a lot of signs of slowing, I have seen some investors moving into less risk adverse investments such as Triple Net Investments. Many of the investors are also going to the fundamentals of real estate investing; location, location, location, buying assets with less returns in prime areas in lieu of tertiary markets but for the most part it has been staying strong. I am a little concerned with the amount of development in some areas as we are starting to see absorption slow and there is still a good amount of development coming on line.
Q: What do you think is the “next big thing” – or what should we all keep an eye out for?
I mentioned companies like WeWork and Knotel earlier, I believe they will change the way a good amount of office properties are marketed and leased out, there are even more office sharing companies coming on line and they have some interesting ideas so I do believe we need to watch how this evolves. Retail over the last few years has been pushing towards more experiential retail and getting away from the traditional retail shop. This trend should continue as retailers look to attract the spending dollars of millennials.
Q: Is there anything that you believe everyone in this industry should be working towards?
This one could get me into trouble; I believe companies should look towards transparency. I believe it’s outdated for CRE companies to not put their listings on the open market (unless the seller/landlord requests it to be that way). A company that tries to do everything in house is in the end doing damage to their client, how do you know if another Agent/Company might have a client that would be willing to pay more. I am an investor in, and an Advisor for, Commercial Brokers International in Los Angeles and our CEO (George Pino) asks our Agents that if they know of a property that would work for another Agent in the office or even another company to be sure they know about it. I know this sounds a little “New Age-y” but we have found that it works for our Agents and in the end creates more deals for everyone. I think if we try to work together a bit more we will see our industry be positively affected. I also like the fact that we are finally starting to see more women coming into the industry and finding great success, in what has traditionally been a male centric industry, I hope to see this trend continuing.
Q: Any other insights you’d like to share?
Overall, the industry, like everything else needs to evolve and adapt. The companies that are best positioned to do so will be the ones that not only survive but thrive. With the new technologies, we still must not lose sight that this industry is and always will be based upon service, and by providing the best service out there, you will be able to set yourself apart from the rest and create a career, not just a job.