FOR REAL ESTATE (AND POLITICS), YOU NEED TO THINK LOCAL

December 16, 2021

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The coronavirus pandemic and nationwide protesting are two major challenges that America faces. This is a moment in history that will be written about for years to come. There are still many chapters left to be written on how America rose to the challenge.

It’s natural to pontificate on ‘how to solve the problem’. And I’m a listener by nature, who pays close attention to what others say and feel.

Across the spectrum of opinion, I’ve noticed a key component to success that is often missed, and that over 25 years in real estate investing have taught me: for real estate (and politics), you need to think local.

You can’t make good real estate deals without understanding local conditions. At Alliance, we carefully evaluate local tax policies, zoning, permitting, environmental regulations, demographic trends, wealth levels, density, infrastructure quality, government responsiveness, and more.

These factors are all central to evaluating a property’s attractiveness to tenants and how we should value it as investors. Conditions vary widely across the country, and wisely deploying capital takes a lot of research, expertise, and experience.

People don’t always appreciate how much this also applies to government. Policy made in Washington might get a lot of media attention, but local and municipal governments often have the biggest impact.

A simple example is that public health conditions in New York City are very different from those in small towns.

If Alliance tried to apply a standardized real estate valuation system across America, we would overpay in some places and turn down great deals in other places. Every deal is unique, and the specific details really matter.

Decentralization is part of the American way. Local decision making allows for more tailored solutions to local needs. My experience in real estate tells me this is mostly a good thing. As we look for solutions, I hope people will remember that often, one size solution does not fit all. The more we incorporate local conditions to guide decision making, the more likely we are to get things right.

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