December 6, 2021


Whether it’s legal issues, zoning surprises, lease negotiations, tax surprises or something else, real estate deals always come with unexpected challenges. The endless problems can cause endless headaches, but that doesn’t need to stop things from getting things done.

I have written before about how I like to move quickly and decisively while still ensuring that I dot the I’s and cross the T’s. Moving quickly is partly about snapping up opportunities, partly being respectful of partners’ time, and also largely about maintaining deal momentum. Once a deal starts bogging down with disputes and negotiations, things often just spiral — slower and slower, until the whole enterprise feels like pulling teeth.

Keeping things moving requires leadership. At Alliance, our business philosophy means we never want to find ourselves waiting on other parties for things we could do ourselves. We also want to ensure that everybody’s incentives are well aligned. Leading the deal process means we solve issues sooner, better, and cheaper than when we defer to less experienced parties.

Strong leadership is not about telling people what to do. It’s about taking responsibility for solving problems. Even when it might seem logical to leave things to somebody else, taking responsibility can save a lot of time and money.

Modern business culture can be so legalistic that time and expense lost to lawyers can weigh down a good deal. Yes, contractual agreements are critical, and we’ve got to get the details right every time. However, many lawyers will happily quibble over minor details, holding up deals for days, weeks, and months. This is especially true when a property seller’s legal representation is very active in the negotiation. Give attorneys too much responsibility and watch your legal fees rack up while the deal languishes.

Leadership is also about listening to other stakeholders and ensuring that their concerns are addressed sooner, while things are easy, rather than later, when details get contentious and legal fees get expensive. My grandmother used to say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To prevent problems from developing, I’m always open about my interests and concerns, and I ask my negotiating partners to do the same. Surfacing tensions before they turn into major disputes is the ounce of prevention that pays off in spades.

Quality communication is the key to making our approach work. I take pride in Alliance’s ability to build and maintain rapport with our counterparts across the commercial real estate industry, and our ability to get people on the same page and keep them there is what enables us to close deals.

Not every firm can replicate our leadership approach. Apart from our philosophy and communication skills, getting things right requires a dependable, high quality team, and ours is the best. Even when we rely on external experts, we use small firms with long experience in our niche, and our staff works closely with hired specialists to ensure that all issues are surfaced and addressed as quickly as possible. Alliance wants things done right every time, and that’s why we prefer to take the lead, and do things ourselves.

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