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City Planners and Commercial Real Estate Investors: A Love-Hate Relationship


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The last thing that you want to do as a real estate investor is to waste time and money on a plan that your city does not want. This can be extremely frustrating and in many cases investors find that there is a love-hate relationship between themselves and the city planners. You can avoid dealing with extensive problems by educating yourself in how to make sure that your project will be approved by the city planner. The most important thing that you should remember when dealing with commercial real estate investments is that your relationship with the local planner in your city is going to be very crucial to the success of your projects.

Some Succeed and Some Fail
Unfortunately some investors fail with their projects while others succeed. There have been many examples of cities that would deny one investors project, only to go on and approve the project of another. In fact, recently this actually occurred in my own home town. One investor had come up with a project that he felt was excellent and wonderful for the city; however, the city did not agree with him and denied his project. Interestingly enough, just a few short months later, another investor proposed a very similar project with a few key differences that ended up being well received and was quickly improved. So, why does one investor get denied while another gets approved? Well, a large part of this has to do with knowing what your city wants.

Know What Your City Wants
Knowing what your city wants is extremely important when you are a commercial real estate investor. In fact, if can make a key difference between whether your project is readily accepted or given the boot. Before you decide on a project you should take the time to find out in what areas your city is wanting to grow. Also find out what types of property the city needs more of. It is imperative that the projects you decide on are in the path of progress - the type of progress that your city is really looking for.

Include the Right Experts
Another thing you will need in order to get your city to buy into your plan is the right experts on your side. You will probably want to at least have an engineer, an attorney, as well as an architect. Include any experts that you think may be able to sway the city towards your point of view. While a city may not just listen to an investor with a plan, when the investor has a variety of experts working on the plan and backing him up, suddenly it draws a great deal more attention than one voice alone. When you are hiring experts for your project, be sure that you find the ones who have worked with the city planners before with success.

Communication is Key
One of the key things when you are dealing with city planners is to remember that communication is key to your success. When you show yourself to be flexible, open to suggestions, and someone that is willing to talk things out, the city planners are going to be more likely to want to work with you. On the other hand, if no one can talk to you and you never communicate with the planners you are not going to be very well liked. An investor who is just set on doing whatever they want is quickly going to get on the bad side of the city planners and find out what it is like to be in the hate side of the relationship. Remember, just being open and communicative can go a long way to helping you get approved with the city planners.

Have Patience
When you are trying to get your commercial real estate investing projects approved it is very important that you are patient. Sure, it is probably going to get frustrating at times, and there are going to be disagreements on both sides that you have to work through, but if you are patient and you are willing to compromise, you can end up being successful. Be sure that you have an attitude of problem solving so that the planners can see that you want things to be resolved so it all is a win-win situation. Also make sure that you are prepared for your meetings, and that you are prepared to do some waiting as well.

When you have the right people that have the right attitude working on a commercial real estate project, chances are that you are going to get the job done. As you learn how to communicate effectively with city planners, you can ensure that your project continues to move forward through this process. Investors may at times want to consider choosing projects that they know are going to get very little resistance as well. So, if you know what your city wants, deal with the right experts, communicate effectively, and have some patience, more than likely you will be able to develop a great relationship with the city planners and have your projects approved.

Tony Seruga, Yolanda Seruga and Yolanda Bishop of specialize in commercial and investment real estate. As of May, 2006, they and their partners are managing over $600 million dollars worth of new projects.


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