VOL. 127 | NO. 64 | Monday, April 2, 2012
Memphis Small Business Spotlight
New Network Affiliation Bolsters Investec Realty
By DAVID ROYER
Commercial real estate firm Investec Realty Services has broadened its reach beyond the Memphis market thanks to a partnership with the international network of Sperry Van Ness.
Investec Realty is a small commercial real estate firm that recently affiliated with Sperry Van Ness. Investec managing directors include John Snyder, from left, Jon Albright and Anthony Lopes.
(Photo: Lance Murphey)
A recent franchise affiliation increases the company’s footprint from 10 brokers in Tennessee to more than 700 affiliates in 145 markets, plus another 35,000 brokers who subscribe to the Sperry Van Ness network.
The managing directors of the firm, now called Sperry Van Ness/Investec Realty Services, are Anthony Lopes, Jon Albright and John Snyder.
The trio of longtime brokers said Investec had been working increasingly with clients from outside the Memphis area over the past few years, so partnering with Sperry Van Ness gives the firm a wider profile for clients who often operate nationwide these days.
“We were looking for a national platform to work from, so I gave them a call and they followed up aggressively,” Lopes said.
Lopes, principal broker at Investec, said he was initially attracted to Sperry Van Ness because of its policy of cooperative compensation, which guarantees that half of every sales commission is reserved for the selling broker. That incentive for sales brokers becomes an advantage for the seller by maximizing the pool of potential buyers.
The affiliation gives Investec a connection with experienced brokers on the ground in markets they want to serve.
But Sperry Van Ness also offers a technological infrastructure that moves Investec into the next phase of marketing, with Facebook and Twitter presences, plus a smartphone app and its own internal social network similar to LinkedIn – tools that would have been harder to maximize for a small, local firm such as Investec.
“If you look at the national trends, it’s a lot harder just to be a boutique commercial real estate firm, especially from a technological standpoint.” Lopes said.
The Sperry Van Ness online tracking system allows brokers to quickly upload property information to the Web, rather than wait for a staff person to upload it and have it blasted electronically to sources such as LoopNet. That decreases time to market from as long as three weeks to as little as an hour, Snyder said.
Commercial real estate has undergone a transformation in the past five years, increasingly relying on new technology, nationwide contacts and social media to stay relevant and thrive, Albright said.
“Especially with what we’ve gone through in the past few years, you’ve got to be relevant to your clients, and part of that has to do with information knowledge,” Albright said. “Some (clients) don’t want to be bothered with the new. Others demand it.”
Investec’s partnership with Sperry Van Ness was announced in December, the 11th franchise deal last year for the Irvine, Calif.-based company. Investec remains independently owned and operated under the franchise.
The partnership is helping diversify the firm’s largely Memphis-based portfolio and may have helped Investec land listings in Mississippi and Chicago thanks to Sperry Van Ness affiliates there, Lopes said. Other brokers now are calling him to ask how they can become a Sperry Van Ness franchise, he said.
Investec completed more than $80 million in transactions in the past year, including two grocery store anchor deals that closed this year in Florida and Georgia worth a combined $26 million. The firm manages about 300,000 square feet of commercial space.
In addition to its main office at 51 Germantown Court near Walnut Grove, Sperry Van Ness/Investec is opening a Nashville office with one broker serving a growing market where Investec already served a stable of clients.
Lopes said the recession and sluggish recovery have opened up opportunities for the firm by decreasing competition. Capital is flowing more freely now than just a year ago and he expects there will be pent-up demand for commercial space on the other side of the recovery.
With new technology and new nationwide contacts, Lopes hopes Investec will be better positioned to serve clients.
“We have the ability to make decisions based on our clients needs,” Lopes said. “If the client wants to quietly market the property, we can do that. If they want to blast it out to the world, we can do that.”