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Commercial Department: From the Editor: February 2018


From the Editor

Take a lesson from the gridiron: Niche skills are valuable

c_2018-02_FTE.jpgOn the football field, every player has a narrow area of expertise they use to help their team.

The quarterback calls the plays and reacts to how the defense lines up. The receivers try to get open and make catches downfield. The linebackers look to light up anyone who crosses their paths.

You might say each player has a niche.

The same can be true for a commercial mortgage broker — whether you run your own business or you’re part of a larger brokerage. Finding a niche can be the difference between scoring touchdowns or settling for field goals — metaphorically speaking.

Our February magazine is packed with information for brokers who are looking to identify their specialty skill set, close more deals and become the star player with the huge contract.

Start by reading the Q&A on Page 20, where Tom O’Rourke and Darrick Brown of the Commercial Loan Broker Institute talk about helping brokers target the needs of a specific client base, whether it’s commercial real estate, equipment financing or even accounts-receivable financing.

Our lead article on Page 31 makes the case that bridge loans are an effective niche-business model. In “Carve Out Your Niche,” Jason M. Aubrey of PlattPointe Capital says bridge financing is a high-demand product that can serve a wide range of clients who are unable to obtain a permanent loan from a traditional lender.

On Page 51, Doug Lyons and Randall Zisler team up to provide a broad overview of mezzanine financing. It’s a loan product that isn’t typically found through traditional sources, but may have value for a client seeking relatively low-cost financing to achieve higher investment returns.

On Page 63, Peter Clasquin of Hunt Mortgage Group writes about micro-housing, a small but growing trend in the multifamily sector. Commercial mortgage brokers should be aware of the investment opportunities related to these apartment units, which range in size from 150 to 450 square feet and are proliferating as a relatively low-cost housing solution in many urban cores.

Even if you’re not looking to establish a niche or shift into a new one, there are plenty of relevant topics this month. Check out Michael Novak’s article on Page 46 about working with an environmental consultant. Novak, the president of Atlantic Environmental Solutions Inc., writes that brokers can bridge the gap between lenders and clients to identify and mitigate any environmental hazards associated with a property.

Brian McCarter of Sustainable Real Estate Solutions returns on Page 56 with an outline for using Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing for new construction projects. Although C-PACE loans have traditionally been utilized to upgrade energy systems in older buildings, they are growing in popularity among developers who want access to low-cost, nonrecourse financing that reduces the need for high amounts of equity.

On Page 82, Rob Diodato of York Commercial Finance writes about the importance of leverage, or the ratio of debt to value, in a number of investment situations. Although all-cash transactions comprise a big chunk of commercial property purchases, an investor can maximize the return on investment and retain liquidity for other opportunities by getting a mortgage, blanket lien or line of credit.

This month’s final article comes from Steve Bond of Trius Lending Partners. On Page 86, Bond writes about the advantages of working with a locally-based hard money lender. These local lenders tend to offer faster service, more market knowledge, a range of partner resources and better client support than those who work on a national scale, Bond says.

February is Super Bowl month. If you watch the big game, pay attention to how each player utilizes their specialty skills. It can apply to your business in an equally effective fashion.


Neil Pierson is editor in chief of Scotsman Guide Media. Reach him at or (800) 297-6061.

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