You’ve heard the term “full circle”. When I started my career in commercial real estate, there was essentially no training. No training manual, no formalized training on the job: just a desk, a phone and the phone book. I searched for and found a curriculum for what would turn out to be the equivalent of a Master’s degree in finance, sponsored by the CCIM Institute.

CCIM stands for Certified Commercial Investment Member. This 6 week course was delivered one week at a time, off site and frequently out of state. Five week- long classes and then a comprehensive wrap up followed by a strenuous exam. It took me nearly 3 years to complete the course of study, much of which became the foundation of the work I do on a daily basis. It was time very well spent.

In that curriculum, you would evaluate a type of real estate, let’s say a shopping center, and see what it would take to purchase the property ( initial investment), how much cash it would throw off annually (annual cash flows), and then what it would be worth after a 10 year hold (reversion). As a student, we were taught to solve for the “Future Accumulation of Wealth”, the reason (amount of money) that anyone might invest in a shopping center, or alternative property type. How much would that initial investment grow to, and be worth selling for, on the day of sale in the future?

I have had a chance to glimpse just how well some of these investments have performed, when clients of mine who purchased a building with me, ultimately sell that building years later. Just last week, I met with such a client, now dear friends, who are planning to sell their building and travel in their 35 foot motor home, now stashed behind their warehouse building. I secretly think they drive it around the block every day, just to savor the feeling of the freedom of the road.

When I think about why I do what I do, it is the thrill of enabling clients the ability to have the future accumulation of wealth. My small part in positioning them for the sale of an asset that lets them hit the road full time, has been compelling motivation to work hard for all of my clients.

Over that last 30 year, I have sold a few buildings more than once. Now that my own career is peaking, I look forward to selling more buildings for those “early days” clients, whose investments have come full circle.