I’ve written a lot about the difference between being a broker and being a consultant. Both are important. Both are needed. I’ve conducted transactions for more than 25 years, and I’m continuing to do so. I’m also doing a great deal of work as a consultant. In fact, an exciting opportunity is presenting itself in that arena that I think will provide a desperately needed service (but more on that later).

It’s become ever more apparent to me recently just how badly consultants are needed in this day and age of commercial real estate. Consultants give advice and are paid either for their time or a deliverable. Their goal is to provide thoughtful, objective and smart advice that provides the most benefit to the client.

Real estate these days is full of new complexities and the industry is ripe for conflicts of interest. Banks have far tougher lending criteria, while governments have far more hoops that developers must jump through. Entitlements from jurisdictions are far more difficult to get. Tenants are far more savvy about how to negotiate deals. Competition is far more fierce. Simply put people need someone whom they trust to give sound advice and share their experience.

You can find these consulting groups in larger markets, but there really aren’t any in the Carolinas that truly don’t have any skin in the game, so to speak.

Some traits that make one an effective broker or investors can make them an excellent consultant as well. I’m effective for my clients because I can be persistent and I have a way of agitating to get things done. Other useful traits include a sound judgment and an ability to read people and their intentions. These characteristics carry over well to consulting. I’m independent, and I like pioneering new solutions. Innovation really serves me well in consulting. And relationships play an integral role in being both a broker and a consultant. I’ve got a ton of relationships and it’s a lot of fun putting people together.

I’m excited to share that I’m going to be a part of a talented group that’s coming together to provide consulting services. It’s a bunch of really smart professionals with experience in all facets of real estate. I’m going to remain as passionate about being a broker as I have ever been. But I believe it’s important to embrace new concepts you believe in. I can’t say much now, but you’ll hear more about this new venture soon so stay tuned.