Post by Brandon Miller

Mortgage-Bankers-Association-ConferenceSuper Bowl XLVI is less than a week away.  While most people are making party plans for the big game, many of us in the commercial real estate finance industry are scrambling to book meetings.  The Super Bowl signifies the start of the annual Mortgage Banker’s Association Conference for Commercial Real Estate Finance Convention (CREF).  As the convention approaches, we are focused on filling our dance cards with as many meetings as possible with capital providers.  It is a hectic and exhausting process, but the benefits derived from the convention greatly impact our firm and, more importantly, our clients.

CREF is the annual gathering of thousands of professionals from across the United States to discuss the latest trends in the real estate finance industry.  For our firm, the event is an opportunity to put faces to voices that we have heard many times over the phone, to forge new relationships and most importantly, discover sources of capital that we can use to finance our clients’ next deal.  We all hear that there is an abundance of liquidity in the marketplace and despite the conditions that have persisted over the last few years, there are actually capital providers looking to put money into real estate deals.  Rest assured they will most likely be attending CREF.

Attendance at CREF, simply stated, is tied to the common theme that commercial real estate is and always will be a relationship business.  Capital Providers come and go in the marketplace all the time and their willingness to invest can change as quickly as the Texas weather.  As an intermediary representing developers and investors in the capital markets, it is our responsibility to build and develop as many relationships with capital sources that will ultimately lead to relationships with our clients.  We are smart, knowledgeable real estate financiers but, as the old saying goes, “I would rather be lucky than good.”  By that I mean arranging capital is as much about networking, relationships and being in the right place at the right time to get a deal done as it is about being the most technically skilled financier.

So we venture to Atlanta in early February on a mission to meet as many new capital sources as possible.  Capital Providers are being inundated with financing requests right now and we know the deals that get priority treatment are the ones that come from financiers who work hard to establish personal contact and build a relationship.  Ultimately, our clients are the main beneficiary of the time and effort that goes into our CREF attendance vis-à-vis our improved ability to execute transactions with the most innovative sources of capital available.