Start up Brewery: lessons in real estate

Other than “when will you open” (answer–hopefully in 2016, but that’s pretty remote at this stage) I’m surprised at the questions asking what’s going well and not so well.  Things that don’t go well often seem more interesting than stories about things working as planned.  How many of us have shared “peace” stories as opposed to “war” stories?

This kind of falls into the “war” story category and is broadly about finding a space, which recently took a couple of steps backward.  With the exception of one real estate representative who is just fantastic and I continue to enjoy working with, I’m surprised at the lack of follow up from most of the real estate agents I’ve spoken with.  Don’t get me wrong—they will all take a call.  But actual follow up?  It wasn’t what I was expecting.

My only real experience with a real estate agent was buying a house.  The agent received our budget, wish list, area we wanted to live in and then came back to us with a number of options.  Tons of options, actually and we worked with her to narrow down what we wanted and didn’t want.  It took some trial and error, but eventually landed a great home that we still love.  It was like the show on TV where they decide if the want to live in the renovated house or not.

So when I started calling agents about Bado Brewing, I thought the same process would unfold.  I’d see a property I was interested in, then would call and tell them why I was calling them. I’d give them my memorized description of location, budget and use.  Sometimes I would se that space in particular, sometimes not.  But to a person, they all said they would look at their records and information and get back to me.  But rarely did that happen.  I spent the first month of looking for places expecting an avalanche of calls that never came.

I was able to find a bunch of places that I was interested in just by driving around and using loopnet—how could the agents not be abel to do the same, since they knew what I was looking for?  What I was told by two of them after pursuing the question is that agents only really look at their own listings.  My experience has been that it’s not (in practice, at least) the same as when we bought the house—I honestly don’t know who listed the house we ended up buying, but it wasn’t the same agency of the woman who helped us find it.

I was able to find that one agent who understood what I was looking for.  And now that I’m actively searching again, she’s back in the fold looking at spaces and telling me of locations that aren’t listed on the web.  I’m still driving around the townships I’m interested in, but that’s supplemental and because I’m impatient.

So what was the lesson?  I’m not positive which one of these is correct—probably they all are:

  • Things aren’t always the way you want them to be
  • Don’t assume
  • Just do it yourself
  • Help is there—you just have to keep looking for it