Interview With Matthews™ Associate Vice President Aria Pournazarian
1. How did you get into commercial real estate? How did your first few jobs in CRE lead you to specialize in corporate real estate advisory?
I started in tenant and landlord representation in the leasing sector. From there, I elevated into sales and honed on skill sets that enabled representing principals to structure unique and effective disposition strategies. Now, corporate Real Estate Advisory brings together both of those worlds.
2. Why did you decide to make the move to Matthews? How did Matthews stand out compared to other companies in the industry?
We decided to make the move to Matthews™ because of the remarkable opportunities it offered our team. Compared to other companies in the industry, Matthews™ stood out with its commitment to fostering collaboration, providing a wealth of resources, offering unparalleled market intelligence, and boasting a robust infrastructure across the country. Matthews™ offered our team, consisting of myself, Thiago Delia, and Brody Hess, the ideal platform for our team’s growth and success.
3. What are the different strategies you use to help clients optimize their real estate portfolio?
In order to assist clients in optimizing their real estate portfolio, our approach begins with a comprehensive review of their real estate schedules, encompassing both leased and company-owned properties. The primary objective is to identify opportunities for value creation. This strategic analysis can lead to various solutions, such as buy-back arrangements, sale-leaseback transactions, or tenant options to purchase. By starting with this fundamental assessment, we tailor our strategies to each client’s unique circumstances and objectives, ensuring that their real estate assets align effectively with their overall business goals.
4. What are you hearing from clients most frequently in the current market? What opportunities are they actively seeking?
Is it time to sell? Opportunities are usually predicated on higher and better use of capital or internal growth initiatives requiring significant capital. We are here to create that capital by way of company-owned real estate.
5. Retail has continued to perform well throughout the past few quarters, while other sectors have faced challenges. What advantages does retail have compared to other industries, helping it keep steady?
Retail and Industrial remain resilient product types, assuming a mission-criticality is involved, and the underlying real estate and assets are sound.
6. What are your market predictions for the rest of 2023 as we face another possible interest rate hike and slowing consumer spending?
We will continue to experience a period of normalization. Companies may still need to identify opportunities to create capital or maintain working capital. This is where we continue to provide service and add value.
7. Why should clients consider a sale-leaseback? What unique benefits does a sale-leaseback offer in a downturned market like we’re seeing today?
The sale-leaseback is a true and tried strategy. Approaching your neighborhood bank has never become more of a challenge. The opportunity to evaluate opportunities to remain competitive through a substantial injection of capital while maintaining control of the real estate remains attractive. Rent expense can potentially be lower than interest expense without financial covenants and a maturity/balloon payment in three to five years.
8. In your opinion, what are the top three factors that make up a great deal?
In my opinion, the top three factors that make up a great deal are location, the presence of good books and records, and the development of an organically positive relationship between a buyer and seller, who essentially transform into real estate partners.
9. What is the number one mistake new brokers make in their first year of business? What advice would you give to a new agent?
The number one mistake new brokers often make in their first year of business is underestimating the importance of mentorship and learning from successful individuals in the field. To new agents, I would advise them to actively seek out and identify the positive traits and habits of top-performing brokers and to surround themselves with diligent, hardworking professionals who can serve as mentors and guides. It’s crucial not to be too hard on oneself if certain skills or aspects of the business prove challenging initially. Instead, focus on identifying areas for improvement, adapt your strategies as needed, and continue practicing diligently. Much like perfecting free throws in basketball, consistent effort and persistence can lead to mastery in real estate brokerage. If you’re bad at free throws, keep practicing until you’re perfect.