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Scott Savacool: The power of networking can help CRE pros navigate a challenging industry

Scott Savacool

Scott Savacool is in for a busy year. Not only will he continue to close deals as senior associate with St. Louis-based Sansone Group/CORFAC International, he will also serve as president of CORFAC International, a post he officially took over during the commercial real estate network’s fall conference in Chicago.

Scott Savacool is in for some busy times. Not only will he continue to close deals as senior associate with St. Louis-based Sansone Group/CORFAC International, but once Jan. 1 rolls around, he will also serve as president of CORFAC International for one year.

But for Savacool, who spoke to Midwest Real Estate News from Marriott’s Hotel Chicago Downtown in Chicago’s River North area during the CORFAC fall conference, the extra work is a small price to pay for the benefits he and his fellow CRE pros receive from working with a network that is filled with companies led by experienced and talented real estate brokers.

“When you attend conferences like this, or when you meet with people in the network, you can leverage a lot of the experience of like-minded professionals who’ve encountered the same situations you are working through,” Savacool said while taking a break from the conference. “We have some of the most successful brokers around the country in this network. We have companies in 40 of the top 50 MSAs around the country. That’s a great footprint. And there is a lot of expertise you can tap into by being part of this network.”

Closing commercial real estate deals is no easy task. It helps, though, when brokers can turn to other CRE pros who’ve faced the same challenges.

And that’s the prime benefit of working in a network like CORFAC International. Say you’re struggling to help a client sell office property that’s a bit outdated in a market filled with more modern space. You can call a network broker who has solved the same problem in another market. That broker might have the key tip that can help give your client a marketing advantage.

Working in a network with veteran brokers also helps when you need to refer a client to another CRE professional in a market across the country. As Savacool says, when he refers a client to, say, a CORFAC broker in Pittsburgh, he knows that the broker is going to give his client top service.

That’s important: Brokers can easily lose a client if they refer that client to a CRE professional who botches the job.

“There’s a comfort level with referrals,” Savacool said. “You know when you send a client to a broker in this network that your client isn’t going to get paired up with a rookie broker who’s still learning. That’s the last thing you want your client to have to go through. With this network, when I refer clients I know that my client is going to receive the benefit of working with an experienced professional. They are not going to get connected to someone who doesn’t know the business.”

Midwest consistency

Being connected to the CORFAC network is an important tool for Savacool. He works in a market, St. Louis, that is seeing a steady increase in commercial real estate activity, especially in strong submarkets such as the city of Clayton.

But St. Louis, like all markets, has its share of challenges, too. The office market in the city’s CBD, for instance, is still a sluggish one.

Savacool knows that when he has a challenging question or faces an unusual problem, he can bounce ideas off his fellow CORFAC brokers.

Like the other brokers at CORFAC’s fall conference, Savacool expects business in his market to continue to improve throughout the rest of the year and into 2015. He says that he’s glad to work in the Midwest, where his market doesn’t experience the big swings of those on the coasts.

“We do have our own ups and downs, but we don’t have the major peaks and valleys that other markets have,” Savacool said. “We have blips from time to time. But barring any unforeseen catastrophes, we generally have a stable market. That might sound boring, but that stability is a real benefit to working in a Midwest market like ours.”

What could slow the real estate recovery being seen today in most Midwest markets? Savacool points to the “global unknown.” No one knows, after all, what hits the global economy might take in the future. Those hits could impact commercial real estate throughout the United States.

The good news? Savacool says that he and his fellow CORFAC members will be prepared for anything that the global economy will throw at them.

“The companies in this network are very nimble,” Savacool said. “They can adjust and adapt quickly to changes. It’s great to be around so many people who are focused on doing business the right way. They are constantly focusing on best practices. And they’re not shy about sharing their strategies with the other brokers in the network. That’s a real help in today’s market.”