Emerging Trends in Commercial Real Estate – An Interview with A Student of the Real Estate Game Founder Joe Stampone

Joe Stampone Blog BioJoe Stampone, founder of AStudentoftheRealEstateGame.com, is one of commercial real estate’s top sources for emerging trends in the industry. I’ve been a huge fan of Joe’s writing ever since a real estate developer recommended his site several years ago.  Similar to Joe, I was still in school then and nearing graduation (and facing a challenging real estate market).

It became pretty obvious right away that Joe cared deeply about learning the craft of real estate. Because of this deep curiosity and passion, A Student of the Real Estate Game has become the go-to resource for what’s current and on the horizon in commercial real estate.

I love seeing how A Student of the Real Estate Game has grown and evolved. However, Joe’s emphasis on “student” still rings true. Since Joe writes about, researches, and interviews some of the top leaders, emerging entrepreneurs, and strategic minds in commercial real estate, I’ve been eager to hear about what he’s learned as a student of the real estate game and what’s currently on his mind.

So without further ado, here is an exclusive interview with Joe Stampone!

Real estate degree programs are as popular as ever and many recent grads are fresh to the workforce this summer.  You launched your website while in grad school. Looking back and learning what you’ve learned since then, what would you tell yourself when you launched your site?

My advice to recent grads is not to worry if your first job isn’t the sexiest, most sought after role. We can’t all be rainmakers at real estate private equity funds. In real estate, there is no linear career path. Use your network and find a job. Don’t be picky; you can learn a lot in many varying settings.

When you inevitably do land a job, you should move vertically, horizontally and jump around within your own company, while being open to outside opportunities, if you want to be successful.

The best advice I received is that in real estate all you have is your reputation, so don’t ruin it. Peter Linneman once wrote “in order to build a great reputation, always do the very best you can to fulfill what you said you would do, help others simply because you can rather than because you believe it would indirectly benefit you, and do this for the next thirty years, and you will have a great reputation and network.”

Easy, right?

Your site is, in my opinion (and many others), the place to gauge what’s current and upcoming in commercial real estate. What are you most excited about right now and why?

What I love about real estate right now is all the start-up tech companies with great founders. A few of my favorites are office search engines 42Floors and thesquarefoot, data firm Compstak, financial analysis tool Valuate, and 3-D modeling company Floored.

However, what I’m by for the most excited about is crowdfunding for real estate. Two of the leading sites are Fundrise and Realty Mogul.

What makes this interesting is what’s happening with the Jumpstart of Business Startups (JOBS) Act. The JOBS Act allows companies to solicit publicly for funds from individuals in return for equity or debt. Last week, the SEC went a step further by lifting the ban on general solicitation as they were asked to do in Title II of the JOBS Act. However, this only applies to accredited investors. The rules governing the part of the JOBS Act that deals with non-accredited investors have yet to be written. Once they are, things will become really interesting.

This is going to have a big impact on the real estate industry. First, it’s moving the investment platform online. Instead of mailing thick binders full of legal documents and tracking down paper checks from investors, the investor could make the full transaction online—everything from reviewing the deal, to signing legal documents, to sending an electronic check. This allows real estate companies to reach hundreds of investors in the time it used to take to reach one.

Crowdfunding also allows real estate companies to tell their story on a new platform – the story of the business and the story of the deals they do is really important. Real estate companies will need to figure out how to become brands beyond the real estate business. I wrote about this in a recent blog post.

Real estate is a clear passion that has to be more than just your day job. What are you reading on Saturday mornings?

Throughout the week I’m constantly reading short digestible news articles; that’s how Globe Street, NREI Online, the RE Alert, and the Real Deal are designed. On Saturday’s, where I have a few uninterrupted hours, I like to read articles with a bit more depth and substance.

Right now, I’m reading an article from the March edition of the Institutional Real Estate Letter on the 7 Megatrends that are changing the direction of institutional real estate.

While I think the short blog-style articles are great, if often requires a deeper dive to truly understand macro trends that are impacting the real estate business.

As a student of the real estate game, what aspects of the game are you digging into now, in the future?

As mentioned above, I think crowdfunding is going to change the status quo. I’m personally preparing by building up the ‘A Student of the Real Estate Game’ (ASotREG) brand and thinking about doing a few interesting small-scale projects in the near future. I want ‘ASotREG’ to be known beyond real estate.

A few other macro trends I find interesting that are greatly impacting the real estate business include the increased focus on intelligent and sustainable buildings, the impact of global urbanization, the rise of e-commerce, and the shrinking (changing) demand for office space.

Very intriguing with expanding and further building the ‘ASotREG’ brand. I’ve loved following your site over the last few years.  Can you elaborate on what you’ve learned with building your brand to this point and how you’d like to grow it in the future?

The ASotREG brand is a story, although it’s a story about me, not the brand. Every brand has a story which includes expectations and history and emotions.

I want people to love the memory of how ASotREG made them feel once. It’s hard to explain, but I want these posts to inspire and get people to think about the future of the real estate business.

More than ever, we express ourselves with what we buy.  People also express themselves based on what they read and what companies they invest in. I want people to feel __________ that they read ASotREG and eventually invest in my deals.

You’ve researched, wrote about, and interviewed some of the top entrepreneurs in the real estate industry. What characteristics, mentalities, and/or qualities stand out from these interactions? 

I think there are a few traits that successful investors in general share:

  • They have a sense of urgency, passion, and commitment to their vision that most people don’t have.
  • They pay a lot of attention to risk, understanding not just how much they can make, but how much they can lose.
  • They go for batting average, not home runs
  • They’re honest and have integrity

I’ve actually created an ‘isms’ page on my blog which contain my favorite real estate/business quotes – I call them ASotREGisms.

Finally, (and candidly), how do you find the time to keep up with so much going on in commercial real estate?!

I was watching a Seth Godin interview and he was asked how he manages to get so much done and Seth responded that he doesn’t watch TV and he doesn’t take meetings.

Well, I take lots of meetings and watch my fair share of TV. Blogging can be time intensive, but the writing comes pretty easily because I write about topics that interest me. It may be a deal I’m currently working on or a something hot in the news. The time-intensive aspects include the technical component of the site, promoting posts, responding to comments/emails, and fixing any bugs.

I find the key to being productive is to do one thing at a time. I try to write for an hour or so during times where I know I’ll be uninterrupted. Early Saturday or Sunday morning or late in the evenings are great because there are no emails coming in and my phone’s not buzzing.

It’s gotten to the point where my days are spent in meetings and answering emails and the evenings and early mornings are when the real work gets done. I use that time to be creative and make something meaningful.


Joe, it has been an absolute pleasure to work with you on this interview. Thanks so much for jumping on the hot-seat for us!

Want more? Follow Joe on TwitterFacebook, and at A Student of the Real Estate Game.

Joe Stampone Blog Facebook

Brian Smith from The Space Creators chats all things entrepreneurship, coworking, and growing an innovative development company

Space Creators 2

I’ve got one goal with Skype chats–reach out to interesting real estate professionals doing interesting things and chat about what they’re up to.

Guess what?!

Today is no different!

We’re chatting with Brian Smith, founder of The Space Creators–a Denver-based developer that specializes in creating innovative office spaces for entrepreneurs, young companies, and creative individuals.  Brian has turned many heads since his first project in 2009 and, as you’ll see from the chat, he’s got a strong vision for how to grow his innovative development shop further.

Brian’s been named one of Denver’s 30 Under 30, one of Under30CEO’s entrepreneurs to watch, and has garnered many accolades in between. I am thrilled to sit down and chat about how he grew his business and continues to look for creative ways to develop new and exciting projects.

So stay tuned and thanks for joining in our java chat!

If you’re in need of space, want to check out a fun event in Denver, or want to learn more about what The Space Creators is about, check them out here or via Twitter here:@space_creators.

Emerging Trends in Commercial Real Estate – A Chat with Michael Lagazo about Retail

One could argue that the retail sector is one of the most rapidly changing and evolving sectors in the real estate industry.  With shifting demographics, changing customer buying habits, and advancements in technology, the sector is at a very tangible moment of flux.

To get a better sense of this flux, I reached out to retail expert Michael Lagazo to learn more about the trends and changes in the market. Michael, a Senior Associate with Rosano Partners in San  Diego, is one of the industries’ go-to authorities on emerging retail trends. Michael has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Commercial Property Executive, and Shopping Centers Today—on top of being a regular organizer and speaker at numerous commercial real estate conferences nationwide. In fact, Michael and I postponed our discussion about the retail industry several days because he wanted to include a few up to the minute notes from his participation in Retail Live L.A.

M Lagazo Twitter

  • Fresh off the Retail Live L.A. Conference, what are some of the current market trends that we should be aware of?

First, I would like to thank Michael and Stacey Gilham for hosting an excellent networking event. Comments on the trade show floor complimented the quality of conversations directly with retailers and shopping center landlords. As promised, the food and entertainment were remarkable.

National credit tenants are finding ways to expand in an environment where value and discount is thriving. Many consumers are poorer than before the recession. Private equity firms are funding acquisition and consolidation. Majority owners are more actively participating in operations than pre-recessionary periods. Merchants are taking on more risk in pursuit of sustainable yield. For example, a national drug store chain has refinanced debt to fund expansion.

Several retailers were represented at the conference but most were food and beverage vendors including restaurant groups based on the east coast and in the Midwest expanding west to follow biotech and technology job creation from Los Angeles to San Diego, CA.

  • The retail sector has been going through adjustments over the past few years (from changes in technology, consumer buying habits, etc.), how are landlords, tenants, developers, and brokers adapting to these changes?

Value and discount merchants are competing directly with each other even occupying sites to remove a competitor’s option from a trade area. Big box retailers are embracing express or compact store formats of 40,000 square feet or smaller. Surplus retail space is being repurposed for mixed-use or office. Merchants are embracing more diverse product offerings. For example, non-club bulk item retailers are selling groceries and daily needs items in the same store as office supplies.

  •  Where do you see opportunity in the retail sector given current market conditions? Are there any new markets or niches that are small now but could take off?

Investors are purging their portfolios to free up capital to pursue trophy and class A projects. The flight to quality continues as merchants relocate to better centers. Opportunities exist in buying income producing retail assets before bottle-necked demand and mainstream rhetoric drives artificial price appreciation.

The present climate makes it easy to differentiate which shopping center got the leasing strategy right and which missed the mark. An innovative era in which in-store and e-commerce experiences are not so discrete will foster innovative concepts like BonobosWarby ParkerKeaton Row, and Hointer.


  • What do you find most exciting about the retail sector right now?

The convergence of technologies is changing how we live, work, and shop. Brick-and-mortar stores are still the most immersive places for shoppers to encounter a brand, however, mobile is the face of engagement. Projects like The Peterson Companies’ National Harbor and North American Properties’ Atlantic Station are examples of shifts towards experiential shopping.

Atlantic Station

Finding new ways to create a virtual place for shoppers to experience one’s brand is exciting. The technology is secondary to strategy. A linear purchasing decision has been replaced with concentric circles (circles within circles). Shoppers draw impressions about brands through interactions with friends and family, through conventional and social media, as well as engage the brand virtually on multiple devices.

  • How do you tweet so much?!

Quick editor’s note: Michael is one of the most followed commercial real estate experts on Twitter. Many real estate professionals, including myself, follow his 100,000+ tweets for breaking industry news and emerging trends. If you’re trying to gauge the pulse of commercial real estate, Michael is one of the best resources on Twitter.

I’ve always been a student of the real estate game and remain inquisitive. I stay plugged in via mobile, tablet, and PC to learn and share content that may be useful to other CRE people.

You can follow Michael on Twitter here: @Michael_MBA.

  • What excites you about Rosano Partners and working in the southern California commercial real estate market?

Managing top regional malls for leading REITs and later liquidating assets in receivership has given me a chance to solve many diverse and complex problems at times under difficult conditions. I offer retail services including agency leasing, portfolio leasing, and investment sales for investors in southern California.

Very big thank you to Michael Lagazo for his insight into the retail sector! The best ways to keep up with Michael are through Twitter and Rosano Partners.

Leading a Growing Property Management Team with Andy Ashwal

Andy Ashwal, Executive Director for KW Property Management’s new office in New York City, is someone that truly understands the big picture when it comes to property management. With a background in development and construction management, his perspective on managing real estate comes from understanding properties from many different scales. Andy and his team are responsible for managing thousands of residential units and multi-million dollar operating budgets in Manhattan–all while leading expansion efforts in a constantly changing market.

I sat down with Andy to chat about how to successfully lead a property management team and how he strives to deliver a unique product in one of the most competitive real estate markets in the country (if not the world). In our chat, you can see how he communicates the importance of managing the big picture as well as every detail of his property portfolio. Thanks for tuning in!

You can learn more about Andy and KW Property Management here and on Twitter @KWPropertyMgmt.

The Importance of Due Diligence with Frank Gallinelli

I sat down with Frank Gallinelli to have a chat about the importance of due diligence in real estate investing and development. Frank is the Founder and President of Realdata, Inc., is an author of three books on real estate investing (you can find them here), and is a professor at Columbia University’s Master of Real Estate Development program. So when I needed to find a special guest expert on the subject, Frank was the very first person that came to mind.

Without further ado, tune in and grab some of Frank’s wisdom!

If you want to learn more about Frank’s work, be sure to check out:


Mastering Real Estate Investment

What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know About Cash Flow…and 36 Other Key Financial Measures

Insider Secrets to Finding and Financing Your Real Estate Investments: What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know About Finding and Financing Your Next Deal

10 Commandments for Real Estate Investors

How to Develop Real Estate – A Chat with Developer Greg Hutchings

I recently sat down with developer Greg Hutchings to have a chat about the parallels between real estate development and entrepreneurship. Greg is a successful developer and educator with a specialization in mixed-use and multifamily properties. In our chat, Greg explains why entrepreneurs are attracted to development, what skills are needed to successfully complete a project, and how one can learn more about the industry.

Thanks for tuning in!

Stay tuned for more chats with real estate professionals!

Real Estate Investing Advice and Chat about BiggerPockets with Brandon Turner

If you’re interested in real estate investing, Brandon Turner’s work–both on his blog and through BiggerPockets.com–has helped many new and seasoned real estate professionals take on new projects and expand their portfolios. Brandon is a true student of the game. So when he recently announced that he’ll be joining the BiggerPockets team as a senior editor and community manager, I had to track him down for a chat about his career as a real estate investor and to see what he’ll be up to in the new role.  In the chat, Brandon offers amazing advice to anyone looking to get started in real estate investing and explains what’s in store for the BiggerPockets community in the future. Thanks for tuning in!

Be sure to say a big congrats on the new gig to Brandon and BiggerPockets on Twitter @BrandonAtBP and @BiggerPockets

Also check out: