Engineers, title agents, bankers, attorneys, contractors and beyond, CCIM Southern Nevada membership is open to anyone interested in classes, events and networking with the organization. CCIM stands for Certified Commercial Investment Member, and those involved in the organization can serve on committees and organize events. To be on the board, however, requires CCIM designation, widely considered to be the equivalent of a master’s degree in commercial real estate.
Chapter leadership reaches out to new designees, often inviting them to get involved with the various committees and activities. “Those CCIM members who have just received their designation, the newer designees, they have the strong passion to be giving back to the chapters,” said Bobbi Miracle, CCIM, SIOR Southern Nevada chapter president. Miracle is also senior vice president with Commercial Executives Real Estate Services in Las Vegas.
CCIM Southern Nevada is looking for the next wave of new designees to join the chapter. The idea of expanding the pool for board positions and committee chairs is to get candidates interested before they’re designees. While board members have to have their designation, committee chairs and members don’t. For candidates and designees, being involved with the board or committees is a win for everyone.
“The nice thing for them is they’re able to meet the people we’re actually doing transactions within town,” said Miracle. Meeting established commercial real estate professionals can help new candidates or designees establish careers.
CCIM also has an outreach program that works with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) real estate college, Lied Center for Real Estate, through internships and a mentorship program. The organization helps pair professionals with students so they can sample commercial real estate for a semester. And, sometimes students come back and report they hate what they’ve experienced.
“And I say, perfect!” responded Paul Chaffee, CCIM president-elect and broker/partner with C Squared Real Estate. “You didn’t waste two years of your life working for someone and getting a paycheck only to realize you don’t like this.” Then the student can be paired with a professional in another specialty. There are options and the program helps newcomers realize those.
CCIM members also sponsor student memberships, allowing them to attend events and meet professionals before they ever enter the market. The program gives students and potential designees access to a digital toolbox called “Site To Do Business”, which CCIM pays to use. Students can get a peek at how that can assist their careers.
“Site To Do Business” can help them create a gap analysis report to find out what’s not in the area, what type of businesses an area needs and the kind of rents they can achieve there,” explained Chaffee. “It helps students on a more professional level and once they graduate if they go into the real estate field, they’ve already got an understanding of how Site To Do Business works. That’s one less hurdle they have to get over.”
Adam Gregory, CCIM, immediate past president and senior vice president of Commcap Advisors, received his designation in 2008. At the time, during the Great Recession, it was hard for chapters to find new members. More people were leaving commercial real estate than joining.
“I was fairly new to the industry and I was directed, at the time, that this is a really good avenue to get into as a young professional,” said Gregory. When he joined, there were only a handful of professionals on the board, cycling through the same positions.
“COVID got us stuck in another cycle where we didn’t have people ready to step up and be president, so we had to start recycling again. We needed that help from our past presidents,” said Gregory. “We really needed new designees to step up into leadership positions within the chapter.”
So over the past 18 months the chapter has made a concerted effort to bring in those designees who haven’t yet taken on a leadership role to board positions or onto committees to take pressure off current leaders.
“It’s a new perspective,” said Gregory. “That was my big thing, because I’ve been on the board for so long, I feel like I’m out of new ideas. It’s always good to get that fresh perspective from people who have been looking at it from the outside.”
For graduates, being part of CCIM means having role models in the industry they’re entering. “We help them understand where they should be going for interviews, or who they should talk to in order to get their careers started,” said Miracle.
The worldwide network gives CCIMs the ability to work with other professionals who speak the same language and have access to the same materials.
“When they expand to different markets, it gives you the ability to find a professional in another market that speaks the same language. Because that’s really what the education gives us is the same talking points and the same kind of basis that we all understand to begin with,” said Miracle.
Challenges & Changes
Inflation and inventory currently mark the top two challenges in the southern Nevada commercial real estate market. There’s too much of one and not enough of the other. When it comes to inflation, costs are rising so quickly that the lack of inventory makes it difficult to get somebody into a new location and the costs are outrageous, explained Miracle.
On the finance side, Gregory saw the market go from an interest rate market providing loans anywhere from the mid-2 percent range to a high interest rate in the 3s. Now the market is in the mid-4s and into the low 5s.
“The challenge is, cap rates haven’t moved enough based off of where interest rates are, so we’re not seeing a whole lot of new acquisitions in the market. What we are seeing is just difficult deals,” said Gregory. “It’s like somebody pulled the emergency brake.” The market had been extremely busy for 18 to 24 months leading into 2022, but it’s drying up.
“It’s interest rate driven,” he added. “A lot of the really good properties were bought up because the cap rates were so low. In my opinion, if you didn’t sell your asset over the last two years, you missed the boat.”
In part, that may be because money has become expensive. “The field is very weird right now,” said Chaffee. “Interest rates have recently bumped up, the market has shifted a bit in my opinion. I see a slowing in some areas. This whole year, including parts of last year have been gangbusters, rates have gone up which changes the economic field out there. As that changes, I’ve seen a slowdown in some areas of interest in properties. The Federal Reserve (Fed) bumped interest rates a few times. As interest rates go up, money becomes more expensive. The more expensive money is, the harder it is for people to qualify for loans, and the less return you get in any type of purchase investment.”
Some of the changes in the southern Nevada commercial real estate (CRE) market seem based on expectation. It was expected during the pandemic a number of restaurants would close. Instead, most adapted and, today, there’s close to no restaurant spaces left available. The ones still on the market are the ones formatted with 8,000 or 10,000 square feet.
“Smaller restaurant spaces were taken immediately, and a lot of people were able to weather the storm just because of the takeout business. COVID, I think, really helped restauranteurs and retailers get smarter and see how they can pick up business and eliminate a lot of costs on their bottom line,” said Isabella Sorrentino, CCIM, Social and Networking Committee chair and a senior associate with ROI Commercial Real Estate.
Adding to their challenges, land availability is a concern. It seems as though only multifamily and industrial users are able to afford the costs.
“A lot of retailers are taking off-corner spots. And, because Las Vegas is growing up as a market, there’s becoming a bidding war for pad spaces,” she added. “I’m seeing a lot of regional concepts wanting to expand into the Las Vegas market as our city is continuing to evolve and mature.”
One area that was expected to drop off a cliff during the pandemic and instead did a 180 is industrial, office and warehouse properties.
“The market had a tremendous uptick in momentum and the amount of money that flooded into the market,” said Tim Castello, CCIM, legislative affairs chair and principal at Brass Cap Companies. “[The amount of] both 1031 money and guys who were moving or relocating their businesses here from California, and throughout the country, was astronomical.”
He added, “We’ve had pretty cheap capital over the last few years, a lot of that being institutional quality capital. With interest rates upticking right now, and the demand in the market, we’ve seen cap rates dropping and sales prices getting higher. The big challenge going forward is, money is becoming much more expensive with interest rates rising a little bit. It’s going to be interesting to see how, or if, that affects demand going forward. And then with cap rates shrinking as well, you’re seeing some of the developer’s profit margins shrink slightly, so it will be interesting to see how that moves forward with the higher cost of capital.”
Land and water constraints number among the legislative issues CCIM is involved with. CCIM, and other CRE groups, are working with Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) and county commissioners to try and limit consumption and lessen the footprint of water usage by warehouses in the area in terms of evaporative cooling.
“Getting involved with the legislative committee and having been involved with government affairs in the past, I think it just entrenches you in some of the issues in the Valley,” said Castello. “It helps open your eyes. Sometimes people are focused on just what’s going on in their daily bubble. When you get more involved in these committees it gets you more engaged in the state legislature, the process, local government and how things work behind the scenes. It’s extremely educational and helpful for your business going forward when you have a greater understanding of the whole picture.”
Classes are taught through the CCIM Institute by industry leaders. They guide students through transactions, methodologies and the use of tools and technologies designees will use in their chosen field of expertise. The classes are the basis of the designation and followed by a six-hour, comprehensive exam.
During COVID classes were taught online; many still are. For those people who find it difficult to travel, that’s a plus. But online learning can be challenging for some. Gregory suggests taking as many classes in person as possible, partly because classes are also networking opportunities.
“I was in Pittsburgh last fall for the governance meetings and tests and I spent some time in the hotel bar talking to people who were coming through,” said Gregory. What he found in conversation with new designees was that the failure rate on the designation test for people who took courses solely online was higher than those who took in-person classes.
“I don’t love to learn online,” said Sorrentino. But COVID forced her to take half of her classes and the comprehensive course review online. “The benefit of taking classes in person is getting to know people,” she added.
Sitting together for classes and working together on assignments, people from different parts of the industry can learn from each other and share life and professional experiences. Sorrentino said, when taking classes in person, everyone is mixed in together, brokers, appraisers, landlords, developers, managers and people who specialize in different market segments.
After designation there are still ongoing opportunities for education and professional development through the Ward Center for Real Estate Studies courses, three hour classes taken online or hosted live and user-specific to categories members are interested in.
In the Community
“I’m actually really, really proud of how well they’ve done this year with community events,” said Miracle of the southern Nevada chapter. The local CCIMs have reached out to the community with events, from cleaning up donated books for Spread the Word and working with children there, to a park cleanup.
Community events run the gamut from social activities to charity events. CCIM Southern Nevada’s Annual Wine Soiree and Silent Auction, which is nationally recognized, is both.
Sorrentino joined CCIM in 2017 when she began working with chapter members. She hoped to get to know people in her field so working with them wouldn’t be as intimidating in the beginning, she volunteered with the wine event.
“I learned that a lot of people in our market who were respected had those four letters at the end of their names, so I wanted to start taking classes,” said Sorrentino. She received a scholarship, which allowed her to take classes sooner. The designation requires four classes which then were $1,800 each.
Three years in, Sorrentino stepped up as chair of the Social Committee when the existing chair had to step down. That happened as the pandemic was easing off and everyone was emerging into the world again.
“It was really tricky,” she said. “We had some compressed timelines to work with but we did the best we could and held three events and they were all wildly successful.”
“Our chapter is known for our networking events,” said Gregory. “The wine event is known nationally within the other chapters for the amount of money that we raise for charity, and for the scope of the event.”
After the breakeven point, 100 percent of profits go to charities, including Spread the Word which promotes literacy for children and provides donated books, and John S. Park Elementary School. “It’s my understanding that the John S. Park music program has been almost entirely funded by the Southern Nevada CCIM chapter,” Gregory added.
While the majority of events for the chapter still need to be about networking, some have been created recently to involve family.
“When we went into COVID, our kids and spouses were always around, so we’ve tried to create events that include them, so they can understand what we’re involved in,” said Miracle. “Truly the people in the designation with me and the people I’ve traveled all over the country with all these years are some of my best friends. So it’s nice to have everybody all together.”
“Last year my goal as president, because of COVID, was to keep us afloat and have the chapter in a position where it can grow as Bobbi came in as president,” said Gregory. “I was able to kickstart toward the end of the year, and she’s taken it and run with it with new social events. We can grow from there. We’ll see what Paul’s plans are as he takes the reins toward the end of this year.”