What is the value of a reputation? The old adage speaks volumes about "who you know" in lieu of "what you know" so is reputation really that big of a deal? In short, 'Yes' but I want to dispel some common myths about the value of reputation in commercial real estate and thus motivate you to pursue this wonderful investment vehicle.
Myth #1: Commercial real estate is basically a 'good 'ol boys' club that shuns new members.
Truth: In rare cases, usually in smaller communities, there is a bit of a protective approach to commercial real estate, favoring local ownership. By and large, this myth is false. The myth is propagated by the fact that the world of commercial real estate is populated by different players. When investors don't know the players or how to play the game, they presume it to be off-limits.
To build a reputation as a seeker of commercial real estate, make a point of finding out who the players are and let them know your intentions. Most players will see an active interest in the business of commercial real estate as a good thing, made more real when you can perform and actually buy something. Any hesitancy from a member of this group to work with you is usually founded on the fact that most people they've met who were just like you never did much of anything. When you have a solid approach to the business, you can perform and this will do wonders for your reputation with other commercial owners.
Myth #2: I have to have done this before to get funding.
Truth: Past experience can facilitate funding but is not an absolute requirement. The perceived Catch-22 of commercial funding is usually just an excuse from investors who are afraid to take the plunge. Your reputation with lending sources will be mostly based upon the quality of the deal you bring to the table. If the numbers are rock solid, they may ask a few questions about management, maintenance, and the like, but the strength of the deal will speak more loudly than anything. This shows you to be an investor who knows how to find quality investments, and that's a good foundation for one's reputation.
When you can approach the commercial investing business with the right professionalism and knowledge, your reputation will largely be based upon these things. Start out on a good note, and that same reputation will only grow, bringing more and more quality deals to you. The first deal is indeed the hardest one, but it can open so many doors for you so don't be afraid to jump into the game.