Monthly Archive for: ‘September, 2012’

  • APJ Afternoon Links

    Late start on the morning links, so we are having a day of “afternoon” links. Enjoy!

    The Atlantic Cities discusses the false hopes of a park land buying spree on the heels of all the local bank foreclosures in Atlanta.

    Doug Sams at the Business Chronicle reports that Alliance is planning a new apartment community in Buckhead on Maple near E Paces Ferry.

    The Gunther Report checks in with CRE entreprenuer Riggs Kubiak who founded Honest Buildings.

    CNU Atlanta discusses how zoning codes can improve public health in the Atlanta metro.

    Atlantic Cities thinks a big problem facing developers and city planners is keeping Millenials once you have attracted them.

  • APJ Guide to Commercial Lending

    They’re Giving It Away!

    New to the business or to commercial lending? Or, would you like to refresh your memory on commercial lending law? Maybe you just need to look up what a UCC is? Use the articles and resources below to get to know some of the most basic (and some of the more complex) aspects of the commercial property lending environment in Atlanta.

    *Note* – This page will be constantly updated and adjusted. Be sure to check back for updates and new articles.

    Basics of Commercial Lending

    Basic Terms – The most common terms and acronyms unique to commercial lending (Coming Soon)

    Commercial Lenders in Atlanta – An ever-changing list of the commercial lenders in Atlanta (Coming Soon)

    Mortgage Brokers in Atlanta – Who to pay to find your commercial mortgage in Atlanta (Coming Soon)

    What Your Lender Needs – These are the documents you need to gather to create a financing package for a lender (Coming Soon)

    Beginner’s Guide to CMBS Debt (Coming Soon)

    Beginner’s Guide to Life Company Debt (Coming Soon)

    Beginner’s Guide to Agency Debt (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA) (Coming Soon)

    Beginner’s Guide to Balance Sheet Lending (Coming Soon)


    Guide to Problem Mortgages

    Solvent? Five Basic Metrics to Determine if Your Commercial Lender Will Survive (Coming Soon)

    What To Do When Your Commercial Lender Fails (Part I)

    What To Do When Your Commercial Lender Fails (Part II)

    Successor Creditors: The Basics – Who and what are successor creditors? (Coming Soon)

    Strategic Defaults: An Opposing View (Coming Soon)

    Dealing With Successor Creditors (Coming Soon)

    Ten Things You Should Know About Your Creditor

    A Letter From the Bad Guy – What you need to hear from your successor creditor

    Foreclosure and the Confirmation Process

    Lessons From My First Foreclosure Auction


    Commercial Real Estate Lending Law

    Loan Documents – Look here for all of the basics of loan documentation including the difference between a deed-to-secure-debt and a mortgage. (Coming Soon)

    Closing Attorney’s Guide  – What your attorney needs to close on your loan (Coming Soon)

    Loan Closing Timeline – How long will the process take? (Coming Soon)

    Five Most Common Mistakes in Commercial Lending Law (Coming Soon)

  • APJ Morning Links 9.11.12

    Buckhead Atlanta is making progress, it’s just hidden.

    The city of Atlanta is not in charge of a possible Wal-Mart site in Buckhead.

    Prosumer: Being both a consumer and a producer.

    Solving parking problems, one underground story at a time.

    Promoting walkability is easy with suggestions from two organizations.

  • APJ Morning Links 9.10.12

    In real estate, timing is everything. Activities in 2007 are causing trouble for banks in 2012

    What makes a street a GREAT street?

    Tax reform will undoubtedly affect CRE. This is why many companies have put a hold on planning.

    Want a Green Card? Invest in CRE.

    New CRE app offers too many features to list. Xceligent’s eXplore iPad app is direct competition to COSTARGO.

  • Book Review: Startup Nation

    Startup Nation – The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle by Dan Senor & Saul Singer

    Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic MiracleImage Courtesy

    I full admit that I’m a startup junkie. I love to hear the rags-to-riches stories of entrepreneurs who had great ideas and then the guts to follow through on making something special. It’s the quintessential American capitalism story and I get my monthly fix in Inc and Entrepreneur magazines.

    So it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that I read a good deal about startups. Entrepreneurship, venture capital, and the art of creating something from nothing are just fascinating, in my opinion. Oddly enough though, I got this book recommendation from David Birnbrey of Shopping Center Group.

    (When I am meeting with industry veterans to pick their brains and look for wisdom I almost always ask for good book recommendations. Startup Nation was Birnbrey’s recommendation.)

    I usually expect books that are country-specific to be overly patriotic or home country propaganda. This wasn’t like that. Startup Nation is basically just an examination of the culture created in Israel that has pushed this tiny nation to be one of the top 5 most innovative cultures on the planet.

    The author asked, “How can such a tiny country with such limited natural and human resources become such a technology and innovation giant?

    A large part of the answer, it turns out, comes from the IDF. The Israeli Defense Force is the national military that protects this small nation from hostile neighbors. Senor found out that the IDF culture is one of improvisation and questioning authority.

    For example, he found that in an air raid all planes and pilots will know the main objectives of the mission and do what is necessary to accomplish those objectives. If one plane is shot down or fails to hit a target, another plane will carry out the bombing run with the remaining explosives it has on board. Seems logical, right?

    Well in the U.S. Military (and apparently most national militaries), all planes are to stick to their objectives and ONLY their objectives. Any deviation from the prescribed flight pattern will lead to reprimand and possibly disciplinary action. Not so in the IDF.

    The IDF has created a system where you are encouraged to go “off-script” if it will lead to accomplishing the major objectives of the mission.

    The IDF also encourages questioning superiors.

    If you disagree with the judgment of a superior officer, question him or challenge her respectfully. The IDF seems to believe that leaders should have accountability to those they lead and apparently it’s not uncommon for privates to go over the heads of captains when they disagree on decisions or actions.

    So the IDF actively promotes a culture where all servicemen and women are asked to consider the broader goals of the military and to actively question authority. Senor argues that this culture leads to a fantastic startup culture once these soldiers enter the private business market. Since all adults in Israel are required to serve in the military, it’s easy to see why this mentality pervades the entire adult population of Isreal.

    While the IDF argument was my favorite theory, Senor provides ample resources and supporting arguments for why Israel has become so innovative. Be sure to check out his argument on why Charles DeGaulle was responsible for the rapid ascension of Israeli weapons technology and why Intel owes much of its chip-selling success to Israel.

    The reason I am including this book in our Commercial Real Estate Bookshelf, is that I think it is crucial to understand innovative culture. If we aspire to be next-generation leaders in the commercial real estate industry, then we had better gain a firm grasp on creating innovative cultures. If we do not innovate, we will be passed.

    So, if you aspire to inspire, then I recommend reading Startup Nation and taking note of how the leaders described in the book use deliberate and intentional practices to create environments conducive to some of the best work on the planet. If you can replicate that type of environment, there is no telling how far you and your company can go in the business.

    Happy Innovating!

    Startup Nation in Two Sentences: The tiny middle-eastern country of Israel has become a global hotbed for innovation and technology startups. This culture of innovation can be attributed to a national culture of questioning authority, improvisation, and a few other key historical events that have forced the Israeli people to innovate or perish.

    Pros: Solid arguments on the foundation of innovation, Good historical examples, Easy read and interesting anecdotes

    Cons: A bit redundant at times and can seem like an Israeli tourism magazine ad

    Target Audience: Those who aspire to create an atmosphere of innovation

    This book is best for: Business leaders looking to replicate an innovative culture

    Overall Rating: ♦♦♦♦ (out of 5)

    Here is the Amazon link to buy this book:


    Ratings Guide

    ♦ = Not worth your time

    ♦♦ = May be worth your time if it is specific to your industry or interests

    ♦♦♦ = A decent book and worthy addition to your library depending on your interests

    ♦♦♦♦ = A great book and an excellent addition to your library.

    ♦♦♦♦♦ = One of the all time classics. A must-read for anyone and everyone.

  • Commercial Real Estate Bookshelf

    “The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” – Mark Twain

    We wanted you to have a page to show all of our book reviews in one place. Here you will find our take on everything from commercial real estate to decision theory to general business and anything else that may be of interest to commercial real estate pros.

    Don’t see a book you’re looking for? Let us know in the comments and we will read it and review it!

    Commercial Real Estate

    The Real Book of Real Estate by Robert Kiyosaki

    Keepers of the Castle by Ferguson


    Psychology & Decision Theory

    The Black Swan by Taleb

    Thinking Fast and Slow by Kahneman

    Blink by Gladwell

    The Power of Habit by Duhigg

    Tipping Point by Gladwell

    Nudge by Thaler – Coming Soon

    Resilience by Zolli – Coming Soon

    General Business

    Good to Great by Collins

    How to Win Friends and Influence People by Carnegie

    Execution by Bossidy & Charan

    Atlas Shrugged by Rand

    Startup Nation by Senor – Coming Soon


    Periodicals & Trade Magazines

    Atlanta Business Chronicle

    Wall Street Journal

    Commercial Property Executive – Coming Soon

    Shopping Centers Today – Coming Soon

    Urban Land – Coming Soon

    Developments – Coming Soon

  • Best of the APJ

    Atlanta is THIS big!

    Since we have a few hundred articles posted on the blog section of the APJ, we thought it may be nice to have one place where we gather all of our best work. So below we have created an all-encompassing guide to our best article series. Enjoy!


    Commercial Real Estate Bookshelf

    Your guide to all of the books we have reviewed on the site that pertain directly and indirectly to commercial real estate.


    APJ Guide to Commercial Lending

    The ultimate resource for anyone wanting information on the commercial mortgage market in Atlanta!

    APJ Guide to Careers in Real Estate

    Everything you need to know about starting and growing your career in commercial real estate here in A-Town.


    APJ Building Profiles

    All the facts and photos you need of some of Atlanta’s coolest commercial properties

    APJ Executive Interviews

    Exclusive interviews from the leaders in commercial property in Atlanta.

    Basics of Commercial Real Estate

    New to our industry? Welcome to the family! Get started here on the basic topics covering property types, financing, and much more!

    Guide to Commercial Real Estate Websites and Blogs

    Starting your own CRE blog or website? Well we have tools, tips, and best practices all in one place for you!

    APJ Commercial Real Estate Technology Guide

    The place to find out about the best software, mobile apps, and gadgets in the CRE world!

    Millenial Manifesto

    APJ rants on a misunderstood generation.
  • APJ Morning Links 9.7.12

    Multifamily market improvements signals overall real estate health improvement.

    Public transit improvements means more jobs.

    What happens now for the new Falcons stadium?

    Deals in CRE are always harder than typical real estate. Why?

    Technology helps to have data readily available for CRE transactions.

  • Lessons from My First Foreclosure Auction

    On Tuesday of this week I was lucky enough to be able to attend a foreclosure auction on the courthouse steps. Actually, I had enough time to maker two auctions: Cherokee and Dekalb.

    For those of you who don’t know, every state has different foreclosure proceedings and the state of Georgia has its foreclosure auction on the first Tuesday of every month. They are located on the steps of the county courthouse in the county where the mortgaged property is located.

    So, I was there on Tuesday participating in these auctions. Here is what I noticed:

    There are good attorneys and . . . less good attorneys.

    Most of the people reading out the legal descriptions and conducting the auctions are attorneys employed by the lender. Some of them are patient, articulate, and conducive to a great auction. Others mumble, are impatient, and just want to leave. The good ones tend to get higher prices. The bad ones just annoy everyone.


    Most of the buyers that have success are institutional.

    You can tell after about 2 minutes that most of the major bidders are large equity funds from out of state. They put down their cell phone numbers when they win a bid, and you see mostly LA and NYC area codes. That would be discouraging to me if I were a small town, local bidder.


    Most of the work happens before the auction.

    All you get from the attorney is the legal description of the property, its address, a description of the mortgage, and some legal jargon about the nature of the auction. You have to know a ton about the property before you ever step foot on the courthouse steps. Otherwise you will have no idea what you are bidding on or what is a fair price. You may have thought this auction was a single day of work. No sir. It’s weeks of homework and research.


    There is a price-ceiling for most buyers.

    I didn’t hear much action above a certain level. That price “ceiling” is different for every county, but once you go above it there are zero bidders. For example, let’s say the ceiling is $300,000 in Forsyth County. If the lender has an opening bid of $350,000 on the property, I would anticipate ZERO competing bids. Maybe the ceiling is $350k or $200k in Fulton. I don’t know. What I do know is that there is a ceiling in every county and it would be interesting to analyze what those numbers are . . .


    Many of the bidders have rules.

    After the first bid, you will figure out that many of the institutional bidders have limits and thresholds to what they are permitted to do. Some are only allowed to increase the bid $100 at a time and ALL of them have specified max bids that they aren’t allowed exceed. It’s actually kinda annoying, but if you can figure out who they are and what rules they have to follow, you can probably run circles around them.



    Quite an interesting process. It’s incredibly inefficient and confusing, especially compared to Florida (who uses an online auction like eBay), but it is certainly interesting.

    If you ever go, drop me an email at Duke(at) and I will give you a few tips that I can’t share with the world right now. I am always happy to help (as long as you aren’t bidding against me!).

    Happy hunting!

    – Duke

  • APJ Morning Links 9.6.12

    The Good News? Lending to CRE investors for multifamily projects is increasing. The Bad News? Construction Lending is decreasing.

    What is urbanism? Does it really exist?

    Another list to ponder: Top 10 High Yield Mortgage REITs

    The Beltline will open, and soon, according to Atlanta Beltline officials who have set a dedication date.

    The cloud can hold lots of data. How does that work in the context of CRE?

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