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COVID-19 VS. Coworking Space

As the coronavirus sweeps the nation unexpectedly at an alarming rate, coworking spaces are hit with a harsh new reality. In more recent years co-working space has become extremely popular amongst small and start-up businesses, as well as some of the larger tech-infused corporations. “Occupying approximately 71 million sqft in 40 major cities”, it’s safe to say, shared spaces were invoking and inspiring a new way of working.

Collaborative working space is known to stimulate creative and thought-provoking environments. More recent developments have leaned towards reducing the amount of square footage needed per person. “Shared spaces are known for putting as many people in one space as possible sometimes allotting as little as 36 Sqft per person”. Other co-working facilities don’t even know the amount of space in the office, they simply know “7 people will fit comfortably”. This method can cause challenges for those looking to ensure the safety of their staff and themselves. I foresee companies being more intentional about increasing square footage to be in compliance with the federally recommended social distancing rule of 6 ft.

Many companies were encouraged to office out of these new tech-inspired co-working facilities for their amenities, access to constant networking, and (with their engaging environments) assistance in employee retention. So, how could COVID-19 come in, and in what feels like overnight, change the trajectory of which co-working spaces were headed? And more importantly how do Co-working spaces combat the inevitable?

COVID-19, if nothing else, has shown people across the country that remote working doesn’t have to be a drag. With online services such as Zoom and Teams, companies are being forced to try out technology in a way that they never considered before. While these solutions were meant to be temporary, with the recent extension in the stay at home order, there is talk amongst companies on rather they will ever go back or will this be apart of their new norm. With the economy taking major financial hits, companies are having to take a closer look at how they will operate going forward. Should they downsize their physical footprint to reduce rent amounts? Should there be a hybrid of remote work and on location? Do we “need” an office at all? or will they simply forget the technology that has gotten them through such tumultuous times and go back to work-life pre-COVID 19. 

Personally, after experiencing the effects of this pandemic in our own organization, I find it difficult to believe that companies and corporations won’t consider utilizing technology to cut costs. If given the option, many companies may reduce or eliminate rent expenses first (At least until they bounce back from any financial hardships caused by COVID-19). Cutting the overhead that is associated with brick and mortar can free up capital to allocate towards payroll and personnel. I expect many small businesses to cancel contracts with coworking spaces and start taking advantage of home offices, day passes, and coffee shops. This will have a negative impact on co-working space as most facilities have signed long leases (some up to 15 years), while allowing their tenants to sign up for a month to month membership, (removing long term commitments).

Additionally, I believe this virus will leave a lasting psychological scar on individuals across the globe. To some degree, it may even change consumer behavior (especially in the world of commercial real estate/co-working). We see it happening already! People are choosing to be in smaller groups as opposed to large crowds and virtually meeting instead of in person. They no longer want to jeopardize their health and safety or the health and safety of their loved ones by commingling space with strangers. While this behavior may be temporary, I would not be surprised if co-working spaces start to experience large amounts of vacancy in 2020.

The good news is I don’t believe it will be this way forever, however, I would prepare to hunker down and look for ways to be creative in the usage of co-working space going forward. A few things we have seen prior to and during COVID-19 have been:

  • Targeting corporate tenants (i.e We work- with 40% of its tenants as corporations)
  • Donating/leasing space to companies that are deemed essential
  • Removing services that may cause discomfort (suspending barista/food services and large events)
  • Implementing heavy sanitary habits (sanitizing desks 3x a day)

With the temporary removal of communal activities (which is what most co-working tenants buy into), co-working spaces will have to consider how can they continue engaging their tenants while increasing the cleanliness and safety practices of their facilities drastically.

Overall I do not believe these creativity hubs will go down without a fight. There is something to be said about their thought-provoking, high energy environments, and opportunities to develop mutually beneficial relationships. These shared spaces have created a winning atmosphere for individuals and companies across the country. Co-working may look different in the coming months, however, I do not believe they will disappear.

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How to prepare for your real estate exam!

Any advice on how to prepare for the real estate sales exam? -Linkedin question

As with anything preparation is KEY! I attempted to do the first 2 online classes through Champions School of Real Estate. While I passed everything with 100%, I knew I would ultimately perform better if I did in person class.

TIP 1: Find a good real estate school with good reviews. If possible, I highly recommend Champions School of Real Estate. The teachers were thorough, knowledgeable and most of them were animated and a lot of fun to learn from.

TIP 2: Be honest with how you study. The only person you’re hurting by googling the answers online is YOU!

TIP 3: If you choose online instead of in Person…Lock yourself in a room, turn your phone off and have dedicated study time.

TIP 4: As you go through the material make sure you are reading/listening for understanding. Take plenty of notes and if there is anything that you don’t understand send your questions online, utilize YouTube or ask a mentor to help.

After I completed my in person classes I took the prep course (Which I highly recommend). This course outlines EVERYTHING you need to know in order to pass the exam. SPOILER ALERT: Some of the questions from prep and class are in the exam! It pays big time to take this course and pay VERY CLOSE ATTENTION! I took the prep course twice and after the second time I gave myself a short 3 day window before I took my exam.

TIP 5: Don’t be afraid to take your prep more than once. The prep course came with my package through Champions School of Real Estate so I was able to take it as many times as my heart desired. (Which in all honesty it desired once, but my mind said “nah sis” lets be sure and do this thing twice)….I passed on the first try. (The test is NOT hard) Think through the questions and use process of elimination.

TIP 6: Schedule your exam within 14 days after your prep. Too much time away from the material will put you at a disadvantage. You want to ensure the information is fresh when you test.

TIP 7: Arrive to your testing site at least 30 mins early. There’s a lot going on in your mind already (What to remember, what didn’t I understand, did I forget etc.) the last thing you need to add to all of that is “S— I’m going to be late!” Early arrival also gives you a moment to relax before you go in.

TIP 8: BREATHE! I know testing can rattle nerves, but in this instance you have 3x to pass and with the right amount of dedication to learning the material…you’re almost guaranteed just that!

Before I tested I said a prayer, I relaxed my body, I talked/cried to my mommy in heaven and I spoke positive affirmations to myself over and over. You can pass…You will pass… You will and you can!

TIP 9: If you (for whatever reason) do not pass…DO NOT GIVE UP! Study the areas you struggled in and come back and do it again. Take prep as many times as you need. Keep in mind nobody cares how many times you took prep, how many times it took you to pass or how close to failing you were. The only thing that matters is …DID YOU DO IT?!

GOOD LUCK to all of the future agents reading this! I know you can do it…now all you have to do is believe in you too!

-Tiffany Ann Ryland

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Commercial Real Estate: Top 5 Beginner’s Tips

Do you have any beginner’s tips for people who are fresh out of college with no real estate experience

  1. Starting out I think it is critical that you Identify a mentor/s in Commercial real estate (CRE). Everyone will have their own personal views and opinions of the industry, so you want to be sure that whoever you select as your counsel will be someone who encourages and supports your efforts. Its always good to have people in your corner who can either provide you with an opportunity or give you solid guidance.

2. Try to get an internship/job with a CRE firm. Without a license, you won’t be able to practice as an agent, but you may be able to get a job in procurement or as an executive assistant, account manager etc.  This will give you insight into company culture, industry knowledge and also help you create invaluable relationships. By positioning yourself to have direct access to hiring managers, knowledge of open positions and personal relationships you open doors that would otherwise be difficult to get into.

3. Research the many different areas and opportunities in CRE I.E, 

  • Brokerage
  • Investment
  • Development
  • Advisor/agent
  • Finance
  • Lending
  • Procurement
  • Property management
  • Commercial Real Estate Attorney

You will need to have a heart to heart with self and really see which area you believe would best fit your personality, comfort level, and work style. Some positions will provide consistent/steady paychecks and schedules. Other positions will require more time, more work, a different work style, a level of creativity, and inconsistent pay periods, however, they also allow for more flexibility in schedule and income.

4. Get involved! As with many service-based industries commercial real estate is relationship driven. Research different organizations and be selective and intentional when deciding on events you want to attend. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and start placing yourself in rooms where you can make impactful relationships. Remember your network can and will be a huge contributor to your net worth. (Choose your circles wisely)

5. Last but certainly not least…License or no license that is the question. Real estate as we know it is beginning to change. More and more people are getting into the industry some are licensed…others are not. Find someone who is doing what you want to do, study their resume, try to understand their journey, ask questions and make a decision (based on what you know and what will be required). I highly recommend getting a license as soon as you can if you are pursuing a long term career in commercial real estate brokerage.

Thank you all for your support! Make sure you head over to http://www.TiffanyRyland.com (under mentorship) and submit your questions for the next UNSOLICITED advise blog post.


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Changing the face of Commercial Real Estate

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As one of the youngest African American women in Commercial Real Estate (CRE), I take the task of encouraging and leading more minorities and women into the industry as one of great importance. While I understand there are many barriers of entry some of which are fueled by race, gender, and age, I don’t want to place all the blame there.  Over time we have discouraged ourselves and others from engaging in the transactional/brokerage side of commercial real estate. We fear the unknown and because we don’t often see people who look like us in this trillion dollar industry we tend to stay far away from it.

The reality is Yes, commercial real estate is challenging… but isn’t that the case with anything you’ve never tried or studied before? This is not an industry so complex that its impossible to get into. It is one that requires hard work, dedication, relationships, and continuous education…And to be quite frank, its one that with the right support and guidance ANYONE can master!

I believe the disparity in the participation of women and minorities in CRE can be attributed to the lack of successful familiar examples, exposure, fear, miseducation, and of course, unfortunately, some discrimination. The only way this industry will expand in diversity is if those of us who have been granted the opportunity to participate reach back, encourage and educate!

To date, according to the United States Department of labor, there are 106,000 commercial real estate professionals of which 21.9% (23,214) are women and 9.4% (9,964) are African American. Unfortunately, this does give an accurate depiction of the number of minorities and women who are involved in the brokerage of CRE, but I think it’s safe to say its significantly lower than the numbers given here. These statistics MUST CHANGE!

It is my goal to not only rewrite the narrative surrounding CRE, but also change the face of commercial real estate as you know it!

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Think big, Dream bigger, watch God work

I was simply going to do a quick insta-story and move on, however, today deserves much more than that! For those who don’t know me, I am a second generation Commercial Real Estate consultant. My passion for the business runs deep! In addition to consulting I am determined to educate millennials and minorities on —what is Commercial Real Estate (CRE), How to create generational wealth via CRE acquisition and lastly I look to set the bar and encourage more participation from women in a highly underrepresented industry.

Now, with all of that being said, I was given the opportunity to sit down and meet with a developer and CEO of one of the top entertainment destinations in Houston! For me, this was EVERYTHING! Why? My dream is to develop small entertainment districts (across the country) in underserved/underdeveloped areas. Ideally, utilizing investors who are young, influential and have a desire to create generational wealth while becoming a staple in THEIR community. Who better to meet, than someone has made this happen and is currently open to doing similar projects just like this! Not only did he share his knowledge on how to develop a project and make it successful, but he agreed that there is a need, an opportunity and he let me know that if I can do the groundwork ill have supporters and investors willing to push my project through.

Wow! I have never felt more inspired, encouraged and just positive about the possibility of making this dream a reality. Every time I talk about this vision, I see it so clearly…and today I got to touch it! I see my future as THE top female commercial real estate consultant in the country, changing lives and creating opportunities in urban communities. I looked down at the model development and almost cried— mainly because today, I watched God position me for greatness!

To be continued…

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Highlight Reel Vs Reality

I know I am not the only one who has ever looked on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. and instantly determined that I am not where I am supposed to be in life. I have to be doing something wrong! Why am I not married with kids, on a yacht making half a million or more? Why don’t I have thousands of followers who support my brand and are influenced by how I live my life? Why aren’t all of my photos flawless or close to it? and more importantly why am I stuck and infatuated with how everyone else is living a perfect life?

The truth of the matter is NOBODY is living a perfect life. Prior to this post, I scrolled down my own IG page and from the looks of it I am a traveling businesswoman making major moves in the commercial real estate realm. There is no trace of deep depression during my birthday trip. My friends flew to Florida at the last minute, We went boating, they rented out a private patio overlooking the ocean at a 5-star restaurant and although I was surrounded with the people I loved I struggled deeply and I felt more alone than anything. But, according to Instagram and facebook…I was living my best life.

It’s so important that every once in a while we disconnect and take a moment to just be in the moment! be thankful and acknowledge our blessings and our accomplishments. We must set goals and stick to them! Otherwise, you will wake up and realize you spent the entire year admiring/envying someone else’s life based on what you perceived to be true. Meanwhile, that person/people you’ve been watching are fighting to stay afloat! they have 50k followers and MAYBE 5 friends, pictures all around the world but no home to call their own, drive a nice car but can’t afford the note, rocking red bottoms trying to figure out how to pay rent, 50 thousand followers and they still feel alone.

Social media is not a measurement tool for your success. It is not the complete picture. This week give social media a break and focus more on what YOU want. Write a list of goals, research how to get there, identify which ones you are going to tackle first and GO FOR IT! This is your movie and you are the director. You get to create your own highlight reel AND actually live the life you want to lead, but first, you have to remove the desire to be someone else and start embracing who you are! God made NO mistakes and you are exactly where you are supposed to be. In all of your imperfections, all of your failures, mistakes, and misfortunes you are BLESSED! You have been strategically positioned for greatness in your own right you just have to reach out and take it!

-Tiffany Ann