Sell or hold?

November 16, 2016

Faculty member Pike Oliver joins the students this week in sharing his experiences at the 2016 ULI Fall Meeting…
Several Runstad students attending the 2016 Urban Land Institute Fall Meeting in Dallas, saw John McNellis, a principal with McNellis Partners, a northern California–based developer, share his perspective on one of the most difficult real estate decisions—sell or hold, as captured in his excellent how-to-do-it book, Making It in Real Estate (Washington, DC: Urban Land Institute, 2015). A video of that presentation is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2PnevX5QG0
McNellis tells you how to get started as an entrepreneurial real estate developer, sharing practical tips and advice from his wealth of experience over 35 years in real estate development. He entertains with witty anecdotes, and wisdom on how to take advantage of opportunities and avoid pitfalls. Offering humorous insights, the book covers the ins and outs of how to get financing, working with architects, brokers, and other professionals, how to make a good deal, and win approval for a  project.
 
For those looking to get into the real estate business, McNellis advised trying to take a 20-year approach to your career. “Do you want to work for the biggest company that’s constantly in the headlines, or do you want to focus on building economic independence? Are you doing the night classes and other hard work to get to where you want to be?”

Timing the market has never been part of his strategy. “We view ourselves like farmers; we plant, sow, and harvest each year,” said McNellis.  McNellis outlined why he has always taken a “value add” approach, “buying junk and selling antiques,” rather than a merchant builder’s approach of selling fast at lower margins. But he also admitted, “We’ve lost money every which way you can.”

Real estate developer John McNellis

Real estate developer John McNellis