Karl Innanen visited my Real Estate Market Analysis class last week. With nearly a quarter century of personal experience, and a family history which goes back even further, Karl’s insights were informed, topical and useful to students planning to graduate into the industry.
For example, many people could learn from his explanation of why financial statements are important to a player in the real estate industry: they add discipline to the thought process. You can say anything and, even if people doubt you, there may be no smoking gun to prove you absolutely crazy-wrong. Risk exist in real estate partly because it takes time to implement your idea. Recent history shows how waiting can lead to dramatic changes in market conditions which reveal the flaws in your great idea: “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” So, banks ask tough questions partly to protect themselves (for reasons Karl knows firsthand) and partly to guide the discussion for their clients (i.e. you, the more or less experienced borrower).
Karl noted the impact and context of current events, such as how the proposed LRT in KW affected the marketing and design of a building. He also touched on Blackberry’s atypical strategy for managing their more than 1.5 million square feet of space.
Good presenters are able to stimulate good questions from the audience and Karl did so in a way which complemented our lectures. Especially noteworthy was his discussion of a building where leasing agents encouraged the architect to add stairs even if doing so increased the cost of construction and reduced substantially the leasable floor space (i.e. potential revenue). It complements a common theme integrated into our program: the keys to success include knowing how to create value and to have enough business sense to turn that value into a viable financial proposition.
One of my senior students noted that Karl was one of the top three guests to classes during his time in Guelph.