Aaron Spiegle | Acquisition Specialist
Brad Swenson | Acquisition Specialist
Mike Savides | Finance and Acquisition Specialist
What makes Timberland Partners stand out from the crowd when it comes to acquisitions?
Brad Swenson: We try and keep things clear and simple and we want to be easy to do business with. Even though this may seem like the most obvious thing that you’d want to do, I just don’t know that everyone does it. Being easy to do business with is a competitive advantage and it helps create and grow the relationships that we’re trying to build, which eventually, leads to new opportunities.
How would you describe Timberland Partners’ reputation within the brokerage community?
Aaron Spiegle: Integrity is one thing that Timberland is known for in the brokerage community. We do what we say we are going to do. This creates trust so brokers are able to sell us as a potential buyer and, hopefully, the best buyer to the sellers out there, which helps all of us do our jobs.
Mike Savides: It’s our long history as well. We’ve been around for over 20 years, so we’ve seen multiple cycles. Some groups are newer and don’t have that experience, so I think that helps us stand out as well. We’re a name that’s widely known and has been around for decades.
How does the acquisition team develop those strong relationships with brokers?
Aaron Spiegle: When we tour the properties that are for sale, we actually, meet face-to-face with the brokers sometimes getting coffee or a meal with them. This helps us gain rapport with the brokers and helps our investment criteria and the Timberland name stick in their minds so when they come across a deal that might fit our criteria, they give us a call right away. That gives us a leg up because we’re the first ones getting the call.
Also, the fact that we each do our own underwriting plays a role in developing those relationships because we’re responsible for how fast we can get our response back to the broker. Brokers appreciate that because time is money, and so if we can’t make sense of the price that a seller might want, then we can tell the broker, and they can move onto the next group who might be able to make sense of the asking price in turn leading to a potentially higher commission for the broker. We make a point to not waste the broker or seller’s time.
In terms of the underwriting process, how important is it that Timberland Partners manages every property within its portfolio?
Mike Savides: If we already manage and own a property in a market, we can leverage what’s already on paper out there, and what we’ve been doing historically at those properties to make sure our underwriting is the best that it can be. We also look for those stories: Where is it? Has an owner had it for 10 to 20 years? Is there a capital that needs to be infused in the property to get it up to the next level to better compete with the surrounding communities?
How important is Timberland Partners’ reputation within multifamily real estate in terms of acquisitions?
Brad Swenson: It’s very important and it is something we take great pride in. It stems from the way that the Fransens run the business and the relationships we have formed and continue to form within the industry from brokers, lenders, vendors, to even the sellers we are transacting with. We are a buyer that provides a surety of close and one that does what we say we will do. In some cases, sellers may be emotional about the transaction if they’ve owned their property since the time it was developed, in some cases 20+ years, and now a new buyer/owner is jumping in to take over. They want to make sure the property’s being cared for, and I think we are a company that sellers look to when they are deciding who they want to do business with. We’re not going to go in, get rid of the staff, knock it down and build something new. Our business strategy in most cases is to take care of the property and find ways to grow and improve it.