Frederick’s 2014 Commercial Market: So Far, So Good

How is the 2014 commercial real estate market stacking up?

So far, so good indeed:  sales of Frederick’s commercial real estate market are posting double-digit gains over last year.  The total dollar volume of sales for the first half of 2014 increased by 15% over the same time period last year, and the total number of transactions increased by 12%.

Here at MacRo, our sales and leasing activity is up over last year as well, and there is definitely a positive buzz in the air when  local commercial real estate brokers gather to network.  The biggest complaint I hear on a consistent basis is the insufficient  inventory of commercial properties on the market.

This is all good news, and it’s certainly tempting to anticipate that double-digit gains in Frederick’s commercial market will continue into 2015 and beyond, but there are still uncertainties facing the national and local economies.

A big one putting tremendous pressure on the commercial office market is jobs.  On Wednesday September 17, the powers that be at the Federal Reserve abandoned their typically passive-aggressive communication style to declare that it will be “a considerable time” before we see a hike in interest rates, citing a cause as “significant underutilization of labor resources.”

Yes, the labor market is underutilitzed, but it is also evolving, and in such a dramatic way that it’s hard to imagine how it will ever look the same as it did before the Great Recession.  (If that is the case, the Fed and their economists desperately need a new “jobs” measuring stick before the government starts passing ineffective and potentially damaging legislation trying to prop up an obsolete jobs market model…but I digress.)

The trickle-down effect of a massive increase in part-time and self-employed workers (along with rapid technological advancements) is that office use is also changing dramatically, both in size of space and function.  The sluggish economic recovery and evolving labor market are wreaking havoc on office vacancy rates throughout the U.S., and Frederick is no exception.  No one really knows where the dust is going to settle or what the “new normal” will look like for the office segment.  A crystal ball would come in very handy for office building developers right about now.

On a local level, the November election will mark a new era in Frederick County government, as Frederick begins to govern itself in a very different way.  The outcome of this election will determine whether the next four years will be government by gridlock or a seamless, collaborative transition.  It may also result in yet another wild pendulum swing between growth and no-growth administrations, which could significantly impact Frederick’s commercial real estate recovery (as it depends heavily upon sustained political stability).  Timing-wise, this shift to charter government is a bit nerve-wracking for Frederick’s business community.

Despite these and other uncertainties in the local and national economies, activity continues to chug along pretty well in Frederick’s commercial market.  We will watch carefully this fall to see if underlying market fundamentals continue to strengthen.

Note: Statistics provided for commercial property sales in this report are based on thorough research of every recorded commercial sales transaction listed in SDAT for the quarter reported, and are deemed reliable.  

The author:  Kathy Krach is a commercial sales and leasing agent with MacRo.

Is the City of Frederick Doing Enough to Address Blighted Real Estate?

Some may answer this question positively, but others believe at best the effort has been sporadic and inconclusive.

Here’s the good news:  It appears that with all the attention that the issue of blighted real estate has gained over the last few years that the infamous slumlord  Duk Hee Ro is taking serious steps to improve her well-known Asiana building up to code … only of course after several delays and unfulfilled promises.

But there is a rumbling dissatisfaction among many that the City of Frederick may still not have a clear plan on how to follow through with recommendations made by the Blighted and Vacant Property Committee appointed by Mayor Randy McClement.

A History Lesson

During the summer of 2011, the Mayor and his staff began forming an ad hoc committee (meaning to serve at the pleasure of the Mayor) to help the City design a program for managing a growing concern about decaying buildings in the city.

It was in January of 2012 that the Committee officially was formed and became actively engaged in their mission.

Over the next ten months, the 16 member committee of citizens (including yours truly: Steve Cranford) and city staff reviewed hundreds of documents on blighted properties.  It studied legislation and community activities enacted by other jurisdictions to manage their blighted building problem.

From the beginning, the committee understood they were not a legislative or judicial body and their recommendations were a conceptual road map to help guide the City staff. The committee received excellent support from code enforcement, legal counsel, and various city staff.

To a member, the group was committed to presenting a comprehensive set of recommendations. The discussions were thorough, often passionate, and always charged with energy.

In the fall of 2012, the committee presented reports for both residential and commercial blighted real estate.  Within the reports are seven recommendations for the Mayor and Aldermen to use as a platform from which the staff could creatively design a wide-ranging program to help manage blighted real estate.

The Final Four … and Only Four

So, after 10 months of committee work followed by two years of city staff efforts, the Mayor’s office managed to identify just four blighted properties. This is a fraction of the thirty properties that staff identified in early 2012.  Over time the number was narrowed to twelve, but eventually it all came down to four.

It is understandable that when venturing into uncharted territory of facing the blight problem that the Mayor and his staff would approach such an effort with caution. But then again the actual blighted and receivership ordinances were mirror images of a neighboring jurisdiction that had given them time tested experience.

Six months after the Blighted and Vacant Property Committee completed its charge in April of this year, City staff provided an update of the committee’s recommendations to the public. As the briefing went on, it became evident to this and other committee members that in fact the recommendations were not developed beyond their initial statement. It seemed that the recommendations had become a task list.  As each recommendation was read aloud, a brief explanation was given of how the staff had completed that task.

It’s unclear if any further activity will take place on the committee’s recommendations. After all, each recommendation now has a check mark next to it.

It seems a Committee’s Work is Never Done?

Coincidentally several weeks ago a citizen’s petition was presented to the Mayor requesting the Blighted and Vacant Property Committee be reinstated as an ongoing advisory committee to the city; signaling that the citizens wanted more.

In an effort to mend “their relationship with residents, business owners and land-use professionals” over this issue, the Mayor and his staff held another briefing on Wednesday, August 27th … as well as for the benefit of the committee members to assure them that things are moving forward.

The Mayor’s opening remarks thanked the committee for its services, and clearly reiterated their ongoing efforts were not required.

Obviously, the city staff has a waterfall of initiatives they encounter every day and slogging through them is an arduous adventure. There is no doubt that the mayor has a highly talented brain trust at his disposal.

Unfortunately, that aptitude doesn’t appear to be fully utilized.

How many Crayons do you have?

The analogy that comes to mind is if you give a child a box of crayons and a piece of paper, within minutes he will create something and will likely use most of the colors in the box. The city’s blighted and vacant property committee gave the city a box of crayons and it appears they neatly listed all the colors in the box.

Is a citizen advisory committee the answer? Does the city need to direct more resources directed toward the blighted initiative?

Clearly, something has to be done to keep the mediocre momentum the city has generated from slowing down any further.

The author: Steve Cranford, Vice President of Commercial Sales and Leasing with MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland. He served as a member of the City of Frederick’s Blighted and Vacant Property Committee during 2012. 

Will Gardner Carry Rain Tax Revenues Home to Annapolis?

It remains one of the most significant unanswered questions in the campaign for Frederick’s  first County Executive.

If elected, will Gardner increase county taxes in order to comply with the O’Malley and Brown “Rain Tax”?

As the race between Blaine Young and Jan Gardner now enters its final 60 days, the former county commissioner president and Martin O’Malley supporter may very well be hard pressed to avoid answering this question.

For those Frederick County residents who don’t pay attention to their real estate property tax bills each year, well, I guess this article is not worth reading any further.

However, for those who do, you may be fully aware of the fearless challenge that current board President Young has been waging with the O’Malley administration the last couple of years over how Frederick County will comply with HB 987 or the Stormwater Management-Watershed and Restoration Program (affectionately known as the “Rain Tax”).  This bill was passed by the Maryland state legislature and became law on May 2, 2012. 

There are not too many Marylanders who haven’t heard of the “Rain Tax.”  But what is it, and why should Frederick County residents even care? 

In the depths of the Great Recession a tax is born

Figure A

It was back in 2010 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put out one its many mandates targeting the reduction of pollution levels in the Chesapeake Bay – essentially requiring a tax on all impervious surfaces.  This $7.7 billion clean-up plan was meant to require that the seven states (Figure A) whose rainwater runoff ends up in the Bay were to pro-rationally share in this effort. 

Of all those states, only Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland chose to comply … and of course his Democratic state legislature fell in lock step with his wishes, as been the case with the 40 new taxes that he has signed into law “since he took office in 2007,” according the Forbes Magazine.

And the “Rain Tax” has been labeled the “most oppressive” of O’Malley’s edicts by Travis H. Brown, a contributor to the publication.

Fall in line or else?

Ten of the twenty-four counties in the state are located within the watershed of the Chesapeake.  Frederick County chose not to ask the residents and businesses within their jurisdictions to bear the burden by paying additional taxes to cover the costs of Maryland’s share.  While O’Malley acolytes protested, the Young board chose not to comply with the intent of the law by only placing a fee of one cent on all county real estate property tax bills.  Through savvy budgeting, they found a way to take from the county’s general fund the $4 million this year allowing it to avoid the $10,000 per day penalty for non-compliance. 

Neighboring Carroll County, another nay-sayer, negotiated with the state to meet their obligations in the same manner without levying taxes on its property owners.  All other counties chose to extract more revenue from taxpayers through increased real estate taxes as noted in Figure B (compliments of a presentation made by Gordon-Feinblatt LLC, Attorneys at Law in November 2013).

Within Frederick County each municipality that has planned services is required to comply with the mandate as well.  For example the City of Frederick chose to comply by levying a fee based upon a property’s impervious surfaces.  So, if you are a city resident, you will find your Rain Tax noted as a “Stormwater Management Fee” on your water bill.

With Frederick County being faced with an escalating annual compliance obligation that could reach as high as $22.5 million in a few years (that’s equivalent to 5% of the current County budget, mind you), Young has not made a secret of the fact that he has been working to position Frederick County to challenge the state and the EPA in court over the inequity of HB987.  Other counties have expressed interest in challenging the law as well.

Commissioner Paul Smith, who is now running for a Maryland House seat in District 3A has written often about the burdens of the Stormwater Management-Watershed and Restoration Program, has warned that at some point Frederick County may not be able to carry the burden through from the general fund alone.  With pledges of not raising taxes on its citizens, Smith and Young both believe that the county may not be able to avoid a possible average annual assessment of as much as $500 or more on every real estate property tax bill as the EPA mandated county obligations rise.

Creating Losers

The Rain Tax as a campaign issue has already caused a few casualties in state primaries.  The once popular and considered hard to beat councilman Dick Ladd an Republican from the 5th district of Anne Arundel County was defeated in June in a heated race.  Ladd was a strong advocate of the Rain Tax and supported taxing his constituents to cover the costs.  He lost in a close race.

This brings me back to county executive hopeful Jan Gardner.  Again, isn’t it fair to ask: If elected, how will she address the Rain Tax? 

Facts are …

Clearly, she has been a steadfast supporter of Martin O’Malley and surely will bow to Anthony Brown’s wishes if he is elected as another Democratic governor of Maryland.  In addition while I don’t think that Frederick News Post has necessarily provided nonpartisan coverage of the Gardner/Young race, I do think that reporter Bethany Rogers did get her “Fact Checking” right in at least one claim that Gardner Repeatedly raised taxes on families in her Head to Head piece posted on August 25, 2014, which validated her record of consistently increasing the tax burden on Frederick citizens between 2000 and 2004 while she sat as a Frederick County Commissioner.

Is it realistic to expect that if Gardner is elected that she will follow Young’s path of bucking Maryland’s commitment to the EPA mandate, or will she not want to ruffle the feathers of the state’s Democratic taxing machine?

Personally, I like Jan Gardner, and I have enjoyed chatting with her over a cup of coffee several times since she entered politics over a decade ago.  But as a potential future leader of our community, I truly question whether she has the intestinal fortitude to do anything other than fall in line with the Annapolis establishment and carry buckets full of Rain Tax revenue to the steps of the state capital.

That means Frederick County property taxes will likely increase without hesitation, if she achieves victory in November.

What do you think?

I welcome feedback from our readers on this serious topic.


The author: Rocky Mackintosh, President, MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland. He has been an active member of the Frederick, Maryland community for over four decades.  He has served as chairman of the board of Frederick Memorial Hospital and as a member of the Frederick County Charter Board from 2010 to 2012, to name a few. 

Real Estate Investment & the Hypnotic Power of the “IF” Word

IF only God would give me a clear sign!  Like making a large deposit in my name in a Swiss bank – Woody Allen

From an investment perspective commercial real estate, securities, other assets and cash are really the same thing.  Some are more liquid than others, but as one considers the choices that life offers, over time in the end we leave it all behind anyway.

Whether it is over-ambition or naivety, often the dreams and goals that one becomes fixated upon turn out to be completely unrealistic.  In the back of his mind, he probably knew all along that his plans were not achievable without taking on a partner or exercising greater due diligence.  But now that he is in it up to his waist, he can only hope for the best … that is “IF” things break his way.

Maybe it is the concern over how a failure will look to his peers, or how the ramifications of a poor investment will impact the lives of his family members and/or employees, the hypnotic power of the “IF” word can often make one delusional.

IF one places too much focus on the past and/or the future and does not pay attention to the present, reality can be impossible to see. – Nobody Special

This is especially true for those who keep their poor investments going by living on “borrowed time” … depleting other assets such as using them as a credit source.  This is called DeNial, and it ain’t that river in Egypt … either way, the croc’s will get you.

It has been nearly 7 years now since the real estate market began to see the negative impact of what would be called the Great Recession, and while a slow and somewhat steady recovery is showing signs of sustainability, many investors are still dealing with real estate investments and/or businesses that are “financially challenged.”

Some have a well thought out strategy using a team of advisers to establish action steps including a healthy set of “If and Then” scenarios to provide alternative paths to follow.  They look at past decisions as educational experiences to make use of in current and future decisions.

IF you fool me once, then shame on you. IF you fool me twice, then shame on me – Chinese Proverb

On other hand some get lost in suffering from a bad case of counterfactual thinking (aspects of which can be referred to as lying to oneself), where one dwells on imagining alternatives to past decisions made, such as:

IF I had only sold that property at the peak of market in 2006; then I’d be set for life!  

This type of thinking can bring on feelings of regret and lack of confidence that can cause hesitation in making healthy investment and business decisions going forward.  Combine this with unrealistic expectations of values in the future … well, many have regretfully been fooled by their own thinking more than once!

IF you are using the “IF” word in this fashion, maybe it’s time to check your pride at the door and seek some assistance before it it’s too late.

Challenges are problems with solutions, IF only you are willing to face and overcome them. — moyo Adekoya


The author: Rocky Mackintosh, President, MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland. He has been an active member of the Frederick, Maryland community for over four decades.  He has served as chairman of the board of Frederick Memorial Hospital and as a member of the Frederick County Charter Board from 2010 to 2012, to name a few. 

MacRo Sells 1.43 Acre Lot at the Manor at Holly Hills

MacRo, Ltd. is pleased to announce the sale of lot 306 at the Manor at Holly Hills.  This 1.43 acre open lot is on one of the highest knolls within the Manor.   The property is located at 9743 Ormonds Terrace, Ijamsville, MD 21754.

The sale closed on August 26, 2014.

The Manor at Holly Hills is a one-of-kind community situated on 185 idyllic acres just east of Frederick City.  Careful planning went into preserving the beautiful organic features of the land, including rugged rock outcroppings, rolling hillsides, and mature forests.

Rocky Mackintosh, President of MacRo, Ltd., was the agent who coordinated the transaction.

For more information on how MacRo, Ltd. Real Estate Brokerage Services may be able to assist you in the sale or acquisition of land, and/or the sale or leasing of your commercial or industrial property, contact Rocky Mackintosh at 301-748-5655 or

Multifamily Deals Total $57,000,000 in Frederick during 2nd Quarter

Multifamily was the strongest segment during the second quarter, posting three of the top five deals and over 700,000 square feet sold.

Second quarter sales of Frederick County commercial real estate kept pace with the same time period last year, an encouraging sign that the local commercial market remains stable despite mixed economic signals nationwide.  Second quarter 2014 commercial real estate sales in Frederick  totaled $117.5 million, versus $119.5 for the second quarter last year and $19.5 million for the second quarter of 2012.

There were three large multifamily deals in Frederick during the quarter, as that segment continues to draw the most interest from REITs and national investment firms.  (MacRo Report will detail the top deals of the second quarter in a future post).

Industrial and warehouse properties placed a strong second, which reflects the activity we are seeing on the local level as small to medium-sized businesses are moving forward with long-postponed decisions regarding leasing and buying warehouse and flex space.  In reviewing second quarter transactions, it was interesting to note that there were several transactions in the municipalities of Brunswick and Thurmont, an indication that activity in the commercial market is increasing throughout the entire county.

It was a busy quarter for commercial land sales as well, with  double the number of transactions (but only 35 acres sold); the median price was $203,098 per acre.  That compares to 238 acres during the same quarter last year, at a median price of $90,000 per acre.

Note: Statistics provided for commercial property sales in this report are based on thorough research of every recorded commercial sales transaction listed in SDAT for the quarter reported, and are deemed reliable.  

The author:  Kathy Krach is a commercial sales and leasing agent with MacRo.

MacRo Sells 25 Acre Parcel in Boonsboro, MD

MacRo, Ltd. is pleased to announce the sale of a 25 acre parcel of land in Boonsboro, Maryland.

The property sold was zoned Environmental Conservative, creating the potential for subdivision into 2 lots.  This property was also fully wooded and included one proposed septic area which was percolation test approved for a conventional septic system.  The sale price was $150,000.

Dave Wilkinson represented the Seller, an estate, in this transaction and also provided the Seller with development management services.  Barbie Harshman of ReMax Achievers represented the buyer.

For more information on how MacRo, Ltd. Real Estate Brokerage Services may be able to assist you in the sale or leasing of your commercial or industrial property, contact David Wilkinson at 301-748-5670 or

Time Travel with the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce

Sometimes to see the political future, it is important to go back in time!

It was an exciting day for the Chamber on Tuesday, August 12, 2014, as Board Chairman Josh Bokee introduced the new President and CEO of the organization — Elizabeth Cromwell.   I must say that as a long time member of the organization and past board member (circa 1980’s), she was a surprising, yet very exciting choice.

Having watched the progression of the organization from back in the days of the two employee reign of the dedicated Kitty Reed to where the Chamber is today, Cromwell has a terrific foundation to build upon.  Her predecessor Ric Adams had transformed the look and feel of the organization from a small community voice of business to one that now garners strong respect as a bullhorn that makes an impact when it speaks on policy and political issues.

It was about four years this month the MacRo Report Blog posted two articles that echoed the opinions of a very frustrated business community in 2010.

Let’s set the scene and “Travel Back to Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear” (for those of you who are old enough to remember, can you tell me what TV show this was the intro line for?).

Yes, it was an election year.  The primaries were set to take place in September with the general election that November.

There was an ideological battle being waged over which path county government should take in its relationships with business and the leadership the other incorporated jurisdictions within Frederick.

Jan Gardner, the Democratic candidate in the current race for County Executive, was about to complete her 12th year as a commissioner and President of the Board of County Commissioners during the last four.  While she chose not to run again, a recently appointed board member of the opposing party Blaine Young, a Republican, had entered the race for his first election to the board.

With the affects of the Great Recession beginning to show its negative impact on Frederick’s business community, things were not getting easier for sure.  To add to the pain, the Gardner administration had burned a number of bridges in its relationship with most of the 12 incorporated jurisdictions within the county (seven of which eventually filed suit against the county government).

The board consistently robbed special funds set aside for agricultural preservation programs and fire & rescue services in order to “creatively” balance its budget.  Fund balances for post employment benefit and pension obligations to former county employees were falling below acceptable standards.

Red tape, over regulation and innumerable fees weighed a very heavy burden on those who wished to take on new ventures or expand their operations.

Within and from outside the county lines Frederick became known as an unfriendly place to do business.

To top it all off, the Gardner board had placed the county under a growth moratorium and carried out a regressive rewrite of its comprehensive plan by down zoning and negativity reclassifying over 400 properties.

The cry for help from the Chamber membership to its president and board members pushed the organization to take action.  While it does not make a policy of endorsing candidates, the Chamber derived a method of ranking the wanna-be commissioners based upon how they met a list of business friendly qualification standards by releasing a Voters’ Guide.

They kicked the effort off by publishing six key questions for the primary political candidates to ponder:

1.  What specific steps would you take to make Frederick County more attractive to business investment, create jobs, expand our tax base, and ensure our future economic competitiveness?

2.  How would you improve Frederick County’s image as a business friendly jurisdiction?

3.  Do you believe some action should be taken by the Board of County Commissioners to address adverse consequences suffered by those whose properties have been down zoned in the Comprehensive Plan?

4.  Do you support the decision of this past Board of County Commissioners to impose a moratorium upon certain kinds of growth for a two year period?

5.  Frederick County currently operates under a Commission form of government, instead of a Charter form, in which there is an elected County Executive and County Council. Do you support changing our form of government to a Charter?

6.  In light of the current fiscal crisis the County is facing, do you believe our primary focus should be:

     a.  Creating more jobs and growing our tax base without raising tax rates;

     b.  Imposing more cuts to County programs and services and/or deeper reductions in employee compensation and benefits; or Increasing taxes on residents, businesses, or a combination of both? 

In October of that year, just weeks before the general election, Thomas E. Lynch, III, a well known local attorney and Chamber board member at the time offered MacRo, Ltd. an article to publish on our Blog entitled:  Not Just Another Frederick County Election.

This well respected member of the business community stated that the results of the September 2010 primary made “clear that this [would] be one of the most polarized elections in recent memory, which is reflective of the tensions that exist in Frederick County and throughout the country.”

Lynch emphasized the need to consider changing our form of government and stated that while a consensus had been building for many years, the Gardner board chose not to act.

He went on to say that:

“… for our own survival, this election must be about an honest evaluation of the cost of all government (especially legacy costs such as retirement and other benefits) and having our County government more ‘user friendly’ so as to allow businesses to succeed in the interest of preserving jobs in Frederick County.

 “Without a business community, we erode our tax base.  Many more of us could lose our jobs and we could very well have a financially destitute County government and municipalities.

 “Dealing effectively and honestly with these issues requires courageous and visionary leadership; leaders who recognize the value of business to support our economy, the lives of our employees, our non-profit community and equally, our governmental bodies.” 

As the 2014 general election quickly approaches, voters may find it very worthwhile to contemplate how much the Frederick County has progressed over the last four years toward those 2010 key concerns raised by our Chamber of Commerce.

Many believe that the above six questions have been all very favorably answered by the current board lead by Young.

It is said that change comes at a price, change is hard and yet, change brings hope.

Blaine Young is now the other candidate for County Executive.  Significant change has happened during his 44 months in office.  What the voters experienced was often not pretty nor perfect.  Mistakes, like in all administrations, were made and many things could have been handled better.  And maybe some things did not have to change, but despite all that, overall one must ask each member of Frederick County’s business community a famously simple question:

Are you better off today than you were four years ago?  

Contrary to the negative response that Ronald Reagan sought in October of 1980, when he asked the nation the same question, this time the answer may very likely be yes!

The author: Rocky Mackintosh, President, MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland. He has been an active member of the Frederick, Maryland community for over four decades.  He has served as chairman of the board of Frederick Memorial Hospital and as a member of the Frederick County Charter Board from 2010 to 2012, to name a few. 

MacRo Brokers Lease of Office Space on Aviation Way

MacRo, Ltd. is pleased to announce the lease of Suite 240, 411 Aviation Way, Frederick, MD to CMA Purchasing.

This Class A, contemporary office building has a modern glass/stone exterior, 2 story grand foyer, and abundant natural light.  Other amenities include elevator access, cafeteria service, and on-site building maintenance / engineering service.  Located minutes from major shopping, restaurants, and Historic Downtown Frederick with quick and easy access to I-270, I-70, and US-15.  In addition, it is located in the City of Frederick’s HUB Zone

Steve Cranford represented the landlord, AOPA, in the transaction.  Jim Coiner of Marsh Realty represented the tenant.

For more information on how MacRo, Ltd. Real Estate Brokerage Services may be able to assist you in the sale or leasing of your commercial or industrial property, contact Steve Cranford at 301-788-4373 or

Commercial Real Estate, Politics and Abraham Lincoln

Examine well that Pig in the Poke before you buy … or cast your ballot! 

This past week I was invited to have coffee with one of the candidates who is campaigning for a seat in Frederick County’s new charter Government in this November’s election. We enjoyed a pleasant conversation about the campaign and many hot button issues.

Along the way the topic of debate questions came up, and I found this person’s perspective quite interesting.

“There are questions regarding my political positions on some matters that I do not believe are relevant to voters in this campaign, so I wouldn’t want those in particular to be asked in a debate,” was in essence (paraphrased) the candidate’s statement.

Rather than offer a contrarian view and challenge that logic, I accepted those words at face value and moved on to another topic.

We ended our meeting with the typical pleasantries and well wishes just as the candidate was approached by an eager supporter who had some information to share.

Once I was back in my car ready to head off to my next appointment, I reflected a bit more on the issue of “relevant information” in politics and business.

Now, I have logged more hours than I would want to ever try to count in my career in land and commercial real estate sales. However there is one Latin phrase that I learned in my first real estate licensing class back in the early 1970’s that has remained embedded in the frontal lobes of my brain ever since.

“Caveat Emptor” is translated into many different phrases in the English language, but to us real estate types it means “Let the Buyer Beware.” Taking it a bit deeper, I found this legal definition on the web: A warning that notifies a buyer that the goods he or she is buying are ‘as is,’ or subject to all defects.

That stated, it means that the seller of the product and any agent who represents him/her in the transaction must not hide or misrepresent relevant facts about the product. So if the buyer asks certain questions about an item being sold, the seller or the agent should disclose the answer. Of course the seller can refuse to answer by essentially saying “I’m not answering that questions … find out for yourself.”

Such a response can often leave the potential buyer wondering if he may be buying the proverbial Pig in a Poke.” By the way, the word poke used here is actually derived from poque … of French origin, meaning sack or bag. So along the same line … the warning is to look at what is in that bag and examine it very thoroughly before you make the decision to purchase!

Over the years I have recruited, mentored and trained many real estate sales neophytes as they enter the profession. One could say that I have met all kinds.  But of those who have a passion to succeed, I can distinctly cull out two types of who often follow different paths to seek success in the business.

One group will often take a very mindful approach to understanding the goals of the parties on both sides of the transaction by recommending that the seller/client come clean so to speak on the front end of the process so as to provide any and all information that a buyer may feel is relevant, even if the seller does not.

Then there are those who follow the less personal path. They seek to generate as much volume as they can to get product in the door and move it out quickly so as to turn the next deal.

In taking the latter route, very often the agent and/or the seller will predetermine what they believe is just enough relevant information to share with potential buyers. This approach assumes that too much information could complicate a buyer’s decision making process in the transaction to the point that it could throw a wrench in the deal … or kill it all together.

I’ve never believed in the adage “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.” My philosophy has always been to reveal all the information about the property as early as possible … Warts and All as they say.

Besides shouldn’t the buyer be the one who determines what is relevant or not relevant for their intended use of the property?

This brings me back to my conversation with my candidate friend.

When you think about it, political candidates are like commercial real estate sales people. Their goal is to sell a product to the public … in a non-monetary sense, of course! That product just happens to be themselves – the personal skills and reputation which they have developed from life experience.

Obviously when one is selling his/her services in politics (as in business), he or she wants to be seen by the public in what that person perceives as the best light. But offering oneself Warts and All in the full light of day is in most cases what the public seeks … and truly needs in order to make a fully informed decision.

It was Abraham Lincoln who once said: “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”

Wise words from ol’ Abe, eh?

To that end, I really can’t understand why any voter’s question asked to a candidate is not relevant. Can you?

The author: Rocky Mackintosh, President, MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland. He has been an active member of the Frederick, Maryland community for over four decades.  He has served as chairman of the board of Frederick Memorial Hospital and as a member of the Frederick County Charter Board from 2010 to 2012, to name a few. 

© Copyright MacRo Ltd, Real Estate Services
Web Design by Wood Street