February 9, 2021

The One that Almost Got Away


Sell an office building during a pandemic.

Not the easiest assignment of the year. But Joe Evangelista and Dave Tesch also knew the old adage “location, location, location,” and saw this office building had lots of promise, even in a COVID year.

Located at a busy intersection of Van Dyke Avenue just north of Hall Road, the 4,000-square-foot medical building had great visibility. Parking, too. Though the building’s interior needed a makeover, the exterior was well-maintained.

Joe and Dave started with a basic principle of Real Estate 101: “Talk to the neighbors first.”  They went to the retail building next door and presented the property to the owner, whose rapidly growing reptile zoo needed room to expand. Moving right next door seemed a perfect solution. He did consider it, but in the uncertainties of a pandemic, he declined.

And yet, the Good Neighbor Principle delivered. The zoo owner talked to his exotic animal veterinarian, who just happened to be at the end of her lease and was wanting to purchase a building to expand her animal hospital. The vet agreed to a full-price deal of $525K.

Then the appraisal came in. It was $25K short. The buyer terminated.

Startled, Joe and Dave requested a copy of the appraisal report. Reviewing it carefully, they noticed the appraiser had based his calculations on a space 800 square feet smaller than the actual space—a significant devaluation.

With that news, the buyer and lender came back to the table. They demanded a new appraisal, which corrected the price. Joe and Dave reinstated the purchase agreement and closed the deal within its original schedule.

The Duke Company brokers’ attention to detail saved this deal. Not only did they sell an office building during a pandemic, they sold it for $131 per square foot—well above market comparable sales.

Careful attention to basic principles as well as minute details makes all the difference. It’s the difference you get with Joe Evangelista, Dave Tesch, and all the brokers at the Thomas A. Duke Company.

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