With more than 50 chapters across the United States, the Washington State CCIM Chapter has more than 200 members spread across Washington and Northern Idaho. CCIM WA offers networking and educational opportunities to its members. The chapter’s current president, Mike Armanious, joined us for this Q&A series to talk about the history and the future of Washington’s CCIM chapter and what its doing to better serve its members and community.
Tell us about the history of CCIM in the Puget Sound region and how has it evolved over the years?
CCIM is the Puget Sound has been around for nearly 50 years as one of the founders, the late Vic Lyon, was instrumental in bringing CCIM to the Seattle area. There have been ups and downs, however, we are a strong chapter and we continually get recognized by the National CCIM Institute for our participation and our attendance to the national meetings.
Tell us about your involvement in the organization. How did you get to know it and get involved in it? How has it helped you professionally?
I am the 2017 WA State Chapter president and have been a board member since 2012. I got involved during the Great Recession and decided to equip myself with the best educational/networking tool I could find. The CCIM designation has helped me build confidence in my analytical abilities as well as has given me an enormous amount of credibility with my clients. I have won several assignments due to the CCIM designation.
What is CCIM’s primary role in the Puget Sound real estate world today?
We are the premier educational and networking organization in all of commercial real estate. We do more deals than non CCIMs (approximately 42% more). When you want a professional, you want a CCIM.
What are some of the most pressing issues you see today in Seattle’s real estate market?
Oh, where to begin… The pricing of real estate in Seattle has absolutely skyrocketed. The owners who held on through the Great Recession are certainly reaping the benefits whether they are selling at all time high prices or leasing at all time high rates. This unfortunately forces out a lot of mom and pop businesses and really leads the way for huge corporations to occupy Seattle real estate. The next issue is the amount of taxes levied on property owners. When the prices go up on property owners, that gets passed on to the tenants, which in turn get passed on to the customers of those businesses. Everyone has to pay more for everything from a stick of gum to housing to transportation to…
CCIM holds a number of education courses both in-person and online, what are some of the topics that you’re focusing on more heavily and why?
I focus on the investment/financial analysis and negotiation courses as these are the crux of my business. As a listing broker, I always need to keep the tools in my toolbox working to their peak. Negotiating is something we do every day from our kids to our spouses to our clients. Financial analysis is king as it help me to get the highest price for my seller which in turn makes me more money as a commission based salesman.
If you had to pick the top setback for today’s commercial real estate market, what would that be?
Constant government intervention, from wanting to tax us on our commissions as well as ordinary income (which we already pay) to the threat of taking away 1031 exchanges to the increased taxes on property owners.
How is Seattle getting it right and how is it getting it wrong?
Right: Seattle is welcoming to major corporations as we are a highly educated city, Wrong: TOO MUCH TAX, not a tough enough stance on the homeless problem and drug problem. Seattle needs to find a way to curb the latter two issues in order to remain a world-class city.
We hear lots of talk about public and private partnerships to work more effectively, what is CCIM doing to help facilitate this?
CCIMs have the relationships and the appropriate tools in their respective toolboxes. As a result, CCIMs are able to bring these two sectors together and figuring out a way to make these partnerships thrive and remain viable and successful. There is a lot of opportunity in this market. It needs to be cultivated through relationships and market knowledge which CCIMs possess.
It is difficult to talk about a recession today, but in the last one, it was organizations like yours that provided the foundation and distinction perhaps for your members in an industry that was transforming. How are you preparing yourself and your members for the next cycle and how is your membership responding?
We continue to cultivate relationships and offer educational opportunities. Those with the knowledge and the relationships are the ones who are going to continue to do well in any market.
As you look into the future, what will be important for the Washington chapter of CCIM to focus on?
Continuing to grow our membership base.