Maxfield is currently the only broker in Northeast Ohio attending national marketing sessions held by the Society of Exchange Counselors, an organization of real estate counselors, investment brokers, developers, and real property consultants. Membership in the S.E.C. is by invitation only, and according to information from the organization, members are selected by a peer vote “based on their integrity, competence, and creative real estate transaction ability.”
“All areas of investment property are represented at the meetings,” says Maxfield. “Apartment buildings, office buildings, shopping centers, vacant land, industrial and special use properties—even a small amount of residential rental homes are offered.
People initiate offers and sometimes buy and exchange property sight unseen.” Because the S.E.C. organization is so well-connected and built on both trust and reputation, buyers feel confident making immediate offers without seeing the property beyond photos and information presented at the meeting, according to Maxfield. Agreements are viable subject to a buyer’s inspection and normal or reasonable due diligence, he says. “They buy on the numbers and on the reputation of the broker,” says Maxfield. “If someone there tells you about the property, you can be confident in the facts. No one could remain in the business without their reputation.”
At a recent meeting of the S.E.C. held in Dallas, more than 200 properties were registered for the event, with a total value exceeding $550 million. Attending brokers also represented investors with more than $27 million in cash or notes who were interested in purchasing investment properties. Maxfield received multiple offers on the listings he represented. “One of my clients in Michigan added $100,000 to his small, vacant hotel, and exchanged it for five acres of ocean-front development land in Mexico,” Maxfield says. ”The property is located on the west coast of Mexico and a new appraisal is expected to show a value upwards of 2 million dollars. Now we’re considering a trade for 34 condos in Acapulco.”
The S.E.C. includes brokers from across North America and meets every other month in a different city. Many of the transactions involve property exchanges because they save on capital gains taxes and are beneficial to both parties involved, says Maxfield. “Deals can be completed much faster, and you can receive more offers through these national meetings because you’re dealing with a very powerful, diversified forum,” he says.
[It should be noted that James Maxfield attends S.E.C. meetings as an invited guest and is not yet a candidate for permanent membership.]
From: Lake County Business Journal, May 2002
By Annemarie Donnelly
Annemarie Donnelly is a Mentor free-lance writer.