This past Thursday, following the elections for new officers of the Wisconsin Real Estate Club, we were pleased to have Terence Wall as our distinguished speaker for the evening. Wall is a dedicated alum of the Wisconsin Real Estate program, and offers his time to mentor students and to share his insightful experiences as a self-starter in real estate. His company, T. Wall Properties, is an award-winning development firm based here in Madison that owns more than 2.4 million square feet of space and over 750 acres of land.
To start the evening, he gave us somewhat of a mock “pitch” presentation, similar to what we would see as potential equity investors. This included information about the due diligence performed on his recent project, the facts and specifications about the buildings and surrounding area, and his persuasive evidence as to why this development is sure to succeed.
Wall shared insider tips and tricks to his practice - the type of information that us Real Estate Club members really get to benefit from. This information ranged from his tactics of attracting new investors, retaining old investors, accumulating relevant data, and raising the proper amount of capital. He also shared cost saving techniques from a development standpoint, particularly relating to taxable income and the ability to take advantage of flexible depreciation standards.
When asked to share a one of his greatest learning experience, Wall reflected on his endeavor to develop property in Phoenix, AZ. This began as a favor for a friend that was looking to house his business, and turned into a very profitable investment. Wall proceeded with another opportunity in the area, and was again hugely successful in turning the property over in a very short period while doubling his money. When another opportunity came, he decided to press his luck as a result of pressure from the individuals surrounding him in his company, and reinvest in another large industrial property. “This was against my better judgment” he added, “but I went ahead and did it anyway.” As you might’ve guessed, the recession hit shortly after the investment, and the property sat unoccupied. It was eventually sold for pennies on the dollar. Wall reflected on his decision, and how a string of successful developments might cause one to deviate from their established strategy and push the envelope too far.
A key take away from the evening: “Go with your instincts”.