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"Mr. DealMaker Discusses Commercial ListServers!"

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Ted Kraus Photo
12/6/96 Interview with Ted Kraus

The Deal Makers
100 Youngs Road
Mercerville, NJ 08619

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Overview of Services

  1. The weekly trade publication The Dealmakers covers retailing and real estate with topics such as retailing expansion plans, new shopping center trends, bankruptcy, etc.
  2. A directory, Tenant Search, lists the top 4,300 retailers nationwide and details their expansion plans.
  3. His core service is management/leasing/selling of problem properties, but Kraus' particular interest is in Internet services.
  4. His business manages the largest e-mail forum (9,000 users), one of the largest home pages plus a bulletin board system (BBS) focused on commercial real estate.
  5. Recent survey responses show that 10%-15% of responders have already made a deal and another 10% have deals pending that originated with the forums - facts that indicate a strong trend; two years ago, less than 1% of responders had started a deal on the Internet.
The List Servers

  1. Three of Kraus' five key lists are focused on deal making: the commercial list (2,300 covering all investment properties except multi-family); the residential investment list (1,400 covering multi-family, residential land, hotels/motels, mobile home parks); the finance list (1,800 including borrowers, lenders and brokers).
  2. The appraisers list is used for networking and referrals but mainly for discussion of trends and developments; the residential sales list (1,200) is used primarily by brokers for relocation and referrals.
  3. A sixth list (1,000) is comprised of people who sign up from the home page with an interest in "The Internet and Real Estate;" Kraus rebroadcasts relevant items he finds on the Net. [RECS members should join.]
  4. Peckham highly recommends the dealmaker lists and routinely sends listings to the names on the commercial list (brokers/investors/developers); the information is broadcast within a few hours - often within minutes.
  5. Most of the people currently using the Internet for deal making are aggressive brokers; reaching them expands your contacts to the thousands of potential investors they represent.
The Dealmakers Home Page

  1. One unique segment, the Real Estate Investors' Classified, lists commercial properties for sale worldwide with acquisition requirements of buyers and financing source and needs.
  2. Postings are free and are revised every two weeks; 1,000+ recent users and real estate news groups are solicited by fax prior to each issue.
  3. Access can be gained by visiting the home page and downloading or through e-mail command [].
  4. The home page also provides about 900 links with other real estate home pages (mainly commercial) and a referral database of brokers, management companies and developers aimed at professionals.
  5. An issue of Dealmakers can be viewed online and downloaded; a Q&A section offers visitors a chance to send in questions to be researched.
Rationale Behind the Array of Services

  1. Kraus started the newsletter in order to promote his primary business services in a cost-effective way.
  2. The bulletin board system - a poor-man's AOL - was another promotional strategy that was more active five years ago; its drawback is the cost of long distance connections, avoidable now by using the Web.
  3. The list serve was a logical extension of Kraus' commercial real estate activity; he used it to market his own property and develop a universe; then promotion of the mailing list started to grow.
  4. Building and marketing a mailing list is a challenging aspect of operating online services; Kraus utilizes the 60+ real estate news groups by responding to any questions asked that allow him to promote his list - a time-consuming technique.
  5. Most of the real estate news groups are identified on the Dealmakers home page (and on the BBS).
Using Lists to Make Money

  1. The three active, deal-making lists provide starting points for deals - available commercial properties with descriptions, and professional contacts; the deals materialize from networking.
  2. Once something of interest is identified, contact can be made with the listed professional and business can then be conducted in traditional ways.
  3. Peckham gets information out on investment property net leases through the CCIM list serve [Certified Commercial Investment Member], Kraus' commercial list and Steve Wicker's Ten31 Marketplace list - instantaneous access to 75% of the commercial brokers on the Net.
  4. To send messages, you must be a member of the list - Kraus' and Wicker's are available by subscription, but CCIM requires membership; read other messages on the list to gauge appropriate style and content for your own message.
  5. Other good online services such as the real estate consultants mailing list, Real Estate Issues Digest, are information oriented rather than deal-making oriented.
Changes Evolving for the Real Estate Pro

  1. Spending an hour or two every day prospecting on the Net will become routine - the updated version of knocking on doors.
  2. Real estate brokers and investors tend to be talkers, but they will have to adapt to more typing, spelling and reading; excellent supporting software: Aspell (a spell-checker that can be downloaded from Compuserve) and Mavis Beacon (a self-teaching typing program available at any retail software store).
  3. Kraus can scan in four-color sales packages (using Acrobat) and e-mail them to sophisticated buyers capable of downloading and printing; the process is faster, cheaper and more easily updated than traditional methods.
  4. By using an auto-responder that comes free with bulletin board software, Kraus can relay immediate information on a posting to people via e mail - requests are recorded for easy follow-up; the latest version of Eudora Pro also has such capability.
Signs of Internet Success

  1. Peckham recently got a $2.5 million deal moving in less than three hours and under contract in less than three day using these e-mail techniques.
  2. Retailers are beginning to advertise on the Internet their surplus property for lease; the Internet is more effective and cheaper than direct mail.
  3. Responders to the Dealmaker survey cited examples of Internet deals such as sale of a 150-acre residential tract and sale of a 110,000 square foot office building.
  4. Veteran Realtors along with new-comers are responding to Internet postings; the laggards tend to be those in the middle.
Special Offer to RECS Members:

A 2-month, free-trial subscription to "The Real Estate Investors Classified;" call the Dealmakers at 800-732-5856.

Contact Information for Ted Kraus:

(v) 609 587 6200
(f) 609 587 3511

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member)
Ten31 Marketplace
Real Estate Issues Digest