Louis Fisher, CAI, Accelerated Sales, shares tips on managing government auctions

Government auctions offer plenty of opportunity, says Louis Fisher, a longtime commercial real estate pro with SVN Accelerated Sales

Managing the auction of property assets for the government is a mixed bag: There are advantages and disadvantages. But for Louis B. Fisher III, CAI, national director of SVN Accelerated Sales, any downside has been well worth the trouble.

Fisher, who has conducted thousands of real estate and loan auctions, was one of eight featured speakers at the “Secrets of the Millionaire Real Estate Auctioneer” workshop hosted by the National Auctioneers Association. The event took place in December in Las Vegas.

On the plus side, successfully executing a government deal puts an advisor or broker in a favored position to handle future disposition assignments. “Working with the government, providing you do everything correctly, can provide opportunities for securing more work,” said Fisher, a 39-year real estate veteran whose closed sales are in the billions of dollars. “Sometimes you can then leverage contracts with similar agencies, skipping over some of the detailed procurement process. But you have to navigate a learning curve and understand their legal framework.”

Another positive is the high probability of a successful closing. And because the government isn’t emotionally attached to the asset, there’s a high degree of objectivity in the process – nobody is pricing it to make an exorbitant profit.

So, what’s on the negative side of the ledger? Paperwork, reporting … and lots of it.

“Working with the government requires solid sales training, of course, but you also need sound presentation and writing skills,” Fisher said. “Often, the responses involved in these Requests for Proposals will exceed 100 to 150 pages. There’s just a lot of reporting and tracking and then accountability.”

That reporting can include annual and end-of-contract audits, which can be voluminous.

In the end, though, it’s all worth it for Fisher, who has been partnering with the federal and state governments since 1986. As a highly successful manager of government auctions and real estate sales in general, he has some solid advice for those aspiring to success in the field.

“First, surround yourself with good people, make it a matter of ‘we,’ not ‘I,’” Fisher said. “Also, be sure to anticipate issues, concerns, problems before they occur – create solutions in advance.”

Fisher is a recognized public speaker, published writer, and lecturer for a variety of real estate industry trade associations throughout the country, and an author/presenter of the SVN Auction Academy. His career highlights include conducting the first real estate auction in Mexico and the largest real estate bank property auction in Texas. He also worked on the first major government real estate portfolio auction in Washington, D.C., and the single-largest individual asset real estate auction conducted online.

To ask questions about government auctions or for more information on SVN Accelerated Sales, contact Louis B. Fisher III, CAI, national director of SVN Accelerated Sales, [email protected] or 954-931-0592.

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