Industry Insights with Bill Drinkall

October 18, 2021

We sat down with Bill Drinkall, Managing Director at Bradley Company of the Fort Wayne area, to get his perspective on the latest commercial real estate trends in the NE Indiana area. Bill has over twenty years of experience in this field, specializing in investment transactions. 

Bill Drinkall, Managing Director
How has the way you conduct business changed since you joined bradley company from your previous role at other firms?

With Bradley Company, I have more freedom to make the decisions that are important to the way the office is managed. We are trusted to put the right people in the right seats, and we do just that. I actually get to make the decisions in my market, which gives me more freedom to do my job.

What trends have you seen develop over the last couple of years in the investment market?

Over the last two years, the volume of investment real estate transactions has been increasing due to lower interest rates and the uncertainty of future policy changes. Buyers are aware that nothing lasts forever and when money costs you next to nothing there is no better time to purchase. The multifamily market has changed to where you see more direct owner-to-owner transactions due to the relationships that have been built over the last ten years. In the past, there were more brokers at the large conferences than owners; now with so many owners being involved with the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), owners can save money by trading directly, circumventing brokerage fees. Lenders will also connect highly seasoned owners to other seasoned owners which can save their clients’ money. There are plenty of buyers that will benefit from a professional broker in the multi-housing sector, so I am not saying that there aren’t deals out there for brokers, just that there are a lot more owner-to-owner transactions than there used to be. Multihousing is an asset class where owners can connect and find people to buy assets pretty easily in this hot market. Office is presently a different story, with office asset demand being lower it is harder to find a buyer; owners definitely benefit from working with an office specialist to market office assets.  

You recently hired two new associates to join your brokerage team. what qualities do you look for in an individual who doesn’t necessarily have the proven real estate background?

I look for individuals that fit our company culture, have a strong work ethic, and are happy to collaborate with one another. It cannot be just one of these things, they must satisfy all three to be a candidate.

Are there any factors that you think set the Fort wayne market apart from others in our region?

We are in a state of growth. There is so much development going on; it is not just small developments, but very large developments that are consistently happening across the city. Fort Wayne has set a lofty goal to increase our regional population to one million within the next 10-15 years. The city is targeting migration into the area by making major moves to transform the Fort Wayne area into a destination, not just a city.

What is your approach to delivering exceptional results to your clients?

It’s a team effort. Having a team that is responsive and accountable to each asset they are working on is the most important thing. We need to research the market, make targeted calls, walk the area, and schedule in-person meetings. Then report, check in, update, record, and keep good records for our clients. Some of these are repetitive in nature but each and every one is needed in order to be the best.