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3 Things Your Commercial Real Estate Broker Wants You to Believe (That Aren’t Necessarily True)

Navigating the world of commercial real estate can be tough. And even brokers with the best of intentions can misguide you in your final real estate decisions. I don’t want to get all Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson from A Few Good Men on you, but….do you think you can handle the truth?

If you can, here are the top three things your commercial real estate broker wants you to believe…that aren’t necessarily true:

1. “I’m free.”

This one may seem tricky to some. The reason? Because although we (as brokers) may not be an “additional cost,” our commissions are factored into your lease terms/rates no matter what people may tell you. It’s how we make our money. We are in a commission-based industry, plain and simple.

At Keyser, we tell you up front that we have a fee and that it is factored into the lease terms. But this means we fight harder to ensure we negotiate lease terms that are significantly lower or more favorable to the tenant than it would be without a broker (or with a different broker).

The cost is there with or without us; landlords will often tell you that the lease rates will be less without a tenant broker and much higher with us being hired. With Keyser, this is not true.

Tenants can be confident hiring us, knowing we come in and put together a real estate strategy that helps them maximize their “buying power” and create the leverage needed to ensure the most favorable deal terms.

2. “We keep things totally confidential.”

Ever wonder why you begin to get 1000x calls 12-24 months before your lease is set to expire? As in many other industries, brokers gossip and share info (no judgement–those are just the facts).  

Sharing information can mean anything from a tenant’s strategy, to their financial information.  All things that should be kept confidential unless otherwise discussed with the client (many times information does need to be shared but ONLY with the permission of the tenant/client).

Here at Keyser we often sign NDAs with our clients and don’t share transactions with other people. Confidentiality is very important to us. Like I said before, in the world of real estate word travels quickly and information spreads. How else would those cold calls start? *WINK*

3. “We have your best interest (as the tenant) at heart.”

Most brokers represent landlords AND tenants. And representing a landlord is much more lucrative than a one-off tenant. This means they could be less likely to fight hard for you if it means upsetting an owner who is either a current or prospective client.

Here at Keyser we represent the tenant only and we have a common saying that perfectly captures why this is:

Would you have a prosecuting attorney also represent a defendant in the same trial? No. Because there’s no telling whose best interest would be prioritized.

The same goes for real estate, and we always put our clients and their needs first above all else.

If you want to learn more about real estate and choosing the right space, feel free to reach out to me.

Find Noah:

Email: nbarrasso@keyserco.com
Facebook: Noah Barrasso
Instagram:@hashtagnoah
Twitter: @NoahBarrasso
Company:  Keyserco.com

The Cast: Rebecca Clyde, Co-Founder of Ideas Collide

After a brief tour of Ideas Collide’s stunning Scottsdale office space, Rebecca Clyde sat down with me to talk about her experience as a woman founder, the future of automated communication through her latest company, and the impact that the right real estate has on company culture.

Not only is Rebecca co-founder of Ideas Collide and founder of Botco.ai, she’s also Co-Managing Director of the Girls in Tech Phoenix Chapter.

“We really wanted to cater to not just this idea of women being the victims in the story but actually about men being partners in breaking through some of these barriers,” she said.

She also offered valuable insights for fellow and aspiring entrepreneurs, including the best advice she’s received.

“Just believe in yourself. You have to have an idea that you are so passionate about that you’re willing to do really hard things for it because it’s not an easy road. And you will get a lot of rejection, and there will be a lot of challenges. But if you really believe in the idea, and you know that you are the right person to do it, then go for it.”

Show Notes

0:30 Gift from Rebecca–Fabuloso (Noah’s favorite smell ever) and the book “How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings”

3:40 Start of Ideas Collide (15 years ago)

5:30 The origin of Noah’s love of Fabuloso

6:20 How was it being a female founder 15 years ago – what it took to be successful as a female entrepreneur

7:14 When she started to notice a gender gap in the founding and pitching of botco.ai

8:07 “Mirrortocracy” in the VC world (Less than 3% of VC money going to women)

10:38 Girls in Tech – Background behind the founding of the Phoenix chapter and men’s involvement

12:05 Botco.ai – How her startup is helping companies communicate with customers through AI

14:20 How messaging is changing and becoming more intelligent

17:11 Where did the idea of botco.ai come from? Originated with Ideas Collide and the needs of a client in Asia

20:00 Future of botco.ai

22:00 Helping businesses scale by understanding how to message with their customers

24:30 Communication can be stronger if people are working from home or remote

24:59 “As humans we’re wired for communication”

26:17 Companies are starting to study the habits of people

27:05 Examples of where it’s being used

29:30 At what point would it be beneficial to use a company like botco.ai? If you’re unable to answer messages within 20 questions, especially companies that have products that garner a lot of questions

32:19 What else do you want people to know? In her spare time she wants to help other female founders (Girls in Tech Hackathon on May 4th – great way to get involved)

34:22 What’s the best advice that you’ve ever received? “Just believe in yourself”

36:50 When would you say that entrepreneurs should start approaching the real estate side? The moment she first realized she needed an office space

38:34 When you need some working space that’s your own – unity and culture becomes important at even 3-4 people. Let the people drive the real estate and not the other way around.

39:00 Coworking spaces vs. your own space (Good Noah tidbits about the importance of real estate and your strategy)

42:00 Looking within at what your goals are as an organization and your culture

Hey Noah, What’s With All the Content?

Lately people have been asking me “I keep seeing all this content from you lately…what’s the deal with it all?”

So, I wanted to take the time to share my thoughts behind it all.

Unless you’re directly involved with real estate and like to geek out over it like I do, I think we can all agree that talking real estate (i.e. market vacancies, Cap Rates, renewal options, etc.) is not the sexiest thing. And, like insurance, accounting, or other service industries, it can sometimes come off as something your company doesn’t want to deal with but must.

Plain and simple– real estate is how I get paid. When I help negotiate a lease or purchase of a building on the behalf of my client, the landlord pays a percentage of that consideration to me/us.  And our company, Keyser, prides ourselves at being the best at representing tenants with any and all things related to commercial real estate.

Inside Ideas Collide’s office space in Arcadia

But I know many folks don’t want to consistently hear about the latest market trends or lease rates in the way that I like to (although I’d be happy to dive into that if you’re curious).

So, keeping that in mind, I tried to take myself out of the situation and asked the following questions:

  • What would I want to know about this topic?
  • Who would I want to learn from?
  • And how would I want it presented to me?

The answer: I’d want to know about the companies this person worked with, the people involved, and their stories.

Tour de Tech with Heidi Jannenga, Co-Founder/CEO of WebPT

I’m also a visual person–so hearing from the people themselves and taking a sneak peek into their spaces/lives would keep me interested. This is how Tour de Tech was born.  Instead of filming myself talk about the real estate process and how we helped these clients create badass spaces, I created this series to show how well company’s culture and space can align if the real estate piece is done right.

Martini Shot with Lauren Bailey, Co-Founder/CEO of Upward Projects

Martini Shot was a little different. It sprung from the desire to humanize successful people, so that less seasoned entrepreneurs (or people just starting out in their field) can learn more about what it takes to be successful.  AND, let’s not forget it was also meant to share these folk’s favorite watering holes/cocktails and hopefully share a funny story 😊.  

I showcase a variety of clients and people I just genuinely admire in terms of their talent, drive, and story.

I want to create the kind of content I would want to consume in a field I happen to know very well. Sharing the success of the people I work with in a way that’s more relatable, candid, and transparent is the end goal.

There is a time and place for real estate, but my hope is that even if I can’t guide you professionally just yet, maybe something will resonate with you on a personal level. If I can gain one positive from my content or make one-person smile…I’ll be happy.

Also, I want to show that what I am so fortunate to do can be more fun, because I choose to do it differently.

Find Noah:

Email: nbarrasso@keyserco.com
Facebook: Noah Barrasso
Instagram: @hashtagnoah
Twitter: @NoahBarrasso
Company:  Keyserco.com

Martini Shot: Lauren Bailey, Co-Founder/CEO of Upward Projects

“You know, we have five concepts on one block, and people are like, ‘You’re crazy, you’re cannibalizing yourselves,’” Lauren said. “And we never believed that. All of the restaurants, to this day, have been busier from it.”

Shooting The Martini Shot at an entrepreneur’s own establishment made this episode special. Seated in front of Postino’s famous bruschetta, Co-Founder + CEO of Upward Projects, Lauren Bailey, shares her story at the restaurant group’s flagship location.

Upward Projects boasts five of Arizona’s favorite restaurant concepts with 13 locations. “The real estate piece is critical,” Lauren says, since each location is inspired by a historic building, including:

  • Postino: Named after the 1940’s post office building where it originated, it now has 8 locations, including Denver and Houston.
  • Joyride Taco House: Joyride began delivering joy and tacos from the Grainbelt building in downtown Gilbert’s Heritage District.
  • Federal Pizza: Housed in the restored 1950’s First Federal Bank building designed by Al Beadle, Federal Pizza serves up some of Phoenix’s best pizza.
  • The Windsor: In a renovated 1940-era building in central Phoenix, The Windsor has become a go-to for cocktails and upscale brunch.
  • Churn: Located next to Windsor in North Central Phoenix, the artisan ice cream shop makes freshly-churned ice cream in a nostalgic way that matches its building.

Between glasses of Arizona-made wine, Lauren talks about her introduction to the restaurant world, the inspiration behind the wildly popular concepts, and insights about the high’s and low’s of the entrepreneur life–and why she loves it.

Episode Highlights
@3:00 – How she got into the restaurant world: Made a fake resume to work at P.F. Chang’s and proved herself by memorizing everything on the menu

@ 4:36 – How she earned the money to get started (the hustle): Spent a summer working in Nantucket where she saved $30,000 by taking as many shifts as possible + working in a real estate office

@ 5:35 Joining forces with Craig DeMarco and going all-in to start Upward Projects: Lauren and her husband had $17 in their bank account the day that Postino Central opened. She told her husband, “You’re a lawyer, and I’m a bartender. We’re not going to starve.”

@ 6:20 – Entrepreneurial high’s and low’s: “If you do what you love, you’ll never work an hour in your life” – How it’s the biggest blessing and biggest curse

@ 7:30 – The inspiration behind the concepts: Their love of old buildings led to 5 concepts one on block.

@ 8:40 How they keep company culture in tact as they expand: Why the real estate piece is so critical for Upward Projects.

@10:25 Noah’s lightning round of questions: Does Noah prefer pencils or pens–and what does he use to write with in the shower?

For more about Upward Projects

For more about Lauren

5 Ways WebPT Uses Their Space to Cultivate Culture

“It’s really about inspiring and motivating the people who are there, and also having a community feel,” Heidi Jannenga said as we sat below the barrel ceiling of WebPT’s industrial office space in downtown Phoenix for the latest Tour de Tech.

As a physical therapist who struggled with the manual paper processes of the profession, Heidi knew there had to be an easier way to document patients’ progress. In 2006, she partnered with Brad Jannenga to build the solution to PT’s needs and launched WebPT in 2007.

This year WebPT celebrates it’s 10 year anniversary, and their office space embodies the culture that has led to its success.

5 Ways WebPT Uses Their Space to Cultivate Culture

1.“Mas with menos”

“We keep it minimalist while giving you the tools you need,” Heidi said as she explained one of their core values. From the exposed barrel roof to rawness of the architecture, the space mirrors the guiding principles of their software and team.

2. Nooks for meeting

Besides big conference rooms, WebPT has carved out little nooks for people to encourage collaboration.

3. Meditation room

“Part of the culture is word hard, play hard,” Heidi said. Since meditation and mindfulness are important, WebPT provides team members with Headspace along with a meditation room, allowing everyone to step away and regroup between work.

4. Lots of glass

The glass windows and walls of the building’s interior and exterior offer glimpses inside the happenings of the organization to promote transparency.

5. Massage chairs

As a tech company in the health industry, wellness is important to WebPT which is why you can find team members taking calls from massage chairs. The pneumatic compression helps with recovery from activities like hiking and exercise.

For more about WebPT

S%$T, I Totaled My Car: 4 Lessons Totaling My Car Reminded Me About the Power of Leverage

You know that quote from Dumb and Dumber where Lloyd Christmas says, “Statistically they say you’re more likely to get killed on the way to the airport. You know, like in a head on crash or flying off a cliff or getting trapped under a gas truck! That’s the worst!”?

Well, it turns out he was pretty accurate.

In fact, the average person has a crash every 17.9 years. So, maybe I was just due for a little car-related disruption, but a few months back I became part of that stat when I totaled my car.

Now before I go any further, don’t worry. Everyone walked away unharmed except for my car Handsome Rob (named for Jason Statham in The Italian Job). Sigh.

The collision itself may or may not have been my fault, but after my car was hit, and I worked back-and-forth with the insurance company, I was struck (yet again) by the importance of leverage in all areas of life.

It applies to everything, and I go could on-and-on about other areas. But I specifically want to share with you what I was reminded of during/after my accident and how it relates to commercial real estate (i.e. negotiations for your space).

4 Lessons Totaling My Car Reminded Me About the Power of Leverage

  1. Be patient and give yourself enough time. I was lucky and my insurance paid for a rental, giving me time before buying a new car. This reminded me how whether or not you actually have the time, creating the illusion you do can make up a lot of ground in negotiations. Just like you wouldn’t want to be forced into buying a vehicle right after an accident, you don’t want to be forced into a space.
  2. Be proactive. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Instead of giving in and just buying a car immediately when my rental period expired, I got creative and borrowed a car from a friend. This took pressure off me and gave me time (again) to research different brands/dealerships. Part of being patient when it comes to finding a space is to start earlier rather than later in terms of shopping around. (I.e. Don’t wait until you have too many desks and too few offices to make a move.) It’s never too early to start the real estate process.
  3. No matter what, always have options. Because of the time I allowed myself, I vetted multiple brands, years, and even markets to gain options. I was then able to leverage my choices/information with other dealerships to create competition. You create buying power when you have more time to vet options. Cast a large net when you begin your real estate search. Properties, areas, and product types could become more appealing as the process goes on and having multiple options allows you to create competition between different landlords.
  4. Create the flexibility to say no. I walked away from purchasing a car 4-5 times, so I mean it when I say: do-not-act-on-emotion. It makes it almost impossible to bluff. Be level-headed. The ability to walk away may be the most important bit of leverage you can have, so it’s important to put yourself in the position to do so. And it’s not always about the price when it comes to leasing or buying your space—warranty, flexibility, and interests rates all play a role in your decision-making.

I only say these things, because I’ve been there and I know how overwhelming the process can be.

If you’d like to learn more about real estate and choosing the right space, feel free to reach out to me at nbarrasso@keyserco.com.


Find Noah

Email: nbarrasso@keyserco.com
Facebook: Noah Barrasso
Instagram:@hashtagnoah
Twitter: @NoahBarrasso

Martini Shot: Andrew Leto

“This is the best drink you could actually drink. Think about it: you have water and vodka,” Andrew said as we sat at Goldie’s Sports Bar in North Scottsdale. “What else could there be? 100 calories a drink… perfect.”

In 2003, as a 23 year old back home from his time in the Navy, Andrew Leto witnessed the antiquities of the trucking business while working for his dad’s small freight company. As he watched deals being brokered by phone, he thought that there must be a better way, leading him to create it.

GlobalTranz is the 5th largest privately held company in Arizona today and has become the Priceline of trucking, a solution Andrew developed to meet the needs of a less manual freight management process. Following a successful exit, he has now founded EmergeTMS which provides a platform for large companies to manage all of their freight.

Watch as Andrew introduces me to his go-to 2-ingredient cocktails, inspired by his time in the Navy, and talks about the quirks of a big Italian family, plays some Weezer on the acoustic guitar and gets a little surprise visit.

Help You, Help Others Pt.2: Keeping Myself in Check

“It’s better to give before you receive. And never keep score. If your interactions are ruled by generosity, your rewards will follow suit.”
― Keith Ferrazzi, Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time

Once I decided to travel down the path of self-improvement, it was important to find ways to incorporate healthy habits into my daily life. I wanted ways to stay present in the here and now, because as Gary Vee articulates so well, the odds of being a human being are 400 trillion to one.

With this attitude in mind, I was like a magnet for growth, which attracted another influence—a friend of mine who introduced me to the Five Minute Journal. It’s such a small ritual, but it has rewired how I go about my days.

With this journal I am able to mentally prepare and reflect upon my day in two five-minute increments. I start my day with a healthy mindset including goals for that day and I end my day listing what I am grateful for.

Even though it’s only 10 minutes total, it also guarantees some quality “me” time as bookends for my days. And I notice a big difference when that part of my routine is broken.

Something that I make sure to add in these 5 minutes is a specific person that I am grateful for on a given day. I’ve found that naming events or people from my days helps me keep an appreciative attitude that leaks into all parts of my life. When I go about my days being person-focused and also with an emphasis on service, those are my best days.

While on this journey to improve myself, I became so addicted to becoming a better me that a routine was bred, which includes my Five Minute Journal among a few other daily tasks devised to keep myself in check.

Another way I keep myself accountable is meditation. Currently, the focus on meditation and mental health is at an all time high and in this case it’s healthy to follow the trends. I’m a huge fan of “The Honest Guys” on Youtube, but there’s also apps like HeadSpace floating around out there. Like anything else, find what works for you and run with it.

But for me, I can’t stress how important it is for me to make sure my mind is right before I start my day. When I get my head right and put my best foot forward, I find myself switching from “reacting” mode to being more proactive.

This means I am able to act more in a way that is more controlled and serves others. When my head is in a good place, I feel a sense of stability that allows me to serve others completely.

You hear it all the time because it’s true but, practice makes perfect even when it comes to daily habits. And once those habits are created they take maintenance. Am I perfect everyday? No. But I try my best to keep myself on track.

I’ll leave you with some final words paraphrased from Keith Ferrazzi: don’t keep score, but do take stock of what’s important and what’s not. And try to stay present in the here and now. It will shock you how good things follow a balanced attitude.


Do you have any special routines that keep you focused/balanced? Feel free to share the personal-growth wealth!

Make sure you check out the final part of my Help You, Help Others series where I get a little “Inception-y” and explain how we are really just beings made up of thoughts. Intrigued?

Help You, Help Others Series Pt.1: How Focusing on Personal Growth Can Lead to Greater Success

My journey over the past five years to where I am now, personally and professionally, had a few different kickstarts, which led me to different waves of growth. It was gradual and it didn’t happen overnight, but it has truly changed my outlook on life, business, and everything in between.

Now, I want to start out by admitting that I’m not an expert by any means, but my goal is to share some things I’ve learned in regards to “success”… And if one person can gain a little something to better help themselves, then that’s the cherry on top.

Self-Help is Not a Dirty Word

“Poverty, I realized, wasn’t only a lack of financial resources; it was isolation from the kind of people who could help you make more of yourself.”
― Keith Ferrazzi, Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time

The first wave of my focus on personal growth begins with Jonathan Keyser and his recommendation that I venture into the world of life coaches and self-improvement.

A lot of people are turned off by the word “self-help” because they think it means they are weak or pathetic, but that could not be further from the truth. In fact, it takes more strength to ask for help than it does to sit back and do nothing.

We all have flaws, yes, but self-help/self-improvement is about making yourself open and willing to adjust–whether it be your mindset, your daily schedule, or your habits.

Jonathan, who has been extremely instrumental for my growth, introduced me to his personal life coach (who I will discuss in more depth in part three of this series) and he also gifted me the book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. Both of these things have left a lasting impression on how I do business/interact with those around me.

After reading that first book, it ignited this desire to fill my brain with as many books as possible on bettering myself and I strayed drastically from this “going through the motions” mentality that a lot of us find ourselves in.

When I made myself open to these books and this newfound knowledge, I found myself connecting on different levels with people and I felt those conversations shift. I started to attract people who also wanted to grow.

One of my best qualities (if I do say so myself) is that I am extremely coachable. I’m always looking for different ways to grow and expand my mind. So, my advice to anyone will take it is to always be open to everything–people, books, new experiences,–because you never know what could be gained.


What are some books, podcasts, etc. you have found beneficial of late? I’d love to know. And be sure to read part two of my Help You, Help Others series where I detail the ways I hold myself accountable in my day-to-day life.

Tour de Tech: Casual Astronaut

They originally started in cafes (and anywhere else they could find space), but after two offices and upping their employee count significantly Casual Astronaut has found their office home. Founder Kyle Crafton explains how Casual Astronaut’s layout attempts to foster collaboration and camaraderie and create a space that is creative but accommodating. If that doesn’t grab your attention, the story behind this content agency’s memorable name is well worth the watch. Does your company’s name create a buzz or have a cool story behind it? Let us know in the comments below with #uniquenames