Fail to plan, plan to fail: Does Your Builder Pass the Planning and Real Estate Test?

by Matt Weishan, Manager of Real Estate & Planning

Are you considering a construction project? Whether it's new construction, a retrofit or a refresh of your current footprint, the most critical decision you can make is engaging the right partner and taking the right first steps. To level set, if you’re not starting with an insights-driven strategic market analysis and ending with a cohesive project team of real estate brokers, architects, designers, and construction project managers, you could be threatening your return on investment. The bottom line is there are many moving pieces and complexities to construction projects and your success is dependent on the right plan and a nimble, experienced team to execute against it. At La Macchia Group, we’re design-builders. That means we have a lot of skin in the game; we have all services under one roof, provided by experts on one team, around one table - and it’s a game changer. 

So, before you sign on the dotted line with a general contractor - here are a couple questions to ask in order to ensure you’ve got the right partner.


The most effective way to embark on real estate selection is to take a step back to gain insight into the best market. That’s why we start every real estate project with a strategic market study. The word “study” underplays the vital role this powerhouse of a report has in ensuring the right project, in the right location, at the right time. 



If you’re looking for a build partner, it’s critical to understand the depth of their strategic market analysis capabilities - it could be the difference between success and failure. Here are some questions to pose to potential partners to help you do your research:

1) Do you have in-house market analysis capacity?

Having a team informed by Geographic Information Systems (GIS), market segmentation, financial analytics and pro-forma development - all from the same source and under the same roof - is extremely beneficial, saving time and money and ensuring the greatest return on your investment.

2) Can I expect more than a data dump?

If your prospective partner can’t specify data to your unique competition, transaction history and the perceptions of your current and prospective customers - and then zoom out to find the relevant themes and actionable insights - all you’re getting is a data dump.

3) Are market analyses “one and done?

The dynamics of your market won’t stay the same forever. If your prospective partner isn’t going to revisit past market studies to identify changes that may impact your short and long term strategies, you’ll be caught flat footed.

4) Will you perform a custom pro forma for this project?

If the output of a pro forma doesn’t align with your goals or expectations - the ROI isn’t there. If it is stress tested, however, and still produces the desired result, you can and should feel comfortable moving forward. It must be a critical deliverable from your prospective partner.

Are you wondering what goes into a strategic market analysis? Download our one-page guide to the critical elements of an analysis that can set you up for a significant return on your real estate investment.



Did your prospective partner pass the test in terms of market analysis? If so, it’s time to evaluate their real estate prowess. If your market analysis partner does not provide comprehensive real estate services, you should probably keep looking. 

The benefit to having a comprehensive team under one roof is that the “passing of the baton” is between teammates, around the same table, as part of a comprehensive planning and execution process. The buck stops in house; nothing is lost in translation, there are no lag times or hoops to jump through, it’s all done by one team. 

Here are some questions to ask a potential partner to determine if they have the real estate expertise to be the right fit for your project: 

1) Can you serve as the best possible real estate representative for our organization?

While working with a local broker is common for financial institutions, working with a design-build partner who can serve as your representative gives you the unique advantage of not being financially or contractually connected to specific listings in the area. This means a partner that can consider all acquisition opportunities and work hard to find the best fit for you and your needs.

2) What are your in-house capabilities to deal with all elements of the acquisition process?

Almost every site will have unforeseen challenges. When you have a team with in-house real estate brokers, architects, designers and construction project managers, you will be uniquely positioned to handle any issue that comes your way. Whether it’s identifying target sites, performing site feasibility test fits or completing site due diligence and entitlements - real estate projects are complex. When you’ve got the right team at the table, with various functions, skill sets and areas of expertise at your disposal, you can rest assured they can handle any curve ball that comes their way.

3) How will you leverage a strategic market analysis in the real estate procurement phase?

It’s no secret that there are risks associated with the real estate procurement phase. Some elements are out of your control, but others can be anticipated and mitigated - and that’s where a strategic market analysis comes in. If you haven’t done the work of a strategic analysis, you might end up on the wrong site in the right market or the right site in the wrong market. You might overspend on land because you’re not sure how big of a building you really need. When the team who is out finding you the right location for your future project is the same team that painstakingly secured and analyzed data for a strategic market analysis - you’re in good hands.

Today’s business leaders are pressed to make more important decisions with less time and even less room for error than ever before. Growth and retention are vital in financial services, so the question is simple. Do you want a trusted partner to dig into and develop actionable insights and then seamlessly execute against them to bring you the highest return on your investment? If that’s the type of partner you’re looking for, let’s talk.


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