“I’m a deal junkie,” Tom LaPerch says. “I love the art of working a deal. I get excited figuring out where we need to go.” The Director of the Houlihan Lawrence Commercial Group hopes he can make that excitement contagious, adding that “a good deal is one where both parties are thrilled.”
LaPerch, 57, joined forces with Houlihan Lawrence to open a new commercial division for the powerhouse Westchester residential broker in late 2012. The Brewster, New York, resident had worked in Dutchess County for 25 years, but felt he wanted to perform on a larger stage. Besides, having 1,200 agents in the firm’s market-dominating residential division to generate leads promised some exciting results.
“When you’re selling a $7 million house in Rye,” LaPerch says, “you have to figure either the husband or wife is a heavy hitter. Maybe they’re looking to relocate their company. If so, we can handle it.”
What’s the future of the Westchester commercial market? “The banks have to be a little more realistic in their lending and the economy has to be stronger,” according to LaPerch. “In the retail market, big-box stores are being replaced by shopping on the Internet. The office market has been extremely soft for the last several years. Companies are downsizing, more people are working from home, so that market has slowed to a trickle. One segment that is relatively strong is healthcare.”
LaPerch appreciates technology, but advises new agents to remember that commercial real estate is a people business, too. “My kids laugh at me because I still have a Rolodex,” he says. “But it’s knowing how to match people up with deals. That’s the key to this business.”