Dr. Art Hunter, CACOR Director, summarizes a ZOOM meeting of 2020-03-24.
On 24 March 2020 I attended a ZOOM Webinar with a claimed audience of 6300 attendees across Canada and only a few from the USA. The host was in Vancouver. The title was “Covid-19 Crisis Panel” for Canadian Real Estate Investors.
The format was broken into four sections with each section lasting one hour with 5 new “experts” for each section. Each session expert was permitted to make a presentation to answer a question put to them in advance and then the lines were open for questions from the audience.
It was a long session but very interesting as these experts were mainly very clever individuals, who, along with most in the audience, owned commercial office towers and multi-living unit buildings. They are the landlords of many of the buildings one sees within cities. Of course, Covid-19 closures mean that many renters will be unable to meet their 1 April rent payment and this is a crisis to the landlords as well as the tenants.
Although the topic is not directly related to CACOR’s mission statement, there was a lot of content which was directly applicable. I summarize these parallels with creative editorial privilege to use Global Warming terminology interacting with Landlord terminology.
- Communications is vital. Do much more communications with your networks, be patient, flexible and above all be aware of how events are unfolding. Become a respected leader.
- “Blood on the street == Buy opportunity”. The disaster opens up opportunities.
- Get past the pandemic in your thinking. Plan, prepare, and influence the direction of events leading to a changed method of conducting business. In the meantime build your backup cash reserves, don’t bruise your reputation with the banks (credit rating) or your clients.
- Get ahead of the disaster. Deferral of cash outflows where possible. Hoard cash. Banks and government financial calming programs are evolving and many decisions are needed as the days unfold.
- Develop new skills at zero-contact electronic communications and survival during the recession. We are in the recession right now. Behave accordingly. The interest rates cannot remain at zero forever and governments can’t take on the losses without eventual impact on the entire population. Refinance and lock in low interest rate loans for as long a term as possible. Cost of everything will rise and very steeply. The only uncertainty is when this will happen. You have been warned. What can you cut back to reduce your cash flow? Strap down everything possible during your review of your cash flows. Cash is King.
- One presenter predicted a civil war in the USA or a USA/China War. A possibility not to be dismissed too rapidly. What would you do with your affairs when this happens? A clear What If scenario.
- How can the NGO, business, Investors, clubs and citizens be part of the solution? Creative ways must be explored and implemented with haste.
- Keep calm, relax, adapt. Maintain a steady hand on the wheel and focus on goals of today, in two weeks, at the end of the month, end of quarter and end of pandemic. Don’t panic and void your intellectual capacity with decisions you will regret. Look back at the 2008 crisis and what you did then and what you regret you didn’t do.
- Building codes must change so that every new high rise commercial building be half living units and half business space. These living units can be hotel style or bed-sitting room with minimum cooking appliances so residents can get to work without transportation and still get “home with the family in the suburbs” on weekends. Other living units can be one and two bedroom rental condominiums. Landlord opportunities like this are in the future so be early and design buildings now.
One of the presentations from Ottawa is: