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In CORFAC’s 30th Year, An Emphasis On Local Expertise And Relationships

Gabriel Galiothe, TRI Commercial/CORFAC International; Brian Coakley, Donohoe Real Estate Services/CORFAC International; and Steve Garza, Providence Commercial Real Estate Service/CORFAC International

Over the last three decades, commercial real estate has seen tremendous changes — from digitization and automation to the birth of entirely new asset classes. But through all those transformations, there has been a constant demand for local expertise from respected brokers.

Now in its 30th year, CORFAC remains an unparalleled resource for that kind of expertise — an independent network of brokers and a reputable source of unbiased information at a time when the industry is doing more business than ever. And for its members, it serves as an indispensable community of trusted colleagues, advisers and friends. 

“Being a member has had many benefits over the years, not least of which is generating income through referrals thanks to my CORFAC network,” said founding member David Prior, senior managing principal of The Klabin Co./CORFAC International. “But just as important, I have a lot of very close friends here who act as an advisory board to help me run my company. These are intimate relationships with other owners that you can’t build anywhere else.”

In the late 1980s, local and regional brokerage firms were a dying breed. They were being acquired by publicly traded global providers, or merging to create larger networks that could serve clients who operated in multiple markets. Brokers were worried that they would be forced to refer clients to their colleagues in specific markets, even if they were not the best person for the job. 

During a 1986 SIOR conference, the leaders of five noncompeting brokerage firms discussed an independent network of brokers. The idea was to build a network of people who could share information, but who weren’t obligated or incentivized to refer business to one another. The focus would be to keep serving their clients in the best way possible. And so, CORFAC was born.

The five founders reached out to more of their colleagues, and by the time they formally launched CORFAC in 1989, participation had jumped to more than a dozen markets. Among those early members was Ray Lyons, president of Realty Advisors Ltd., Brokerage/CORFAC International in Toronto.

“Being part of CORFAC gives us a bigger footprint, provides an avenue for referral business from other markets and allows us to work with people we know and trust,” Lyons said. “It also helps us keep abreast of new technologies and tools in a changing market.”

Today, CORFAC is the world’s largest network of independent real estate brokers serving the office, industrial and retail markets. CORFAC’s affiliates in 75 U.S. and international markets have completed over 10,000 lease and sale transactions totaling 500M SF and $8B. The network has added 20 new affiliates in the past four years — 10 domestic and 10 international.

While affiliates aren’t required to hold credentials such as SIOR, MCR or CCIM, many still do and Prior said CORFAC boasts a higher percentage of accredited brokers than most worldwide real estate services alternatives. 

And for many CORFAC members, membership goes far beyond the surface level.

“I’ve been a CORFAC member since I joined King Industrial 25 years ago, and I’ve been going to conferences ever since,” said Sim Doughtie, president of King Industrial/CORFAC International and 2019 president of CORFAC International. “For me, it’s not the CORFAC network, it’s really the CORFAC family.”

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and CORFAC International. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.