When an Omaha family with 20 acres of farmland to sell became the clients of CREW Omaha member Nancy K. Johnson, the 30-year commercial real estate veteran with NK Johnson Commercial Real Estate Advisors knew she needed to get the family the best deal possible.
The farmland had been in the family for generations, holding sentimental value to the owners, but was located on one of the key, mixed-use corners of Omaha. An out-of-state developer was on the fast track to purchase the land due to impending city planning board deadlines, escalating the urgency of the transaction.
Johnson reached out to fellow CREW Omaha member Jackie Pueppke, Partner with Baird Holm LLP, enlisting her as legal counsel for the seller. Johnson and Pueppke had formed mutual respect and friendship while serving on CREW Omaha's board of directors together.
“I introduced Jackie to my client because I had a level of comfort that she would be compassionate and patient with the sellers,” said Johnson.
During the transaction process, the family matriarch passed away, causing vacillation among her children about their decision to sell the land. The developer’s urgency, combined with the family’s lack of knowledge regarding the transaction process and the tax consequences of the sale, only added to the deal’s challenges.
After the transaction terms were agreed upon, Johnson and Pueppke reached out to CREW Omaha members with Nebraska Title Company, Terry Wyant, Commercial Closer, Natalie Wordekemper, Commercial Closer and Aimee Lowe, Director of Legal Services. With only a seven-day due diligence period, compared to the typical 90-day period, the team handled the title commitment, escrow and closing successfully. The sellers received a premium of two times the property’s market value.
“I had no prior relationship with the sellers and the family was hesitant because they did not know me,” said Pueppke. “Nancy had the relationship and she was able to help me earn the client’s trust.”
Following the transaction, Johnson and Pueppke have both cultivated a business relationship with the developer. Pueppke highlighted the importance of networking and choosing business partners thoughtfully.
“The personalities of the people involved in a transaction matter,” Pueppke said. “When you refer business to someone, it is critical that the individual has the temperament to properly handle the transaction. There is also the concern that you must live up to the expectations of the referral. I’m not going to make another CREW member look bad by not doing my job well.”
Nancy K. Johnson
NK Johnson Real Estate Advisors
Additional CREW members involved in this project:
Goosmann Law Firm (formerly with Nebraska Title Company)
Julie Sorensen has over 20 years of experience in the Commercial Real Estate Transaction Services Industry, and has consulted with national and regional lenders, investors, property owners and servicers regarding their physical and environmental due diligence; specifically, identifying risks associated with commercial real estate, quantifying those risks and mitigating them. Sorensen has worked with clients in policy development and evaluation of the appropriate service levels for the client's risk tolerances and transaction-specific requirements. She has managed projects from single site transactions to portfolios in excess of 100 properties and has overseen projects across the US.
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