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National vs Local vs Regional: What Distinguishes Developers

Real estate transactions involve a lot of decision making. And with development, that all starts with finding the right commercial real estate developer. There are so many variables that distinguish one commercial developer from another, and just as many variables by which tenants (of all types) may select a particular developer.

When it comes to choosing between a national, a local, or a regional commercial real estate developer each option provides a number of advantages and disadvantages depending on your specific project and situation. Let’s take a closer look at what distinguishes each of these types of commercial developers.

 

Advantages of Working with a National Developer

Access to a broad network

A national developer likely has a network of offices across the country, providing access to a number of markets. That also likely means they have quite the Rolodex of contractors, engineers, lenders, etc. to help facilitate projects.

Access to a breadth of services

National developers also often have the internal resources and staffing to offer a variety of services, reporting, technology, etc.

Feeling of peace of mind

Many large firms offer the experience, stability, scale, and insurance to help give clients peace of mind when approaching their projects. Tenants may feel they can rest more comfortably knowing that if something goes wrong a national developer has the resources to cover them.

 

Advantages of Working with a Local Developer

Able to work with a local expert

If you’re developing a property in a specific market, you want to know as much about that market as possible. A local developer is solely focused on their market, which offers you experience, expertise, and in-depth understanding of local dynamics.

A one-on-one approach

If issues arise, or you require immediate access to a site, you’ll likely get the opportunity to meet face-to-face with a local developer. It may even mean meeting or communicating with the team outside of regular business hours.

A sense of flexibility

Due to the (typically) small size of the company and the access to decision makers, local developers are often able to adjust when your company needs to. This can help streamline projects and make it easier to iron out wrinkles that may emerge in your development plans.

 

Advantages of Working with a Regional Developer

Market access with a local approach

A regional developer can provide clients access to a number of markets and offer a large network of contacts (as a national developer might), while still providing a more “localized” and personal approach.

Better communication

A regional developer will likely offer greater access to decision-makers, and at the same time, those decision makers will likely have greater access to different contacts across the country. Meaning, overall you’ll get a more streamlined approach even when working on projects outside of your home market.

A sense of balance

As you might get from a national developer, a regional developer can offer a similar array of experience working with a variety of tenant types, as well as stability and scale. Additionally, they can also offer the flexibility of a smaller firm.


When narrowing down your search, you’ll find pros on cons to every type and every individual developer. The key is to make sure you choose the best fit for you and your company.

For starters, here are some questions to ask to help get you to where you need to be.

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