One of the newest team members at GRS Group is Sahar Ghavami, a business development director at GRS | Corteq, who is based in the New York City area. She comes to the firm from Trepp, LLC, a well-respected research outfit, where she most recently held the title of vice president of CMBS sales. Her experience in that area of financing will better help GRS clients in need of those services, and at the same time, expands the firm’s New York-area presence. Ghavami talked to us about the experience she brings to the table and what she has been up to at GRS Group.
Tell us about your duties at GRS.
Since I joined GRS Group, I have been transitioning into my new role. It has been a complete transformation from having worked with CMBS fixed-income investors to working with CRE originators and underwriters. There is a deeper focus on the individual property and surrounding land. We have been conducting training seminars with end users of our services to educate them on specifics in our PCA, ESA and other due diligence reports. We have also been creating customized packages that include Title Services, Zoning Reports, ALTA Surveys and Appraisals, along with traditional PCA and ESA reports.
What is the main takeaway from Trepp that makes you suited for the position at GRS Group?
Maintaining a deep understanding of CMBS complexities and understanding deal structures makes it easier to work with CMBS Originators.
How are the needs of the clients similar?
We are a lot more property focused at GRS Group. Although the client is similar, the needs are different. In my prior role, it was about the quality of a CMBS loan-what is the DSCR, LTV, etc. At GRS Group, it is about ensuring the property is in good condition and identifying, quantifying and mitigating tangible risks associated with real property.
What do you find compelling about the commercial real estate industry?
I would describe the market as restless. People are coming off the sidelines and starting to grow their business more. While debt originations are declining on the GSE side, it is growing briskly on the banking, CMBS and life company side. There are also many new capital sources entering the market which increases competition and causes more aggressive lending to take place.
A large number of capital market firms have money that needs to be put to work. So they are buying CMBS bonds with only a limited amount of time to review everything before they decide to buy. This is driving the need for speed from point A to point B to point C; every aspect of a deal is compressed. Starting with quick turnaround needs for due diligence to loan originations to bond investments. The unavoidable need for speed might cause certain “unforeseen” issues to occur.
Can you share for us a business goal you have for the year?
I would like to increase awareness of the GRS Group brand to the market as a whole. GRS Group is a great company with deep expertise in the market. The knowledge and experience of the team goes back to the early 1990s, the effective start of modern CRE due diligence. GRS Group is a newer brand, but is comprised of industry veterans and innovators. It is unique in service offerings with the ability to package Title with Assessment services through our Global Services Connection (GSC). My goal would be to develop and provide more of these packaged solutions to industry participants.