What Your Banker Thinks of Your Real EstateTiffany Stewart is currently a graduate student at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas and expects to complete a Masters in Counseling in 2011. Her areas of interest include geriatrics, caring for families affected by Alzheimer?s and the death-care industry. ?I decided to intern with ConnectingDirectors.com because they are at the forefront of news, trends and transitions within the death-care industry and that is exactly where I want to be.? Tiffany is also a competitive cyclist and enjoys outdoor activities. Connect with Tiffany on Facebook.
As we see more and more consumers choosing non-traditional locations including restaurants, churches and outdoor venues for final farewells, funeral home real estate is becoming less attractive to banks. One funeral director?s blog recently lamented how even traditionalist clients have begun to circumvent the funeral home in an effort to be frugal. If misery loves company, then funeral home owners can be consoled in watching the massive devaluation of retail commercial real estate in the past few years.
The massive shopping malls which just a few years ago symbolized choice and value, now are synonymous with high overhead and elevated prices. Today, your banker is likely to see your real estate as costly, high-maintenance ?brick and mortar? just as he saw in his banking world?a world which used to require its customers to come to the high-dollar high rise downtown, is now available at ATMs and strip mall branch banks.
What can your funeral home do to convince your banker?and your customers?that your operation is not a “brick & mortar heavy” operation?
First, unless your funeral home markets to high-end clientele, steer clear of having your funeral home appear ornate. Instead, think Wal-Mart–simple, clean and functional.
Second, remember that just as is true with the big mall, size now equates to overhead costs in the minds of both parties. If you can downplay size or improve the efficiencies of your space, do so. Finally, look for new ways to use your facility as a competitive advantage in the new death-care paradigm.
If you have other ideas to share, please share below?