McQuaid Commercial Real Estate Brokers

Specialty: Apartment building sales
Management: Michael McQuaid, owner
Founded: 2007
Headquarters: Seattle
Current projects: Sale of the 72-unit Watermarke apartments in West Seattle to Mastro Properties, which converted it to condos now called West Water; sale of the 46-unit Olympus apartments in Lynnwood to Lime Hill LLC; sale of 26-unit Northwind Apartments in North Seattle


McQuaid Commercial Real Estate Brokers’ office near Seattle Center has the feel of a Wall Street trading floor. That’s by design.

Michael McQuaid, who launched the apartment brokerage firm in May, said having agents in the open is more conducive to sharing market information than with them working in cubicles, which is traditional. His approach leads to better client service, he said.

The firm at 400 Roy St. is open in other ways, too, he said.

Traditionally, brokerage companies have given the public just enough information about properties to get them to call, said McQuaid, the former CEO and a founding partner of Paragon Real Estate Advisors. That might include the address, number of units, price and a limited description.

‘I don’t think incomes have gone up commensurate with rents.’

McQuaid’s company offers the complete marketing package, including rent and sale comparables and the financial summary. This eliminates prospective clients’ frustration at being unable to access the data, he said.

“What I am suggesting is it’s not the data that’s why you use us,” he said. “We add value through representation.”

Client centric

McQuaid started Paragon in 1995 with seven other agents from Marcus & Millichap, where he worked for eight years selling Puget Sound region apartment buildings.

He said he had 12 good years at Paragon, but wanted to “take it up a notch” with his new firm. It’s client-centric, he said.

Photo courtesy of McQuaid Commercial Real Estate Brokers
McQuaid Commercial Real Estate Brokers sold the 72-unit Watermarke apartments in West Seattle for $13.25 million to Mastro Properties.

“A lot of times it means we don’t do a transaction,” if it’s not in the client’s best interests, he said.

The firm also aims for repeat business by keeping a file on each of the client’s transactions, including title and soils reports and settlement statements, he said.

“Clients lose stuff. They’re busy,” said McQuaid. So when they need this information, they can call his firm. “Forever I am tied to that property data and them,” he said.

More specialists?

McQuaid said the industry is changing. As the market becomes more complex, brokers need to specialize in particular areas, such as apartments, office or industrial, he said.

“I think that brokers will try to fight that, but I think that clients will insist on that,” he said.

On another front, McQuaid said as apartment rents continue to rise locally and become a bigger portion of tenants’ income, some won’t be able to pay. Owners’ credit losses will go up, he said.

In the Northwest, traditionally people have been expected to make three times their rent in salary, he said. That’s getting harder to do.

“I don’t think incomes have gone up commensurate with rents,” he said.

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