Sunday, March 3, 2013

Informational Interview: Craig Scharton, by Elvis De Alba

Craig Scharton Informational Interview

In the world of real estate, there are many entrepreneurs that only look for these investments with the sole purpose of just making money.  There are however individuals that are quite the opposite.  People who actually care about the community, entrepreneurs like Craig Scharton.  These are entrepreneurs whose main motivator is not to make a quick buck, but rather to help the local communities and the businesses within them.
Craig Scharton was a City Councilman when he was 25 and learned about revitalization by working to bring the Tower District back to health.  Craig worked in Pleasanton and Hanford California and was elected as the first President of California Main Street, an organization representing 40 of the best revitalization organizations in the state.

Craig was the CEO of the Central Valley Business Incubator until he joined Mayor Swearengin's Administration to head up the City's Downtown Revitalization and Economic Development efforts.

Q. How did you get started in real estate investments?
Q. And do you manage the properties yourself or use a management company?

I first got started by managing both the Security Bank Building and the T.W. Patterson Building in downtown Fresno.  I found opportunity with the buildings and put together a pitch and a presentation about why it was a good value.  I then went out to look for investors until I found some.

Q. What kind of personality and/or skills are needed to be a successful real estate entrepreneur?  

·       Financial management skills.  You will need to be good at this to make informed decisions.
·        Know Quickbooks, I used it and it helped me out a lot. 
·       On the people side, Know your market, How to attract them?, What will work? Figure out a strategy to attract them, make sure you are clear at who you are marketing too.
·       You can look at as a commodity; flour is flour, but if you turn it into a tortilla now it’s worth something.  Do the same with an office space…don’t think of as a commodity, prices are always forced down.

An example:

The office spaces that I managed, I knew there strengths….small offices with great views.  I knew who to market to….I knew young attorneys would like them, the corner views.   I trained my employees to capitalize on the views…point out whenever there was a sunset or a great view outside.     
Q. What are some financing options that you would recommend?

I recommend Kickstarter, SDFI’s these have more risk, investors, Historic Tax Credits, New Market Tax Credits, EB-5 program and the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit.

Q. What do you like the most about what you do?

I like the city quality life.  The lifestyle, it’s fun.  I like helping the community and improving their downtowns.

Craig lives in a 1925 home that he is restoring in Fresno's Lowell neighborhood.  He is a backyard farmer, fly-fisherman and a Fresno State professor for Urban Entrepreneurship.

Special thanks to Craig Scharton for taking this time to meet with me and conduct this interview.

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