Roger Rebman Named Power Broker by CoStar

Roger Rebman
Rebman Properties

Although he hails from Nebraska, Roger Rebman long ago attained “native status” in his adopted home of Florida. And, after 21 years serving industrial real estate clients at the crossroads of the Sunshine State, he knows what it takes to be successful: work hard, find good clients and establish relationships that lead to multiple assignments or transactions. “You can’t just coast in this business,” Rebman said. “You have to go the extra mile, or you won’t get asked again.”

Even after all his years in the business, Rebman said he was still amazed at the pace of growth. “Everything has mushroomed - industrial, residential - there’s just been a ton of growth, and the distribution market grows right along with it,” he said.

Fiercely independent, Rebman has had to re-invent his business several times over the years to remain competitive. “We don’t do much landlord representation any more,” he said. “Years ago, that was our main source of revenue. Now we focus almost exclusively on representing buyers and tenants and helping developers acquire tracts of undeveloped land for industrial parks.”

One reason for the change was the REITs and institutional players that started investing in Orlando in the late 1990s. “That helped put us on the map, but it also hurt a lot of smaller brokers,” explained Rebman. “When the REITs outsource business, many of them feel they have to use one of the big national companies, or they already have listing agreements in place. That makes it challenging for a small, single-market firm, like ours.” Was he ever tempted to affiliate with one of the big names? “Oh, we’ve been asked a couple times over the years, but we never have, and I don’t think we ever will. “The folks here just don’t want to be part of a big corporate organization.”

Years ago, Rebman directed an industrial development fund in Traverse City, MI. “Over time, we managed to create a thriving industrial base in Traverse City,” he said proudly. That’s when he decided to make it a career. “I really enjoyed everything about industrial real estate: trucks and planes, ships and trains, freezers and cranes.” But living along the shores of Lake Michigan had its drawbacks.

“One day, my wife came to me and said, ‘Roger, I’ve made a decision,’” recalled Rebman. “‘The kids and I are moving to Florida for the winter. I hope you can join us for a few weeks each month.’ The next thing I knew, we were living here! I still tell her that was the best decision she ever made.”

CoStar Advisor
Volume 5, Issue 4