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My Best Investment So Far: Real Estate

Article-My Best Investment So Far: Real Estate

Looking back at a plastic surgery practice of over 20 years, my best investment has been the purchase of an office building. And while this purchase may sound easy, it took a variety of factors all aligning in the right direction with the right motivation and mindset for me to ultimately take the plunge.

During the heart of COVID-19, while the world was seemingly coming to an end, so was the lease on my office, and I had a decision to make. I could continue my lease and pay someone else for my space or I could take the eventual steps that I had been looking forward to for years and buy my own building. I chose the latter.

It was not easy. I was outbid on the first property with a cash offer that was well over asking price and at a level that I simply could not justify. I kept looking at other spaces and while some had potential, none had all the moving parts that I was looking for. Until I found my current building. The space had been purchased by a real estate investor who clearly had run out of funding. A few changes had been made to what was really an open shell, but the rest was a blank canvas. I made an offer which was accepted, hired an architect and a general contractor. I literally built the office of my dreams.

It is challenging to relay all of the opportunities that this opened up for myself, my practice, my team and my patients, but some are:

Ability to control square footage:

In my past offices, I essentially had to retrofit the office to meet my needs but never really was able to accomplish all my goals. This space allowed me to build out an inoffice surgical suite for minor procedures, a board room for meetings and teaching events, and an overall flow that was both elegant and functional.

Ability to control my brand:

As a business owner like you, I have built a brand. Nothing represents that brand better than an office suite that is fully designed to capture the look and feel of the brand promise. The office was designed with a ‘form follows function’ mindset which created flow within a relatively small space (3,600 sq ft). Within this space, I inserted various details which provided for both form and function such as Smart Glass. This technology allows me to literally turn opaque glass walls into clear glass with the push of a button on my iPhone. Most importantly, this simple addition now allows me to create a more spacious appearance during training sessions and events by literally opening up rooms for viewing from the hallway. I use this technique during injectable teaching sessions to enhance flow from one training room to another as needed but also to create a more private space (within the boardroom) during didactics.

 Ability to create an experience for my patients:

In today’s competitive world, patients are looking for excellence not only in results but also in their experience. I addressed this in my office in two ways. First, I created a space that was elegant but inviting. With plasma screens in virtually every room, patients are greeted with information about the practice interspersed with my own travel photography. This creates an environment where patients are educated as well as entertained. Next, with the creation of an in-office surgical suite, I created a space that was functional as well as inviting and certainly more comforting than the typical operating room. With this, I have also been able to capture lost revenue on procedures previously performed in a surgery center but now safely performed in my office. I also have gained the ability to schedule procedures more easily by bypassing the surgery center’s congested OR time.

But with all these benefits of ownership, the most important has been pride of ownership. Owning my own building has afforded me the ability to better control the look and feel of what I do, how my practice is viewed by my patients, but also the ability to know that at the end of the day I am writing a check to myself for the rent. And that, is a wonderful feeling.

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