DePree's Focus Real Estate

May 17, 2002
| By Katy Rent |
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HOLLAND — Careers are formed in various ways, some through a childhood dream, others through career guidance counselors and some even as the development of a hobby.

Kris DePree started buying real estate in college and hasn't stopped since.

DePree, president of Focus Properties, began buying houses in the Holland area with his brother while he was going to Hope College. "My brother didn't live in the area so I would manage all of the properties and take care of them — that was how I got interested in real estate," said DePree.

In 1987, after a couple years of dabbling in residential real estate, DePree started Focus Properties, which he now owns with Tom Postma. The company deals strictly in commercial and industrial real estate, giving the customer several options on how to acquire and manage a building.

Focus offers development options, for instance, such as building the facility to the customers' specifications and then leasing the building space to the customer. Another development option is for Focus to partner with the customer in the capital investment of the facility and then manage the property on behalf of the partnership so that financial obligations and investments returns are equitably shared.

In dealing with Focus, customers also have the option of having the company manage all aspects of the property, from tenant relations and retention to facility maintenance and enhancement.

Focus' marketing department also is available to help its customers evaluate goals and to determine the best way to accomplish them. The company's Web site states, "Our involvement goes way beyond analyzing data. We believe a Realtor's experience and willingness to develop a feel for a business can make a big difference — the difference being the ability to put a business in a place that takes advantage of a statistic, rather than a place that risks it becoming one."

It is hard to imagine that the commitment, dedication and trust Focus has built almost didn't happen.

"We thought of moving to Chicago," DePree said. "I interviewed with a large Canadian company there and my wife, an OBGYN, also interviewed. In the end we decided that Holland was enough of a big city with the good quality of life for a family and for what we wanted to do, so we stayed in the West Michigan area."

The strong industrial and commercial base DePree found in Holland and Zeeland are what has fueled Focus Properties to become one of the top 20 commercial real estate brokers in the Grand Rapids Business Journal's 2001 Book of Lists. And with three sales people and two support staff members, Focus maintains several properties in the Holland and Zeeland area.

Currently the company has five industrial spaces, 10 office spaces, six retail and commercial spaces and eight plots of vacant land up for grabs. All are advertised in what DePree calls the best way out there — signage.

"We do our advertising with Fairly Painless Advertising. In fact I think we were their first customer, and they do a great job, but the thing that works the best for us and helps people recognize us, is a simple sign in front of a property or office space. It pulls people in and makes them make the call, or check out our Web site (www.focusproperties.com)."

With added business and continued growth in the area, DePree looks forward to a successful year. With that will also come an announcement within the next week regarding what is on the horizon for the company.

Until then, DePree will continue with business as usual while also enjoying his golf and tennis games, reading a few good books and continuing his focus on his No. 1 interest: real estate.

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