Day in the Life: Commercial Real Estate Head Research Analyst

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Day in the Life: Commercial Real Estate Head Research Analyst

Since I will no longer be a senior analyst by the end of this month, I figured I'd do one of these for my current position and then do another in a month or two in order to compare and contrast. If you don't remember me, I'm this guy: Ask Me Anything: Head Research Analyst (Commercial Real Estate)

So, without further delay, here was my day yesterday:

5:30am: Wake up & check emails. The managing director (There's only one. It's THE position here, unlike at a bank. Think branch president.) has a habit of emailing things out at 2am. They aren't immediately time sensitive, but responding early in the morning is timely and makes me look good. I chug some coffee, shave, brush teeth, shower, and head out by 6:00-6:15.

6:15am: Everyone has their own routine at my brokerage firm and honestly each branch of each firm has their own culture.

Some appreciate "face time" in the office. Others don't care at all. Mine cares, the office opens at 8:30, and I have a nasty commute at the moment. Almost my entire commute is spent on my phone, either reading for fun if I have nothing else to do, watching an episode of something (shout out to Mad Men & Game of Thrones), sleeping, or far more likely - checking various sources I follow on twitter for news & market updates. I favorite the articles I want to re-visit later. Twitter is an awesome tool if you use it for that. (aka unlike how 99% of people use it.)

7:30am: Coffee round two, this time at a solid coffee shop downtown, and I'm into the office. Beat all of the administrative staff in and all of the brokers except two. I log in, spend 5-10 rummaging through facebook, linkedin, WSO, etc. and then make my return to twitter and open the articles I favorited. From these, I write a summary comprised of local news, local real estate happenings, national real estate news, and national business news highlights and email it to everyone. I also try to include relevant sports/pop culture events. This doesn't happen every day anymore - but I try to do it at least once a week. Time is the biggest commodity there is and if a broker can pull a current event out of his ass to talk to a client about without having read the paper yet because they have an early tour, my email has accomplished something. If I don't have time, I just email the articles. Throw down a protein shake for breakfast.

8:30am: The office is open and noisy. People are starting to hit the phones either to call clients or potential clients or call their admins to assign work. I get told that a potential client we pitched in NYC last week (I work at a regional office & they own property here) wants specific answers to specific questions and concerns that they have. From their questions, it is obvious they didn't read the beautifuly crafted pitch book I put together at all. Time to repackage the same information without making it too obvious.

10:30am: While repackaging, it is discovered that CoStar has NUMEROUS properties downtown classified incorrectly. (A instead of B, B instead of C, etc.) We pay a lot of money for CoStar and it...is medicre at best. Sad too, because it's capable of SO MUCH, but if the data isn't right...

Anyhow, this means that I have to individually select comparitive properties before I run analytics. Ugh.

12:00pm: Lunch time. I try to get out of the office for lunch as much as possible, either with co-workers, friends, or clients, both because it's finally gorgeous outside and because I stare at a screen all day with minimal human interaction. I'm a people person (switching to brokerage is going to be good for me) and this existence drives me crazy. Today, however, is not one of those days. I walk across the street, get a chicken wrap, and eat it at my desk.

1:30pm: The comparitive property number crunch is done, more accurate than simply taking all class B properties in the area, and the numbers reflect what we're trying to say better too. I am ecstatic. Go over this with a vp and a principal. They are awesome and the relatively informal meeting goes really well. Take down a Red Bull Total Zero and get to writing the analysis. Have to research landlord property incentives too (facade improvements, energy efficient tax breaks, etc.) to present to these guys.

3:00pm: HUGE potential client from last week that I set up a meeting with between him and my principals emails me back saying the meeting went well. Not to be dramatic, but this client would be game changing if we landed it for not only me (hello referral fees) but for my firm. It will be a very interesting couple of months. My joy overwhelms my annoyance with the young broker next to me who insists on saying "um," "uh," or "you know" at least three times a sentence when she talks on the phone and then gets frustrated and talks to herself when she hangs up. I need my own office...maybe in a year or two. Check the news for any updates to share.

3:30pm: Show principal rough draft of the write up. It's "rougher" than I would like it to be but I really don't know entirely what he's looking for. He tells me he likes it and how to organize it which is awesome because I can be more productive. I argue a bit about certain things and he argues back but it's all because we want it to be the best. We joke around after about negiotiating leases while representing opposing clients when I become a broker and I tell him I'd get him to back down. He replies "KDC," with a huge smile on his face. I have no idea what that means and I ask him if that's his version of "ABC." He replies yes and straight faces "Kill. Destroy. Consume." The smile returns and he says he would absolutely ruin me. The three letters that came to mind now were "BSD."

Side note: Having a boss you have a good rapport with is seriously the best thing ever. One time he burped and I told him he was gross. He immediately fired me in a really angry voice, waited until I got uncomfortable, and then burst out laughing. Another time he made fun of me for my low salary, which he, of course, pays. In turn, I make fun of him in front of other principals. Ridiculous haha.

I grab some coffee with a different VP that I like for about 10 minutes to talk about me becoming a broker soon. I'm ready. They know it; I know it. It's a good feeling.

5:00pm: Business is done at 5 (this isn't NYC) so brokerage "business" ends then, if not just a bit after, as well. (At least in the office. People do some work at home too.) Some brokers go home, a lot go to networking events or things like the Technology Council meetings, and some others go to happy hour. Usually I do one of the above, but not today. Today I have work.

6:00pm: The principal I work most with (the one mentioned above) and the last broker on my floor walk out. My good friend who does Investment Sales for our office downstairs comes up to see if I'm still here. We bs for a good 20 minutes then he leaves for the gym. I hit my brother, a college freshman, up about dinner. He of course jumps at the offer of free food but doesn't get off his part time job until 7:30. I could leave now, but I might as well get more done. Check the news one last time.

7:30pm: I get everything ready to go for tomorrow. We have a 10am meeting (it's not about 9:30am as I'm writing this) and I'm way ahead of the game. (Hence this blog post) Time for dinner with my brother and drinks for me. It was a solid day, although I didn't get to the gym.

Get home around 10, get to sleep around 11.

Comments (34)

May 2, 2013

Thanks. Pretty cool.

May 2, 2013
Simple As...:

Thanks. Pretty cool.

Thanks!

If there's anything that anyone wants to see me write in the future, feel free to ask. Coming up with topics is the hard part - writing is easy.

May 2, 2013
CRE:
Simple As...:

Thanks. Pretty cool.

Thanks!

If there's anything that anyone wants to see me write in the future, feel free to ask. Coming up with topics is the hard part - writing is easy.

I wouldn't mind seeing a post with a breakdown of the daily news sources you read/analyze in the morning. Specifically, maybe some RE specific sources, general market stuff and maybe some specific people/entities you follow on twitter.

May 2, 2013

3 coffees and a Red Bull for a ~12 hour day? That's rough!

xoxo

Dirk Dirkenson:

Shut up already. Your mindless, reflexive responses to any critical thought on this are tedious. You're also probably a woman, given the name and "xoxo" signoff, so maybe the lack of judgment is to be expected.

May 2, 2013
Louboutins and Leverage:

3 coffees and a Red Bull for a ~12 hour day? That's rough!

xoxo

I think it has far more to do with my level of addiction than the length of my day, hah. I wonder if they do rehab?

May 2, 2013

This is great, the amount of detail you put into describing your day, your thought process and the nature of the position is very helpful to anyone interested in this career track. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

" A recession is when other people lose their job, a depression is when you lose your job. "

May 2, 2013
The.RealDeal:

This is great, the amount of detail you put into describing your day, your thought process and the nature of the position is very helpful to anyone interested in this career track. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

Thanks man, happy to help. Trying to give the future CRE guys & girls out there the level of detail WSO and M&I give to future bankers. (Also hoping to inspire some non-brokers in CRE to take up the mantle too. Would love to hear from someone at a REIT, a REPE firm, a developer, etc.)

May 2, 2013

What is the typical background of a recent hire within the firm? Are there certifications/charters that put one potential hire above another? Have you always worked in real estate, or did you start in another asset class (i've always considered making the switch to real estate)? Many thanks in advance,

May 2, 2013
AlphaMentality:

What is the typical background of a recent hire within the firm?

Just thinking about some of the younger or newer people we have here:

2 out of college (including me)
2 people from lesser brokerage firms
1 guy from MBB
1 guy from a non-relevant sales career

AlphaMentality:

Are there certifications/charters that put one potential hire above another?

Having a real estate license is always a good thing, since it's required. Then, depending what your specialty is, there are organizations or certifications that are good as well. If you're in investments, a CCIM certificaiton and Argus modeling is good. Office or Industrial, SIOR is big time. Retail, there's some group that meets in Vegas every year.

AlphaMentality:

Have you always worked in real estate, or did you start in another asset class (i've always considered making the switch to real estate)?

I had development experience in undergrad, graduated, and networked my way into the regional office of a top brokerage firm. I can't speak to brokerage much from a career shift perspective, although the people here who did it definitely took a pay cut for 1-2 years but did it because it's a great quality of life (especially for the consulting guy) and there is tremendous upside.

AlphaMentality:

Many thanks in advance

No worries

    • 1
May 2, 2013

Great post, I've got a couple questions? What are the backgrounds of the senior employees at your office? Have they generally been with your firm for a while or were they rainmakers at smaller firms? Additionally, is it common for the more senior brokers to leave for smaller firms where they can take home more of the commission from a deal?

May 2, 2013
CRE_Banker:

Great post, I've got a couple questions?

This counts as one, just for the record.

CRE_Banker:

What are the backgrounds of the senior employees at your office?

The principals are all long-time brokers. This does not apply everywhere, and other offices, including the NYC office, have ex-bankers, ex-asset managers, etc. Here, though, they've been brokers for a long time.

CRE_Banker:

Have they generally been with your firm for a while or were they rainmakers at smaller firms?

Rainmakers at smaller firms. They left their individual firms to form their own company, caught the attention of a top brand that had left this market years ago and for some reason never came back, and joined/rebranded.

CRE_Banker:

Additionally, is it common for the more senior brokers to leave for smaller firms where they can take home more of the commission from a deal?

I wouldn't think so (outside of starting their own). Name brand matters more and more in brokerage and having that national/international network helps tremendously. As someone very accurately said in my AMA, CRE isn't the wild west anymore. There are less firms out there and the ones that remain continue to grow.

    • 1
May 2, 2013

I don't really understand what you do. Are you like a commercial real estate broker? Also how much money do you make?

May 2, 2013
STIBOR:

I don't really understand what you do. Are you like a commercial real estate broker? Also how much money do you make?

I'm a research analyst for a top brokerage firm (in the process of making a back office to front office transition). In a month or so I'll be a commercial real estate broker. Right now I'm making pitch books and playing in excel with the best of them.

Money? Not enough haha. But it'll come

May 2, 2013

what about breakfast. its important

"The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter"

May 2, 2013
OutsideMan:

what about breakfast. its important

Protein shake yesterday. (It's in the story, man!) This morning I went with the eggs & oats.

May 2, 2013

Thanks for the response - could you send me an outdated spreadsheet on some of the forecasting? I want to see how NOI dcfs compare to some of the dcfs our team works on

May 2, 2013
AlphaMentality:

Thanks for the response - could you send me an outdated spreadsheet on some of the forecasting? I want to see how NOI dcfs compare to some of the dcfs our team works on

Unfortunately, big guy, I'm not going to give anything like that out.

May 2, 2013

Hey bro,

Good job with these AMA.

Quick question. Where do you gather most of your information from? Costar is unreliable and Loopnet isn't that much better. How do you forecast trends in your market?

May 2, 2013
fez:

Hey bro,

Good job with these AMA.

Quick question. Where do you gather most of your information from? Costar is unreliable and Loopnet isn't that much better. How do you forecast trends in your market?

It's really as much of a combination approach as possible. A lot of CoStar, but I don't really use their quarterly reports (and now not even their building class classifications) and instead make my own groupings and comparative sets. Then, I try to take that data and make corrections on it based on what I know about the market and what I gather from news sources and confirming information via other brokerage firms.

Depending on what I'm looking for, I'll look stuff up via Preqin and Real Capital Analytics too, as well as my company's internal database.

May 2, 2013

Great post, just a quick question if you don't mind.

What do you like about your research position and what do you dislike which has made you want to make the transition into being a broker?

Thanks

May 2, 2013
StudentOfTheStreet:

Great post, just a quick question if you don't mind.

What do you like about your research position and what do you dislike which has made you want to make the transition into being a broker?

Thanks

I like being in the industry and I like all of the writing for pitches that I do. I suppose in a way I like looking at data and crafting a story from it and then taking that story and turning it into a strategy.

What I don't like?

1. The pay
2. Being labeled a "research person"
3. Staring at a computer all day instead of talking to people
4. The pay

May 2, 2013

I notice you shave before your shower. I find this odd.

On a serious note, great post. I'll be keeping an eye out for more material from you.

May 3, 2013
SureThing:

I notice you shave before your shower. I find this odd.

I think someone's told me that before. I like shaving then washing my face. I'm not sure why - probably just have always done it this way.

SureThing:

On a serious note, great post. I'll be keeping an eye out for more material from you.

Thanks, man

May 4, 2013

Great post and AMA! Your input is much appreciated.

What are some of the CRE related twitter accounts you follow?

May 6, 2013
sdmcarth:

Great post and AMA! Your input is much appreciated.

What are some of the CRE related twitter accounts you follow?

Thanks!

I'm going to do a twitter account post later this week. In the meantime, check out the newest blog entry: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/6-tips-for-net...

Jan 7, 2014

i'll probably get boo'ed out of here, buuuuut when do you find time for fantasy football?

Sep 30, 2015
steinbag:

i'll probably get boo'ed out of here, buuuuut when do you find time for fantasy football?

All the damn time. Get into the office early, do it between calls, lunch, etc.

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Sep 25, 2015

My fiance sent me a link to your article about commercial real estate earnings and I have been hooked since. I really appreciate everything you have done. It has truly helped me. Thanks you!

Sep 30, 2015
undefined:

My fiance sent me a link to your article about commercial real estate earnings and I have been hooked since. I really appreciate everything you have done. It has truly helped me. Thanks you!

No worries! I'm glad it was of use.

Dec 19, 2015
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Dec 20, 2015

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