Laid Off - Multifamily Acquisitions Help

Hi all, was recently laid off from my Director of Acquisitions role (along with my team). Grew my firm from $300mm to $1.6B AUM in about 3 years, the firm laid off my team and another dept to focus on Asset Management and conserve overhead to get through this bottom cycle. They are not planning on doing acquisitions for another 2 years or so. 

It's a tough job market for multi acquisitions (obviously), but I have all the relationships, positive references, and deal experience you would need throughout the Southeast US. I have taken trips to LA and Florida for final round panels/interview with CEO's/etc. and just haven't gotten over the hump. (I am 27, and these positions were VP level and I feel I'm missing out due to lack of experience compared with other candidates) I've talked to probably 30 or so groups and majority of firms are in pause mode or I just haven't been selected as that final candidate in the VP level. It is very discouraging.

So far I have:

  • Contacted majority of investment sales broker/debt provider/seller contacts that I've executed deals with and asked for recommendations.

  • Attended networking meetings in my local market

  • Cold emailed or LinkedIn cold outreached to head acq reps for the top 50 NMHC list and top 100 PERE list

  • Searched and networked with recruiters in the space

  • Met for coffee/lunch with major players in my market


All feedback from groups have been positive but very little groups are actively hiring/looking, and the ones that are have been large institutional shops where I'm at a disadvantage given my lack of experience compared to other candidates. I have 1 offer but not from a group I'm excited about. 


What would you be doing differently if you were in my situation? I feel like I'm running out of options a bit. I'm even becoming open to going down title-wise and being an Associate at a well respected firm, but even those options are slim. Anything else I should be doing?

 
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Majority are in pause mode, but no offense at 27 I see the Director title as kinda bs and an inflated title over 3 years.

I'm 28 and 99% of people I know are Associates or even still Senior Analysts. Seems you're getting traction, I'm in the same place looking but have had the most success at Associate and Senior Analyst level roles.

VP+ they will see 3 years of experience and not take it serious in my mind. That's like 2 years of analyst experience and 1 year of Associate, so maybe target Associate level roles.

It's also the market, have been looking for 4-5 months and know many people who were looking for 10-12 months or are still looking in that time frame. Many have moved home, gone back to their home country, taken any job they could. Others were hired a year ago and have since been laid off.

It's very competitive as you said, it will just take time unfortunately. Others have left the industry and I am considering doing that to have a job and in my mind not waste another potentially 6-12 months waiting for the market to turn and things to open back up. Many people were laid off on the early 2000s and 2008 (Barry Sternlicht), so I wouldn't worry but seems it will take a good amount of time to find something.

 

No offense taken, I know that the lack of experience is the main thing holding back from the VP level opportunities so far. To be fair, I started at 22 as an analyst and then promoted after 1.5 years to associate at another firm and got fortunate with a quick move to my previous firm at director level so really it's ~5 years of experience but no question the age and lack of experience is there.

Appreciate you sharing where you're at - and like you said things will turn back around. I've started looking at AM roles, seem to be more out there at least in the short term. Best of luck to you. 

 

That's fair, thanks for the background. Would you lower your title to senior associate for some roles that are associate level?

Seems in general there are many senior applicants (VP+) that are willing to take a lower role so even Associate level is tough. That combined with the fact graduation is this month means there's tons of Analyst level applicants as well. It's a shit show especially in NYC and the Southeast. 

Hopefully there's good news mid June on inflation and things start moving again, seems were still in early innings of distress now.

 

Seems like I'll most likely have to take a title decrease/comp decrease in the short term. Agreed on the willingness of people to take a title decrease given the state of things. Once transactions open back up though, there should be opportunities for those who focus on the network in their region during the down periods.

 

I was at $150K base, no carry but heavier on cash bonuses. Usually between $250K-$350K total comp per year.

The ranges for new positions I’m talking to are in the $150K-$200K base range and 20-30% bonus with some carry. 

 

So I guess a few thoughts. How many people were above you that people may attribute the growth to instead? What is the rep of your company that you're leaving? As an extreme example (and not a company in your region), say you were at Tides. No one is going to give you credit for growing your business by overspending. If you've grown the company to $1.6B but people value your portfolio at $1.2B then it doesn't help. Finally though, if you're sourcing deals, you're likely a higher expense to the P&L especially if the company isn't putting money out yet so that's really what's holding you back. Your broker references are going to be most impactful in the market that they're located in so maybe focus on that area (assuming you want to stay?)

 

Sure, all good questions/points. Not in a scenario where the company I was with has a real negative reputation, like some syndicators out there. So that's good. And Director level was right below the Partner level, so had a lot of autonomy and direct engagement/main point of contact with brokers/sellers/etc. Broker references have been the most fruitful avenue thus far, definitely.

Honestly, despite all the positive references/etc. I have kind of resigned myself to the fact I may need to push hard to work at an associate/senior associate level at a well established shop, continue building and maintaining connections, and make the ideal jump to VP/lead acq role when things are back swinging. That being said I do have one offer at the director level, just not at a company I'm excited about, and probably 1 or 2 more opportunities that may/may not lead to something (probably not, based on how things have gone thus far). I think you kind of have to take what you're given in times like these, and forget about the nice consistent upward career growth path you plan out in your head.

 

Wow. That thread is eye-opening/scary - but comforting in a weird way in that it really is what everyone is experiencing. Appreciate the share and best of luck to you, I'm sure we'll figure it out.

 

Going to be very candid here. If you were recently laid off after having grown the firm from $300MM to $1.6B in 3 years - I'm assuming those 3 years were 2021-2023 - mostly the apex of the market. Given your firm has laid off the entire acquisitions team, that tells me your team bought a lot of deals that are now underwater and the firm is now trying to stay afloat until they can get out without losing their shirt - hence why they have no plans to buy anything for the next 2+ years.

This may or may not be the case, but as someone doing the hiring, I'd be looking at your deal sheet, pulling the sales data off of Costar and looking at the probable valuation of those deals today.

 

Very fair, we bought a lot in 2021. But we bought newer/high quality deals with primarily fixed rate debt - the main reason for pause is company ownership/partnership changes which impacted their equity capabilities. But no question there have been a lot of those types of conversations around the timing of their growth with groups I've been interviewing with.

 

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