Acquisitions associate salary at small development/investment company

So I have an interview set up with a real estate company (development, construction, investment, management). I am wondering what salary range this job is in. The factors are:
one hour outside of major city (think allentown pa, stamford ct type place)
company is around 200 employees
projects are non residential and range from office buildings to campus buildings to downtown renovations.
revenue appears to be under 100MM
I am one year out of MBA

Any thoughts on what I should say when I get the inevitable salary question. thanks.

Comments (69)

Nov 26, 2014

80k base at the low end. High end could be 100/110k base. Bonuses are more difficult to figure as small companies have much more volatility in their earnings. I would expect 9-5 though being that far outside a city, so hourly the job is probably pretty good deal.

Nov 26, 2014

I don't think 9-5 is realistic in acq...i worked in a similar city and work ~60 hrs/week..

Nov 26, 2014

Whats your compensation like? are you an associate?

Nov 26, 2014

PM me

Nov 26, 2014

I just signed on so I dont have enough point to PM. Can you PM me? thanks.

Dec 2, 2014

...bump

Dec 7, 2014

I think you need to brace yourself for the possibility that the compensation is considerably less than you hope. I work for a medium sized owner/operator/investor with about $7B in AUM. They do not care at all about having an MBA and don't consider it when deciding compensation. Our "associate" level position (which actually hold a VP title, in acquisitions) start off at $60-70k plus a pretty small bonus (15% ish). Can earn big bonuses on deals but it is hard.

Dec 8, 2014

wow how many years of experience is that "associate" level position and in what market? seems really low..

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Dec 8, 2014

We are in NYC and that is for about 2 years of prior experience. Maybe we are atypical - well, I KNOW that we are very shrewd - but I have a feeling that a lot of private developers and owners do not pay well. Especially for acquisitions where payouts are going to be tied to bringing in and closing deals.

Dec 8, 2014

I don't think its fair for you to use your compensation as what market pay is. I think some of the misconception is people's definition of boutique firm, or what a small developer actually is.. Just because someone works at a small shop and may only have 5 other employees doesn't mean that the partners of the firm pay shitty.

I think what is more important than the size would be the prestige of the firm. Who are your sources of capital? Are they institutional investment shops?

Dec 8, 2014

Fair enough, I may be totally off-base. I do not pretend to be an expert, rather, I was just hoping to maybe rein in expectations. I am eager to see what the original poster actually gets as an offer. Fortunately, that is not MY compensation, I have been here for over 8 years and would jump off a bridge if I was still making that, lol. But I am familiar with what new hires in different departments here are getting.

As far as prestige, we are very prestigious. A lot of headlines, big deals, trophy assets. Sources of capital are entirely from our principals on about 2/3rds of our deals and the other 1/3rd are a split between other family-owned firms we often work with, and institutional guys.

Dec 8, 2014

I agree with baamboo in that real estate roles in general don't pay as much as one might think. There are of course outliers on the upper and lower end (I'm thinking his organization is a lower end outlier), but there is plenty of real estate talent available. It's a game of supply and demand and the supply of real estate talent in major markets is plentiful.

Dec 8, 2014

I'm going to guess in the $80-$90,000 range with 20% bonus. But it's hard to say--are you an Ohio State-type MBA or a Wharton-type MBA? That would give us a better understanding of what type of organization has called you in for the interview, which would impact comp considerably.

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Dec 9, 2014

Curious as to where you would put the comp OSU versus Wharton? Was your 80-90 for the non-target?

Dec 9, 2014

My # had nothing to do with where the OP went. My point was, a Wharton graduate is probably being recruited by an elite private equity firm. A graduate of a non-elite MBA program might be applying to a job via Craigslist with a non-name brand organization. That's what makes it difficult to pin down a salary range--it's difficult to tell what type of firm the OP is talking about.

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Dec 9, 2014

Just a data point instead of people who are not in acquisitions throwing around random shit.

I am a non-mba "Associate" (whatever that means) titles are too fluid to work off in RE, the hierarchy is not the same as IB. Anyways I make 100K base and ~50% bonus. I work for a private owner/developer (5B balance sheet) in NYC. I have 2 years of acquisitions experience and 2 years of leasing brokerage experience.

Those are real numbers instead of people not from the area spewing shit. But the real misnomer here is the use of a the title "Associate" you talk to 10 RE firm and what their associates do and how much responsibility they have will differ 10 times. You do the same in IB and 9 out of 10 will be the same cookie cutter position.

A better question would be to relate it to year of acquisitions experience because its very feasible a first year "associate" with no prior acquisitions experience could make 75K (all in) in their first year.

Good luck.

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Dec 10, 2014
SHB:

Just a data point instead of people who are not in acquisitions throwing around random shit.

I am a non-mba "Associate" (whatever that means) titles are too fluid to work off in RE, the hierarchy is not the same as IB. Anyways I make 100K base and ~50% bonus. I work for a private owner/developer (5B balance sheet) in NYC. I have 2 years of acquisitions experience and 2 years of leasing brokerage experience.

Those are real numbers instead of people not from the area spewing shit. But the real misnomer here is the use of a the title "Associate" you talk to 10 RE firm and what their associates do and how much responsibility they have will differ 10 times. You do the same in IB and 9 out of 10 will be the same cookie cutter position.

A better question would be to relate it to year of acquisitions experience because its very feasible a first year "associate" with no prior acquisitions experience could make 75K (all in) in their first year.

Good luck.

I'm sorry but this is such an asinine comment. You just quoted a range of $75,000 all-in (we don't know the exact experience level, just that the poster has an MBA) to $150,000 all-in because, like YOU said, the OP didn't give enough information and because the size of the company and exact role of the "associate" is difficult to pin down. And then you go on to insult people who are trying to ballpark numbers when they don't have the proper information.

How is your ballpark of $75,000 to $150,000 any better than anyone else's estimate? You said it yourself that the titles in real estate are BS and that the hierarchy shifts company to company. $75,000 to $150,000 is a reasonable range. So how in the hell is what you said more valid than anyone else? We all work in acquisitions, dispositions, Asset Management, development, and/or know those who do.

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Dec 10, 2014
DCDepository:
SHB:

Just a data point instead of people who are not in acquisitions throwing around random shit.

I am a non-mba "Associate" (whatever that means) titles are too fluid to work off in RE, the hierarchy is not the same as IB. Anyways I make 100K base and ~50% bonus. I work for a private owner/developer (5B balance sheet) in NYC. I have 2 years of acquisitions experience and 2 years of leasing brokerage experience.

Those are real numbers instead of people not from the area spewing shit. But the real misnomer here is the use of a the title "Associate" you talk to 10 RE firm and what their associates do and how much responsibility they have will differ 10 times. You do the same in IB and 9 out of 10 will be the same cookie cutter position.

A better question would be to relate it to year of acquisitions experience because its very feasible a first year "associate" with no prior acquisitions experience could make 75K (all in) in their first year.

Good luck.

I'm sorry but this is such an asinine comment. You just quoted a range of $75,000 all-in (we don't know the exact experience level, just that the poster has an MBA) to $150,000 all-in because, like YOU said, the OP didn't give enough information and because the size of the company and exact role of the "associate" is difficult to pin down. And then you go on to insult people who are trying to ballpark numbers when they don't have the proper information.

How is your ballpark of $75,000 to $150,000 any better than anyone else's estimate? You said it yourself that the titles in real estate are BS and that the hierarchy shifts company to company. $75,000 to $150,000 is a reasonable range. So how in the hell is what you said more valid than anyone else? We all work in acquisitions, dispositions, Asset Management, development, and/or know those who do.

And my comment kind of supports both of your posts. I am not "not from the area, spewing shit", I was hired 8 years ago as a Vice President of Acquisitions with a non-target MBA and 0 years of acquisitions experience for my company which had $5B on the balance sheet at that time. My role was definitely that of an Associate, however. So in agreement with DCDepository, certainly my guesses are as informed as any.

That said, my starting comp in that situation was $50k base + 20% bonus. So in support of SBH, every firm's role and compensation is different, and in support of some previous comments, my firm seems to be a very low outlier. And it was not just crappy negotiating by me, as I have seen at least 4-5 more people in that position over the past 8 years and the base number has only creeped up to $60k.

Dec 9, 2014

OP here, my degree is definitely more ohio st. than penn. That being said the VP I interviewed with is HBS so there is some strong pedigree here. But it is small. SHB, this company operates about 50 miles outside of the City. Do you think there would be a discount on comp due to being out in the swamp (jersey) or the fields (upstate) or the nothing (conn)?

Dec 10, 2014

I didn't give him a ball park. I simply said that asking what a certain title makes is irrelevant and thats the reason. Its much better than actually saying "you'll probably make 80-90 with 20% bonus" when in actuality he could make far above and far below that because "Associate" means nothing in the industry. Next time fully understand the post before replying because its clearly the most helpful one in this thread.

Dec 10, 2014
SHB:

I didn't give him a ball park. I simply said that asking what a certain title makes is irrelevant and thats the reason. Its much better than actually saying "you'll probably make 80-90 with 20% bonus" when in actuality he could make far above and far below that because "Associate" means nothing in the industry. Next time fully understand the post before replying because its clearly the most helpful one in this thread.

What's there to understand about your post? You gave a $75,000 range. You almost can't be wrong. Congratulations.

My only point is, you don't need to be insulting to other people who are trying to offer some guidance.

Dec 10, 2014

to help out I will try to add as much color as I can. As mentioned above I am non-target (like ohio st example), 1 year out of mba with 2 years pre-mba experience. Currently working at a small finanace company in the city. The job description here is a little of a "do-everything" sort, from modeling, to inspection, to development, to project management, etc... its a small shop so you do whatever is needed. Hope that helps and thanks again for all the info here.

Dec 10, 2014
barnabyjones:

to help out I will try to add as much color as I can. As mentioned above I am non-target (like ohio st example), 1 year out of mba with 2 years pre-mba experience. Currently working at a small finanace company in the city. The job description here is a little of a "do-everything" sort, from modeling, to inspection, to development, to project management, etc... its a small shop so you do whatever is needed. Hope that helps and thanks again for all the info here.

$70-90,000 with a 10-20% bonus--in that range. $77,000 all-in to let's say $110,000 all-in. I have a VERY similar job in a large market, so I'm more than capable of offering a range, thank you SHB.

Dec 10, 2014

FOR A VP of Acquisitions, 50k base + 20% bonus? that's so low i dont think i can consider that an outlier even!

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Dec 10, 2014
kmzz:

FOR A VP of Acquisitions, 50k base + 20% bonus? that's so low i dont think i can consider that an outlier even!

Basically an Associate level though, and that's why I said it COULD be as low as $60-70k base. But yeah, we are cheap.

Dec 10, 2014

Using a friend as a data point: acquisition analyst in city making $100k base with 80-120% annual bonus. That's analyst, not associate. 2 years prior CRE experience.

Dec 10, 2014

What type of firm is friend with, REPE, IB, Developer? that is definitely an IB type pay structure.

Dec 10, 2014

That's REPE. 60-80 hours per week.

Dec 12, 2014
chrisjr:

Using a friend as a data point: acquisition analyst in city making $100k base with 80-120% annual bonus. That's analyst, not associate. 2 years prior CRE experience.

I call shenanigans on this post. Sound like a bunch of BS to me. If a REPE fund is paying a fu#king analyst that type of salary they are idiots. They can get a much more experienced person for half that amount to do that work (total comp).

http://celassociates.com/prime/wp-content/uploads/...

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Dec 12, 2014
RE_AM123:
chrisjr:

Using a friend as a data point: acquisition analyst in city making $100k base with 80-120% annual bonus. That's analyst, not associate. 2 years prior CRE experience.

I call shenanigans on this post. Sound like a bunch of BS to me. If a REPE fund is paying a fu#king analyst that type of salary they are idiots. They can get a much more experienced person for half that amount to do that work (total comp).

http://celassociates.com/prime/wp-content/uploads/...

not BS, for 3rd year (so assume 2-years completion) pay, that is in line for a firm I worked/work at as well as well as a couple others I know of. LA/SF/NY REPE. People need to stop quoting the CEL Associates because RE pay is all over the board and an average doesn't do much. All firm dependent.

Dec 23, 2015

That seems really high.

Dec 10, 2014

Double comment

Dec 10, 2014

going on a tangent but still related to compensation, how does your REPE firm determine your bonus (10% to 50%)? In this market climate, its getting increasingly difficult to underwrite and close deals. A small firm may close 1 or 2 deals a year but the analyst/associate may have busted his ass and underwrote 40 deals in that year. How does your firm factor that into your bonus or is it all eat what you kill? I'm one of those people that busted ass, fortunate enough to close 2 acq loans but still only saw 10% bonus. On that regard, I think I'm under compensated.

Dec 12, 2014

I checked glassdoor and the only salaries listed are for project manager. Range 100k to 130k. This may be a stretch but do pm and acquisition associate salaries align in any way?

Dec 12, 2014
barnabyjones:

I checked glassdoor and the only salaries listed are for project manager. Range 100k to 130k. This may be a stretch but do pm and acquisition associate salaries align in any way?

There's other sources out there which have positions that are more relevant and are probably a little more accurate. CEL Associates seems decent. You can download their reports for free. That being said, I have found analyst, associate, asset manager, etc salaries at varies RE companies on Glassdoor - companies ranging from small to large PE and developers.

Dec 12, 2014

Yeah thanks, I saw that survey and the pm and aq assoc salaries line up pretty good . Just wondering if that's usually the case.

Dec 13, 2014

In my (limited) experience if a firm is paying PM 100-130 then you would be in line to request the same for a post MBA associate position.

Dec 12, 2014

I'm going to have to agree with RE_AM, seems high for no MBA and only 2 years of experience.

Dec 12, 2014

100k base + 80% + bonus potential is an outlier. but this is definitely achievable for 2 years experience. That's achievable right out of UG at top REPE shops.

Dec 14, 2014

I failed to mention that this individual has an MBA (more Wharton than Ohio State). Likely more associate-level comp with an analyst title.

I don't have the data but I had always assumed comp for acquisition positions would be similar at the major REITs like SLG, VNO and BXP. Does anyone know?

Dec 15, 2014

Any thoughts on exit opps? Ultimately want in at a NYC REPE. Would working for a small investor/developer in the exurbs kill that dream ?

Dec 15, 2014

No.

Dec 23, 2015

How was the interview? My thoughts are since its a smaller firm you will probably start in the 70's, but will have more upside potential if you prove yourself. Small RE companies need to know you are winner before betting on it.

Dec 27, 2015

While we're at it I wanted to get thoughts on my new comp and bonus. I've been at an equity shop for 2 years that placed $150mm in multifamily and $50mm in industrial development projects. All institutional quality product. I've started to present deals to investment committee and oversee underwriting and due diligence (been about 3 months). Before I was handling mainly market research with some financial analysis.

Base went up from $69k to$71k and had 5% bonus. Performance review was very strong to boot. When my new salary was presented I showed the cel associates survey and thought a $90k base with a 20% bonus was about the middle of the fairway and was shot down.

Dec 28, 2015

@Blake w Mitch and Murrary

I would say the bonus percentage seems pretty low. What city you work in because firms do take that into consideration in terms of base salary.

I graduated in 2012 and have worked with three firms. The 1st firm was in Europe and I spend roughly 11 months there. The 2nd firm was a boutique REPE firm where I spent 1.5 years and my compensation structure was a base with a deal bonus that was a % of each equity fee along with a small participation on the back end. I currently work in a REPE with a firm based in New York but helped open the West Coast office 6 months ago as an AVP. The firm has about >$10B AUM.

So this is the 1st job where I have a standard base salary with a YE discretionary bonus. After initial conversations with my firm they said to expect the bonus to be 50% to 65% of salary. This is based on a base salary in the low six figures.

Based on the feedback from people here my salary would be above average considering my experience but I think the bonus percentage is typical at most equity shops.

Dec 29, 2015

I'm in a large, but not gateway city; think Denver, Dallas, Atlanta

Best Response
Dec 28, 2015

Kids coming out of school going to elite hedge funds and trading shops don't make 200k all-in their first 2 years. That's a 3rd-year salary. And like Vtech said, real estate does not usually pay well compared to other asset classes.

The only way I'd believe that is if "out of school" meant your MBA, not undergrad.

I've been in this game long enough to understand how the compensation structure works across finance. It's an exponential step function. Meaning early on you might make good money, but to make the jump from 100k to 400k to 1M comes with a specific promotion. No one does these bullshit incremental increases of 25k-50k every year...they will keep you at the 100-150k range for a few years, then when you hit close to 30 you'll get that bump to 200-300k. Then when you hit your 40s, and you're still killing it, you might make 500k+. 50s, when you head up the group, then you crack a million. The key point being is that salary increases are associated with major PROMOTIONS, they don't happen b/c of tenure and # of years worked. If companies just handed out 200 g's to undergrads who haven't proven shit....I'd be pissed off if I was their shareholder.

Lot of people might think my #s here are low - that's because I'm not making shit up. Young WSOers probably get the false impression that it's trivial to make half a mil, it's not by a long shot.

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Dec 29, 2015

Thank you for knowing what you're talking about. Seriously.

Mar 26, 2018

Old thread, but I know a guy who worked in Leveraged Finance for 1 year at a big bank and was offered $200k all-in at the start of his 2nd year at a buy-side fund. Wasn't even a Mega-fund like Ares or Apollo. Nobody here has even heard of it. The offer was only a year after the sigan's post was made

Edit: some people just can't handle the truth ;)

Fuckin my way thru nyc one chick at a time

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Mar 26, 2018

Gotta love when you get monkey shit for providing accurate info that is 100% verifiable by glass door and WSO salary data. Sigan's Post from 2015 has some truth to it, but he makes the mistake of speaking in absolutes. Saying that people at elite hedge funds don't make $200k after 2 years is just false. The person I was talking about got $100 base, 90 bonus, and 10 signing bonus after just one year at a Bulge bracket bank.

Using your age and experience as defense for your data points is just silly. A freshman in college could know for a fact what his older brother makes at xyz hedge fund, but his data point is invalid because he hasn't worked in finance for 5 years? Please.

Fuckin my way thru nyc one chick at a time

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Dec 29, 2015

@Blake w Mitch and Murrary

Yeah I would say the bonus % is pretty low. But I will PM you definitely would love to get hear more about your firm and see what you guys are working on.

Mar 27, 2018

I can share a bit of my experience. in 2014, I worked at IBH Capital (a midsize investment company) as an Acquisitions Associate. My initial salary was $75K base + $10K bonus.
After two years at IBH Capital, I got an offer from HIG for $90K base + bonus. This is why it's hard to estimate a salary range, because every company has its own compensation structure.

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Apr 18, 2018
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Mar 27, 2018
Jun 10, 2018