Advice Needed! Moving from Investment Sales to REPE?

PEREtzel's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,360

Hi all,

So I've reached a bit of a turning point in my life right now and I'd like to bounce some ideas off you more well-educated monkeys. I know this may be a bit of a read/a bit of a shot in the dark, but perhaps explaining my background will help. Also, big thanks to @re-ib-ny for his great help so far.

I'm on a great team, without a doubt the most-respected in the office (and the market), and am being exposed to a great amount of deal flow. While I know I'm still relatively new, I've always been the kind of person to already be planning my next move. And while I love being on the brokerage/investment sales side of deals, I've had a growing interest in switching over to the buy side. Actually working on the side that controls the money, instead of being just the middle man. Ideally, REPE.

I understand that many firms in REPE like to hire ex-IB guys. Coming from a top state school was not exactly ideal to be heading up the ranks at Goldman in NYC. Everyone in undergrad wanted to get into IB, but I wanted to do something different. Real estate had always appealed to me, from growing up as a kid and being exposed through my father who owns some multifamily properties. I had some prior experience in property management, and I knew that I could combine my fondness for finance/numbers with my interest in real estate.

As mentioned, I like this business and what we do does excite me, but I find myself always wondering about the kind of experiences that could be awaiting on the buyside. Additionally, there is a lot of real estate in the pipeline, I know that the real action is in a place like NYC. I've been several times, and I am always absolutely blown away by the energy and vibe of such a city. I want to be in a place that will foster that mindset. I personally equate it to studying in a frat house vs. studying in a library. If you're trying to study in a place where everyone is partying and distracting, it's tough. On the other hand, if you're studying in a place where everyone else is also studying, you're going to get shit done. I know NYC as a whole is a very competitive place to get ahead in finance/RE, but I welcome the challenge knowing that I will be living in a city I have dreamt of my entire life.

So, my questions to you are: How do you think I can best-approach to work in NYC? I obviously want to reach out to as many people as possible, but I do not want to compromise my current position. More importantly, what skills do you think I should get an edge up on to make me a better candidate for say an acquisitions or portfolio position in REPE? Also, how do you view the overall RE market in NYC in terms of jobs, deal flow, and my chances at making a successful transition? And on a non-work-related note, I can't help but be afraid that once I experience actual, day-to-day life in NYC, and not just the glamorous tourist-mindset picture I currently have of it, I might hate it. What are your opinions?

Comments (21)

Apr 20, 2015

Can it be done? Yes. Will it be difficult? Yes. The only real option you have considering you have a MSRE is to network like it's your job. While you may be working with institutional clients, it's not enough. Plenty of analyst throughout the US (with better experience) to pick from. It's going to be very tough if it's NYC or bust. Btw, doing a great job in brokerage and having your MD make a call will do almost nothing. I don't think you understand the perception that brokers have (even for place like Eastdil). Trust me on this one.

With that being said, have you considered other major cities? Atlanta and Charlotte come to mind. Get a job in one of those two cities and learn as much as possible. If you love the city and job, congrats you found your new home. If you're still set on NYC, your chances will increase exponentially. Your main focus should be getting out of brokerage, not moving to NYC. Baby steps.

Apr 20, 2015

Note, I don't have this experience that you do, but from what I am told, if you are specifically an analyst on an investment sales team, the work is transferrable to make it to a REPE firm. I received this advice from the head of the acquisitions department of a top NYC PE Firm and is part of the reason I am targeting investment sales analyst positions. The skill set is similar because the responsibilities will be similar. (Analyze deals, working with offering memos (writing them and/or analyzing them depending on the side of the table), speaking with others in the market to gather information). In this case, I would say network, apply to jobs, reach out to head hunters. Even as Fez stated, looking at other cities, will it be less competitive, maybe (probably), but you will still need to network. You might as well focus all your time on one city. It will take a few months, but research, make calls, and see who is hiring. From what I have been told, the transition is very possible. I think moving to any city will be hard because real estate is so relationship based.

Apr 20, 2015

I think its going to be difficult to make the jump to NYC REPE. Not because of the change to buy side, but because of the geographic change. I have a hard time believing someone will take a chance and hire an analyst who (probably) grew up in Florida, went to school in FL and now does brokerage in FL. You would have to be the best candidate they interviewed AND made up for the perceived risk of hiring someone who does not currently live in the city and may not know what it takes to live here. Additionally your best resource, you network, would be difficult to leverage in a move to NYC.

There are plenty of opportunities in Miami, industrial market is doing well, lodging, CBD Office is relatively strong, Miami could be a launching off point for money flowing to Cuba if the economic sanctions ease.

Never say never but I believe your network is a young RE professional's strongest and really only weapon. I think yours would be most valuable staying local.

Apr 21, 2015

Thanks to all of you guys so far for taking the time to read, I appreciate your thoughts. I know that, in terms of landing a decent position, I'll have to network my ass off and leverage any and all contacts I have. How do you guys feel about the overall lifestyle change? Naturally, Miami and So Fla are more laid back, but I often find myself missing the NYC energy and commotion. Then again, I imagine getting used to longer work weeks etc. is gonna be tough as well (we work pretty long hours as is, definitely more than any other team in the office). How do guys in NYC REPE/RE finance typically live day-to-day?

Best Response
Apr 21, 2015

I agree with everyone above about the difficulty of transitioning from inv sales to REPE in general and from FL to NYC and won't expand on that (not impossible, not easy), but don't think the grass is necessarily greener in NYC or in PE vs sales. Quick thing: I'd stay longer than 7 months before you're looking for a new gig. Try to get closer to 2 years.

I've lived in both NYC and Miami (and a bunch of other places). One thing is that your UF degrees hold much more weight in FL and the southeast overall. This isn't meant to denigrate Florida at all, it's a good school (although I'm wondering wtf my Eagles are doing with Tebow...) but NYC attracts so many people from the very top schools that your school will most likely hold you back because most top firms will have multiple resumes with Harvard, Wharton, etc sitting next to yours. Instant mountain to overcome.

The lifestyle change will be huge. Beyond the weather (and yes, getting out of the humidity from July to Sept sounds good, but getting stuck in NE winters blows considerably more than heat-you can go to the beach or the pool when it's hot in South Florida, up here you just sit inside and walk through pools of melted shit snow), NYC isn't as romantic as people like to think, especially when you're young. You will work more (and I know before you do it 80 hours/week seems like nothing big, but when you're actually doing it it's a pretty rough life, especially if you've experienced otherwise) for probably close to the same money if it's the same experience level and you'll be paying a lot more to live in a small shit can apartment. And everything, and not just the fancy stuff, costs about the same as the most popular restaurants and bars in SoBe. It may seem like Miami is full of guys with models sitting shotgun in their Ferrari's, but money in NYC is pretty freaking important, especially when you're beyond your early and mid 20's. You can make hundreds of thousands in NYC in your later 20's/30's and it's not that much at the end of the day because it's so expensive.

The general pace of life is also just hectic, especially if you didn't grow up in the NE, SF or LA. I've known more than a few people that get to cities in the NE and don't like the pace and think the people are just rude assholes, then multiply that for NYC itself. When you grow up here, that's just how people act and when people are friendly when you go down south you figure they have an angle and are going to rip you off somehow. Although Miami doesn't have the absolute friendliest people so that may not be a big change.

I wouldn't discount the whole sun and beach either. There are a lot, and I mean a lot, of NYC/Boston/Chicago/etc guys working at PE firms in their later 20's and beyond who would give their left nut to be living in Miami. Grass is always greener no matter where you are...

I also know successful investment sales guys that make as much or more than a lot of REPE guys. Yes, I suppose it would be more difficult in sales to make as much as the top guys at the top REPE's who get lots of carry on large funds, or the guys who start up their own funds, but that's a very difficult thing to do and not many people do it. Not that becoming a top investment sales guy is easy, but in NYC you have arguably the most competition in the world for those spots.

Sorry for the long post. Best of luck.

    • 2
Apr 21, 2015

It sounds like you want to do this and get back to the NYC experience. So just do it. You could make a legitimate argument that second to work experience, networking ability plays the biggest impact of any factor on your ability to get a high-quality job in this industry. Investment sales is solid prior work experience.
That being said, I think if you do this you have to move to NYC immediately and expect that you will be unemployed for six months, spending your time relentlessly trying to schedule meetings with every REPE/buyside RE professional you can get to answer a cold email or call. You can't try and manage that process from Miami. I wouldn't be surprised if it took you 4-5 months to generate any traction, but you will if you commit to it and grind through the networking for several months.

Apr 21, 2015
Ricky Rosay:

It sounds like you want to do this and get back to the NYC experience. So just do it. You could make a legitimate argument that second to work experience, networking ability plays the biggest impact of any factor on your ability to get a high-quality job in this industry. Investment sales is solid prior work experience.
That being said, I think if you do this you have to move to NYC immediately and expect that you will be unemployed for six months, spending your time relentlessly trying to schedule meetings with every REPE/buyside RE professional you can get to answer a cold email or call. You can't try and manage that process from Miami. I wouldn't be surprised if it took you 4-5 months to generate any traction, but you will if you commit to it and grind through the networking for several months.

I disagree with leaving nearly any job without another position lined up and moving to a new city to find a job, especially when there's less than one year of experience in the previous position. It can leave a big gap that needs to be explained and in this case there will be a huge question of why he left a great job in a desirable location (Miami isn't Peoria after all) after such a short time, it can take a lot longer to find a job when you don't have one and when funds start dwindling, which will happen unless there's some serious family money coming in, people tend to get desperate and take any job, not just what they were originally looking for because they need money. And NYC is an expensive place to just go without a job.

I've seen a ton of people make this mistake with far more experience and regardless if you want to stay in Miami or go to NYC, I'd highly recommend against moving there without a job.

And OP: how much is the gf going to law school up there influencing your decision? Don't leave a good job for a girl unless you're going to marry her. And figure, law school's only 3 years, she can summer down at one of the many law firms on Brickell and move back to Miami.

Apr 21, 2015

This is terrible advice. You can't tell someone to quit their job, move to NYC, and pray that someone will give him a job. You're encouraging him to sit on a huge pile of debt. Rent is expensive. Food is expensive. Drinks are expensive. Transportation isn't that cheap. Entertainment? Clothes? Student loans? You get the point. What if he can't secure a job in 6 months? Then what? Keep trying? Move back to Florida, look for a new job, and start paying off the debt?

Look OP, I am not wishing you bad. I just think you need to be smart about this. Get a buyside gig in Atlanta, kick ass, and use that experience to either get an MBA or move to NYC. Get rid of the NYC or bust mentality. Answer yourself this: why should a REPE firm hire you over the analyst from Boston who has 2 years of acquisitions experience and knows the job? What do you offer that they don't? Get experience in a new southern city if you hate Miami that much and reconsider NYC then.

    • 1
Apr 21, 2015

If you are at the top investment sales team in Miami just FYI it is very easy to guess what team you are on so you should becareful. Considering you want to stay in CRE I would definitley stick it out for at least a year because you are not going to get much better experience (Assuming its the team/company I am thinkin of) and you will get exposure to most property types. I have seen the transition from Investment sales/capital markets to REPE/REIT quite a bit and I personally think its a great place to be to eventually transition. You will build a network and constantly be talking to buyers and sellers where you can make the jump one day. I am from NYC/NJ area and I would not change jobs just to be in NYC considering you are in Miami. As previously stated you are in a major CRE market its not like you are in North Dakota. Don't move to NYC without a job as you will be paying 2K in rent minimum unless you are planning on rooming with a bunch of people.

Apr 21, 2015

DingDong nailed it in this thread.* I won't re-state what he said in different words. Make your own decision but listen to his advice. Fez is also right about not leaving a good job for a void.

I also agree with CREpath. If you're at what I consider to be the top team in Miami (or if I'm wrong, and it's a team that does even better...), you might want to stick with those guys, because they are going to absolutely murder it over the next couple years while the market is hot. Don't discount the value of that high volume transaction experience. Plus, they will be pulling in stupid fees, and your guys will start paying you once you've earned your stripes.

*(SB'd: Right down to Chip Kelly. What the fuck, Chip? You already tested the bounds of credibility further than I thought possible. How am I supposed to believe in a system that includes Tim Tebow?)

Apr 22, 2015

Thank you all for the input. While I appreciate the encouragement, I definitely would not move, especially to a place like NYC, without a job lined up. And I understand that is the main challenge. I wouldn't be moving immediately, so I'd like to assume I'd have at least a year here under my belt. I've also considered the possibility of transferring internally within my current company to an available position in NYC (which would potentially help my job-acquiring chances). Being on a top team right now is great, and you guys are right- there really is no better experience in this business. But I don't want to be a broker my entire life (and I'm SURE of that). Also, I for one am not the kind of person to take what I have for granted- I know Miami is a great city and a dream for many. But having been born here and lived here my entire life, the same "grass isn't always greener" comment could be made on my end as well. People BORN here and people who visit have VASTLY different ideas of this city. I'm young, I have no kids or anything like that. I want to take advantage of my versatility now before I settle down. And more likely than not, I may return to Miami down the line and raise a family. But that is way down the line, and I want to get a better feel for what things are like/going to be like right now.

Apr 24, 2015

Its already been said but given that real estate, more so than other industries, is so geographically focused and relationship based it doesn't seem to make sense to leave a market/network you know with the intention of eventually returning. I get expanding the network, broadening your horizons, etc. but just another thing to think about.

Apr 24, 2015

bump

May 27, 2015

Bump because this is slowly but surely becoming a life plan/goal for me at this point. What do you monkeys know about a typical day in REPE in NYC (work/culture-wise)? You guys pulling IB hours or is it drastically different?

May 29, 2015

Bump! Anyone have any input on the culture/work life?

May 29, 2015

Its varies widely from shop to shop. I'm an associate at a family run real estate company with a portfolio of ~$5B and I'm rarely in the office past 6 for most of the year but after labor day to December I'm probably in the office until 7:30-8:00 half the week.

Also I'm not sure if this is a thing outside of NYC but generally in real estate in NYC after memorial day or 4th of July most RE shops are closed after 2 or 3 in the after noon on Fridays. That goes on until labor day.

Jun 1, 2015
SHB:

Its varies widely from shop to shop. I'm an associate at a family run real estate company with a portfolio of ~$5B and I'm rarely in the office past 6 for most of the year but after labor day to December I'm probably in the office until 7:30-8:00 half the week.

Also I'm not sure if this is a thing outside of NYC but generally in real estate in NYC after memorial day or 4th of July most RE shops are closed after 2 or 3 in the after noon on Fridays. That goes on until labor day.

Thanks for the info. Do you think your hours have a lot to do with the fact that its a family-run shop and not, say, an institutional shop? I could be wrong (and hopefully so), but I doubt the Blackstones and Carlyles of the scene are walking out of the office at 2pm

Jun 1, 2015
Comment