Analyst debt/lending at top CRE firm - 2018

stev0026's picture
Rank: Baboon | 159

Hello all,

I'm an avid reader of WSO and this is my first post. I have currently accepted a position at a top CRE firm in their multifamily capital markets group as a debt analyst and will be working with Fannie, Freddie, FHA, etc. mortgage products for multifamily portfolios.

I am wondering what are the potential exit opportunities for this position? I am excited for this new job and plan on staying in the company if the career move is right, and have interests in remaining in debt placement, acquisitions/REPE, as well as REIB but I do not know much about that. I am also open to more finance structured positions at a CRE/investment firm.

Should also mention that I plan on moving to NYC in 2-3 years after I gain the proper experience to look for other work.

Any advice is much appreciated!!

Comments (14)

Mar 6, 2018

A move to REPE / debt fund are both possible. Moving to one of the more risky/exciting debt funds would be easier than moving to an opportunistic PE fund. Interviews with decent NYC firms are tough to come by - I've found it much easier to interview in the same city that you're currently located in or really just any other major market that isn't NYC ie DC, LA, Dallas.

Fannie/Freddie can be pretty restrictive in what they'll allow in their deals and that may frustrate you initially since a lot of deals will be fairly vanilla. Don't worry about that or start thinking about exit ops too early. Stick with it and learn as much as possible

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Jan 9, 2018

Thank you for the advice. Are you still interviewing or have you found a new gig? And if so, how has that been going? The shop I'll be working for more than likely could transfer myself to NY so I am not entirely worried on that aspect quite yet.

I'll be with DUS lender at a top shop and want to learn the ropes of multifamily, but do you think it is feasible to move to other asset types in debt placement after a couple years of learning MF? I think I want to stay in debt financing as there is usually always a need for it but would like to broaden my knowledge after some time.

Mar 6, 2018

Haven't found a new gig - I'm waiting til the 1 year mark to start looking again. I only have a years more experience than you do, so keep in mind my knowledge isn't much better than yours.

Yes its entirely possible but it depends on the firm. You should probably go for companies that have some overlap with what you're currently doing. For example, I wouldn't apply for a job at Mall REIT. I would however apply for a job at a REIT that invests in multifamily, office and retail. Or a private equity fund that invests in multifamily and industrial properties. You get the point.

Also, if you really want to switch an industrial/office PE in a year you can go after it through networking, taking online courses or courses at your local college, completing ARGUS training etc. Real estate doesn't have a defined path.

Jan 10, 2018

If you have aspirations to broaden your remit and work on other asset classes, make a move as soon as you possibly can. Pigeonholing is real and an absolute pain in the ass.

I come from a multifamily IS background and I managed to make it out into a REPE/REIM firm that invests in various asset classes and strategies. However, I was looking for the best part of a year, probably more. Despite my insistence, recruiters kept sending me multifamily opportunities and many refused to send my CV to openings they had. I can count the commercial-focused interviews I had on one hand while I lose count of the numerous multifamily opportunities that were pitched my way.

There is nothing wrong with multifamily and it can be incredibly lucrative. For me however, I wasn't content with becoming a multifamily specialist and I wanted to explore other asset classes. My advice is to always consider your career goals and position yourself in such a way that makes your goals easy/easier to achieve. Crucially, don't get too comfortable in your current role - before you know it, you'll have clocked up a year or two on your resume and people will start to pigeonhole you. If you love multifamily, then great, this isn't an issue but if you want to move out, the longer you wait the harder it'll get.

Jan 9, 2018

I've had the opposite experience on Fannie/Freddie deals. I'm blown away at how tough of a deal they will do. You can practically be fresh out of a BK and get an agency loan.

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Jan 9, 2018

Don't mean to hijack this thread but I'm considering working in debt placement at a top shop however the team is specialized in LIHTC affordable housing, does the lihtc specialization limit exit ops?

Jan 9, 2018

@OnlineMoniker I would read what lolcakes posted above. It seems logical and quite true after doing some more research

Jan 10, 2018

Hi, dont have an answer to your question, but will you be kind enough to tell me what were the questions asked at the interview- behavorial and technical questions. I will be interviewing for a very similar role, would really appreciate your help, thank you!!

Jan 9, 2018

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I did not traditional interview process. I was recruited on LinkedIn by a member of the hiring team at the firm I am joining. Although, he did ask some basic preliminary questions I can mention. Like: what do you do in your current role, why are you looking for other employment, why (company name) vs. others, why commercial real estate, etc. I'm sure you've been through this at least a few times.

Other than that, I did not formally have an interview. I met the portfolio manager at his hotel when he happened to be in my city inspecting his portfolio's properties and it was very informal (I guess this was my "interview"). He spoke more about himself and his path to his current role, and the position I would have at the firm. HR later called me and had basically the same questions as the recruiter when he initially contacted me, but nothing technical or behavioral.

It should also be noted that I personally know the head of the company at that location, which probably had a large factor. So, if you do not have any connections at the firm, I would suggest to look for similar posts that relate to your question because I know there are a lot on here. But if this is at a major brokerage firm, the interview questions are basic and they might have you do a DCF through Excel or Argus to see what you know. Other than that, standard interview questions/process - I have interviewed with several in the past.

Jan 9, 2018

You'll probably be given a case study and be asked to build a rough model

Mar 6, 2018
Jan 9, 2018

The hours are not too bad... around 40-50 depending on the week and how well you prioritize your time, as well as deal flow. Compensation at my place is a little lower than market from what I have been seeing (I'm in a HFF/JLL/CBRE capital markets group). But it is still good pay for someone who is 1 year or so out of school.

The bonus structure will also vary from firm to firm, but at mine, I know there is a end of year bonus which is between 10-15% and also a performance bonus that is not guaranteed. I would imagine at the agencies (Fannie, Freddie, HUD) the bonuses will probably be higher.