Debt or Investment Sales?

Hi everyone - hope all is well. I am in the middle of pondering a pretty big decision as to whether or not to make a career jump here. I am currently working in multifamily lending at one of the agencies, and have been doing so for a little over 3 years now. My job is essentially to manage all deals that come into us from a couple of our lenders, from structuring the loan to getting it priced and dealing with any issues that occur during the process. I really do enjoy it, but feel like I am just watching the action of these transactions from the GSE world. I want to be involved in the action myself. I have an opportunity to jump ship and join one of our lender partners as an analyst. The analyst will support either the shop's debt side or the investment sales side. Obviously my background is on the debt side, but the IS side intrigues me. 

There are several parts of this situation that I am having trouble thinking about. The first being whether or not it is actually a good idea for me to leave my current position for the new one. I know that you kind of have to start out at these debt shops as an analyst, so I have figured that now might be a good time because i'm not getting any younger. I would hate to one day be a 32 year old chick with 'Analyst' in her title. But at the same time, my current situation is pretty nice. I get great benefits working at a large company - steady salary, a month of PTO every year, great data at my company, work from home flexibility (even outside of COVID), etc. I am (maybe too) comfortable here. With the new position, I would take an initial pay cut, would be working much harder, would have little time off, and would have to be in the office 5 days a week, which sounds like hell after having been WFH for almost a year. HOWEVER, the new position presents MUCH greater upside with earning potential, career growth and learning.

The second part of all of this is the debt vs investment sales component. I think IS is a bit more intriguing to me, but I have more knowledge/experience on the debt side. I would love to hear from anyone to the extent they have experience in both of these areas. 

If anyone has any insight as to how I should be thinking about all of this, I would love to hear from you. 

Comments (3)

Jan 12, 2021 - 10:51pm

My gut reaction is to give a favorite saying I've heard that applies to these situations....... Take the risk or lose the chance. 

This is what making these sort of jumps looks like, scary and uncertain, in fact, only the pain (pay cut/worse hours/etc) is certain. That said, it's not like you have a bad job either. Clearly you have a career path at the GSE, and probably not a bad one. A random question, if you take the job, hate it, do you think the GSE (or the other) would take you back? Seems like you could always go back to GSE/bank lending world (I've seen this happen several times), so I doubt this is all that risky at your level. 

The real question is, can you live with the outcome of saying no? To be fair, I really doubt this is a "once in a lifetime" type opportunity, but you said it yourself, you are not getting younger. And the 3 year mark is generally when these opportunities present themselves (3-5 years is common). Given your comment of "hate to one day be a 32 year old chick with 'Analyst' in her title" pretty much gives it away, you have to take this or will really spend a lot of time thinking "what if". 

No real feelings on debt vs IS, go with the area that interest you the most, the team/mentor that will support you the best, and just where you feel a best fit. If IS excites you and you like the team, go for it. I see no reason for you to feel compelled to stay in "debt" because you started at a GSE. Good luck!  

Jan 13, 2021 - 6:16pm

I'm an IS multifamily broker, a successful one, and here is my 2 cents... If you want to eventually go into production, my opinion from being in this business is mortgage bankers have it much, much easier than investment sales brokers. IS brokerage is a fucking grind. You're always on the hunt for new for new clients and hope they are repeat customers depending on their hold strategy. You have to do a lot more analysis from an underwriting perspective. Sales comps, rent comps, value-add scenarios, property tours, etc... Also, most IS brokers are going to be geographically restricted at their company. You have a state or region you can't go beyond. You only get paid if a sale occurs. On the other hand, a mortgage banker needs 1-3 very active clients to make seven figures. It's fucking absurd. You're brokering paper. If you're originating from a DUS, you and your competitors aren't getting better pricing than each other. At that point it's about customer service and execution. Yes, there are some nuances with how the agencies underwrite and where you can squeeze some more shekels out in proceeds with a pricing waiver or get them a slightly better rate. You take your client's budget, make some adjustment for agency criteria, throw it in the pricing grid, and then it shits out whatever they can get. Then you just hope they don't drop the deal and the inspections come back clean. You're not geographically restricted and you make money regardless whether they are purchasing or refinancing. A younger, wiser me would have become a mortgage banker. 

With all the being said, what is your end goal? Do you eventually want to buy properties and go to the ownership side? IS sales will give you much better experience. If you just want to stay in production, you can make a lot more money sitting behind your desk with occasional business meetings as a mortgage banker.

At the end of the day, either role is going to have the exact same challenge. Originating business. You need to rope in clients in what is already a fiercely competitive environment. Whichever direction you decide to go, make sure the team has a solid reputation you can piggy back on and that there is a vertical avenue to get into a production role.    

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