Dream Jobs in CRE

I have been in the CRE industry with a top brokerage firm (CBRE, CW, JLL) for almost 2 years now as an analyst and I wanted to see what type of positions are most sought after in this industry. Brokers seem to have it pretty good (so long as they are decent) in terms of work/life balance and making good money, but it seems like a long and difficult road to get to that point.

It appears most people on this forum aim for REPE/REIT acquisitions and/or development. I know everyone has different goals but I just wanted to see which roles, in particular, are most sought after and why.

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Comments (56)

Most Helpful
Mar 1, 2019

It seems development roles/acquisitions roles, especially acquisitions roles for a mega fund are the most sought after. You learn good skills that set you up for big $ and provide options. associates with 2 years of good experience clear $200K+ at megafunds and have good deal flow. It seems many start as an analyst on a good brokerage team and lateral to a megafund, or start at REIB and lateral to a megafund, or if the dynamics are right, get to a megafund straight out of school. On the development side, comp is all over the place, but it just comes down to preference, whether you are interested in focusing on single projects in development, or a shorter attention span on the acquisition side.... I have been in both and the skill set learned is great both ways.

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Mar 1, 2019

I would agree with this. +1

Mar 1, 2019

Which megafund hires investment sales analysts? Carlyle is the only one I've seen do it and even that was somewhat of a one-off thing

Investment Sales --> REPE / development is very common

Investment Sales --> megafund REPE almost unheard of

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Mar 2, 2019

Ur annoying face is still here? Thought u got banned? Ah I see you made a new account. Clever for an "Investment Banker". I'm really impressed by your eager to be a pain in the ass troll on a public forum that's meant to help people. Ur a special kid, not in a good way. Anyways hope ur having fun living in your own sad little lie.

Oh and it's not uncommon to go Investment Sales to "megafund" REPE. I'm one of them :D. Oh and also, banking is not even cool anymore bro, its for the tech rejects last I heard hahh.

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Mar 1, 2019

Just checked this guys post history. He's at Bellwether Asset Management which is basically Oaktree Capital's middle office / reporting function. You do some asset management and reporting work for them and they pay first years 65k base.

Telling people you work for Oaktree is basically a lie

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Mar 2, 2019

Ah. I see what you did there, you clicked on my profile, saw a thread I made asking about Bellwether AM, as they had reached out to me at the time, and assumed I work there. That pretty clever for a "IBer"! I don't think anyone in real estate would be able to figure that out!!!

But oops, I don't work there, so why don't you take your superior intelligence to try and figure out where I work again?

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Mar 1, 2019

Why don't you just say what you do? You didn't go from investment sales to Starwood's opportunity fund. Maybe you could technically work at a megafund if you worked at Starwood's CMBS office, or Blackstone's real Estate debt arm, etc. But you're not working at a mega funds opportunity / equity fund

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Mar 2, 2019

Oh no, somebody is butthurt because a "dumb" Investment Sales guy like me end up with an buyside job at a big fund. Crunching fake numbers into a god damn screen isnt that hard Einstein. It's a people business, not rocket science.

Oh and feel free to inbox me your resume when you want to get out of that sad 100 hour week job and do some cool RE deals. Once you're done jerking off at your Elite College, you'll probly be able to get a job as a slave at Stifel or some shit bank now that all the "smart" people go to Sillicon Valley, or real estate?! :D

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Mar 1, 2019

I'm not gonna send you my resume - I have no desire to work at AIG or prudential LOL

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Mar 1, 2019

It's not letting me edit my comment, but just FYI. Investment sales analysts get hired all the time at large REPE funds. No doubt.

But they don't get hired at mega funds (Apollo, TPG, Ares NYC office, Fortress again excluding cities like Dallas, Blackstone)

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Funniest
Mar 4, 2019
money.monkey:

Once you're done jerking off at your Elite College, you'll probly be able to get a job as a slave at Stifel or some shit bank now that all the "smart" people go to Sillicon Valley, or real estate?! :D

He doesn't even work at a Stifel or other shit tier bank. He works at some backwater boutique or satellite office shitting out pitchbooks for lower middle-market gynecology center deals. If you need to buy any $5.0MM to $10.0MM late-term abortion clinics or Class-C suburban granny farms then @EliteStudent12 is your dude.

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Mar 1, 2019

edit... Misread your post. Thought you were asking us what our dream jobs were.

Mar 1, 2019

On average, acquisitions is most sought after and highest paying.

Mar 11, 2019

Let's not forget that the higher pay in acquisitions comes with higher volatility. As soon as there is a downturn and new deal liquidity dries up, younger acquisition folks are the first out.

Mar 4, 2019

I'm completely speaking out of my ass on this, but I think a lot of the career risk in acquisitions can be mitigated by making sure you're picky about who you work for. When I was interviewing I asked a lot of questions about the capital base, portfolio leverage, etc. These were important questions to me, because one, discretionary capital and a diverse base was incredible important to me, and two, I don't want to work for someone who is levered up to their eyeballs and is likely going to go Chapter 7 or experience a cash crunch in a downturn. If you're working for a firm that is not well capitalized (in size and breadth), and/or levered above 70%, then there is some room for concern. Extra concerned if your shop focuses on value-add deals and doesn't have a core portfolio of cash flowing assets or a strong service providing arm (property management). I'd be VERY concerned if I worked for a firm that levered up to 75%, had a non-discretionary capital base, and had one programmatic JV relationship.

Mar 3, 2019

While I was working in REPE acquisitions, I called a developer we had a JV with around 11am in the morning. His wife picks up the phone says he's taking a shower, he'll get back to me.

I wanted to be him at that moment. More because he worked for himself and used OPM to create great places to live and work.

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Mar 4, 2019
CREchimp:

It appears most people on this forum aim for REPE/REIT acquisitions and/or development. I know everyone has different goals but I just wanted to see which roles in particular are most sought after and why.

Weird thread title, no?

The goal of anyone in real estate should be to run your own shop or run someone else's shop (large REPE fund or public REIT). You'll never make it big while working for someone else. What kind of shop you run matters a bit less and is more geared toward interests and abilities.

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Mar 4, 2019

While mega funds get a lot of love here the amount of internal and external bureaucracy at those firms along with having to answer to institutional investors every 5 minutes could feel like major road blocks to actually getting deals done.

I'd much rather head acquisitions for a private family office where the capital truly is fully discretionary and the amount of people you need to answer to is infinitely smaller.

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Mar 5, 2019
REPE8:

While mega funds get a lot of love here the amount of internal and external bureaucracy at those firms along with having to answer to institutional investors every 5 minutes could feel like major road blocks to actually getting deals done.

I'd much rather head acquisitions for a private family office where the capital truly is fully discretionary and the amount of people you need to answer to is infinitely smaller.

Accurate. I worked in acquisitions for a little over a year at a smallish, multifamily-focused GP with tremendous deal volume. Wanted to work for a true REPE LP to learn other property types and have institutional pedigree on my resume, so I made the jump 1.5 years ago. While I've learned a ton and have worked on really interesting deals, the internal and external bureaucracy is mind-boggling. I'm planning on staying another year or so to further my investment skills before moving back to a more entrepreneurial GP or developer.

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Mar 5, 2019

Given what you know now, are you glad you made the jump to the LP? Did you get what you wanted out of the opportunity, or do you wish you stayed at the GP?

Mar 18, 2019

This. I just jumped over to an LP family office specializing in development equity capitalization with institutional backing. I have loved the experience so much thus far - flat structure, super casual culture, and tons of entrepreneurial/creative opportunity. I built our new pro forma template, pitched a new asset class to invest in and have full support, and get to spend a good deal of time on originating new opportunities. Only drawback is a high yield target - we seek net IRR's to the fund (net of our AUM fees) of 15-18% which is getting really really tough...

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Mar 4, 2019

My dream job would be working for an entrepreneurial development company while being directly mentored by whoever runs the show. Also consider AvalonBay / Toll Brothers City Living because there are tons of alums from these shops that run their own very successful development firms. Great deal flow, process-oriented, and they get great buildings built. Heck, I'd even consider moving markets to work at Terwilliger Pappas just to learn how the legend does it.

Megafund analyst sounds cool when you're in your early-to-mid twenties, but then you realize it's up or out and you're probably not Jon Gray, so you'd better have a good plan. It's a great place to start, maybe even the best because of the stamp of approval on your resume. Plus, on the off chance you are that good, you're making 30mil+ per year some day.

Personally, I'd rather deal with the politics of getting projects approved rather than the internal politics of making Principal or Managing Director at a MF. I've found office politics to drain me far more than anything else I've dealt with professionally.

Eastdil carries weight, as does Harmon's team at CW. I'm sure those folks can transition into megafund repe, but those IS analyst jobs are few and far between. I don't think people understand how much weight Harmon and March carry in the industry. One call and you're on whatever team they want you to be on (somewhat hyperbolic, but not far off).

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Mar 4, 2019

My dream job is to email my property manager from my iPad while on a beach somewhere sipping the fruitiest rum-drink I can find asking if they've collected the rent checks yet from my numerous income properties.

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Mar 8, 2019

i have a friend like this, owns rental property in NZ, travels all the time and lives on the cheap

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

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Mar 8, 2019

Hell yeah I don't even work in RE (wanted to but didn't pan out) and that is the goal.

Mar 5, 2019

Dream job - hourly-paid unionized building engineer. Change lightbulbs and get OT at $40 an hour. Give 0 fucks because you'll never get fired, chill in corner office with no windows watching netflix on your iPad.

Mar 5, 2019

That's far from dream job if you want a unionize career

You can get paid $250+ OT doing nothing as track engineer for DC metro

Mar 5, 2019

Are the engineers union as well? I thought just the tech's were. Plus, you've got the downside of DC metro catching on fire, derailing, and possibly having bad karma if someone dies.

As a metro engineer, you have accountability since people bitch all day on Facebook about you and people walk by giving mean looks. You also have to do actual work in rough conditions. As a building engineer, you get to chill in class-A office spaces in AC.

Mar 5, 2019

Interviewed with a small NYC developer a year or so back. Met with a VP and he was telling me about the culture. He was telling me about the owner and how sometimes he comes in normal time at 8-9am, sometimes noon, sometimes 3pm or even starts his day at 10pm, or..doesn't come in at all.

Sounds nice.

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Mar 6, 2019

For me my dream is working at a large institutional investor, either debt or equity. Luckily I'm starting a new role soon that is just that!

Currently I'm at a very small REPE/development firm, and there are many downsides relative to big firms:
- Limited number of projects so something going wrong in one of those can drag the whole firm down. Bigger firms have more different projects at different stages of their life-cycle
- You have to deal with tons of admin in small firms. I've even been dealing with invoice payments while as what I really want to do is look at investments. Inevitably it ends up taking up a big chunk of your time and boring you to death. In bigger firms there are separate people to perform this admin stuff, leaving you to concentrate on the more interesting bits.
- In small firms, your bonus/comp is often heavily influenced by the mood of the owner which isn't necessarily aligned to how you or the firm has been performing in the past year. At least in a big firm there are HR processes in place that make compensation a bit more fair.
- Bigger firms have more financial firepower and when they go into a deal, they go into it with credibility of having the necessary funds in place. Small firms don't always have swathes of capital ready to deploy.

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Mar 6, 2019

Dream "job" would be just owning a few decent sized apartments. Having those bitches paid off and collecting ~100k month in rental income. Traveling, hunting, fishing, and working when I want to.

Sometimes bigger isn't always better.

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Mar 4, 2019
TheDebtStar:

Dream "job" would be just owning a few decent sized apartments. Having those bitches paid off and collecting ~100k in rental income. Traveling, hunting, fishing, and working when I want to.

Sometimes bigger isn't always better.

Do you know what's better than $100k though?

$200k

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Mar 6, 2019

Haha. It never ends. At a certain point you've got figure out how much harder you'd have to work to make a certain amount more, and then figure out whether it's worth it to you to sacrifice your time spent doing other activities or your relationships with friends and family.

I'm definitely not there, but one of my friends had to ask himself that.

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Mar 11, 2019

Boom, roasted!

Mar 18, 2019

Right there with you, but add boutique strip center redevelopment in.

Mar 18, 2019

I think you learn the most in development as you touch every point in the property lifecycle (site/construction/lease-up/disposition). Long-term hold core institutional acquisitions or LP equity originations in a family office environment seems to be the best combination of interesting work/stability/earning potential. People also sleep on commercial banking, but getting in with a dominant regional lender with a strong balance sheet provides a cushy way to earn up to $300-400k with top work/life balance and great stability.

I think what is more important is understanding your work/life balance needs in order to have a healthy lifestyle. Brokerage is a great way to make a ton of risk-free money provided you are willing to work 70-80 hours per week.

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Mar 18, 2019

Would love to go into investing/development on my own. Start off buying small apartments, fix them up and rent them out. Rinse and repeat, maybe some full ground up developments depending on the market and whether it makes more sense to build or buy.