Finding Lesser Known/ Smaller Firms


I often read on the RE forum how there are sometimes better career growth opportunities and learning experiences at smaller real estate firms/ family offices that are not as institutionalized and have much leaner teams.

For those of you who have come across or landed roles at firms that fit said description, how did you do so? What resources did you use to source these roles?

Comments (17)

  • Developer in RE - Comm
Sep 4, 2020 - 11:00am

When I was looking, I used Curbed to put together a long list. But I think the site shut down or is at least no longer publishing new articles.


I would google new developments, you'll find stuff about new construction, projects under construction, and projects going through approvals and you can put together a list of companies you'd want to work for that way.



Sep 4, 2020 - 1:00pm

If you're in NYC or the tri state area, trying scrolling through YIMBY and see which names keep popping up.  Obviously a lot of heavy hitters, but you start to see trends that certain developers are very active in building lots of 20-50 unit buildings in Brooklyn.  Or TradedNY is an instagram account you can do the same for

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 5, 2020 - 6:37pm

A friend is now working at a boutique that does $1bn+ deals. Had a mentor who was major force at a BB and hopped to start own firm. Just happened to see on linkedin and reached out. Says base pay is slightly less than street but bonus on a good year is fire. Greatly appreciates the experience and learning curve

Sep 5, 2020 - 10:45pm

All of this is good advice, but also network, network, network. After you exhausted all the online lists and alumni databases you probably only covered half of whats out there. Start talking to those alumni and anyone you can and ask for leads in that direction. Small shops will start popping up. 

Sep 9, 2020 - 3:59pm

Background: Summer at a SFO based in Toronto, worked part-time throughout final school year, returned for full-time since May. A lot of the work I've been involved with have been RE related - Canadian REITs on public equity side and development/re-development on private equity side.

I came across a job posting on my school portal (UofT/Ivey/Queens).

A lot of these smaller shops have weird names with "Capital, Partners, Group..." names of that sort. All I did was scope out these companies that for the most part no one has heard of. Once you get your foot in the door, you'll greatly expand your network of institutional investors and GP's alike.

Most Helpful
Sep 9, 2020 - 9:31pm

I delivered Jimmy Johns in an urban area during lunch hours while I was job hunting for a role in development for almost 2 years. In reality, it was the easiest access to companies and decision makers that you can get since I could walk right into offices. I had a decent enough background to not get laughed at (Finance degree, experience in tangential field) and carried my resume with me in my vehicle at all times. I usually did a quick google search on the company before delivering to see if it was a CRE company. I also busted ass networking at ULI, NAIOP, YIMBY etc so that I had respected people in the field who at least knew of me and could be a good reference. I also, cold-approached/trespassed into every development shop in my market as well, but ultimately it was delivering sandwiches that got my foot in the door. 

I landed a spot leading up the new land division in new boutique brokerage shop. I'm now 2 years in, the company and people I work with are amazing, and the company has since quadrupled in size with both the entire company and my specific land team at the busiest we've ever been. Even better is I get to work on the types of high profile sexy institutional level land deals/projects/developers that I could've only dreamed about before starting this role. Its basically like living a dream considering how shitty and arduous the job search was.

Opportunity is found in the most unlikely of places.

Sep 13, 2020 - 9:12pm

Hi. I'm networking/job searching for exactly this kind of firm in the Los Angeles area. I have a giant list of LA companies I can send you if that would help. 

What I do is I google search for RE investment managers and then I do intense LinkedIn stalking. Most CRE professionals work at a handful of different firms during their time. If it isn't the big companies (CBRE, Starwood, George Smith, etc) then its always going to be a small player.

1. Go through someone's LinkedIn 

2. find a company

3. look at their team of employees

3. search their linkedins

4. repeat


Every time you find a new company, write it down in a list so that you can come back to the list to do your reach-outs. 


Sep 24, 2020 - 4:07pm

Interned at medium REPE firm - leveraged alumni from school plus talked to as many people as possible everywhere I went till I finally met a few people with good connections to help me out. Honestly gained insane experience that wouldn't have been possible at a large firm


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