Interviewing for an acquisition role, my first job in CRE, tips?

Hey guys,

I graduated from a state school with a low GPA. I have not had much success applying for jobs but it was reaching out that I got me interviews. I can build a basic multi family model in excel but tbh I am pretty crappy in ARGUS and my subscription expired. What kind of questions would they ask me? What would the case studies look like? Will I have access to excel? I see my self being a bit nervous but I just want to be prepared as possible. CRE is my dream. Another thing I lack is I have no direct internships in CRE, just experience at a financial planning firm. Any suggestions are appreciated. I was also thinking about trying to model something in excel off loopnet and bring it in for them. My strengths are I am very ambitious but always struggled as a student.

Comments (12)

Jul 26, 2017

If you want to break into CRE that bad just go into a brokerage role. Good money for not doing that much and they basically couldn't care less about GPA.

    • 1
Jul 28, 2017

LOL, wut?

Jul 26, 2017

Since you are straight out of school they are going to give you the benefit of the doubt on a lot of things. However, be prepared to explain your low GPA. "struggling as a student" is not the correct answer.

Be prepared for a simple excel test (building an amortization table, calculating sale price with this NOI and this cap rate, sensitivity table, etc.). Understand real estate metrics such as the difference between vacancy and availability, understand the state of the markets they invest in. Ask them how they are capitalized for acquisitions and their structure on the fund level (what returns are their investors expecting - do the fund LP's get promoted at all - are they IRR or multiple sensitive, etc.). I recently moved into REPE acquisitions, but I had 2 years of CRE experience under my belt, so happy to answer any questions. Good luck

    • 2
Jul 28, 2017

Anyone? I have pretty good grasp on acquisition and debt origination, but I still don't know for sure what 'Asset /portfolio management"do. How do you measure return/risk of real properties and manage portfolio of real estate-related assets? Thank you!

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Jul 28, 2017

If you have a good grasp on acquisitions and on lending, then you'll probably be fine and don't need to worry too much about what an asset manager does. I'm pretty sure we've talked about what an asset manager does, if you check old threads.

It sounds like it coudl be a great opportunity. If I were in your shoes, I'd emphasize how interested I am in being able to dive into both debt and equity at the same time.

Jul 28, 2017

Sorry iHave no valuable input, but good luck man! Sounds like a great opportunity!

Wise Men Listen & Laugh While Fools Talk

Jul 28, 2017

What pre-requisite experience do you have to have in order to work in acquisitions out of undergrad. Is it similar to banking where they recruit from their junior summer analyst program?

Jul 28, 2017

It's impossible to know what type of questions they could ask you about AM, if any. About 75% of my job is Asset Management, but when I was interviewed they knew I didn't have an AM background so they focused questions toward my background.

Although I highly doubt they'll focus on AM questions given your background (as mentioned above), asset management questions--if they ask them--could be focused on refinancing strategies, operating expense reimbursement calculations or structures, annual budgeting, leasing commissions and calculations, lease negotiations, typical lease terms, tenant improvements, the state of the current market (regarding vacancy, rent growth, etc.), dispositions, repositioning of properties, ratio utility billing systems (RUBS), energy efficiency projects, site planning, etc.

There are too many things to list, but if they did ask AM questions then they'd probably focus on leases--terms (in years), state of the market, and basic calculations and understanding of tenant improvement allowances, leasing commissions, and operating expense reimbursements.

Jul 28, 2017

Need more info on what kind of position this is for & if they expect you to know how to model; etc.

for loan originations they might ask you if you have any experience or knowledge in how to underwrite. You will need to know how the banks underwrite. What metrics they look at like debt yield, DSCR, LTV/LTC/LTP. Since you work at a brokerage if you guys have debt guys, talk to them.

For acquisitions, you have to be a little more specific. Some funds will make you do all the modeling. Obviously have to know how to do a DCF, & depending on the firm you will need to know how to do JVs & waterfall projections. So not only will you need to know how to model well, but you need to know the underlying assumptions.

like DCD said, i think knowing the state of the current markets right now is very important. Know the basics like he mentioned. Also understand that lending markets can change rapidly. The "wall of maturities" can be a major issue and cause distressed assets to come onto the market in the upcoming years. Same with the mandatory retention for CMBS coming up in a few years.

    • 1
Jul 26, 2017

I second with theofficeguy said about "struggling as a student". You need to have a story. I kept wondering why you are so passionate about CRE. Need a story for that too.

Study real estate cycles and investment risks, don't just think about upside from increasing occupancy and rents. You can add value by mitigating risks.

I once interviewed for a job and they wanted me to use Argus. I told them it costs money, so I built my own Argus model in excel. My modeling test went well.

Best Response
Jul 26, 2017
Comment
    • 3