Moving from Small Private Client Investment Sales firm to Larger Shop (CBRE, HFF, JLL, Cushman)

First, thanks in advance for taking the time to read my post and any advice given. I am about 30, live in a SoCal Metro City, and have focused on selling Multifamily investment properties since 2014. When I was younger I was not a great student and made poor choices and ultimately never graduated college. I got my start more or less as a "gopher" for the top two guys in a boutique MF shop started by ex Marcus & Millichap Brokers. After about a year our small team of 3 left that firm, as my bosses wanted to start their own, and I became their first associate. FF 3 years, that company has about 15 agent's, and I am the top guy. Me and another top agent/friend decide to take a lesson from our mentors playbook and jump ship to start our own team, doing business through a nationally known for lack of a better term "house brokerage." Another big reason we left was that firm's average deal size was very small (call it 2-6 units), where my partner and I were trying to focus on prospecting/working 15 Unit+(ish) deals.

Due to some family and personal circumstances I recently just moved back to my hometown which is another SoCal Metro City. Through my time focusing on MF deals and moving up the food chain so to speak, I have began to really disdain the mom & pop IS market. The long and the short (although I've prolly already been too long ;P) is that now that I moved, I don't think I will continue on with my current partner as our he/my current office is about 2 hours away. I am very interested in going to work for one of the big 3-4 listed above doing investment sales, which are the deals that intrigue and excite me most (Honestly I feel like a fanboy sometimes when I oodle over some of the top guys past assignments or see them post on loopnet).

Based on my experience, self knowledge and having an idea of what I think I enjoy, I have identified my base need. To be on a top investment sales team, so that I have access to a pipeline of workable deals to sell. My experience is the best way to list properties for sale, is to bring the ownership new opportunities, and ultimately get them to owe you some deals! What I do best is get in front of decision makers like a good salesmen and pitch them my deal, and get into what they got coming up in the pipeline to sell. I would say my other large strength (to a fault) is that I look at every deal as a principal (another broker once screamed at me when I heckled at a counter price "STOP LOOKING AT THE DEAL LIKE A FUCKING PRINCIPAL AND JUST GET THE GUY TO SIGN!!!") I am a little ignorant to the process of prospecting on institutional clients as I was never really taught (was kind of just told early on, don't waste your time if you are cold calling and a big company owns it).

I am not married to selling MF either. I have taken retail listings from clients that own apartments, and quite honestly where I am the yields on a most apartment assets are really hard to wrap my head around and enthusiastically tell someone how they should buy a 2 cap where they cant improve the income ;.

I have identified what seem to be the top IS teams in my area at CBRE, and I am pretty sure I have identified the Senior Managing Director at HFF that runs the office in my area (based on a press release so this could be wrong info) I suppose I am a little ignorant to this, but it seems like the CBRE guys focus more on one product type where I have seen HFF guys do different asset classes, or debt placement as well. The idea of working on different deal types is more appealing to me, so my gut is leaning towards HFF. As I said earlier I didn't graduate college so I have no experience or friends who have gone the intern/analyst/salary route. I plan to cold call who I have identified as the manager at HFF and just candidly ask him if I can buy him lunch and chat, but I have never applied to any real corporate CRE shop and I am wondering if this is going to make me look like a nut? I also really hate the idea of submitting a resume to a HR dept and wait for a call, as I am a proactive broker and every dollar I have ever made in this business is the result of ME taking the actions and making it happen. I know this has gotten really long and I could probably keep going on different tangents (I'm a real estate agent, I like to talk), but if you are reading this still I really do appreciate you taking the time. Any posted advice would be so much appreciated!!!


Comments (14)

Apr 21, 2018

Thanks to anyone that read all that ;D

Best Response
Apr 11, 2018

Are you in OC or SD?

If you go to HFF expect to start as an analyst. You are not going to be a gun slinging broker over there. In fact, I know of an M&M guy who went over there and left behind a good business he had built. Learn argus and excel cold. Sell yourself as a sales guy who turned to numbers, not as a sales guy. Everyone will tell you they admire your tenacity, or your hustle and you'll feel great walking about of your interviews and meetings only to be rejected. They don't care that you can get a meeting with Mrs. Jones to review options on her 20 unit building in Pacific Beach or whatever. They want underwriting and execution support to create flawless work so they can leverage you to do as much business as possible. Analytical, detail focused, problem solvers.

Your chances are higher at CBRE/Cushman/JLL etc. if you want to pitch yourself as a sales guy. Eastdil, HFF, or any shop (or teams within shops) that have a semi-formal or structured analyst rotation, would rather not hire "sales" guys at the junior level but rather weed off numbers guys over the long run into execution roles and see who emerges as a sales guy internally.

Source: I made this transition myself. Took me 2+ years luckily however I used grad school as a buffer to buy myself time to network and stuff

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Apr 21, 2018

Any insight on how the M&M guy felt about the transition?

Apr 11, 2018

No I don't personally know him - friend knew him

Apr 11, 2018

Honestly, if you're that great at brokerage stay in that game. You can make a shit load of money. Secondly, if you slowly start working larger assets owned by private owners those savvy groups and firms will naturally lean on you to deliver them with inventory and list with you in exchange. That's how you will grow into that space. The grass isn't much greener on the other side just letting you know from personal experience.

The top private client guys make as much if not more than the top institutional guys. Just focus on being the top guy.

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Apr 21, 2018

Moved to SD from LA. That is also an option. I appreciate all of the advice. If I go that route I would most likely join M&M. We bought our own apt directory in my previous city, had a nexis account, spent a lot of time building out a DB, making OM templates, etc. and I am just so over doing other shit other shit that I used to do as an assistant, my time is most lucrative spent prospecting and putting deals together. You get little to support with a RE/MAX or KW Commercial in my experience, although a higher split, but I previously split everything 50/50 with a partner so I am not that concerned about a higher split.

I guess i just never thought I would end up at M&M, it seems people usually transition away from the company not towards it, but I know there are also plenty of good things that keep people there. And it's not really a money or grass is greener thing, maybe I'm just bored with the privately owned apartment and I am a little more mentally stimulated by bigger deals.

Apr 21, 2018

Thanks for the advice though MoD!

Apr 21, 2018

Weekend bump

Apr 22, 2018

Curious, what about the "mom and pop" private capital sales don't you like and how would you say it differs from larger more institutional deals?

Apr 21, 2018
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