Need Help Deciding Between 2 Real Estate Job Offers

RE115's picture
Rank: Chimp | 13

Hi Everyone!

I was hoping for some insight regarding two job offers I have. I am a finance major and will be graduating in May. I need to select an offer by this Monday. My ultimate goal would be to end up in acquisitions or be a self-employed real estate investor/developer, and would like to pick the job that would give me the best knowledge to reach that goal. I described the two offers below. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  1. Credit Analyst -- CRE Loan Underwriter
  • at small/ mid-size bank (aprox. $5B AUM)
  • would begin as credit analyst
  • strong mentorship
  • 15 minute commute from home
  • hours are pretty much 9-5, relaxed work environment
  • know people within company, and would know would be good fit culturally
  • would begin reviewing CFs, tax returns, etc. -- working way towards underwriting multi-family, industrial, etc properties
  • their 5 year plan would be becoming a senior CRE underwriting
  1. Analyst on FP&A Team
  • for publicly traded REIT, portfolio consists mostly of shopping malls
  • no formal training, but would have mentor
  • 45 minute commute from home
  • longer hours, mentioned occasionally needing to work weekends
  • their 5 year plan involved getting role at larger firm, becoming an analysts on one of their other teams (such as acquisitions-- even mentioned being FP&A analyst for 2 years then moving to acq. team)
  • job would involve interacting with different teams -- leasing, property accountants, etc.
  • said would be aprox. 50% property level accounting (where I would be working on property budgets - which they said would teach me the 'guts' of the business), and 50% corporate level
  • my concern is that as FP&A might be more corporate, and not really learning the RE business as much

Both offers are in the $60-65K range, but the experience is what is most important to me. The longer commute is a slight concern, especially with the longer hours. What role do you think would best prepare someone for a career on the development/acquisitions side?

Greatly appreciate any insight!

Comments (10)

Apr 14, 2019

Does the bank in option 1 work in all sorts of markets, or are they confined to lending only in their current region?

I'd lean towards option 1 because it seems broader in what you will learn as you're learning the investment from a debt perspective. Also, industrial and multifamily tend to be stronger performers compared to retail.

The property budgets/accounting in option 2 seems like something more in preparation towards an asset management role, less of an acquisition focus. Do you know anything about the malls in their current portfolio? Doing good or bad?
Some mall REITs aren't doing well with lots of retailers axing their brick-and-mortar shops so i can't expect a lot of acquisitions to occur in the future.

Apr 14, 2019

Sounds like the 2nd job is partially asset management which is one of the best places to start. Having a publicly traded name on your resume can be a boost. People will have at least heard of your company. Also depends how many shopping centers you'd be covering. The corporate aspects of real estate can still be relevant if you want to go into REPE or investment banking.

This is actually an interesting choice. If you're underwriting mostly 10-15 million dollar properties at the lender I'd definitely go with the REIT

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Apr 16, 2019

Sounds like the 2nd job is partially asset management which is one of the best places to start. Having a publicly traded name on your resume can be a boost. People will have at least heard of your company. Also depends how many shopping centers you'd be covering. The corporate aspects of real estate can still be relevant if you want to go into REPE or investment banking.

This is actually an interesting choice. If you're underwriting mostly 10-15 million dollar properties at the lender I'd definitely go with the REIT

Edit:
Lol @ the MS

A bank with 5BN in assets is tiny. Look at this list. https://www.mx.com/moneysummit/biggest-banks-by-as.... I highly doubt you'd be lending to institutional players at a bank that small.

I started in lending and agree that it's a great place to learn, but if you're lending to nothing but mom & pop investors, it's just not the same story.

Maybe if you gave us the market cap of the REIT that would make things easier. If it's a micro cap reit that also changes things

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Apr 14, 2019

They both look like good opportunities. On the debt side you get to see a lot of different deals and property types. I would lean towards this opportunity, it would be good experience to gain if you want to work in development or acquisitions.

Apr 15, 2019

If you want to be in acquisitions, the REIT is the job to take. If you want to be an investor/developer, the credit analyst job is better.

I'd go with the bank offer. You'll see a ton of deals varying in size, complexity, and asset class. In addition, you'll get the opportunity to meet the developers/investors. These guys love to talk shop and are generally amenable to mentoring. You might find that after a year or two one of them poaches you. If you take the credit analyst position, make sure to join Urban Land Institute and NAIOP.

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Most Helpful
Apr 16, 2019

I respectfully disagree with the perspectives above stating that you should seriously consider the REIT job as the better alternative if you want to be in acquisitions/underwriting. I've worked at both private and public REITs with friends in FP&A depts. They spend the vast majority of their time doing corporate reporting, budgeting analysis, etc. for the actual company entity, and were almost completely removed for the real estate. All of them might as well have been an FP&A analyst for McDonalds in terms of the relative real estate exposure received.

You should be careful about an FP&A role and double check what you day to day responsibilities would be. Typically an AP/AR accounting role manages property budgets directly...make sure you aren't only flying at 30,000 ft. evaluating corporate financials, SEC filings, etc.

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Apr 17, 2019

I agree with @Ricky Rosay . FP&A will not prepare you for an acquisitions role. It is not asset management, it is financial planning and analysis for a company. Doing budgets and that BS is not real estate. It is finance.

Although the bank may be small you will be actually underwriting deals in some capacity.

I strongly urge you to take the bank gig.

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Apr 17, 2019

If your goal was AM I would say the FP&A as you would probably be able to make an internal transfer within 2 years.

Since your goal is Acquisitions/Development, I would definitely go with the bank role. If the bank does construction loans then even more strongly consider it. You can always lateral to a larger bank after a couple years to strengthen your resume and position you better for better roles.

Apr 21, 2019

Thanks everyone for all your feedback. Your feedback was very helpful in making my decision. I decided to go with the bank offer

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Apr 23, 2019
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