Regional vs Big Name Developers

JackyD's picture
Rank: Baboon | 132

I currently work for a third generation investment and development company. The comparably has $1B in real estate and is active in two states in development and investment. I was fortunate enough to land in a role supporting the managing principal in all aspects development and acquisition and have been here 4 years. No family members in the wing so I have room to grow into a larger role. Does anyone have insight on the difference in starting a career at a major developer, think Crow, Mill Creek, Rockefeller etc, compared to a role like I described. Where do you think you will learn more starting out? What are exit opportunities like for a guy in my shoes? Comp insight for shops my size vs the bigger names? I am currently at $80k + 15% bonus.

Comments (9)

Jan 14, 2020

My first thought is you're underpaid. You should ask for equity participation in the deals if you're that close to the principal. As for whether you'll learn more at a larger shop, it depends. Does your shop focus on one property type or are you diverse? How complex are your underwriting models? At a larger shop you'll most likely be on a team focusing on one product type in a specific region. You'll see more deals but the process will be streamlined and might get repetitive after you build your 10th suburban garden deal. Large shops will have great underwriting models so you'll beef up your modeling chops. Also, I think the fact that you're currently working on both acquisitions and developments with direct front end exposure is huge. You shouldn't have trouble finding a great opportunity elsewhere but I wouldn't jump ship just because the grass looks greener. I'd ask for a raise first.

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Jan 14, 2020

What comp do you think is market without carry, just base? We develop and invest across all asset classes. Our underwriting has traditionally been very back of the napkin. Not very sophisticated. The principals are veteran guy and are able to run the deals in their head. Never seen anything like it. I just built our standard acquisition mode which is more sophisticated, but more for presentation to investors than for the principals. What are the most important skills for a 26 year old guy just starting out? Goal would be to get to a development/acquisition role by the time I am 30 at 150k base+ maybe some carry. Is this unreasonable expectation?

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Jan 14, 2020

Development/acquisition director*

Jan 14, 2020

In regards to comp - What part of the country / type of COL are you in? $80k + 15% bonus could very well be underpaid or market depending on where you're located

Only thing I'll add is the grass always looks greener. If you're that close to the principal(s), have been getting development/acquisition experience at 26 and there's no family in management yet... I would definitely consider staying put for the long run and building a career there. You very well may be in the running to get the reins one day and not realize it just yet

EDIT: I don't think your expectations by 30 are unreasonable considering what you've described as your current experience. At 30 with 8 years total at the same developer, you'll definitely be dangerous enough to warrant that level of comp

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Jan 14, 2020

Northeast Tri State market. We are also active in Florida. I'm not in NYC. I'm just wondering what I may miss in terms of experience and education working for a big name developer vs regional level guy.

Jan 14, 2020

is there anything that you don't like about your company? i am younger than you so i don't know shit but if you have already been at your company for 4 years and like your company and have upward mobility then why are you worrying about exit opportunities.

Most Helpful
Jan 16, 2020

I'd say you are underpaid, but you could always ask for a raise to address that rather than jumping shops.

This is sort of the big vs small debate that's been discussed here. Both have their merits. Small shops are usually less organized, leaner, and you get to wear many hats. Big shops typically have more institutional processes, are better capitalized, and usually more specialized.

For you, you'll have to weigh how real the long term opportunity at your current firm is vs moving to a more instructional group and getting a different type of experience which will complement the one you've already received. No wrong answers here and no one can really answer for you.

You could always ask for a raise at you current firm and see what happens? Even if you get it, but ultimately decide you want to move, you'll be in a better negotiating position.

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Jan 16, 2020

I am actually in a similar situation and have always thought about moving to a larger shop. Can you give a little more color on what someone in my shoes might experience/learn in a larger shop? What are the critical skills/experience that someone in an institutional shop might have that someone in a regional group might not?

Jan 16, 2020
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