Single Family Homes vs Retail


I am currently weighing two job offers. One is at a development shop that focus's on shopping centers and STNL properties, the other is in an acquisitions role for single family homes at a tech startup. I see pros and cons to both roles.

Would you choose experience in single family homes or in retail? I have about 1.5 years experience in both development and acquisitions, and there is a really good forum on here that talks about the difference between the two, so I am more curious about your opinion on the strengths and weakness's of the two property types.

Comments (6)

Jan 23, 2019 - 9:31pm

A single-family acquisitions role at a tech startup? Obviously there's a method to the madness, but I'm genuinely struggling to understand what kind of role this is. That would be my first question.

Most Helpful
Jan 23, 2019 - 11:44pm

Other people are welcome to weigh in, too...

So yeah, I know what you're talking about.

Well, sir, I'm probably a bit of a contrarian, but I love single-family building and really, really, really despise commercial real estate in general (acquisitions, development, asset management, property management, finance--I find it completely uninteresting).

I'm still not 1000% sure what the purpose of single-family acquisitions are for a firm like the one you're talking about, but the quicker pace of single-family is what I appreciate compared to the geologic time scale of commercial transactions. I also like how, I don't know, visceral single-family is--empathy, so to speak, is supremely easy because when you build or design homes for sale or rent you're really not just putting yourself in someone else's shoes, you're putting yourself in a future or past you's shoes. It's easy to relate to the needs of the customers because you are, in a sense, a customer (your home is your castle!), and it's easy to visualize yourself using or not using the space.

So, personally, with a diverse background in CRE and multifamily, as well as single-family, my personal preference is for single-family. On the other hand--and you made a point that this wasn't your question but I'm going to give my opinion anyway--I'd lean towards the retail development job for fairly obvious reasons.

Jan 24, 2019 - 12:24am

It's sector that's attracting a ton of capital and investor interest. That said, you need to be careful about role and location.

If it's Opendoor in SF and you are looking at portfolio acquisitions, then that's pretty compelling. If you are at Opendoor Dallas or Inland Empire, and you are doing single assets, then pass.

Most acquisition guys in institutional single family are former brokers and appraisers. Not really movers and shakers - and certainly not compensated like traditional real estate acquisitions guys.

Also consider that Opendoor is trying to get away from real estate risk and only be a marketplace. That's the value of the company to SoftBank, not as fix and flip company.

All this aside, they are a super smart crew and if you are in their SF office it would be an awesome learning environment.

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