Your worst work experiences

jtl1002's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 517

Curious to hear some of your stories with firms in your career in the RE industry. I'm sure a lot of you had worked at small firms where it might have been a cluster fuck or you got hoodwinked into a position that wasn't what you thought it was.

Comments (64)

Jan 13, 2017

Worked in commercial/multifamily real estate appraisal for about a year in 2007/2008 (essentially, first job out of college). My first review was glowing--my boss said I had picked up on the industry and the work faster than any analyst they had ever seen. Three months later my boss called me into the office and fired me, saying that in this difficult market (2008) "performance is key," so they would have to let me go. To this day I consider it the worst moment of my career because I knew and they knew that I was being laid off because their pipeline of work had, in the matter of a week, completely disappeared, and yet right to my face they insulted my performance (and de facto my character) in order for them to save face.

I'm patiently awaiting the right moment, but I will have my revenge on this organization if it's the last thing I do.

Best Response
Jan 13, 2017
Virginia Tech 4ever:

I'm patiently awaiting the right moment, but I will have my revenge on this organization if it's the last thing I do.

Oh I'm right there with you.

My first job in the industry was awful. I worked for CBRE/JLL/Colliers/C&W. I networked my way into the company and had very minimal experience, so I started as a market analyst with a transition to brokerage planned. As a market analyst, I excelled, and quickly became the lead on all market research, all presentation materials, etc. for the entire office. I took the license test, passed, and got assigned to the office owner rep team.

Unfortunately, not only was the principal who ran the office owner rep team the strongest example of the Peter Principle I have ever personally witnessed, but he was a generally awful person, always pointing how how much "better" he was than me at real estate, (I had been working 6 months while he had been doing this for 25 years...) always questioning my dedication, always talking shit about me to the other principals while pretending to be my "greatest advocate" to my face, and just flat out being a shithead.

I never called off work, but when my car broke down one day during my hour long commute he made me text him a picture of my car in the garage because he didn't believe me, and when my dad had a serious health issue he gave me shit about taking a day off for it for over a month while he ironically had a kid with a minor health issue that he would take off work for constantly. My buddy at work got hired by a NYC debt broker and left, and my boss was furious at him for the "betrayal," which he proceeded to take out on me instead of talking to my friend because "my generation" was "disloyal." I tried talking to him about it. No avail. I tried switching to another team since the other principals respected me. It only reinforced how "disloyal" I was.

During this time I had personally sourced a major corporate sublease opportunity that would have been the largest deal in our office's history. I made the connection with a major foreign PE group that was buying the firm, I set the initial meeting with the PE principal, who was a man of intimidating impressiveness, and I got our into the contest to represent the space that we otherwise were not going to be invited to. My office's response? They did not put me on the pitch team or the proposed deal team, even though I was now on a first name basis with the executive from the PE firm. We came in second.

I was (low) salary + bonus + commission for this first year but that was rather strange for the industry, so as my year was coming to a close, and they were talking to me about going on a draw, I decided that I didn't want to be in debt to this company. With a month to go, I told them that I would not be renewing my contract but that I would finish out what I had on my plate before I left. For two weeks, I closed a handful of leases, only for them to fire me, making up tons of accusations that were complete nonsense. I didn't get paid those commissions or my year end bonus, and since I didn't have any money, there wasn't really anything I could do about it.

Best part? The three other principals fired me. My boss didn't have the balls to do it like a man.

I will forever hate this company and hope there comes a day when I can punish them for it.

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Jan 13, 2017

Damn, your situation was way more f*cked up than mine. At least I got 2 weeks of severance.

Jan 13, 2017

Great example. It's a shame you had to go through that but, I guess the silver lining is that you are now smarter and more aware going forward because of this scenario you faced.

How did you become a market analyst with minimal experience? Solely through networking?

Jan 13, 2017

fuck those guys man

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Jan 14, 2017

Shows how much a good boss and good co-workers matter.

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Sep 6, 2019

They'll get theirs. Karma is a bigger bitch than we could ever be.

And I assume that their reputation reflects their practices?

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Sep 17, 2019

@CRE Similar experience unfolding for me right now at one of the mentioned firms. I'd love to know what you did after the axe came down.

Jan 13, 2017

"Good good...let the hate flow through you"

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Jan 16, 2017

@Virginia Tech 4ever" @CRE those fucking douche bags man. i hope you get to one day buy out these respective companies and get to fire each and every one of those weasels. it's amazing how petty people can be. I am sure you are both better for it though so the joke is on them.

Jan 13, 2017

one time I thought I had to fart at the urinal, ended up guessing wrong

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Jan 13, 2017

the upshot being that you were already next to an appropriate disaster response staging area?

Jan 13, 2017

very true, very true. crisis was averted but my dignity took a shot in the nuts there

Jan 13, 2017

My first job out of college was selling sub prime mortgages, no idea what they were or what the effect of this industry would have on our society but it was a decent job so I took it. My boss and my closest coworker at the company had the same first name. After an exceedingly rough day I was dumb enough to think I was emailing my coworker "John fucking hates me, I know I'm gonna get fired soon"...ended up sending it to the wrong John. John did indeed hate me and I was fired about 3 weeks later...this was mid 2000's and looking back on what they were teaching us and how they wanted us to talk to our customers on the phone it was a no brainer that the industry was on a downward spiral.

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Jan 13, 2017

I'd love to hear what they encouraged you guys to do.

I was quite young back then and have no model of what a sub prime mortage broker looks like out side of "The Big Short."

Jan 13, 2017

They basically just gave us a stack of names and phone numbers of people that got denied for mortgages previously on the basis low income or poor credit and had us cold call all day to those people to tell them that they would in fact qualify for our mortgage product. From what I remember our rates were around 10-15% apr with a few points up front. The people i worked with were absolute morons but they literally were showing up to work in beemers and benz's just like The Big Short. It was easy to sell the products since everything thought their houses were going to continue to appreciate by 25%/year. I got fired in the beginning of 2007, I think the whole company went under in early 2008.

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Jan 13, 2017

Although this did not happen to me, I wanted to bring up a situation that happened at my friend's firm.

My friend ended up getting his friend a job. One this kid's first day, he woke up extra early to ensure the first day went smoothly. He had some extra time to kill, so the kid went to get a coffee before proceeding to his new office. While waiting in the lobby, the kid spilled his coffee all over the couch / seating area in the lobby. Kid was freaking out, ran to the bathroom and grabbed paper towels to clean up situation he just created. After he cleaned the mess up, he then went up to the office and went about his first day.

At the end of the day, the kid gets a call to come up to the founder's office. The founder of the company asks the kid to sit down, then pulls up the security camera footage. The founder explains to the kid that he had some very important investors coming in that day, and that he couldn't believe someone would have the willingness to make a mess in the lobby and not bring the situation up to anyone. The kid explains he was nervous and thought that he did a good enough job by cleaning it up with the paper towels from the bathroom. The founder ends up asking the kid to leave and never come back.

Later that day my friend texts his friend and asked him how his first day went. The kid said he got fired. My friend thought it was a joke, but then got the DL from his friend on what happened.

My friend had a pretty good relationship with the founder, so the next day he went into his office and demanded an explanation on wth happened. Founder asked my friend "If my employee can't be honest about a spill in our lobby, how can I trust this employee with a $2 billion fund?" And went on about how he couldn't believe the kid wouldn't mention it to someone... secretary, janitor, etc.

My friend ended up quitting shortly there after (6 months or so later) as he stated it was a toxic work environment.

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Jan 14, 2017

I don't see anything wrong with the founder's perception, honestly speaking. But firing first day on the job? That's tough.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

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Jan 14, 2017
Frank Quattrone:

I don't see anything wrong with the founder's perception, honestly speaking. But firing first day on the job? That's tough.

Yeah except for some 22 year old the thought might not have even crossed their mind that they should have brought it up to cleaning staff. A little coaching might have gone a long way in this situation (i.e. "Did it occur to you how this might look to a client walking through the lobby?"). I see why the founder would think that way and don't think he was wrong to be pissed, but still sounds like a dick for going right to the extreme for a little coffee spill.

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Jan 13, 2017

My story..

I interned with a small multifamily investor back during college. Firm might not even be around anymore as they were the shadiest humans I have ever met. All our properties were located in the straight ghetto in a city which is one of worst in the US. They would have me venture out to take photos of them and keep tabs on any of our rehab projects as part of my responsibilities. I would also do some leasing for our Section 8 properties which accounted for 95% of our portfolio. One time I have a showing to potential tenants and I didn't have the right key on the key holder they gave me. So I'm literally outside trying to get into this multi family home with the people right by my side. I can't find the key. I call my boss to tell him and he tells me "we never had a key for it, use like a pin to pick the lock or swipe the lock with a credit card we do it all the time" I was like wtf. I ended up picking it.

Another type I went out to take pics of properties for a memorandum we were doing for an investor. I had to take photos inside as well. I pull up to this property and there's 6 gang members sitting on the porch. I drove off and said fuck it. Another property that day I went to I pull up and a guy runs out of the front door. I go inside and apparently he was random person living in the basement who broke in.

Man those were some fun times.
Many times where I thought I would never make it back alive.

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Jan 13, 2017

deleted for being dumb

Jan 13, 2017
DeepLearning:

Interesting how everyone's story is with real estate...

I mean...this is in the Real Estate forum...soooo

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Jan 13, 2017

whoops didnt see that

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Jan 13, 2017

Could be the fact I said RE in my OP or the fact this is the RE forum.. idk though

Jan 14, 2017

I'm more apt to call out the three of you who didn't already see this was pointed out to him.

Jan 13, 2017

Coming out of my MSRE program, I had interviewed a few successful rounds with a development firm for an analyst position, a CMBS shop for underwriting, and a small family shop for a FA role. I ended up going with the CMBS shop since I had prior work experience in DCM and thought it would be a less riskier move than to join a developer or a family owner/operator. Also, the interview process was quick and my offer was right at my ask (which in my head was a little higher than even what I was expecting).

Worst mistake of my life. The two principals in charge of my lending group had terrible attitudes with all staff, hated one another despite starting this division together from scratch, and rejected almost any client that was dumb enough to come to this group seeking a senior mortgage, turning them away for frivolous reasons. If these principals were good at anything, it was reminding borrowers that it was God's gift to the borrower that my firm would even review your application and size a loan, only to reject the borrower over risks barely understood by these "veteran" fools. So many underwriters had come and left before I started but I didn't learn of this information until the end of my first month.

Underwriting and closing loans requires less analysis than I initially thought since we used an in-house model, but a majority of the job was process and document management. It was more important that we screen the corporate entity borrowing the funds than the actual value of the real estate/financials that we were underwriting against. I was never trained by my manager on many of the things I worked on, and the one underwriter that was asked to help me along the way, was a know-it-all type that was very unpleasant to work with and was fired herself, after I was let go. I started in October of 2015, and flash forward 4 months to the first week of February, and the head of the group calls me into her office and tells me that she will not be recommending me for a year-end bonus (something she guaranteed when I signed on). I made my peace, apologized for my poor performance (not a single hour of training was provided), and tried to formulate a plan to become a better underwriter before walking back to my desk.

Over the next few weeks, our pipeline had completely dried out, we were facing regulatory headwinds which we knew we couldn't survive, and not having applications from borrowers to analyze meant that most of my final days were spent watch Bloomberg news and twiddling my thumbs. By the end of February I was fired by the two principals, both citing my lack of experience, and professionalism. Both knew this was bullshit territory since we had no deals to work on and firing the new guy would reduce payroll expenses and give the impression that these two dopes were actively managing the business (which they were not...4 hour lunches were common).

Best feeling...learning that every other underwriter and originator that worked there either left or were let go a few weeks after me. Regulation A/B for CMBS conduit shops was the deathblow this division couldn't survive and lo and behold, the division finally shut down 6 months after I was let go. I do not seek revenge however. But there is nothing more satisfying than checking on LinkedIn to see where these two principals have ended up...8 months have passed since these nut cases were fired and they still haven't been able to find a new job. Neither did the underwriter who was suppose to train me. As for myself, I found a new home in Asset Management and acquisitions for a fairly decent sized NYC landlord. Life moved on rather pleasantly.

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Jul 20, 2018

This sounds like a nightmare... How long were you there for?

Aug 2, 2019

7 months.

Mind you. I helped these fucktards create their investment deck, they didn't have one before I joined. Built a multifamily model and also enhanced their commercial tool for office acquisitions. They would buy 6.5% cap deals and assume 6% exit cap to make 18%IRR over 5 years to attract non real estate high net worth individuals.

I saved the company about $800k by introducing them to a debt/equity broker who sourced a 4% loan when their lender offered them 4.9%.

Owner believed in 5% rent growth. It was a fucking crazy place to be!!!

After I built a dynamic model with sensitivity tables for cap rates, rents, growth, etc, the moron colleague changed the font color and said we partners on it together.

The owners were more focused on raising capital and didn't give a fuck about their investors based on what they were doing.

There are two videos of the founders, tech guys saying they can analyze deals in less than 30 minutes because they have AI/bots!! This was how they raised capital from non real estate types who just saw 14-16% IRR on paper and invested!!! They had no idea how cap rates work and these guys stayed at 70 percent leverage so even if the deal goes bust, they will pay lender back, get fees and investors will get toast!!!

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Jan 13, 2017

i shit on my managers chair by accident...

Jan 13, 2017
WManagment:

i shit on my managers chair by accident...

"by accident"

Jan 13, 2017

it happens dude,

Jan 13, 2017

Not necessarily a bad a experience, but it kind of goes along with the whole "fired for a dumb reason theme" going on in this thread.

I worked at a fast food sandwich restaurant for a few months in college as a cashier. My job encompassed a few other things, like cleaning the front half of the store and helping with food prep. It was only planned to be a 3-4 month job, but after a few months I was "replaced." My hours basically got cut down to 1-2 per week for a couple weeks before the other guy fully took over. The explanation for my quick replacement was that I was not quick enough at cutting bread.

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Jan 13, 2017

Interned at a inter-dealer broker last summer - the role was sold to me as a 'Relationship Management' role.. I took it purely to have an internship after my year in industry (Quant Research - Large AM), previously having interned at a Wealth Manager and work exp with BB S&T.

As my contract finished at the end of July this left me with limited options. So anyway, I go interview and get the role. At the interview I get asked questions about my ability to analyse data etc..
Turns out there was no RM factor at all to my job, it was pure and simple mind numbing data entry - telephone nos, addresses etc. On top of this there were mice in the office. Also did not help that the team was unreachable 90% of the time as they were out (couldn't get email responses either). I actually prefered my part time role at a clothing retailer. The most confusing part was I'm not entirely certain what kind of analysis I can do on phone numbers...... Coming from 13 months in a quant research role (where I ironically got more RM exp) this was mega annoying as I could have travelled/studied for the IMC or something more useful in that time.

Now I understand there is grunt work as an intern/junior and am absolutely fine with that - but the role was totally missold! Did not match the description at all!

The only upside was one of the members of the team recognised how boring the work was and knew I had an interest in AM/Markets and set-up some informational interviews with some of her contacts at a large BB.

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Jan 14, 2017

Interning at a small oil company during a summer in college.

My job was to organize the basement and oil well files (keep in mind this was an engineeringish internship). I had no clue what was going on and most of the time I just moved boxes around and did what I thought would look good. Lots of youtube Videos.

Then one day at the free housing I had for the summer as part of the job (The house was owned by the owner of the oil company). He stopped by and asked if I would work on a Saturday and do yard work. I pretty much had to say yes (even though I was getting time and half...which to 19 year old me was a ton of money).

Two years later he was raided by the IRS for suspected Tax evasion.

Jan 16, 2017

Not real estate related, but in high school I had a job where I went door to door trying to convince people to switch their electricity provider to the one we were representing. We went to some pretty sketchy neighborhoods and one prospect asked if it was a good deal. I said yes. Prospect said if it's not he's got pit bulls in the backyard and they don't like white people.

Jan 16, 2017

I have the most horrendous one yet.

I pull up to work every Monday, and the building is still standing. It's awful just awful.

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Jan 16, 2017

have you theen my thtapler? burn the motherfucker down...

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Jan 16, 2017

Not really work experience in the truest sense, but definitely professional experience. While interviewing for a PE position, out of nowhere the interviewer gets this big grin on his face and asks, "What is the craziest thing you have ever done?"

As I explained about "this one time in college, while on spring break..." I watched his grin turn to a blank stare to a troubled frown. No offer.

Jan 16, 2017

dude you never pull those sort of stories during interviews. I got asked the same once and my response was (short version - I was much more dramatic at the interview): i went to the casino at Niagara falls and started with 50 bucks at the poker table and turned it into 4K and then bet it all against the dealer on a straight only to have the fucker pull a straight flush on the river. the interviewer's eyes got so big i thought they were going to pop. got the offer too. feel free to use my story next time. :)

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Aug 1, 2019

This is definitely the best comment I've seen on WSO.

Cheers!

Jan 16, 2017

The worst was working for a boss who hated me, but my other boss LOVED me and had more seniority over the boss who hated me. The boss who hated me quit after 6 months so while it was a real PITA working for him, in the end it worked out. I swear it was one of the best days of my career when I heard he quit.

********"Babies don't cost money, they MAKE money." - Jerri Blank********

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Jan 16, 2017

I had a conversation with my manager which, unbeknownst to me, she considered to be incredibly negative.

The next day, we had a departmental meeting (70 people) going over that quarters results, and my managers laptop was used to deliver the Powerpoint. She "forgot" to turn off notifications, and about 5 minutes in she received an e-mail pop up from HR that said "Surferdude867 - Final Warning." Needless to say this was the beginning of the end for me.

Everyone turned to look at me, and all I could do was shrug my shoulders. I e-mailed her to ask if there was anthing I should be worried about. She came over to my desk, then pulled me into a room and said "no."

The next day I get called into a meeting with her and HR, who presented me with a letter to sign that said I "became aggressive and hostile towards Manager X, humiliated her publicly, and had been working to undermine her authority." She had a shit eating grin on her face and when I refused to sign said "you still have to do what I say, when I say it."

I quit 4 days later, and am ineligible for rehire

That cunt was eventually fired for "Breach of Trust."

I am going to destroy her.

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Jan 16, 2017

destroy her how? sexually? financially? professionally? all three hits the sweet spot, I reckon.

Jan 16, 2017
surferdude867:

I am going to destroy her.

Tell me how you really feel.

Jan 17, 2017

how'd HR know your WSO name?

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Aug 1, 2019

He was referencing himself without saying his actual name...

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Jan 16, 2017

Virginia Tech 4ever:
I'm patiently awaiting the right moment, but I will have my revenge on this organization if it's the last thing I do.

CRE:
I will forever hate this company and hope there comes a day when I can punish them for it.

surferdude867:
I am going to destroy her.

I eagerly await the follow up to these posts...

Good Luck gentleman.

Jan 17, 2017
Steve83:

I eagerly await the follow up to these posts...

Hah, honestly, there will be no follow up for me. I don't live in that market anymore, have made friends in that same firm but in other offices, and fully realize that it's the specific office I worked in that was at fault.

Even then, the name on my resume is a good one, and it's probably gotten me in the door for a few interviews since, not to mention giving me my start in the industry in general. Everything is a mixed bag in life.

Hope my old boss breaks his hip or something though.

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Jan 17, 2017

My first job ever, I washed dishes at age 15 for my dad's friend restaurant in town. 8 months later I was replaced by an illegal immigrant.

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Jan 17, 2017

Probably when my old boss acted for over a week like he was going to fire me over a lossless trade error. This despite the fact that multiple people in my cohort had incurred 5 figure trade errors for other partners with no discernible consequences. I walked out of the first meeting and straight into the parking lot to call back a recruiter who had left me a voicemail the week prior. The job was also terrible due to the low pay, long hours, and his extreme use of the Socratic method (there's a reason the first practitioner was forced to drink hemlock).

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Apr 18, 2018

.

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Aug 2, 2019

Ah, my last experience was freaking terrible! After my MBA, I joined a tech firm to do corporate finance but had the itch to get back in CRE. I networked my way to a firm of engineers who now owned a boutique investment firm. The founders said they had built a tool with AI, BOTS, etc to acquire real estate which sounded neat, also focused on being data driven. They had a home run transaction which was all over the news and the founders seemed ligit, so I joined the company. Also, the owner said they where in the process of raising $100 million which gives them dry powder for $300 million in deals. FALSE FALSE FALSE! Just a syndicator slamming deals together and a lot of lies along the way.

Once I started, I knew right away I had fucked up. The company didn't have AI or BOTS to acquire real estate, they were using excel. Even better, it was REFM tool with a new output page and some edits. I posted 2-3 months after I started about "MORON MANAGER... HELP". So many people told me to leave the firm but I was trying so hard to make things work. People had no idea what sources & uses mean, discount rate or just basic things when it comes to analyze a deal. I built a model and moron who was supposedly responsible for on boarding me changed the font colors and said we partnered on the project together. On another occasion, I had spent almost a week putting together a pitch to send to an advisory firm, this moron manager just jammed himself into my work to send it to an outside firm. To expand on how much of a moron this guy was, he was trying to do IRR on two assets and he highlighted both rows across 5 years to get the IRR which led to a higher IRR. Nothing in his lizard brain said add up the cash flows and do IRR or XIRR. It was a total nightmare experience. When I voiced some of my concerns to the principals, I got gas lighted!!! It freaking sucked ass working at this shop but i didn't want to look like someone bouncing jobs after 6 months at this terrible shop.

After getting gas lighted, the owners told me to revamp their commercial tools because I had included some data tables, sources & uses and other key performance indicators in the multifamily tool I built...after doing that I got FIRED! I GOT PUMPED AND DUMPED. Mind you, I introduced this group to my buddy's private equity shop with over $10 billion in assets and these POS guys didn't want to work with them. They said it was easier to work with high net worth individuals which was weird to me. They put in the firing letter I did a bad job and I wasn't a company fit haha. Luckily for me, I had all my emails and in my 7 months at the firm, I networked like hell and many brokers in my market liked my approach. There are two firms in my market that won't deal with this company because of their shadiness. I networked like hell and got a job in 5-6 weeks at a better shop with folks who know what they are doing.

The group I was at would buy core deals that generate lower returns, use lower cap rates to show investors 18% IRR which would make them invest. We are in a somewhat strong market so everything is still growing. Time will tell if they get caught with their pants down.

After that experience, I am not sure I will ever trust anyone who says they have a unique technology to buy real estate. I guess my first red flag should have been that the owners didnt' want to monetize their tech product. The AI/BOTS was a capital raising tool with tech investors. Also, the owner would lie on buyer interview they had capital handy which was a lie, usually had to go out and raise additional capital through their net work and crowdstreet to get deals done. It's sickening there are shady folks in CRE but joining the wrong firm can be a fucking nightmare!!

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Sep 6, 2019

amen.

Aug 2, 2019
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Sep 5, 2019
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Sep 5, 2019