The key to real estate? Relationships, relationships, relationships

Real estate is an entrepreneurial business. No matter what company you work for, our industry is one where you “eat what you kill.” I certainly learned that to be the case when I interned with a lean, retail investment and development firm, Crosland Southeast, in Charlotte. I spent my summer underwriting retail investments alongside Bobby Speir (MBA ’15) and learned valuable lessons about real estate investment and what makes it so entrepreneurial.

Real estate is a local business.

We’ve all heard that the three most important aspects of real estate are: Location, location, location. I learned just true that is, especially for retail investments. I canvased various markets in the southeast and looked for the best retail locations for potential acquisition and development.

But even more important than looking at sites is speaking to experts in each market. Since real estate is a local business, I learned that the best people to talk to about potential sites are local brokers. They are in tune with the leasing market, the investment players and each new development. Connecting with local experts is the fastest way to learn a market and determine its potential for investment.

Cold calls are necessary.

When investment markets are on fire, cold calls become absolutely necessary to finding good deals. The entrepreneurial nature of real estate takes over. If you want to make deals happen, you have to be willing to pick up the phone and call 20 or more current owners to see if they are willing to sell before you even get once response. Be willing to accept “no” as an answer and persevere. Having an entrepreneurial spirit and being willing to face rejection and keep going are critical to success in this industry.

Real estate is still relational.

Real estate is all about relationships. To be successful you have to build relationships with local sales brokers, land owners, lenders, tenant representatives, architects, engineers, land planners, leasing agents, developers – and the list goes on and on. Many people are needed to make a real estate deal successful and being able to form and cultivate relationships are crucial skills. I learned this firsthand when I attended the Nashville ICSC Deal-Making Meeting, where we had multiple meetings with brokers and land owners about potential acquisitions.

Remember that to be successful in real estate, you have to have a “go get ’em” attitude, form a large network and be ready to talk to anyone because you never how a single conversation might lead to something bigger!

By Alex Griffin (MBA ‘18)