In 2006 I became a residential real estate broker. I began the journey to build my business with hard work and long hours. I was happy with the commission income and that I was recognized by my brokerage as the first-year realtor with the most sales. However, I was happier when I moved to commercial real estate and assisted my investor clients in achieving their financial goals. When the 2008 crisis hit and sales dried up, I was forced to look for new ways to generate business. I saw that the foreclosures were bringing investment opportunities to those who had the capital. I had a friend from college who had embarked on a construction career and we teamed up to do fix and flips. The only problem was we had no investors. We knew there were individuals in the market with capital and we had to find them.
I began to host fix and flip seminars at which I identified the areas in Denver where the biggest opportunities were. I defined those opportunities as the difference between the existing value of homes and the after-repair value (ARV). I invited finance professionals, interior designers, architects, and construction service providers to talk to the classes. Soon I had a list of potential investors and began to find them properties. However, I decided that my business model would offer more than just find them the properties. I did the neighborhood analysis of competing properties. I provided them my list of service providers, and I helped manage the renovation process for those who wanted my help.
The transition from being a residential broker to the commercial and development segment was slow, difficult, at times scary and painful. I had no income other than the residential commissions I was earning. That meant that I had to continue to sell residential while I built the commercial business. That also meant sixteen-hour days, seven-days per week for five years. The focus that the transition required was exhausting. When I saw the success we were having it was all the feedback I needed to continue. I knew I was building a business whose momentum was rising and that I could sustain. Today I’m glad I found the energy and determination to help my investors meet their objectives.
I recognized that my investors saw the value in my work. They kept coming back for more. At the beginning, I only received commissions on the buy and sell of the properties. Yet I worked to help them complete their deals even if i did not get paid for those efforts. In the long run, 10-years later, my investment has paid off in loyal investors.
I learned that great investment analysis has real value to them. We did over 60-fix and flips with them and that turned into the development business which over time merged with my commercial real estate brokerage business.
Over the last three years I have sold over $67 million in commercial real estate.
My projects include:
- The development and sale of 83 townhomes and duplexes
- A 12,500 square foot development parcel in Cherry Creek North
- 40-acres of raw land in Frederick, Colorado for a 160-unit residential detached single-family development.
- A 50,000 square foot warehouse in RiNo
- A 36,000 square foot mixed-use development in Littleton
I have learned about due diligence requirements, Phase I and Phase 2 environmental review, I have managed projects from duplexes to a 19- unit development deals (townhome and condos). I’ve learned about risk management and timelines for my clients, learned how to take advantage of trapped equity. I have learned to trust my gut and experience to help my clients make the correct investment decision and to tell them what they needed to know even when they did not want to hear it. I have identified emerging areas in the Denver market where my clients made the correct investment decisions.
I have had lots of learning that I have incorporated into my business and have shared it openly with others. As I learn by doing all aspects of the business, my clients benefit. I know, from my fix and flip experience, that sharing that learning brings me benefits. I hold deals together even when emotions are running high in the negotiations to close. My primary motivation is never to get paid. I put my clients’ interests first and try to over-deliver. The better I do for one client the higher the likelihood he will refer me to someone else.
I represent buyers and sellers from industrial, small office, and development deals. I do land acquisition, supervision of architects and engineers, lending institutions, the city permit approval process, manage the LLC, and work with the lending institutions.
My client base is quite diverse. I work with the super wealthy and the individual home owner who refinances his home and releases that trapped equity to invest in commercial real estate.
I built my business in two ways:
- Guiding my clients to where they need to be to meet their investment goals. For example, small investors investing in small homes near Fitzsimmons. Fix & flip clients, or office buildings on a budget and warehouses zoned appropriately.
- Making sure the projects proceed according to plan so that they get the return they are seeking.