A Day in my Life at a Boutique Real Estate Investment Firm

Nov 14, 2013 | Asset Management, Career

I talk to a lot of young real estate professionals who believe they want to work for a small firm. They cite the fact that they want to see all decisions made (good and bad), be involved in every aspect of a deal, and have a material impact on the firm. Getting in early at small companies that are just starting up and are looking to be the next Related Company or Tishman Speyer can be a great way to begin a career in real estate.

I work for a group that fits this description, so for everyone who thinks this is what they want, I thought I’d share a day in the life working for a boutique investment firm. While it’s cliché to say there’s no typical day, it’s true. So instead of trying to typify a day, I figured I’d share what I did today, hour-by-hour:

8:00am: Arrive at the office grab a yogurt and coffee and glance through the headlines. I forward along an article on crowd-funding to a few buddies who are interested in that space.

9:00am: Check email and respond to various request that were held over from last night. Sent rent rolls and debt info to a broker on a few deals we might list, reviewed monthly financials for two deals, and reviewed 2014/2015 projected rents for a student property.

10:30am: Call a few references of a design firm we’re potentially working with to build our new website. I take the lead on projects like this.

11:00am: Open up an investment memo that I’ve been working on and update it with the team’s comments from the night before. Open up the financial model and add some sensitivities on rents and construction costs.

1:00pm: Walk to Midtown to grab lunch with an NYU buddy. Chat about the market, deals we’re working on, and things going on personally. Days where I don’t meet someone for lunch I typically eat at my desk.

2:00pm: Chat with a Wells Fargo client manager about opening a lockbox account for a new deal we’re closing. Spend an hour on the phone dealing with all this red tape.

3:30pm: Join weekly operations call for one of our deals to discuss leasing, performance, and capex projects. Today is a slow day, I typically have 2-3 per day.

4:00pm: Meet two brokers from Dallas in our office. It’s great to make face-to-face connections. Chat about the market, our deals and plans moving forward.

5:30pm: Call with partners about a deal we have under contract. Discuss everything from debt and equity to insurance and environmental reports.

6:15pm: Call with a young real estate professional who contacted me through the blog. Good conversation about the real estate business, career opportunities, and graduate programs. I’m always happy to chat with ambitious real estate professionals.

7:00pm: Head downtown to a cocktail networking event. Catch up with a bunch of buddies and exchange business cards with a few lenders and brokers. When I get home, I put their info into Highrise and schedule a time to follow-up by email.

10:00pm: Sit down and write this post. As I’m about to hit publish, I glance at my Outlook client on my iPad…“22 unread emails”. These can likely wait until the morning.

10:30pm: Do a short yoga class. My girlfriend recently subscribed to MyYogaWorks.com which has online yoga classes. I just started doing it, but I found it’s a great way to transition from work mode to relaxation.

11:00pm: Casually read a book on my Kindle before bed. I’m currently reading 37Signals new book, Remote. It’s a great, easy read.

While not every day is like this, I think this is as typical as it gets working for a growing real estate investment firm. You’re involved in everything from interesting deal talk to reviewing monthly financials and setting up lockbox accounts. In order to succeed and be an asset to the company, you need to build a rolodex, think differently, and find ways to add value.

Still want to work for a shop like this?