Two years ago Kiser Group Advisor Jack Petrando branched off working in the West Side of the city in an effort to expand the Birk | Sklar team’s market coverage. Petrando ventured off in April of 2020, specializing in Austin, Garfield Park, Lawndale, and Humboldt Park.
“I had great training and mentorship from Aaron (Sklar) and Noah (Birk),” said Petrando. ”I felt content in my ability to do the job because they set me up for success. It’s not easy, but at the end of the day if you’re putting the work in consistently and doing everything that you should be doing, you’ll see the results.”
Throughout the 2 years of being a broker, Petrando has seen, learned and experienced a lot. “Both the South and West Side are quickly expanding markets,” said Petrando. “I’ve seen through shadowing Aaron and Noah just how complicated, easy, or fast a transaction can be closed”.
Petrando has noticed a lot of similarities between the South and West Side. For example, both areas have relatively low barriers to entry and have a lot of opportunities for growth. They also have high returns on investment; the city of Chicago has launched Invest South West to continue this development. “The city has aligned more than $2.2 billion in public and private investment in hopes to spur their local economies,” said Petrando. “This is the perfect storm for the right buyer.”
While Petrando is excited about his current business supporting clients on the West Side of the city, it doesn’t come without its challenges. “Each building has its own set of challenges,” said Petrando. “Whether there are liens on the property, financing issues or appraisal issues; there is always something.”
Specifically, Jack has noted: how small this industry is, the importance of a seller’s tenets and maintaining a relationship with both buyers and sellers. After having spent the earlier part of his career on the South side of the city, versus now focusing his business plan on the west side he’s noted these key concepts in his day to day.
This is a Small Industry
For what seems like a large industry and number of players, commercial real estate circles can run quite small. “An owner’s reputation is extremely important not only from a tenant relationship standpoint, but also with their work with other vendors”, said Jack. For example, a lien is something that can come up when closing a building and cause some extra headaches. It doesn’t occur often, however, sometimes it is unfortunately something brokers may be faced with. But what is a lien and how does it affect a broker?
“If a plumber does work to a building and he has proof of doing the work and the owner never pays him; he is entitled to that money of course,” said Petrando. “The plumber can put a ‘lien’ on the title—the receipt of owning the building—that the owner owes someone money. It is essentially a stamp on the title prohibiting the seller from selling their property.”
Plan for the Future
As an investor it is extremely important to have a solid tenant group, no one wants to go through the challenges of dealing with evictions. “It’s so important to make sure you put your trust in the right people,” said Petrando. “When an owner leases out their unit, it is so important that they understand the significance of how much power those tenant have. What I mean by this is that when it comes time for the owner to sell their property, having difficult tenets can prolong and hinder the complete process.”
Jack’s advice? “Be thorough with who you have in your units, they hold a lot of power. Be mindful of this and plan for the future.”
Maintaining a Relationship
It is vital to maintain relationships in this business. Your contacts and connections are everything, it is all of your business. For Petrando, he’s learned a lot in his two years. “Because of BLAST Kiser Group’s own CRM system, I am able to log and set reminders to call certain clients,” said Petrando. “It’s an amazing system not only for the ability to track my calls but also organize all my notes and data on each client. This is gold to a broker. You will not be able to grow or maintain your business without those calls or clients. It is the key to success.”
With a few unexpected steps thrown into a deal; it’s a bumpy road, but it’s also a fulfilling finish. “Just navigating those [challenges] while trying to juggle the sellers and buyer expectations is difficult,” said Petrando. “But every deal has an end, and it is our job to get the buyer and seller across the finish line.”
While working on commission basis and being a broker is not for everyone, Petrando knew this was the right path for himself. A broker must jump through tons of hurdles just to get to a finish line that isn’t guaranteed, but for some it’s worth it. It’s a job that rewards you for working harder, said Petrando. ”I wanted more of an eat what you kill environment. A place that forces you to be the best person, broker, advisor that you can be.”
Petrando emphasizes how important it is to have an open mind as a broker despite the bumps along the way of closing a deal. “Don’t be so stuck in your ways, there is more than one way to get a deal done. Be willing to put in the work and stay disciplined and stay consistent, the results will come.”