Since joining mid-market multifamily specialists Kiser Group in February 2015, Aaron Sklar, 31, has successfully completed transactions in excess of $110,000,000 on behalf of his clients as well as brokered the sale of over 1,900 units.
Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up, where did you go to school?
I grew up in Franklin Michigan, which is a small town about 20 miles from Detroit. My family and I are super close; I have three siblings—an older sister, a younger brother and a younger sister—and we’re all still best friends. We grew up going to smaller schools and all went to the University of Michigan.
When you were young, what did you aspire to be?
Growing up, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to be. I came from a family of physicians and doctors, but I absolutely hated blood, open wounds and more importantly, textbooks without good pictures—so that, unfortunately, ruled me out.
How did you get your start in the industry?
Much like those before me, I too got my start in the industry the good old fashioned way—I googled “commercial real estate firms Chicago.” After applying and shooting my resume, which consisted of 0 real estate background, to perhaps 8 to 10 different companies, I immediately scheduled interviews at all the firms. Kiser Group—which, similarly to the others, I knew absolutely nothing about at the time—was the first interview I had scheduled. Kiser Group offered me a position, and without questioning, I canceled all my other interviews and said: “I’m in.”
Did you have a mentor who helped you get on your feet, or is there someone you turn to now for support?
When I was getting into real estate, I didn’t know the difference between Jackson Park and Lincoln Park. As such, I was fortunate enough to work with a mentor, Noah Birk, who not only helped me get on my feet, but also dragged me by the shoelace on a handful of occasions. Fortunately, my knowledge of the Chicago landscape has since changed, and we have formed a partnership breaking records such as highest price-per-door nearly week after week.
What does a day in the life of Aaron Sklar look like?
I start my days super early with my daily ritual to Starbucks and a nice, strenuous workout by 6 a.m. I then try and get as much work done in my office so by the time 9 a.m. rolls around, all of the hard work has been done. The remainder of my days consists of managing my deal flow, monitoring the status of new and existing deals, as well as managing my teams’ current inventory. I also make it a priority to meet with clients as much as possible—whether it’s at an inspection, appraisal, showing or even sitting down for a coffee.
What do you like most about your job?
Coming from a family of immigrants, I love hearing stories of building owners and how they got started in the industry. I love being able to not only connect with them, but to help them achieve their goals. Additionally, and being a bit competitive, I love the flexibility of controlling my own schedule and determining my value. I know that nothing is unattainable, and I know that if I have a goal in mind, I can clearly decipher and determine all the necessary steps on how to get there.
Looking to the future, what do you hope to achieve/work on that you haven’t already?
Not only would I like to continue to grow my team’s brand as the market leader throughout Chicago’s South Side, but I’d also like to expand our personal outreach and continue to grow in other tertiary markets. On average, my team and I are currently selling roughly one building per week, and I’d like to see that number increase.
How do you spend your time away from the office?
Away from the office, I’m either working out, trying new Kombucha flavors or traveling. I love going places, whether to new restaurants or new cities. I love going to Aspen, and I try getting there as many times as I can during both the summers and winters.
What is your favorite place that you have traveled to? Where do you hope to go next?
Italy. From the food to the culture to the architecture and history, I love everything about it there. Needless to say, if Kiser Group ever opens an international satellite office in Rome, I’m there. Coincidentally, I’m in the midst of booking a trip to the Amalfi Coast—which is the South Side of Italy—so I’m hoping to feel right at home.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
I’d be very interested in hearing and seeing David Pezzola of Icarus Investment Group answer these questions.