Colliers’ Tony Karmin: The ties that bind him to CRE and ‘The Boss’

Last month, industry veteran Tony Karmin joined Colliers International as a principal. 

He has successfully advised and guided some of the largest law firms and other businesses navigate through complicated lease transactions, primarily in the downtown market.

In the following Q&A, Illinois Real Estate Journal dug a little deeper to better understand both the professional and the personal side of Tony Karmin, and the interview certainly didn’t disappoint.

IREJ learned that Karmin may have set a (world) record for the number of times he’s seen his favorite musician live. We also learned there’s one specific item on his bucket list he’s more than ready to cross off, and the inspirational story behind his family’s history.

Illinois Real Estate Journal: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Karmin: I am a hockey dad. For the last six years I have traveled with my son all over the Midwest. I love every minute of it. (And really enjoyed having a picture taken of me, my son and the Cup!)

IREJ: So you enjoy traveling… what’s your favorite city you have ever visited? 

Karmin: My wife and I went to the Amalfi coast in Italy on our honeymoon and I’m convinced there is not a better place in the world!

IREJ: What’s one thing you would really love to cross off your bucket list ?

Karmin: Celebrate the Cubs winning a world series. I am a lifelong, die-hard Cubs fan. IT’S TIME!!!

IREJ: What do you do on a day-to-day basis at Colliers?

Karmin: As a Principal at Colliers, my role is to be not only a co- leader of the Karmin/Marx/Marrion/Iglar team but to also act as a culture carrier for the entire Chicago office. My day-to-day role is tenant advisory services.

IREJ: What first attracted you to the industry? 

Karmin: I was attracted to the industry because of the ability to be entrepreneurial with unlimited growth potential. I wholeheartedly subscribe to the mantra “the harder you work the more successful you can be”.

IREJ: What’s been your most memorable experience in this profession?

Karmin: I was fortunate to close my first deal in the business within the first 12 months. Before cell phones were popular, the cool thing was to get a car phone so that’s what I bought with the commission. As a 22-year-old with a car phone, I was sure I had hit the big time.

IREJ: What’s something about yourself that would surprise most people? 

Karmin: My father and uncle were Holocaust survivors and fortunately made it to the United States and created a wonderful life for themselves and their families.

IREJ: If you could meet anyone in the world, who is the one person you would choose to meet?

Karmin: Bruce Springsteen. I am embarrassed to say I have seen well over 100 live shows over the last 35 years. In addition to the music and lyrics I like what he stands for.

IREJ: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Karmin: When I started in the real estate business at Frain Camins and Swartchild I was told that the best brokers in the industry never received a draw or salary when they started because it will incentivize younger brokers to work harder. I am not sure if this was a common practice industry-wide, but I bought in. The reality is I did work harder and success followed.

IREJ: Outside of work, what is something you are most proud of?

Karmin: Without a doubt my family. I have two great kids and the best wife in the world. I am very fortunate.