As a director at Interra Realty, Jeremy Morton advises clients on multifamily asset dispositions as well as analyzing potential investment opportunities. He believes that client relationships and market-driven data analysis are the keys to providing superb real estate guidance.
Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up, where did you go to school?
I was born and raised in Atlanta and decided to venture out and attend college at Indiana University, where I majored in business management. During the summer of my sophomore year, I interned in Chicago and quickly fell in love with the city so decided to start my career here post-graduation. Even though I no longer live in Georgia, I try to visit my family and friends when possible, and the attention I receive when my slight Southern drawl comes out is always a good reminder of where I came from.
When you were young, what did you aspire to be?
When I was very young, I always wanted to be like my father and become a veterinarian. Even though I still love animals, I quickly found I did not have the stomach needed to follow in those footsteps. Growing up, my parents would joke that I should be an attorney since, in their eyes, I was a master negotiator. At one point, I was interested in becoming an architect since I had an appreciation for building design. After getting experience in real estate brokerage, I realized it was the perfect fit for me since it involves negotiating, architectural appreciation and long-term business relationships.
How did you get your start in the industry?
A close family friend operates a large retail brokerage in the Southeast, which gave me initial insight into real estate and piqued my interest in the industry. Throughout high school and college, I gained experience interning for real estate companies focusing on retail and residential, and once I graduated from college, I worked with a real estate investment firm out of Rosemont that focused on the industrial sector. The exposure to multiple real estate sectors throughout my younger professional years ultimately led to me choosing to focus my career in the multifamily market because of the mix of a residential atmosphere in a commercial setting. I could actually relate to the product of apartment buildings not only from renting in the past but also seeing and visiting so many multifamily properties around the city.
Did you have a mentor who helped you get on your feet, or is there someone you turn to now for support?
My parents have naturally been my mentors through life, which absolutely helped my career by shaping me into the person I am today. My father taught me the importance of hard work and determination while my mother influenced the importance of relationships, treating everyone with respect and being able to see both sides of every situation.
My wife, Alissa, is by far my biggest motivator and someone I turn to for support in relation to life as well as business. She too is in the real estate world as a residential broker for Berkshire Hathaway in Lake Forest and motivates me every day to continue improving my real estate business and relationships. Her work ethic and accountability always encourages my growth and her support is unparalleled to anything I could have asked for.
One of the main attractions to joining Interra Realty was the mentorship offered by our two owners, David Goss and Jon Morgan, along with my partner, Ted Stratman, who taught me firsthand how to navigate the multifamily brokerage world. Even today I lean on their experience, market expertise and advice.
What does a day in the life of Jeremy Morton look like?
A day in my shoes has changed drastically since my wife, Alissa, and I welcomed our baby boy, Louie, this past February. Each morning kicks off with the best mood booster one can have: waking up to the giant smile on my nine-month-old son’s face. If the weather is nice, we like to get a quick walk around the neighborhood in with Louie and our dog, Joie, and then it’s off to work.
One of the most exciting things about my job is that every day is different. Although that sometimes makes it hard to plan around, it keeps me on my toes. I like to try to create a foundational plan for each week, primarily centered around property tours, on specific days/windows of time. That way I have open windows of time around tours to plan for calls, valuations, listing management, strategizing and canvassing. Additionally, I have a broader range of personal goals I work on each day, week and month to make sure I stay on track toward growing overall business. As long as I put in the daily effort, I feel a sense of accomplishment that helps propel me in achieving my long-term objectives.
Once I return home, I try to sneak in a workout and wind down the day playing with my son and reading him a book before bedtime.
What do you like most about your job?
What I like most is that I do not think of what I do as a job. Working in real estate is a lifelong career that affords me and others the opportunity to get out what we put in. The entrepreneurial nature of the brokerage business and broader real estate industry really lights a fire under you to stay driven and appreciate the relationships you develop along the way.
Looking to the future, what do you hope to achieve/work on that you haven’t already?
Life as a broker is a roller coaster of a ride where we are pretty much working and on call 24/7 for our clients. Adding in a son at home has definitely made life more exciting while bringing me more duties to plan around. While I have been doing a solid job balancing work and home life so far, I hope to improve the balance every day. A funny example of how I have tried to maximize efficiency is when I was preparing to bring a new $6 million listing in Lincoln Park to market during the pandemic. At the time, the only way to get Louie to sleep was by driving around in the car so Alissa, Louie and I went on a family work outing to canvas the neighborhood, with Louie sleeping in the back and Alissa writing down property addresses and ownership groups to reach out to! It worked out so well I am pushing to do more future family canvassing outings.
Real estate is a vast and ever-changing industry. My continued goal is to achieve daily, weekly and yearly growth as a person, industry professional and, now, as a father
How do you spend your time away from the office?
I enjoy spending most of my time with my son, wife and dog, as well as getting together with family and friends (when it is safe to do so). I have a strong interest in golf—my wife considers it more of an obsession—so I try to play a quick round over the weekend and get on the course with clients whenever possible. Once life gets back to normal, I can’t wait to hit the basketball court and experience all of the local Chicago activities with my son.
What is your favorite place that you have traveled to? Where do you hope to go next?
This is a tough one, but I would have to say my favorite traveling experience was a South African safari we did a few years back. Alissa and I spent our days observing lions, elephants, cheetahs and more in their natural habitats, which was truly incredible. I had never been so excited to wake up at 5 a.m. in my life. Even though I have already been, I would love to take Alissa to visit Israel and explore the historical sites with her in person.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
I would love to see Max Grossman from Interra Realty or Ben Smith from 33 Realty interviewed.