Paul Waterloo, a director with Interra Realty, specializes in middle-market multifamily and mixed-use building sales in the Chicago area. Since joining the firm in 2017, he has closed 38 multifamily transactions valued at more than $100 million.
More than 20 percent of those have been in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, making Waterloo one of the most active brokers in that submarket. In the city, he does deals in a range of North and South Side neighborhoods, including Edgewater, Uptown and South Shore.
Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up, where did you go to school?
I grew up in Glen Ellyn, a suburb about 20 miles west of Chicago’s downtown, and received my bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
When you were young, what did you aspire to be?
When I was young, I was into all kinds of sports including basketball, baseball and tennis, which unfortunately has not translated for me professionally. I also come from a family of entrepreneurs and always had a desire to own my business, and real estate brokerage has proven to be a great way to do that—particularly at a firm like Interra that invests time and resources in its team.
How did you get your start in the industry?
Before getting into commercial real estate, I was a sales executive with the Fortune 500 company ADP, managing a team of nine in the firm’s downtown Chicago office. While there, I got my real estate license and was practicing residential real estate part time (nights and weekends) for about nine months. I quickly realized I loved the entrepreneurial aspect of the industry. Then I began to learn about commercial real estate and liked how financial metrics (rather than in some cases emotions in residential real estate) play the major role in investment decisions. I began exploring commercial brokerage firms to work for full time and ultimately decided Interra Realty was the best fit.
Did you have a mentor who helped you get on your feet, or is there someone you turn to now for support?
Patrick Kennelly and I went to high school together and he brought me into Interra and taught me the business. I am fortunate to now partner with him. Additionally, David Goss and Jon Morgan, Interra’s co-founders and managing principals, are also mentors I continually turn to for guidance.
What does a day in the life of Paul Waterloo look like?
No two days are the same, but I aim to work out and then have breakfast with my wife and son prior to heading out for the day. From there, it’s a blend of meetings in the field and time in the office managing all stages of business development.
What do you like most about your job?
The relationship-driven nature of the business. I am lucky to have the opportunity to represent clients on significant investments, and their success on these investments truly fuels future business—with them and others in their network. I always keep that top of mind.
Looking to the future, what do you hope to achieve/work on that you haven’t already?
I hope to become a consistent presence and market leader within the near north and northwest suburbs that clients can turn to for expert advice. I’ve been able to complete 14 transactions in these markets and expect investors to continue to be drawn to them based on strong tenant demand.
How do you spend your time away from the office?
My wife and I have a 2-year-old son, Benny, and another child on the way. We spend most of our time being entertained by our son and also enjoy traveling and checking out the Chicago restaurant scene when we can get out.
What is your favorite place that you have traveled to? Where do you hope to go next?
South Africa. I would also love to go to Thailand to experience the beautiful cities, beaches and friendly people.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Harrison Pinkus of Interra Realty.