In Paul Rogers’ first job out of college, he worked as housing director for a state funded mental health agency located on the north side. He met many landlords including Mel and George Kaplan located in Rogers Park. They told him to get his real estate license and work for them. Rogers did and after 29 years in CRE he hasn’t looked back.
“My first deal was selling a small retail center located in Rogers Park for $750, 000,” said Rogers, now president at Inland Real Estate Brokerage & Auctions, Inc. “My second deal was the old Lincoln Hotel for $7.5MM. I like the thrill of the hunt the commercial real estate industry provides along with the psychology trade craft component.”
“The commissions at closing don’t get me wrong are great, but the thrill of this business for me is in the chase,” he continued. “The commissions are “almost” anti-climactic. I like the engagement part when a client hires me, and I like the art of the deal when closing in on a successful negotiation.”
His biggest mentor is Sheldon Good, whom he worked for, for nine years.
“He taught me many things about commercial real estate and also business,” Rogers said. “Shelly is a charismatic, consummate salesman always selling himself. I learned a great deal from him in those years, he taught me to ask everyone for business and “sell the sizzle, not the steak”.”
After 29 successful years in the business, Rogers has learned many things, but says two things stand out.
“The harder I work, the luckier I become and secondly, markets change! No matter what market we are in today, tomorrow may be different and certainly 6 months from now will most certainly be different. This is a hard business. To be successful, you must be able to roll with the changes to clip a song line from “Kevin Cronin”. Seriously though, the traits of a good salesman, businessman, and real estate professional are your ability to adapt, anticipate and pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get in there and pitch again.”
Rogers is certainly right, the market is always changing, and CRE professionals have to be able to adapt to the changing landscape. That includes Rogers as well, as he faces different challenges in today’s market.
“Regarding the auction side of our business, there are many auction companies now in the marketplace that don’t know what they are doing,” he said. “Several of these folks happen to be effective sales people though, are able to engage auction business with sellers, but are consistently taking the wrong business under the wrong circumstances. They fail and this hurts the industry as a whole as those sellers have a bad result, a bad impression, which unfortunately indicts the entire industry.”
As President of a phenomenal company, according to Rogers, what sets Inland Real Estate apart from the rest is, having one of the most unique service platforms under one roof available to clients.
“We can provide a Seller with two distinctly different methods of sale depending upon the client’s needs and what is most appropriate for the real estate,” he said. “We provide a traditional conventional brokerage marketing program where we list the property with a price and roll out an extensive, targeted marketing campaign.”
Rogers continued, “We also provide an accelerated program whereby a seller uses the auction platform casting a wide net to market, and sell the property in 60 days while attracting a larger audience many times that may not be achievable under conventional circumstances. We also have the tremendous benefit of being part of the Inland Group of Companies which is one of the most respected and most successful real estate firms in the U.S. The depth of resources that I have to draw upon here at Inland helps me help my clients every single day.”
Inland has a couple of 2014 highlights, “We sold the Villa Royale Apartments located in Kenosha, WI. This was a 184 unit property we sold on behalf of a partnership for $17MM or about a 5.3 Cap. Another highlight was the sale of the Stonegate Apartments, 420 units located in Glendale Heights, sold for $26MM.”
So what’s happening in Chicago right now that makes Rogers hopeful? He said the city is back!
“The market is strong again, near and/or even surpassing pre-crash levels in some instances in terms of valuation, pricing and demand for hotels, multi-family, class-A office. In-fill retail is hot, hot, hot. The condo market is back in several sub-markets and much sooner than most anticipated. Land grabs and conversions are well underway again, simply amazing! The suburbs, that’s another story.”
When Rogers isn’t working he likes to go to his place in the Florida Keys with his family and fish. “It’s one of the best hide-away places in the continental U.S. and the weather is almost always wonderfully reliable, and usually I can catch some fish. And yes I use a lot of sunscreen on my nose!”
One thing he’d like to do that he hasn’t already? “I have a lot on my to-do list, but near the top is to ride my Harley from Key West, Florida to Kotzebue, Alaska. The trip is about 4,500 miles and should take 4 weeks r/t (assuming I don’t run into a moose).”
As a huge fan of the 1940s-50s black and white classics, Rogers’ favorite movie of all time is Nightmare Alley. “This movie portrays a talented mid-western carnival worker, incredibly executed by Tyrone Powers, turned con man that rises fast into a bigtime act of deception and financial success in New York. He falls deeply into believing his own deceptions and goes down hard and fast ending up back as a broken carnival worker. A timeless lesson to be learned here I believe.”
His favorite musician? “Paul Rodgers of The Firm!”
With Thanksgiving next week, Rogers and his family have it all figured out! “The wife has made reservations at the Cape Cod room, so she has done her part. I plan to eat, watch football with my son and drift into a deep post-turkey slumber.”