Modestly speaking- things have been going well for Interra Realty since the start of 2015. According to Justin Ross, managing partner at Interra, every broker says that, but optimism is in Interra’s blood! The Company has just over 30MM listed right now and over 400 units. Interra has another 25MM under contract, with an additional 414 units, and have closed 16MM. Ross will be speaking at IREJ’s Apartment Summit next week Tuesday, March 10th, at Germania Place. Before he does that, here are a few things you may not have known about him:
What being Managing Partner of Interra Realty means: As Managing Partner, I run my own brokerage business in terms of sourcing and transacting investment sales (like many brokers) and I also help oversee and implement processes and procedures within our company. It’s probably an 80/20 split brokerage/management. We all (Managing Partners) take a small role in that management side. I also directly train one or more junior brokers at a time in an effort to instill a proper understanding of the business and how to become a successful broker.
What sets Interra apart from the rest: We are derived a little differently than most firms. Our Managing Partners, rather than having been trained and mentored by the same people at a singular firm- all come from different backgrounds. I started at a large national firm, then went to a boutique. Some of the other partners have done similar things at different firms, and others completely different. It is with those distinguished, but diverse and unique backgrounds that we are able to decide what is important to apply and execute with a brokerage company. And more importantly, teach to our younger associates in an effort to all be more valuable individually and better serve our clients.
Working on anything exciting: I have a deal in Lincoln Park on the market that is an interesting play and I am currently underwriting a few portfolios for potential sale. Our firm is closing an 8-building portfolio on the west side in Q2, and we are under contract on a 200 unit portfolio on Hyde Park. One of the good things about our business is you never know when the next great opportunity with begin.
Most memorable project: Each project is has its specific set of challenges. Some come completely out of nowhere and others are foreseen in time to get a good jump on a solution. Usually, it’s that overcoming a problem that you didn’t think you could that makes for a great memory. After 12 years of those blending together, it’s tough to single one out. Recently however, I have worked with a few clients that have owned their properties for a very long time. There are always some good stories about the past when that happens. My associate broker and I sold a property a few months ago for two brothers in their sixties that were born in the building they owned. It had been in their family for over 60 years. Talk about an easy source for questions about the history of an asset.
First CRE job: I was a SIP (junior agent program) at Marcus and Millichap in 2003. It was the last time that everyone wanted to “be in” commercial real estate. It’s becoming that way again.
Greatest advice ever received: The brokerage business is a marathon and not a sprint. It’s important to always put the clients interest first and make sure you are doing everything you can to maximize that interest. Brokers who put themselves first, or are in the business for a quick buck sometimes make that quick buck, but they don’t last long. That advise has kept my interests aligned with my clients over 12 years and has served as a good mantra through tough markets.
Greatest advice ever given: To my sellers: work with me and you will not be disappointed. I give that advice often.
Bucket list: Personally, I would like to travel more and see more of the world outside the US. Being in commercial real estate and an independent contractor, it is tough to get away. Yes we make our own schedules, but there is no such thing as turning it off. I am getting better at taking time off (long weekends), but I have been on a couple of trips where I ended up working almost as much as when I was in the office. That can be stressful.
Daily habit: Every morning, I start with an espresso. I also usually try to get to the gym every day. Emphasis on “try” I suppose. Trying is more of my habit that getting there sometimes. I also play ice hockey a few times per week.
Family facts: I was born in Calumet City and grew up in Lockport, Il (south suburbs). It was called Lockport then, I think it is called Homer Glen now. My mother and father are retired public school teachers. My mom taught middle school math and my dad taught PE and was a coach. I would call my upbringing pretty normal. I was fortunate to have an emphasis on both sports as well as academics from my parents as a kid.
Interesting fact about yourself: I keep extra office supplies hidden in my beard. It really started out as a look I was cultivating, then just became very practical in terms of storage space and convenience. Do you need a paperclip?