Each year, Midwest Real Estate News elects a new class to its Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame. This year, we are also running the profiles of these CRE pros online. Today, we look at the busy career of Brent Roberts, senior vice president and office specialist with Block Real Estate Services in Kansas City, Missouri.
An award-winning career: Brent Roberts has closed some of the biggest office deals in the Kansas City market since starting his commercial real estate career in 1993. This includes work he’s done on the Corporate Woods Office Park, Briarcliff, 11500 Ambassador, Zona Rosa and the Sprint Campus deals.
This production has earned him several top industry awards. Roberts has earned the CCIM Home Run Award and the Commercial Salesperson of the Year award several times. He’s been a consistent top-five office producer in Kansas City.
Early success: It didn’t take Roberts long to make his mark in the CRE business. He started his career in commercial real estate after five years as a commodity trader. During his first year in real estate, he was named a commercial broker Rookie of the Year.
Since that strong start, Roberts’ career has only continued to soar. He has completed more than 1,500 office leases and more than $1 billion in lease transactions.
Not surprisingly, Roberts has earned the business of several big-name clients, including AIG, H&R Block, Sprint and Lexmark.
“I have always been intrigued by the various types of business that I get to work with, from Fortune 500 to the small entrepreneur,” Roberts said. “I get to work with new people every day and help solve their real estate problems, grow or shrink their businesses, while helping investors achieve their returns on their office buildings. I love all the facets: salesperson, financial analysis, creative/architectural, legal and negotiations. There are not many careers that cover so many areas.”
Working hard: Like all successful brokers, Roberts puts in the long hours. As he says, commercial real estate is not a hands-off business.
“Living on commissions is always a challenge,” he said. “Being a broker is not business that you can step away from and let it runs on cruise control. When you pitch new business, like an office building listing, you are winning the right to market the building, but you still need to perform. This career is and has always been based on performance.”
Understanding clients’ needs: “I have been told often that my style is more of a consultant than a salesperson,” Roberts said. “I do ask a lot of questions and listen, too. With the vast experience of office leasing that I have, if I truly understand what the client or prospect wants, I can really make the experience pleasant for them and save them a lot of time. I also communicate with my clients often and have relationships that are nearly 20 years long.”
Renovating: When he’s not working his main job, Roberts and his wife renovate old commercial buildings and bring them back to life.
“A lot of weekends, I put away the suit and tie and pick up a sledge hammer,” he said.