Led by principals Brandon Hanna, Deno Bistolarides and Ryan Vinco, the team of brokers at Farmington Hills, Michigan-based Encore Real Estate Investment Services has listed, sold and marketed more than $5 billion of investment real estate across the country. The company has also closed more than 700 transactions.
How has Encore, which was only founded in 2017, accomplished so much in so little time? Hanna, in an interview with Midwest Real Estate News, pointed to the never-give-up mentality that both he and his team members exhibit.
Hanna recently spoke with Midwest Real Estate News about his company, his real estate career and the challenges he’s overcome to build Encore Real Estate Investment Services.
Midwest Real Estate News: Your company has seen impressive growth in a short time. What do you think is behind that?
Brandon Hanna: Work ethic. My partners and I are seasoned practitioners within the national retail investment sector. We understand that we are in the advisory services business, therefore, our reputation is everything. We also ensure everyone is treated the same, and we do that by taking the simple approach of setting everyone’s expectations properly. Another contributing factor to our success is our perseverance and “never give up” approach. Our business is a daily grind and balance is the ideal component to long term success.
MREN: What kind of health issues did you have?
Hanna: I played sports in high school and I was always very athletic. After taking my first job in real-estate, I had a minor surgical procedure completed. Following the procedure, I started having lower back issues and was diagnosed with arthritis in my spine. I remember sitting in a chair 10-14 hours a day and not being able to work out didn’t help my case. Working to avoid back surgery, I spent a lot of time getting epidural injections to band-aid the wound.
I was on a cruise celebrating Christmas with the family when it happened. The ship had an ice rink, and I was ice skating with my 6yr old son. I didn’t do anything unusual. Simply bent over to take off my skates and I felt a snap, that snap turned out being my L5 disc breaking off. I waited a couple of days, but things just got worse and at one point, I had completely lost my ability to walk and control my lower body. So, I had emergency back surgery, and I spent New Year’s in the hospital. The surgery was very successful, however, the recovery process was going to be up to me. That’s when I saw the opportunity of being given a second chance, which was an absolute blessing, and I used all of that momentum to make myself healthy again. It turned out to be a great year, thereafter. I worked hard and didn’t give up. And that’s always been my approach: When you face a challenge, you have to do the work necessary to overcome it.
MREN: What led you to form your own commercial real estate company?
Hanna: My partners Deno, Ryan and I worked at Marcus & Millichap for 10 years, starting out in the bullpen. We barely knew how to spell ‘real estate.’ But we worked very hard and very smart and we worked our way up to senior vice presidents. We made a name for ourselves in the industry. Eventually, we became the directors of the national retail and net-lease properties groups nationwide. Following the back surgery, I decided it was time to try another challenge. That’s when I went to the partners and said we are ready to take on the private sector. In 2016, we closed 156 deals with a volume of a little more than $400 million. And that was our first year out of the gate dealing in the private sector. The following year, we decided to start Encore.
MREN: What was that like, taking on the challenge of starting up your own commercial real estate company?
Hanna: When we started Encore, we had eight people. Today, we are up to 30. I knew when we started Encore, that we were going to blow this thing up. It just felt right, and we had the right leadership team. Timing is everything, and John Przybyla (who is now Encore’s president and chief operating officer) was at Marcus & Millichap. He was ready to make a change. We interviewed him from Chicago, told him our story. We all knew John. And he knew that we were guys who would do what we said we’d do. He didn’t hesitate. He moved to Michigan and we have become that much more of a leader in the investment arena since. We’ve done a lot of deals.
MREN: Why has Encore been so successful?
Hanna: We take a simple approach. It’s all about meeting our clients’ expectations properly and adding value to their investment initiatives. That’s our main objective, the reason we are in business. We are true advisors.
People in this industry have to believe in themselves. I tell all our agents that to be successful, in anything in life, you have to believe in yourself. You also have to set expectations properly. You have to make sure you’re not just shooting from the hip. Everything has to be done right. You have to demonstrate the appropriate due diligence. You have to advise properly.
MREN: How have you kept a steady stream of clients coming to Encore?
Hanna: We add a lot of value. That is the main reason why we have grown so quickly. We receive a lot of support from repeat client relationships. The agents who interview with us appreciate the relationships which we have built over the years. Granted, the partners and I are in our mid 30’s, we are transparent guys who incorporate the main characteristics in our daily life which include humility, dignity and being honorable.
I always say that life is simple. If you want it to be difficult, it will be. If you want it to be simple, it will be. You get to choose. That is the beauty of life. We are a true brokerage outfit. The major conglomerates across the country do not offer what we offer to our agents. Having been on both sides of the spectrum, I am honored to say that, if you’re an agent with Encore REIS, you’re not going to spend your time dealing with internal company disputes, rather spend time making money. With us and for our agents, the entire real-estate arena is ours for the taking. The agents at Encore REIS can take on the investment world without having to rip through the barriers that corporate America throws at you. Our agents do well. Everyone makes money with us.
MREN: What makes this career such a good fit for you?
Hanna: I love what I do. And I have an unprecedented amount of respect for my partners Deno Bistolarides and Ryan Vinco. There’s no I in team. I admire everyone on my team’s fighting spirit, and it keeps me motivated. I also truly enjoy building relationships. So that’s what I have, my family, my work and my faith. That’s how I live my life. I’m very committed, to all three.
The most important thing I have learned over my 14yr career, is that you never give up. You have to believe in yourself. You have to add value for people. Nothing is easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it.