MS. REAL ESTATE
Am I Leasing or Am I Losing?
SAN FRANCISCO—Wouldn't it be convenient if someone had clear, intelligent answers to most of your CRE-related questions? Problem solved. Nina J. Gruen, a.k.a. Ms. Real Estate, a.k.a. the principal sociologist overseeing market research and analysis at Gruen Gruen + Associates, is here to answer readers' questions.
Dear Ms. Real Estate,
Last year I graduated with a degree in economics from a four-year college in Northern California. I want a career in the real estate industry and was successful in getting a job in the leasing office of a new high-rise multifamily rental that is located in one of San Francisco’s fast-changing neighborhoods. So what is my problem? Almost all of the potential renters I show units to are about my age, but making considerably more money. This is because the starting salaries in the tech industry are much higher than my own. I’m having difficulty controlling my resentment, since there is no way I can come close to affording the $2,500 per month rent for the units I am showing. Any advice?
—Am I Leasing or Am I Losing?
Dear Am I:
Envy is one of humankind’s least flattering qualities. When Ms. Real Estate was starting out working in an international consulting firm, one of the older professionals (much older to Ms. Real Estate at that time) surprised her by exclaiming, “I don’t care what my salary is, as long as it’s higher than my co-workers!” Ms. Real Estate, on the other hand, didn’t care how much others earned as long as the income permitted her a satisfactory lifestyle.
If you are still interested in pursuing a career in the real estate industry, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you and are you obtaining important insights about the industry from your current position?
- Has your present job given you insights as to which aspect of the industry you wish to pursue, i.e. development, marketing and sales, property management?
- Whatever the answer to the above questions, has your present position offered you insights as to what works and what doesn’t?
- If your boss asks, have you begun to identify the characteristics of those units that lease the fastest and those that are more difficult to lease?
- Are you aware of what your next position might be, if you are successful in your current one?
If you have not asked yourself any of the above questions, you might not be pursuing the right career path for yourself. If you have, be aware that there will always be many cohorts that will be richer than you. The more appropriate question is, what do I need to do to be successful in the career path I have chosen? Am I doing enough? Can I do more? If you start from this perspective, your curiosity and interest will carry you far, and as you gain experience, additional dollars.