We feature Travis Albee, Vice President of Los Angeles-based SVN Rich Real Estate Investment Partners in this month’s Five for Friday.  Travis specializes in the medical office, office, and retail markets.

Travis Albee, VP, SVN Rich Investment Real Estate Partners

What advice would you provide to an aspiring advisor who is new to the industry? 

I have several pieces of advice:

1) Let go of fear and be aggressive. You have to take risks to make deals happen and beat out your competition. Continue to make moves, even when it feels uncomfortable.

2) Prospects will use your time in this business to further their own endeavors. Many are true professionals at telling you what you want to hear (and you thought you were the salesperson). For instance: There is a difference between a professional seller whose full time job is real estate and wants to exploit your eagerness, and a private seller who owns real estate and needs your help. Go for the latter, because they are more likely to value you.

3) Starting your real estate business is like pumping water out of the ground. It takes a lot of muscle at the beginning until the water finally reaches the spigot. So, be willing to be overworked and underpaid for two to five years. It flips eventually, but you have to hang around for quite a while.

4) If you are not good at one or more key parts of the business (e.g., the paperwork), partner with (or hire) someone who is, because you are better off spending your time on what you are good at, and thus increasing your deal volume.

5) Leverage what you can. Leverage the work of others. Leverage your successes into new business. Know when to leverage your position.

6) Always call the neighbors around any property you are selling. They may buy the property or want to sell theirs.

7) Having a willingness to do the dirty work or the work that other people (i.e., your teammates or your clients) don’t want to do helps get deals done.

8) Find a way to buy real estate. You are not going to get any closer than this, so make it happen!

What learning tools (book, blog, website, etc.) would you recommend to your colleagues to further their knowledge and enhance their careers? 

Pursue your CCIM. I’m one class shy of getting mine. With that said, doing lots of deals alongside experienced agents will teach you a lot of what you need to know. What I’m saying is don’t get bogged with too much education at the beginning of your career. It can actually be a distraction from what is most important—setting meetings.

Many young brokers say they want to learn more before making too many calls. But, all you need to do is create a simple script with a few power statements geared to a target list, and then start calling that list to set meetings to which you attend with a senior Advisor. You can pursue further education as your career goes on.

Why did you join SVN? 

I joined SVN because I felt comfortable with the services they provide and the accompanying pay structure. Our team targets high net worth families who own real estate, not institutions or larger family offices. We felt SVN was well suited for our business model.

What was your most memorable deal and why?

I sold Menchies’ headquarters off-market and with no listing agreement, because they did not want to widely market the property (not everyone does). The CEO had already turned us down for a listing, and seemed to be seeking to quietly market the property with another team, but then I asked for a few exclusions for buyers whom I already knew and felt could be a good fit, and he agreed. What did I have to lose? I was just allowing for a few swings at the plate, because it was an “A”-property. I presented the deal to those buyers, and one was interested. I made a real case for why he offered approximately $1.5 million less than what the sellers wanted, and in the end they agreed.

Menchies is the largest soft-serve frozen yogurt company in the world. I worked directly with the CEO, who had appeared on the TV show Undercover Boss. He is the most efficient and dedicated leader I’ve ever worked with. It was quite an experience.

List a fun fact to share about yourself – something that people may not know and that they may be surprised to find out.

I am very driven by discovering the solution to close a deal (mastering puzzles). I appreciate what I’ve been able to learn from some pretty savvy puzzle masters (our clients are often our teachers). You get to witness how they do it. And later on, they get to witness you. I don’t enjoy the soft skills needed in residential real estate, so it’s a good thing I am involved in CRE.

Find your opportunity in the CRE world with a career at SVN. Check out our listings here.


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