CCIM Feature

CCIM Spotlight: Knot an Ordinary Deal

A CCIM course helps a broker break into the business and build a lasting partnership.

Over the years countless commercial real estate deals have evolved from casual conversations among stu-dents taking CCIM courses. In fact many CCIMs form relationships with their classmates that help them make critical business connections throughout their careers. For Robin M. Kean, CCIM, owner of Kean Properties LLC in Kihei, Hawaii, one relationship in particular transcended business to become the partnership of a lifetime: He met his future wife, Jennifer Downs, at a Commercial Investment 101 course in Denver in February 2003 and the two were married on March 24, 2006.

Fate and family backgrounds in real estate helped bring these two young professionals together. Both Kean and Downs took the CI 101 course on Valentine's Day 2003 to help advance their early real estate careers. "I was already working in residential real estate, but once I took the class I knew commercial real estate was the right fit for me," Kean says. Downs, who was an industrial investment broker with a Denver company, took the course at the suggestion of her father, a local commercial real estate professional. After completing the course, Kean began searching for a commercial real estate job and Downs, who already was established in the industry, occasionally sent him leads. Soon Kean was hired by a Denver commercial real estate company "literally because I'd taken the CCIM class," he says. "[The company] recognized CCIM and the value of its education."

The conversations between Kean and Downs continued and they discovered a few opportunities to work together. One deal in particular comes to mind, Kean says. "We worked together on a land transaction, but it didn't go well at all - the contract ended up falling through," he says. They continued to do business together, mostly in the form of sending each other referrals for transactions that weren't in their areas of expertise. None of the referrals turned out to be extraordinary deals, Kean says. "I'm still waiting to be paid for one of the transactions and I told Jen I'll never take one of her deals again," he jokes. Despite the lost business opportunities, Kean and Downs eventually realized they had more in common than just commercial real estate.

Prior to their wedding, the pair decided to give up successful careers in Denver and relocate to the island of Maui, in Hawaii, where Kean was born and raised. He formed Kean Properties LLC, a full-service commercial real estate brokerage as an opportunity to work with his father, who has operated Kean Realty on the island for nearly 30 years. Currently, Kean is working on a new retail development and selling industrial condominium units to small private companies. Downs decided to pursue residential sales for a new 86-unit condominium development on the island.

While the two currently are charting their own courses in the local real estate market, Kean expects their professional paths will cross again someday. "Eventually Jen will probably come back to commercial real estate and we'll work together," he says.

Jennifer Norbut

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