CCIM Q&A Brokerage

CCIM Q&A: A Fresh Start

CCIM Q&A Beery

Earlier this year, Beau Beery, CCIM, officially opened his own brokerage firm — a crowning achievement for Beery after 22 years of steady, focused work in multifamily real estate. The 45-year-old Florida resident had been planning such a move for years, so he refused to let a global pandemic and the resulting economic and social turmoil stop him from realizing his ambition. In fact, considering the strength of the multifamily market in 2020, the move to start Beau Beery Multifamily Advisors looked to be perfectly timed.

Alongside his new business, Beery also published “Multifamily Investors Who Dominate,” an instructional guide for others in the industry looking to improve, and routinely posts videos to his YouTube channel, Beau Knows Multifamily.

We spoke with Beery about the process of starting a brokerage amid the coronavirus pandemic, the future of the multifamily market, and his advice for CRE professionals looking to strike out on their own.

CIRE: Considering all that has happened in the year leading up to launching your brokerage in January, how did you get the business off the ground during the pandemic?

Beau Beery, CCIM: I realize the pandemic created difficult times for many industries — but multifamily sales are not one of them! In fact, my business has been stronger than ever during the pandemic. My CRE coach, Blaine Strickland, CCIM, of HBS Resources, and my former partners at Coldwell Banker Commercial have been helping me plan the transition to my own company for about three years. I’ve been building a personal brand in the CRE space since 2000, and the time came when it made more sense to have a stand-alone brokerage rather than continue with CBC.

CIRE: You started by managing one multifamily property in Gainesville to where you are now — among the elite in CRE. If you had to point to one aspect of your personality or character to explain your success, what would it be?

Beery: I chose a career I knew I’d be good at, not one I was passionate about at the time. It may sound weird, but I believe the worst advice you can give a young person is following your passion. Don’t follow your passion. Do what you’re good at, continue to master it better than anyone else, and then passion will follow. I wasn’t a kid in grade school and college who dreamed about being a real estate broker. I did it because I knew I was good at following systems for success, and real estate has plenty of those.

I’ve always had relentless self-discipline. Laziness combined with ego is the worst combo. I’m the guy that when I go to a seminar, I write down every important note and step and carry out every one of them to perfection. It is a compulsion. When my coach Blaine tells me what to do, I do it. When my personal trainer writes out a workout and meal plan, I do it. I am the most monotonous human being I know. I do the same exact things every single day over and over again. Most find that horribly boring — I find it extremely comforting.

CIRE: Considering the impact of COVID-19, how do you see the multifamily sector responding? What should CRE experts keep in mind with multifamily for 2021 and 2022?

Beery: The multifamily sector hasn’t missed a beat due to the simple fact that everyone still has to have a place to live, and home ownership continues to be more and more difficult to achieve. Frankly, the only negative impact that I’ve seen are the mortgage payment escrows that lenders are requiring now as a safety net. Those currently range from six to 12 months, but I think they’ll be gone once vaccinations reach everyone. 

As for 2021 and 2022, I predict continued constrained supply of assets for sale, which will continue to drive up pricing. Everything I read says interest rates will continue to be advantageous through 2023. Two unknowns are capital gains taxes and 1031 exchanges. Will the Biden administration change those two extremely important components in the real state world? And if so, to what degree?

CIRE: While you’ve co-owned a brokerage with nearly 100 agents for the last 10 years, starting your own with just you and a few staff members is a major change. Have there been any challenges that have been surprising in getting the business rolling?

Beery: Not really. I’ve always believed that customers follow good agents, not companies. In other words, customers don’t hire a brokerage to sell their assets — they hire a specific agent. Rarely does a seller say, “We must hire XYZ Brokerage to sell our asset.” The seller will say, “We need to call Beau Beery (or John Smith or Mary Adams) to sell our asset.”

I’d say the biggest change is not having the same negotiating power for the services I use as I did when my partners and I had dozens of agents. Now, it is just me. Marketing and listing tools, websites, and memberships cost much less per person when you have 100 agents as compared to just one person.

CIRE: For anyone hoping to own their own brokerage in the future, what’s one piece of advice you’d have for them?

Beery: I would say it is time to go alone when you know you can drive the same amount of gross commission income or better in your own company. I knew I could net more commission income having my own company than going to any other brand that exists because I knew the customers I work with couldn’t care less which company I was with. With today’s technology and CRMs, every agent worth a grain of salt has the ability to reach tens of thousands of buyers with the touch of a button. Customers are looking for experience, guidance, market intel, sales results, and, most importantly, an agent they like and trust.

I’m at a beautiful place in my life. If I never make another dime more than I make now for the rest of my career, but can still work under 50 or 55 hours a week, I’ll be the happiest guy. I don’t chase every deal under the sky, I don’t work with undesirable customers that will drag down my brand and disrupt my life, I don’t work past 6 p.m. during the week, and on the weekends I only work on things that I enjoy. The rest of my time is spent sleeping, training in the gym, driving my cars, and spending meaningful time with my wife and kids for as long as God will allow me.

Nicholas Leider

Nicholas Leider is senior content editor for Commercial Investment Real Estate. Contact him at nleider@ccim.com.

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