Seventeen Years – A Personal Journey

On November 2, 1998, I officially started my journey in real estate. To say that the past seventeen years have been interesting would be an understatement.

When I arrived at work the first day, Joe Romano, then the Managing Director for Grubb & Ellis in New Jersey had a simple message for me. He said, “Go do it.”

My response was equally as simple; “Go do what?”

“Go do real estate,” he responded and ushered me out the door.

I had no idea what I was supposed to do, but I have tried to figure it out along the way. Little did I know that it would include:

  • Making dinner reservations
  • Driving documents to the FedEx terminal at Newark Airport
  • Getting concert/sports tickets for clients
  • Binding surveys and tour books
  • Flying across the country to count parking spaces
  • Working on deals in places like Idaho, Oregon, South Carolina and many others.

As I have written in the past, my father, Phil Neuer, explained to me that first day that real estate is a relationship business, not a bricks and mortar business. Focusing on customer service, relationships, and giving the client what they want has served me well.

However, it’s not enough.

Without knowing how to “do real estate”, as Joe Romano instructed, all of the relationships in the world are meaningless. This includes:

  • Having a deep knowledge of the market
  • Being able to negotiate both simple and complex deals
  • Having a process and following it
  • Understanding a lease and being able to negotiate both sides of a clause
  • Helping our clients accomplish their goals, whatever they may be.

The business is almost unrecognizable in some ways. In my relatively short time, I’ve seen:

  • Consolidation in the industry with names like Insignia/ESG, Trammel Crow, and Staubach all gone through having been acquired and rolled in to CBRE and JLL.
  • Two recessions
  • The “.com” bubble burst
  • Building security (and many other things) change forever after 9/11
  • Tech tools change our industry in ways that were unforeseeable

To everyone that has helped me along the way, THANK YOU! There are too many people to list. As the saying goes, “it takes a village.”

And I know the next seventeen will be equally interesting as the only constant in life is change. In my next post, I will discuss some predictions I have for the next seventeen.