Adam Torres and Mher Vartanian discuss becoming a real estate market maker.
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To become a real estate market maker it takes teamwork. In this episode, Adam Torres and Mher Vartanian, Vice President Investment at Marcus & Millichap, explore how Mher’s team has become real estate market makers in their area along with his upcoming book launch with Mission Matters.
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About Mher Vartanian
As an accomplished, dependable portfolio manager, He has a proven history of exceeding goals and delivering measurable wins for the organization. His ability to be an influential communicator has allowed me to become adept at building a strong network of relationships with partners and engaging diverse prospects, clients, and leadership to negotiate and close deals which drive growth. With his broad experience across asset classes and financial markets, he has developed an eye for identifying and capitalizing on market opportunities. Recognized as an innovative thinker, He possess the capacity to solve complex problems and judgment to make sound, impactful decisions. Mher focused on integrity and customer service with a commitment to organizational growth, personal development, and shared success while possessing a strong ability for underwriting and modeling across multiple asset types.
About Marcus & Millichap
Marcus & Millichap was founded in 1971 with the goal of being a new kind of company – one driven by long-term relationships and built on a culture of collaboration. They focus on bringing together specialized market knowledge, the industry’s leading brokerage platform and exclusive access to inventory to achieve exceptional results for thier clients, year after year.
Today, they are the industry’s largest firm specializing in real estate investment sales and financing, with over 80 offices and nearly 2,000 investment sales and financing professionals throughout the United States and Canada. In 2022, the firm closed 12,272 transactions with a sales volume of over $86.3 billion.
Full Unedited Transcript
Hey, I’d like to welcome you to another episode of Mission Matters. My name is Adam Torres, and if you’d like to apply to be a guest in the show, just head on over to mission matters.com and click on Be Our Guest to Apply. All right, so today is a very special episode. We. Mayor Vartanian on the line, and he is Vice President of Investments over at Marcus and Millichap.
And also I’m proud to announce Mayor is a upcoming author in our next Mission Matters book release. Mayor, welcome to the show. Thanks, Adam. Great to be here. . All right. So I’ve been, I’ve been following you for a long time on Twitter now, and we’re gonna talk about that in a little bit. And I’ve also been following the work that you’ve been doing over at Marcus and Millichap.
So we’ll get into that and really how you’ve managed, you and your team have managed to become market makers and really dis. Distinguish yourself in your local and regional markets. But before we get to into that we will start this episode the way that we start them all with our mission matters minute.
So, mayor, we at Mission Matters. We amplify stories for entrepreneurs, executives and experts. That’s our mission. Mayor, what mission matters to. What mission matters to me, it’s constantly adding value. That’s how we make a name for ourselves. That’s how we get ourselves involved in the conversation. What can we do to add value to any different situation when it comes to the real estate investments world?
And you know, it’s by either leveraging us, our team, our network we provide it to our clients, we create relationships for life. With that, we become part of them, their family, part of their investment advisors, and it’s great. Yeah, it’s it’s great. And I, and I see the heart, the how much heart you put into your work.
And I’m, and I’m glad and happy to present that to, to our audience. And I guess maybe just to get us kicked off here, let’s go a little bit further into really your background and how you got started. Like, like how’d you get started in real estate? Yeah. Uh, Kind of by accident. After we had small stint at Goldman Sachs in San Francisco.
My dream job coming out of college wasn’t After a little bit of that didn’t real, I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do. Came back to Philadelphia started applying for different jobs applied at Marcus and got an interview not really understanding what I was getting myself into. They told me it was commissions only.
I figured, you know what? Let me, let me take a shot at this. At least if I don’t stick with that, I’ll learn something about real estate. At that point, I just, you know, I knew a couple of things my dad taught me growing up, and as soon as I started, I. . I didn’t miss a beat. I mean, I, it, something clicked with me.
I it caught on. My favorite part was just talking to people all day. Mm-hmm. , I thought cold calling was kind of, you know, corny, ridiculous at first old school. Yeah. But then you’re, you find yourself talking to, you know, some of the best investors, multimillionaire business owners across the northeast, and you’re just listening to their story all day.
These guys are giving you the time. They’re, they’re, you know, they realize you’re young, you’re new, and they’re, they’re, it’s like getting an MBA every day, learning from the guys who’ve actually done it. You know when, when you reali, when you get to that realization, it’s like you can’t stop every day.
You’re in the thick of it and with some of the best business leaders in the country, and you know, why would you stop doing that? Oh, it’s great. It’s a, it’s a great perspective and it is a great attitude towards the market and, and otherwise, and really adding value and, and just, it just talks, it just speaks to your mission and what you said about adding value to others.
What kind of advice would you give so to maybe the, the next group of, of individuals that are thinking about or considering entering the world of real estate? What kind of advice would you tell? I tell my junior brokers all the time, you, you have to have an open mind for this. There’s no, it’s, there’s no textbook for this.
Every building’s different, every town, city municipality is different. You have to be able to pivot and you have to think on your toes. You have to be. creative. You have to be scrappy cuz the, these, this isn’t like a stock where you can just look at a balance sheet and figure out, figure out the price.
You know, this is, you know, these things, these assets are cash flowing, but at the end of the day, they, they have roofs, they have h they have mechanicals, they have, you know, the, the owners, they have personalities. You have to manage different types of personalities. Not every situation’s the same. And, and you know, there’s, that’s, that’s what’s, that’s what’s fun about this, right?
Mm-hmm. , every, every puzzle is different. E every, every, every problem has different ways of solving it. We’ve done hundreds of transactions over the last couple years, but, you know, The next hundred transactions are gonna be completely different from the last hundred. Yeah. And what, what’s always interesting to me in, in real estate and I argue unlike stocks, is that it can be very, there can be some really inefficient situations that allow for.
You know, good return for investors and there’s just a lot of different scenarios versus maybe if you’re looking at that screen, right. And there’s other market forces and things that are, that are kind of taking over, right? Over and above, let’s just say the balance sheet of the company, right? With real estate.
Like sometimes that can really be in the, you know, the sellers or the buyer’s advantage. And I, I understand that you represent uh, both sides. Am I, am I off on that? Yeah, no, we represent both sides. Most of the. . Let’s talk a little bit more about, about your niche, really, and what you’re doing. So maybe tell us a little bit more about your team over at Marcus and Millichap.
Yeah my partner and I, we run the largest team at Marcus and Moap out of the Philadelphia office. We have about eight junior brokers under us, and three full-time staff members as long as well as you know us. The team leads dunk Verian group. . And you know, a lot of what we do when we’re selling these proper, especially when we first started, we weren’t selling the class A, you know, prop like Skyline property we’re selling, you know, some of the more unsavory assets.
The thing, the the assets that you really had to wrap your head around. And, you know, you, you have to build a narrative around that. You have to figure out the business plan. You have to figure out how someone’s gonna be able to buy the property, make money in the property, and then sell the property when it’s time.
And it’s developing a business plan with the potential investors. And, and these are some of the ways we add value going in and teach, sometimes teaching the investor buyers what they can do differently to operate the property, to increase value. Hmm. Teaching the sellers what they have to do to get ready for a sale.
You know, they, if they wanna sell today, they, they have to line some stuff up to, to get ready so they don’t get crushed during the due diligence process with re trades or anything. So we, we have to defend both sides and at the end of the day, a seller has to leave some meat on the bones for the property.
Mm-hmm. so he could, so someone else can get some per some future value out. And then on top of that, we pair up all of our buyers with the right, you know, due lenders. Mm-hmm. Appra inspectors, title companies, attorneys, whatever we need to do to make sure the transaction moves slowly, because at the end of the day, anyone can put out a four sale sign.
We don’t put out any four sale signs. That’s not our job. Our, our job is to manage a process. At the end of the day, make sure the disposition or acquisi. Gets to the finish line because these are, you know, 90 day timelines. Anything and everything will happen. And our, our job is to make sure everything stays on course throughout the process.
And, and that’s why we get hired. That’s, that’s our, our role in, in the in the process. . Yeah. And just speaking to, you know, again, some of the, some of the individuals that are maybe just getting started in real estate or considering it you know, residential versus commercial real estate, like your views on maybe going either route as a, as a career path.
You have active listening, open listening. Mm-hmm. . in any conversation with your client, you should be speaking 20% of the time and they should be speaking 80% of the time. Yeah. They’re gonna tell you exactly what they need. You need to know what they, whether they know it or not, they’re gonna tell you.
And just hanging back and listening is sometimes that’s they, that’s, that’s what they want. They just want someone to listen to what they’re thinking and you just gonna be, and just absorb. And ask as many open-ended questions as you can because that’s, at the end of the day, these you’re no one’s looking.
No, you don’t have to have all the answers. Yeah. You don’t have to have all the answers. Then you can table stuff. You have to be patient with it because these are, this is a process, like I said, 60 to 90 days. That’s our timeline in the commercial world. I know residential sooner, but not everything has to be taken care of.
That then and there be get your Realign yourself. Get your put everything you need to get together and then go back out and ask your questions and answer the questions they had for you. Mm-hmm. , no need to rush now. I know, I know you’re a pretty humble guy, but, but I, I do gotta ask you this, like, like how do you think that you and your team have managed to really become market makers in that, in your area, in your niche and in your region?
And maybe, maybe for those that are unfamiliar with that term also just, just talk a little bit about what that term means. So, being a market, Being a market maker is defining the market, defining the price per square foot, defining the price per unit. You know, we’re proud to be able to say we’ve hit, we’ve, you know, we’ve made Mar our market in central Pennsylvania, Northeastern Pennsylvania and, and the Philadelphia suburbs.
And the way we do that is because, , we understand how to operate real estate. Mm-hmm. . And, and that’s the thing. We we’re not only are we investors ourselves, we, we know how to drive the narrative. We know what people are looking for at the end of the day. And. , you know, not the, the, your neighbor’s not gonna be the one that’s gonna pay the highest price for your asset.
It’s gonna, it’s most likely gonna be an outsider, but someone who’s used to, but that outsider who’s probably used to paying $200 a square foot, and then they see your property listed at one 20 and their eyes, that’s already value. But then, then bringing someone in from across state lines or from the other side of the country and kind of getting them comfortable with that new local market.
that’s a lot of handholding on our end. You know, it, it, it, they’re coming with different per perceived value. Their perception on everything’s different. Outsider looking in. They, it is always looks in with clear clear glasses. We we’re strong believers in that, and that’s, and that’s how we drive value.
That’s how we make the market. By getting them into the fold, getting them connected in with our network of third parties, getting them comfortable. We’ve done that time and time again, and we, we’ve been very successful in doing that. What is your approach, or how do you go about, whether it’s mentally your mindset and kind of going, going to the table and you’re, it’s time to start negotiating and talking about the, the actual, you know, nuts and bolts in terms for the deal.
Like how do you mentally go into that, into that negotiation again, the before. Can get into the thick of the negotiation. It’s all the, the prep work and the front end, and that’s where the active listening comes. You’re gonna know what is important to them, what life changes are occurring, why someone is looking to sell and why someone is looking to buy.
Mm-hmm. understanding. And, you know, the, the buyer and the seller have to come in, in some, in some terms, it’s not always price, right? There’s, there’s timelines associated with it. There’s, there’s you know, after the sale, what can occur. There’s different things that that. make people make decisions. Right.
And it’s all the active listening on the front end, knowing what the, the, you know, the top three for each side is gonna be, and coming and, and basically eliminating the, you know, trimming the fact of the conversation and getting, writing it down in deep into it. Mm-hmm. , that’s the, that’s the most important part.
You’re dropping Jules today, mayor going to for the top three of each party and making sure that you’re satisfying those and, and trimming the fat. Really just getting right to the point. Man, you’re, you’re, you’re, you got got a masterclass going on today, man. Appreciate it. Thanks. So let’s just say you know, you’re, you’re getting further along in the deal and invariably, like, we don’t have to pick on one particular reason, but invariably, like deals fall through and, and before you get to that finish line, like you said anything and everything can happen.
Like how do you keep yourself and maybe your team mentally focused and prepared for those inevitable twists and terms that that are gonna come up in when it comes to closing a deal. It’s not easy. It’s, that part’s probably never gonna get easy. But you know, versus from when we started till now you know, our percep our, our perception on this, on these things have changed.
Right? You know, I always tell junior brokers never count your fee ne it’s not a closing until a day after closing. And, and always have as many balls in the air as possible. Mm-hmm. your goal, you know, the one, that one deal isn’t the deal that’s gonna make you rich and retire. Right. It’s never that case.
We’re here to run a business and, and that’s what separates good brokers from. Mediocre brokers is seeing your brokerage business. Seeing you as a business is the most important thing. And what, what do businesses do? They, they’re constantly turning inventory. Your goal is to be constantly turning inventory having multiple deals under contract, multiple listings at a time, multiple uh, multiple closings in a month.
That’s how you can account on, if one falls out, you’re still fine and you’re. when it falls out, understanding why it fell out. Mm-hmm. , is it, is it something that you can save or is it, is, is, is, are you the problem or is the deal the problem? We’re, we’re getting better at this. Right. We’re still learning every day.
We’re getting to a point where if deals are dying, it’s because the deal is no good. There’s, there’s, there’s. Things that are, there’s outside factors that you can’t control. And our whole mo, a lot of what we do is controlling the controllable. We can’t control interest rates from going up, but, you know, we have to do things to mitigate the damage as much as we can on both ends.
And that’s staying on top of you know, lenders or, or third parties. Sometimes there’s just. environmental issues. Mm-hmm. , we don’t know. You can’t, you can’t know that. Yeah. You can’t know what happened 50 years ago. Mm-hmm. , I mean, at that, you can’t beat yourself up about that. So, and you know, doing this, you’re gonna get thick skin.
You’re gonna get very thick skin doing this. And again, you have to think of the longevity of your business. In five years from now, how is everything gonna look? You always put things back into perspective and you know, you gotta keep looking. , talk to me a little bit more about, about team building and how you managed to attract, you know, key players and, and retain top talent in, in your field.
Because you, as you said, you started, you know, yourself and now, now you have a large team working with you and four U talk to me more about how you built that team. Yeah, slowly we, we grew slowly. We, we didn’t want to grow fast. We didn’t want to grow ahead of our. We knew when it made sense to bring on another junior, we knew when it made sense to hire another full-time staff member based off the bandwidth that we can take.
And as, as we were getting bigger and our juniors were producing, we, you know, affording more staff made sense, but also, you know, just because some, a junior wants your me. , you have to make them earn that, right? And it, it, it, it, it might sound weird. They’re, they’re 10 99 employees. You’re not paying them, but they have to earn your time.
And at, when you’re an entrepreneur, all you have is time. It’s, it’s your most precious resource. And you can either spend time with a new kid that wants to learn or spend more time generating business. So, and, and managing that. . I don’t wanna say put some these new guys through your test, but we make them, we need to make sure they really want it, and they’re going to put as much into the business as we’re putting in.
Mm-hmm. , they, they need to, they need to give it, give it their all. We call the herd. We have to sometimes mm-hmm. . And, you know, the cream always rises to the crop. And, you know, we’re at a nice spot right now where every, all of our junior agents are produc. Our staff is busier than we’ve ever been in, in this market.
And you know, it’s because we set up everything on the front end and we built out slowly. And you know, we’re, we’re in a good spot right now. Oh man. That’s great. It’s a great success story, great entrepreneur story. And I, I love the fact that you said that you didn’t necessarily rush the process because I feel like there’s so many out there, and I don’t mean just in real estate.
I mean entrepreneurs in general that have that. That burden on them, or sometimes that unrealistic expectation that they’re just gonna have to year one, knock it out of the park and they have to build everything. And then overnight, like to me, we often hear these stories and these headlines, but a lot of times people don’t, they take that at face value and they don’t think about that.
You know, the overnight success that took 10, 20, 30 years or however long it took, we just see the headline and we’re impressed. But you know, it takes time to build a solid business. Right? It takes time and, and patience and. , it, it, in resilience, you have to believe in yourself and you have, like, if you don’t see your future, what your business is gonna look like in 2, 3, 5 years down the line.
Yeah. You, you’re not gonna have the vision to build out what you need today. And, and it, it’s, it’s one step at a time and I, I’ve seen people fail from not following that, but I, I, I think patience is, is key, especially in, in real estate. This is all It’s all small successes to get to the big, to the big goal.
That’s what it is. Delayed ratification in real estate more than. Yeah. Well, mayor I wanna, I wanna talk about the book briefly today and just for everybody listening, just so you know. So we’ll be bringing Mayor on for a second interview, considerate part two of a two part series and there we’ll do a deep dive into the up.
Into the book at that point it will already be live in print and we’ll be holding up copies in that interview. But for today, just a little bit of a teaser and note, this is still in editing, so some of the content can change and will change. Always does. That’s publishing. But keeping it high level mayor what are some of the things that you hope to present in the upcoming book?
in the upcoming book, a few of the main points we hit on is, is team building communication within the team. Small organizations pros and cons of small organizations, and on the entrepreneurial side, the, the delayed gratification and how, you know, the the small things we do today. You’re not necessarily gonna see results, but it, it’s when, when, when you do see results, it, every entrepreneur knows that, that first you know, sale, they get that first step towards growing the business.
It’s the most rewarding thing. And there’s a different kind of euphoria there. Entrepreneurs we’re, we’re different animals. Adam, you understand that more than anyone. Different things make us tick. And I think it always comes down to delayed gratification. We, we just, . Yeah. Well I’m gonna cut you off there and say that that’s all you’re getting, everybody that’s watching for this one, because we do sell books and I’m not gonna have mayor mayor give all, give all the secrets away cuz we want, I want you to pick up a copy of that of that book once it’s live and we bring of course, an.
Mayor Beck on the show. But that being said, I mean, mayor, you got, as you’ve just mentioned, your career is rocking and rolling over there. I mean, they got a lot going on. You’re busier than you ever have been in this market. We’re recording this of February, 2023, so it can be a tricky market as well.
I just have to ask what’s next? I mean, what’s next for you? What’s next for your. What’s next for us? We’re, you know, our, our goals are always increasing, you know, and we, we definitely wanna close out more this year than we did last year, and we understand the economic environment coming in.
Personally. We’re, you know, expanding our personal portfolios, have a few development projects we’re undergo. And then other than that, you know, my wife and I are, are looking to start a family in the next one or two years. So we, we have a lot moving. It’s, it’s not gonna be easy these next couple years, but, you know, that’s, that’s why we’re here.
Oh, that’s awesome. Well, congrats on that. And and n anything worth achieving? Some people say never easy, and I don’t know, it’s been, that’s been my case, but I feel like the, what you’ve described to me is a recipe for success. I’m excited to watch your team continue to grow your family grow and also, So just to be a part, have you be part of the Mission Matters community because that’s what we are here.
So that being said, if somebody’s listening to this or watching this and they want to connect and follow up and follow your content or contact you about, about real estate, about opportunities how, how do they get in touch? , I’m very easy to get ahold of. My cell phone number and email address is basically everywhere.
Follow me on Twitter. I, I, I reach out to a lot of people, reach out to me on Twitter, just DM me and, you know, schedule a time to call to call and talk. I love speaking about real estate. I can do it all day. I do do it all day for my job. So it’s, it’s easy. Just reach out my email address and phone number probably will be, Awesome.
And your and so let’s give, so your Twitter is, I think it’s at the real mirror if I’m not mistaken. Yep. At the real me. Yep. That’s real Maha. Yeah, and I, and I follow mayor, so I, I highly, highly recommended I’m just telling you like he, he’s providing insight into his deals and the deal flow, what’s going on.
I mean, I’m thoroughly entertained. I think everybody else will be as well. So definitely go, go, go follow that. So at the real Maha that being said to. Our audience and listeners if this is your first time with Mission Matters or listening to a Mission Matters episode, we’re all about bringing on business owners, entrepreneurs, executives and experts, and having them share their mission, the reason behind their mission really what gets them motivated and.
Fired up to go out into the marketplace and make a difference and to add value. If that’s the type of content that sounds interesting or fun or exciting to you, I encourage you and welcome you hit that subscribe button because we have many more mission-based individuals coming up on the line and we don’t want you to miss a thing.
And Maha, I really thank you again for coming on this show and making time for us over at Mission Matters and I can’t wait till the next time we get to work with each other. Thanks again. Thanks, Adam.