In this Day in the Life of a Commercial Real Estate Professional post, we hear from Daniel Greenblum, a capital markets Associate at a real estate loan broker, Lev Capital.
Daniel has been kind enough to share his typical daily routine and discuss what it takes to land a successful career in CRE Capital Markets.
Deep Dive Interview with Daniel Greenblum
Day in the Life of a Capital Markets Associate
We had the opportunity to talk with Daniel Greenblum who is a Capital Markets Associate with Lev Capital.
Dan’s story into real estate is a bit atypical yet encouraging! Dan graduated with a Bachelor’s in economics from NYU, had no real estate internships, and took a job at one of the leading consulting companies in the nation. In the back of his mind, real estate was a career path that always intrigued him, and it was during the start of the COVID pandemic that he connected with a friend helping to build a team at Lev and jumped! At the time they were just a team of 12 in a small office, and now the team at Lev has expanded offices multiple times. The firm has over 120+ employees and closed their Series B Funding.
Before we get into the day-to-day and job responsibilities, let’s first discuss a bit about Lev Capital. According to Dan, Lev is a mortgage brokerage firm powered by technology. Their mission is to change the game in how the process is run by both lenders and borrowers throughout the real estate deal process by automating and shortening the closing time of a real estate transaction. By doing that, they will be able to achieve a great customer experience regardless of deal type, size, or capital stack, and it’s happening!
ADVICE FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN THIS POSITION
If you were a college student again, what would you tell yourself to hit the ground running on day one?
Dan recommends showing a demonstrated in interest in real estate as a whole and understanding where you can fit in. He looks out for knowledge within a specific part of the real estate cycle (e.g. you can have a discussion on compressing cap rates), ability to speak the language of a real estate professional (see our glossary of terms for a better understanding of the professional real estate jargon), past participation with the real estate club in school, or college athletics. Having completed the A.CRE Accelerator program is a plus! All in all, he recommends being able to start and hit the ground running, coming in hungry and ready to work and absorb all parts of the industry.
WHAT DOES A DAY IN THE LIFE LOOK LIKE FOR A CAPITAL MARKETS ASSOCIATE?
First, Dan’s job is to look at and underwrite deals. Lev has an internal team that brings in deals through various sources, including a team of SDR’s (Sales Development Reps) working to bring in deals, through different marketing channels, and from referrals. Suppose a deal looks good at a high level. In that case, the deal is “sized up,” meaning they are underwriting the deal, looking into the borrower, expectations of the borrower, if they can get it done, and asking if they have the right partner at the other end of the line. If so, they determine if that partner is willing to sign an advisory agreement. If everything looks good, they will present a deal to their deal committee.
Lev’s deal committee will decide if the deal is worth working on, and that is where Dan will start his role once the deal is approved. Dan’s role is now to go into the weeds on financials, follow strict guidelines, present a SWOT analysis to the lender, and go to market with the deal. From there, Lev’s goal is to present quotes to a borrower and then sign a term sheet, which is an early commitment to lend. This then starts the due diligence process. All in all, Lev’s end goal is to make this experience exceptional, so each party will want to come back and repeat this process to get another deal done.
How does the day in the life change as someone gets promoted?
The focus and responsibility of an analyst are to hone financial understanding and deal underwriting proficiency. Because every deal is different in real estate, it takes time for any incoming analyst to get a pulse on what the financials should look like, how to sniff out the good and bad deals quickly, and why deals are both good and bad. In conjunction with learning how the financials pencil out, an analyst also observes the higher-ups in the company to see how they are communicating with their lenders and borrowers and learns about how to overcome problems that may arise in the deal process.
As an associate, you will have a keen understanding of the deal process, be able to underwrite a deal quickly, and know how to communicate with your clients to get a deal across the finish line. You will start to handle more work on your own, have oversight of deals, mentor analysts, and get them up to speed!