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Photo courtesy of Chad Rhodes

“In reality, the real estate profession chose me. I was raised in real estate; it was one of the family businesses,” says Chad Rhodes, licensed commercial real estate agent, on his decision to be in the real estate industry.

“I was educated as an engineer, but I have always been drawn to entrepreneurship since a young age. After graduation, I worked as an Environmental Manager with the city of Detroit until I could no longer resist the entrepreneurial calling. I left the comforts of a guaranteed paycheck and started a real estate title insurance company and I haven’t looked back.”

Read what else he had to say.

Are you also a broker?
I am not a broker.

Do you work full time or part time?
I work full time in real estate.

How many years of education and experience do you have?
Dual degree civil engineering graduate, with 15 years real estate experience.

What kind of license(s) do you have?
Real estate salesperson license, licensed by the state of Michigan

What is your day-to-day like?
Commercial real estate is a relationship industry; the majority of your business comes from people that you know or from referrals. Most of your days are the same, you are either managing current clients and assisting them with their real estate needs while simultaneously beating the pavement for new clients.

What is a first meeting like with you when you meet with someone interested in purchasing or leasing property?

One of the most important skills to have in commercial real estate is the skill of listening. The first step is to have a clear understanding of the clients’ needs. Listening to what the client wants is paramount to a successful real estate transaction. Once you get a clear understanding of their goals the work begins.

What should a seller expect when they meet you for the first time and express their interest in your representation?
A first meeting always starts with a conversation and good advice, even if they don’t use your services. You want the client to feel comfortable with the person that they are going into business with. You are creating a relationship with a mutual goal of getting a property sold at the best price. I understand that my clients have sacrificed and worked hard to attain property ownership and you want them to be confident that you are working in their best interest to help them achieve their goals.

Do you sell commercial properties?
Yes, at Summit Commercial LLC (www.summitcommercialllc.com) we specialize in the sale and leasing of commercial properties, including office, retail, industrial and all investment real estate. As a Detroit-based real estate brokerage firm, I work alongside the city’s premier real estate brokers and sales associates.

Do you ever suggest to a seller to proceed without a licensed representative? Why or why not?
I would never suggest to a seller or buyer to proceed without a licensed representative. Commercial real estate transactions are very complicated. You want to make sure you’re represented by someone that is knowledgeable and can guide you through the mind fields of commercial real estate without falling into major potholes. Potholes cost a lot of money in commercial real estate. I don’t think it would be wise to go to court without a licensed attorney; the same applies to real estate professionals.

What is the best advice you can offer an up-and-coming real estate professional?
Study and learn the business of commercial real estate. The best way to do that is working with a seasoned commercial real estate professional. The only way to be successful in this industry is to become a practitioner, actually doing transactions. The second thing I would recommend is getting involved in the community you intend to service. Donate your knowledge and skills to non-profits and organizations that are active in the community. If you are talented, that participation will create long lasting relationships that will assist you in the future.

What have been some of your biggest professional challenges and how have you overcome them?
My biggest professional challenge was closing down my real estate title insurance company in 2008. The collapse of the real estate market devastated the country and particularly hit hard in Detroit. Trying to figure out your next moves in the middle of a depression is a daunting task and it was a challenge to mentality move forward after putting time and affection into your business. After a little break, my saving grace was a strong family support system and real estate diversification. I was able to shift focus over to property management. There are a lot of directions you can go in real estate, which makes it a great industry. The most important lesson I learned is to develop multiple skills sets in any given field, ’cause you never know when you will need to use them.

Have you ever written a real estate action plan?
No

What is your long-term goal in this business?
My long-term commercial real estate goal is to become the first choice real estate professional for the Detroit metropolitan area.

Describe three important business fundamentals that a deal maker or developer requires with each great real estate opportunity.
1. Understanding the deal is paramount. You must have a clear understanding of your client’s goal.

2. Always do right by your client. If for some reason beyond your control a transaction doesn’t close, when you operate with integrity you will always have a life long client.

3. Treat everyone with respect. You never know who is going to influence the decision of you becoming the next client representative.

Yvette Caslin

I'm a writer, image architect & significance marketer. Love photojournalism, creative expression & originality.