By Datta Khalsa, Broker
Cinco de Mayo marked the 20-year anniversary of Main Street Realtors, and this month also marked my 30th year in real estate. Reaching milestones like these provided me an opportunity for some retrospective.
With the benefit of experience, we tend to become more aware of the relative strengths and weaknesses that each party in a situation or relationship possesses—and more adept in managing our own strengths and weaknesses. Along the way, we can also start recognizing recurring patterns in how we interact with others that lead to successful outcomes.
Looking back over the trajectory of a career spanning three decades in real estate, I can see the key to success in most situations has boiled down to two basic things: (a) Surrounding myself with the right team, and (b) Helping people get through their differences.
During my first decade as an agent, I developed a reputation as the guy who was willing to take on the toughest and most creative projects, with the help of my mentors at Sherman and Boone. Whether it was navigating a particularly challenging property, bridging the gap between co-clients in dispute with one another, or handling an adversarial negotiation between opposing sides, I found satisfaction in helping to create peaceful and productive solutions.
After 10 years I opened up Main Street Realtors to kick off the second decade of my trajectory, and found myself building a team of my own and a different kind of bridge—One that helps supporting our agents the way they want to be supported, in addition to supporting my own business. I also crossed the personal bridge to building my own investment portfolio along the way as I continued to represent our clients’ interests first and foremost.
The opening of our Firmus investment fund marked my passage into a third decade in real estate, ushering in a whole new level of collaboration and building bridges. Over the ensuing 9 years, we have put together and participated in dozens of Joint Ventures, Partnerships and LLCs with the guidance of my mentors on the management team who brought their decades of experience running funds of their own through the ups and downs of multiple investment cycles.
Investment partnerships often bring out challenging situations, as a broad range of partners with varying levels of competency, communication, and moral compass show their colors during the course of our business ventures with each of them. It isn’t always easy to find common ground when partners don’t see things the same way or get along with each other, but it is validating to be able to bring both sides to agreement based on the level of trust and the bond you hold with them (often even as they despise each other) as the bridge between disparate interests and positions.
In looking back on all of this, I can’t help but wonder what bridges remain ahead, as I approach yet another decade in this shared journey we call real estate.