2021 Ones to Watch: Michael Brown, HKS Real Estate Advisors

April 20, 2021 - Spotlights

Name: Michael Brown

Title: Senior Analyst

Company Name: HKS Real Estate Advisors

How do you keep your team motivated despite conflicts and obstacles?
The most important thing in staying motivated and keeping things moving whenever hurdles arise is remaining calm. If you ask my colleagues, I think they’d tell you that I’m a pretty even-keeled person and I would say that’s largely why I’ve been successful in my role. We all know that “time kills all deals,” but in my experience sometimes a little extra time is what saves a deal. Stressful situations occasionally lead to impulsive actions, and that can translate to more headaches down the line. It’s important to remember that it’s okay not to know the answer to the question. Take a step back, ask a colleague’s opinion, think on it – because that’s how you’re going to arrive at a well thought out solution that gets you to the closing table that much faster.

What led you to your current profession?
I was a finance major at Fordham University and knew that I wanted to pursue a profession within financial services. It wasn’t until I took a class in urban planning that I considered real estate as a potential career path. I’ve loved big cities since I was a kid and found the logistics of designing and developing urban spaces incredibly interesting. What really fascinated me was how capital and financial interest influence that planning process to shape the world around us. I took a few classes in real estate finance and received an internship in the capital markets space where I saw a ton of value in what I was doing. I quickly got in the habit of treating each transaction like a live case study and that helped me gain an in depth understanding for how all sides look at a deal, from developers and investors to lenders.

What recent project, transaction or accomplishment are you most proud of?
Over the past 12 months, I’ve been actively involved in underwriting and helping to close north of a billion dollars in financing. This past year has not been without its challenges, but it’s also provided valuable learning opportunities. We had an uptick in clients approaching us with deals outside of the New York City market as well as several situations where there were question marks surrounding tenancy or rent collections. I think this period of uncertainty forced us to get creative in finding solutions to problems and that’s ultimately where we’re able to prove ourselves to clients. I am incredibly proud of the team at HKS for the successful year we’ve had despite these unprecedented times.

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