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October 11, 2019

Don't Go Into Commercial Real Estate



“Whatever you do, don’t go into real estate.” These were the famous last words said to Peter Argeres before he dove headfirst into the world of commercial real estate in Seattle, Washington in 1994.

Thirty-six years prior, in 1958, his father, Paul Argeres, began his career in real estate amid a surging American economy and a growing population in Reno, Nevada. Paul began as a residential real estate agent and quickly found an affinity for knowing residents and watching the community he loved grow and evolve. After proving a knack for sales, he began Fuetsch-Argeres where he and his business partner managed more than 30 brokers. He loved that no day or deal was ever the same and to do your job well meant being plugged into town, knowing anyone and everyone. 

Leaving brokerage behind, Paul moved into commercial real estate property management of multi-residential and association properties. He loved going to look at new properties, often bringing his son along with him. 

Peter Argeres remembers those long Saturday drives with his father in Reno. His father’s love of real estate made Peter’s career in CRE somewhat inevitable and he soon moved into a property management role in the mid-’90s. He knew that if he was able to understand the issues and nuances that occur in a building, he could more effectively represent landlords and tenants and he became a broker - a role he has held for the past 24 years.

When asked about what is different in CRE today versus during his father’s time, Peter mentions accessibility to information as the key. Brokers and property managers can now give real-time insights and reports which make the cycle of information more effective and profitable. But with tech impacting the CRE world, he worries that what drew so many people into the profession - the relationships, the integral property knowledge -  will be jeopardized.

When I graduated from college, I did not even consider a career in commercial real estate. I knew a career in tech, particularly a tech start-up, would be an exciting way to start my career. But when I heard about Prophia, I saw a tech company, but I also saw Saturday morning drives to see properties and phone calls with landlords. 

I have just completed my first month working for Prophia, learning both what has remained consistent in CRE over the years and what itches still need to be scratched. I have been a sponge learning about rent abatement, REITs, and the cultural phenomenon which is the ever-connected network of CRE professionals. 

Paul Argeres, my grandfather, loved teaching real estate to his son and my uncle, Peter as much as any Reno broker he came across in his long career. Their experiences have taught me about the underlying value of what makes CRE indelible. What must never change is the desire to seek to understand clients as individuals and every deal as unique. The technology must never make CRE simply transactional. We need to enable even more Saturday drives to see properties and stories but instigated by easy-to-use data, not hearsay and accidental luck.

I am captivated and proud to be part of a company that seeks not to rob CRE of what it holds dear but enables professionals to trust their data, provide value for their business, and be the perfect evolution of CRE in the tech revolution. If we cannot, then as my grandfather once said, do not go into real estate. 

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