Multifamily brokerage provides rewarding career in real estate

Carson Griesemer (BA Business Sustainability ’18) followed his passion for entrepreneurship, learning not every business venture pans out. Thanks to ASU connections, he's found success in commercial real estate.

Commercial real estate broker Carson Griesemer (BA Business Sustainability ’18) followed his passion for entrepreneurship, launching a landscaping company in 2018 that built on his experience in the field gained while a student at W. P. Carey. Like many entrepreneurs, he learned that not every business venture pans out, and he realized he needed to pursue another career path. Thanks to connections made while at ASU, Griesemer got his foot in the door at a thriving commercial real estate firm where he’s quickly risen to become a broker specializing in apartment building sales.

W. P. Carey news caught up with Griesemer to learn more about his journey from landscape business owner to commercial real estate broker.

Question: How did you get into commercial real estate?

Answer: The odds were against me trying to get my foot in the door in this business. Luckily, I had two ASU friends, Dallin Hammond (BA Interdisciplinary Studies ’17) and Mitchell Drake (BS Management ’16), who were fantastic resources and took me under their wings. They were starting to taste success after a few years in the business and looking for extra help. They knew who I was and what I was all about — always have a good attitude, willing to put in the effort. And we had continued to be friends after college. I let them know I was looking for something new and heard they might want help. They were interested. I started at the bottom, working as their assistant for a few months at $10 an hour, 40 hours a week. In January 2020, I officially became a broker at ABI Multifamily. You can’t put a price on the connections you will make at ASU.

Q: Do you have any essential insights to share with fellow alumni interested in commercial real estate?

A: Steel yourself to rejection. When you get started in this business, you will hear a lot of nos. Probably 19 out of 20 times you will hear a no, and five times, you’ll get colorful language along with it. And that never-ending cycle of no is a hard thing for a lot of people to take. You must keep a mindset that you may get a yes. Keep your energy and attitude up. It’s a lot of cold calling when you are starting. Just have a good attitude and look at every phone call you place as a possibility versus, “Oh man, it’s another one who said no.” You can’t have that mindset, because when the good one comes, you have to be ready to capitalize on it.

Q: What do you find most rewarding in your line of work?

A: My niche has been working with mom-and-pop shops — apartment owners who don’t own a ton of apartment buildings, and they’re living off the income they are getting from collecting rents on a 10-to-40 unit apartment building they have owned for 15 to 20 years.

I enjoy being able to familiarize those people with how our process works and what it entails. When they get to the escrow close date and get a check that they can retire off of, and not have to worry about money anymore, they are shocked. And I remind them — you earned this. Yes, the market conditions are favorable, but I tell them, “It’s your hard work, maintenance, and upkeep that helped this asset grow — and now you are getting to reap the fruits of your labor.” My clients are so thankful, and I become friends with them through the sales process. Everyone has a unique story on how they came to acquire that asset. By having drinks or dinner with clients, they start to open up and you see how they started with nothing — and now they are getting a big check. Their stories are rewarding.

Q: What advice would you give to a student interested in pursuing a career in your discipline?

A: Right off the bat, be willing to find a mentor and make sure your mentor is someone who truly cares about your success. I got lucky. I had that connection already. Find the right person who takes you under their wing and believes in you. You don’t want to be used and abused. It’s a process, but when it works, it’s incredible.

I am so fortunate to work at ABI Multifamily. It’s one of the most wholesome places in this industry because, unlike our competitors, they let us “climb the ladder” as quickly as we can prove ourselves. ABI has got to be the most transparent, open broker-to-broker culture there is. It’s all about collaboration, and that is something unique and special in our industry. I can ask for advice on anything. I would also say that being a broker, the job is never done. There is always something else you can do. Even if you have nothing pressing or a deadline, you can always be looking to the next deal — refine your pitch, refine what you say, refine everything — you could work 24/7 and never be done working.

Q: Do you have a business book to recommend?

A: Anything written by Ray Dalio has great wisdom.

Q: If you could take a free business class on any subject, what would it be and why?

A: Psychology. I would like to better understand where someone is coming from when they make a definitive decision.

Q: What skill do you wish you could have learned or class do you wish you would have taken while studying at W. P. Carey?

A: I wish I would have learned time management. I was offered countless opportunities at W. P. Carey, but it seems like I have to work on that skill the most.

Q: How does your W. P. Carey education and experience help you in your career?

A: W. P. Carey taught me to be a problem-solver. There were countless examples during college where I found myself out of my comfort zone. I learned to stay composed and diligently work through these instances.

Q: What topic or class content do you draw from most in your daily work?

A: Economics, both micro and macro.

Q: Why did you choose to pursue your degree?

A: I graduated with a degree in business sustainability. I believe there is a sweet spot where efficiency can go hand in hand with sustainability. This was a new degree when I was there. I always thought environmental impact is something that’s not going away, and it always sparked my interest.

Q: What is the ROI of your W. P. Carey degree(s)?

A: Priceless.

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