Brokerage says down market an upside as it enters N.J. picture
A period of uncertainty for the real estate market may seem like a bad time for a new brokerage firm to enter the picture. But for Transwestern, the Houston-based company building its Northeast presence, the timing couldn't be better.
"The market is always prime when it's down," said James Postell, the industry veteran who's leading Transwestern's new office in New Jersey and its quest to recruit talented brokers from the region.
"When it's up, everyone's happy with what they're doing and with their company," he said. "When it's down and there's uncertainty, it's when people will look to other companies and see if they may match up with them for another segment of their career."
Transwestern's New Jersey office, in Parsippany, has been open for about a month and a half. Postell said the firm now has five employees, including some recent hires from CB Richard Ellis and Cushman & Wakefield.
The firm was drawn to New Jersey and the Northeast because of the large presence of Fortune 500 companies, Postell said. But the move also reflects the need to better serve its national clients by "having feet on the ground" in the region. In the past, Transwestern had to use competing brokerage firms in order meet clients' needs in the region.
Postell, who has been with the firm since July, said Transwestern's large industrial platform will be a key part of its New Jersey strategy. The firm also will expand its practice based on other needs in the market, and fill its ranks accordingly.
"Our goal is definitely to move in that direction and make sure that as that talent becomes available, it fits with what our expansion needs are," Postell said.
Transwestern's move into New Jersey comes as the landscape changes for the real estate brokerage community. New York-based BGC Partners Inc. in recent months has announced acquisitions of Newmark Knight Frank and Grubb & Ellis Co., and rumors are swirling about other firms.
But Postell, a former executive director at Cushman & Wakefield and principal for Trammell Crow Co. of New Jersey, said that means opportunity for a new brokerage house, especially one with the advantage of private ownership.
Transwestern was founded in 1978 as a developer in Texas before shifting to real estate services in the 1980s, according to its website. The firm started to expand to other markets in the late 1990s, and now operates 31 offices across the country.