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Pay It Forward: “Take The First Commercial Real Estate Job You Can Get” Says Grant Pruitt of Whitebox Real Estate

Grant Pruitt, 36, Whitebox Real Estate; Dallas

Grant Pruitt is a Co-Founder and the President & Managing Director of Whitebox Real Estate, LLC. Pruitt launched the firm as a tenant-focused real estate advisory, investment sales, and development firm to specialize in offering a custom-tailored approach to his real estate clients.

Job title: President & Managing Director

Area of ​​expertise or focus: Tenant Representation – Office & Industrial

Grant Pruitt of Whitebox Real Estate. Courtesy photo

What has been your biggest challenge in your particular role and how have you overcome those obstacles? The transition from being an individual real estate broker to a manager and running a business was a huge challenge. The core of our business, real estate and representing tenants, was and is the easy part. I hadn’t run a business or started a business before, and I still feel the industry is starved for good managers and leaders. A lot of what you learn is through trial and error. I fail… a lot, but I use those failures to improve and get better. I also surrounded myself with other great business owners, leaders, coaches, mentors, and team members. I love to learn and practice and get better. I invested in training for myself. I had to learn how to run a business and be a coach, mentor, and leader.

What about your current role at the company are you most happy with? When I see the team winning and thriving and growing as professionals, words cannot describe the elation that I feel. When they win and are excited and achieve success, that is when I am most happy.

What is the best piece of advice you have received that has helped you succeed in your industry? My dad, who is also in real estate, told me when I was about 15 or 16 years old (he was my first boss in real estate) that there are three types of people that are successful in real estate.

  • The first is just lucky, and there is not a lot you can do about that, but if you don’t work to put yourself in the position to get lucky and if you don’t run as hard and fast with the luck you get as you possibly can, then you won’t be successful.
  • The second is just really well connected. Not much you can do about that either. Maybe they were born into the right family, but if you don’t work the connections you have, you won’t be successful.
  • The third just outworks everyone else, and that is the only one that you can control. The common thread, though, is hard work, so if you want to be successful in real estate, work hard… every day.

I feel very strongly about this. There is no substitute for hard work. If you consistently put 100% into it every day, you will create a habit.

Would you advise a younger person to start a career in CRE? Yes. 100% It’s a great industry. This is a business that allows you to be your own boss. It’s also not a desk job. Your job is 1) to learn / know the market, and there is no better way than actually being in the market (physically), and 2) your job is to meet people, talk to people, and work to solve their problems. We positively impact businesses through real estate… It doesn’t get much better than that.

What would you advise them to do to get a foothold in the industry? Take the first job you can get… It is a hard industry to get the first job in… There is a saying that commercial real estate is a hard business to get into but an even harder business to get out of. Look for a mentor. You have to have a mentor in this business. Without a good mentor, it will be extremely difficult to succeed.

Please share with us the best lessons learned or a surprising component of your unique journey. I had and still have fabulous mentors. They used to always say, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” “Never get too high; never get too low.” “You only get one reputation.” These were fabulous words of advice. The other one that fed my competitive nature was, “If you aren’t making the call or working hard, one of your competitors is.” I love that healthy, friendly competition.

Are there any particular initiatives that you are working on? The initiative I am working on is our growth and our long term goal / plan to be in 7 markets by 2030 with 100 employees. We added Houston last year. Five more markets to go.

In your opinion, what takeaways did we learn from the COVID crisis? Pigs of the fly. No one had ever said that even against all odds you couldn’t go to work. Good market, down market, flat market. I always thought I had a chance. Covid really challenged that thinking. HOWEVER, we still prevailed. It forced us to improve and reinforce our tech stack so that we could truly function as a virtual company. We also increased our businesses substantially and grew our market share because of this effort. It positively disrupted the way we did business and we are still benefiting from this disruption.

How would you describe your work mindset? The reason I get out of bed every morning, and do what I do, lose sleep at night, etc. is because I truly believe in what we do as a company, as an advocate and advisor for tenants, buyers, and users of office and industrial space. Because it is tangible, it can oftentimes be oversimplified or overlooked. Businesses that use real estate have challenges, issues, problems with their real estate space needs. We, as a company, are passionate about bringing creative solutions to positively impact our clients’ businesses through real estate. I say, “OUR PASSION IS YOUR SOLUTION.”

We do this by living out our company’s core values:

  • We work hard.
  • We are coachable.
  • We have integrity.
  • We are tenacious.
  • WE WIN!!!

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