You have a diverse background coming from technology sales and international business. How has that translated into your role with CBRE’s multifamily private client practice?
Prior to my role at CBRE, I worked with companies to implement technical cloud computing solutions. I learned to ask the right questions and understand each company’s goals and challenges as well as manage the business relationships. Since joining CBRE’s Capital Markets Associate Program in 2018, I have taken a similar approach: Identify my clients’ problems and needs, understand all the pieces and help implement an investment strategy as an advisor, not a transactional sales person. Both technology and real estate require a consultative approach to help clients achieve their long-term goals.
You have worked on four continents and traveled independently to more than 35 countries. How has that experience shaped the way you think about or go about work?
When you travel or do business in another country and language, you have to step outside your comfort zone and build relationships across cultures. It forces you to learn, adapt and overcome setbacks. I think that makes you more resilient and confident. You learn to listen and appreciate the perspectives of different cultures and people. My first commercial deal was with a Spanish-speaking client. I won the listing over more seasoned brokers because I could connect with that client in his language and he felt I would take care of him.
Outside of CBRE, you’ve built a portfolio buying and renovating over 20 properties as a private investor. How did you start in real estate and how does your experience benefit clients?
Solving problems and finding new opportunities in the market. Working with private clients in the small- and mid-cap space has its unique challenges. Most owners are not full-time real estate professionals, so there is usually a life change like retirement or a family problem that drives decision-making, as opposed to institutional clients who execute a business plan. I need to uncover motivations and help solve sensitive problems, in addition to selling properties. Every client has a unique puzzle to solve. It might be restructuring a portfolio to improve cash flow; repositioning new assets to unlock value; or developing a strategy to help a family achieve their goals. Success for me is putting a client in a better position and building a relationship long-term.
* * * * *
John Newton specializes in multifamily investment sales in San Diego. He has led the acquisition, redevelopment and sale of residential properties in Southern California since 2012. John was previously a technology sales professional, providing cloud server virtualization solutions for corporate IT accounts in the U.S, Latin America and Western Europe. He also worked for CNPC in Guangzhou, China. John earned a B.A. International Business with an emphasis in Spanish, Western Europe and Marketing from San Diego State University. He studied international economics at Universitat de Barcelona, French language and civilization at Université de la Sorbonne, and Mandarin at China Normal University, Guangzhou. He holds a California real estate broker’s license and is a member of NAIOP, the San Diego Association of Realtors and SDAR Global Real Estate Council.