CRE Broker and radio host Michael Bull stays focused on quality and integrity.
Running a successful independent commercial real estate firm and starting a nationally-syndicated radio show are each daunting tasks in their own right. Not for Michael Bull, Host and Executive Producer of CRE Show and founder of Bull Realty — he managed to do both. In fact, he built a radio and TV studio right inside of his firm’s office. Aside from the hard work required for each to be successful, what both businesses have in common is a strong commitment to quality and an unyielding dedication to accurate and timely market analysis.
Some might say Bull was destined for CRE success. He started managing properties while he was in college at the tender age of 18. By 19, he had obtained his real estate license, and by 23 he was a full-time commission-only commercial real estate broker. Since that time, he’s founded a successful firm and become host of CRE Show, reaching over 100,000 listeners each week. We recently got a chance to sit down with Bull to discuss how he manages to balance his two commitments, as well as some trends he sees coming up in the industry.
A Recipe for Success in CRE
As Bull tells it, he never set out to create his own CRE firm. Rather, Bull Realty emerged twenty years ago as a result of his dissatisfaction with some of the large, national firms with which he’d been interviewing. He simply wanted to sell real estate — and lots of it — but he wanted to do so with integrity. To him, it didn’t matter whether he had to share a commission with another broker. He just wanted to do good work for his clients.
“As I interviewed with the bigger shops, I found that their clients thought they were getting ‘national marketing’ — but in reality, all those firms were doing was marketing to email lists,” he says. “I found I could get more offers and more demand if I was willing to split fees.” And thus, Bull Realty was born.
From the beginning, Bull had two goals for Bull Realty. “I wanted to be known for integrity and for having the best disposition marketing in the country.” He describes his firm as being very client oriented, with a focus on integrity, common sense, and education. In fact, he often tells young commercial real estate brokers that in order to be successful, they can never stop studying the industry.
“The biggest challenge for a lot of people is that they don’t know what they don’t know. You need so many skills to be a successful commercial real estate broker, and the only way to get those skills is to never stop seeking knowledge; never stop learning.”
From Real Estate to Radio
In light of Bull’s noted commitment to learning his craft, in 2008, a colleague suggested that he start a radio show focused on commercial real estate. “But it wasn’t the best timing,” he says. Instead, Bull revisited the idea in 2010, creating Commercial Real Estate Show — which now airs on YouTube, iTunes, radio stations, multiple podcast sites and reaches an ever-growing audience every week.
Although Bull knew every nuance of the commercial real estate industry, he didn’t know how hard it would be to produce a show and build an audience. “In fact,” he joked, “if I had known the amount of work it was going to take, I might never have done it.” He now has two full time producers and a complete radio and television studio right inside the Bull Realty office.
Like his CRE business, Bull’s radio show prioritizes quality. Bull and his team consistently strive to book the best guests, even if that means providing his competitors with air time. And, as usual, Michael finds success by constantly engaging in self-learning to keep on top of current trends.
Given all his studying, we wanted to know what trends Michael sees coming for the CRE industry. First, he predicts a rise in cap rates. Based on that, he suggests that people who are looking to sell their commercial real estate properties within the next four or five years do so now. On the tenant side of things, he advises that companies create spaces focused on holistic wellness. In fact, he views feature-rich properties as a key to tenant employee recruitment and retention in the future.
In speaking with Bull, his commitment to integrity, quality and learning shine through — an obvious and hard-earned recipe for success. “This industry is always changing,” he says. “But if you’re like me, that’s what you love about it.”
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