California is one of the hottest real estate markets in the country. We asked five of the state’s all-star CRE pros what morning habits help them stay cool under pressure.

The Golden State has the sixth largest economy in the world, encompassing everything from a massive agricultural sector in the state’s central region to the explosive tech economy that’s become synonymous with Silicon Valley. The greater Bay Area alone is home to three of the top ten CRE markets in the country — San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland — so it should be no surprise that California continues to attract enormous amounts of attention from real estate professionals of every stripe.

Our recent report on the Los Angeles CRE market highlights the sheer size of transactional volume that goes through just one portion of this market.

But success in California CRE is not guaranteed, and requires agility and a deep understanding of the industry and its history. We caught up with five of the state’s top CRE professionals to find out how they prepare for each day in one of the world’s hottest real estate markets.


Who: Allen Buchanan, Principal at Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services
Where: Orange County, CA
Follow: @allencbuchanan

What are two morning habits that prepare you for a successful day at work?

I typically read our local paper, the Orange County Register, cover-to-cover. I’m old school that way. I then check my email and do some planning for the day. Our CRM allows me to schedule tasks for my associate and me, and I generally devote this time to that purpose. Also, I spend an hour or two working with my wife in our home-based business. We make items for weddings in New Orleans, and I’m responsible for processing the orders, getting them ready for production, and shipping.

What has been the key to your success in CRE?

Consistently doing what I say I will do, when I say I will do it.


Who: Michael Lagazo, Vice President at SRS Real Estate Partners
Where: San Diego, CA
Follow: @Michael_MBA

What are two morning habits that prepare you for a successful day at work?

I perform a morning devotional routine — listening to Christian music, reading my Bible, praying — and then I oxygenate my brain with a workout. After that, I read the market news while having coffee.

What has been the key to your success in CRE?

Being a student of the game. One can out-hustle natural talent by showing up early, having the relentless work ethic of a professional athlete, and working smarter by delivering solution-based options to clients.


Who: Benjamin Osgood, Executive Vice President at Dunhill Partners West
Where: San Francisco, CA
Follow: @BenjaminOsgood

What are two morning habits that prepare you for a successful day at work?

I begin each morning at 6am to the voices of Steve Inskeep and Lakshmi Singh from NPR, if the rumble of the passing cable car doesn’t wake me first. After breakfast, I try to get to the gym every morning to clear my head and prepare myself for the day.

What has been the key to your success in CRE?

It’s important to play the long game so I always put my client’s needs above my own. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it will pay itself back tenfold with referrals and repeat business.


Who: Katie Rodd, Senior Vice President at George Smith Partners
Where: Los Angeles, CA
Follow: @GeorgeSPartners

What are two morning habits that prepare you for a successful day at work?

I think about big picture strategy in the morning at home before work. Once I get into the office there is too much deal noise and I need to address the issues in front of me. In the mornings I can step back and look at things more globally.

What has been the key to your success in CRE?

Putting myself in the other person’s shoes during transactions. Whenever an issue comes up, I think, “What would I do if I were the borrower/lender in this situation?” I try to see it from their perspective before acting. Also, my mentor used to tell me it’s better to say you don’t know something than to respond inaccurately, and this concept has served me well.


Who: Jesse Weber, Executive Vice President at CBRE
Where: San Francisco, CA
Follow: @CBRE

What are two morning habits that prepare you for a successful day at work?

I check my email first thing in the morning when I wake up, so that I can address anything urgent that has come up. I also make sure to spend a few minutes with each of my daughters before leaving for work.

What has been the key to your success in CRE?

I have two. First, focusing on building deep relationships with clients and understanding who they are and what their goals and objectives are, so that I can be not only a service provider to them but a partner and advisor in their business as well. Second, I’ve been fortunate enough to have great mentors in the industry that have been willing to share their knowledge and experience with me.

A Shortcut to Success

Getting ahead in California CRE may not be easy, but with the right commercial real estate data fueling your practice — and maybe several of the habits listed above — you’ll be well on your way to Golden State glory. But don’t take our word for it.

Sign up for free trial of Reonomy now!

Back to blog