Anita Verma-Lallian Of Arizona Land Consulting: 5 Things You Need to Create a Highly Successful Career in the Commercial Real Estate Industry Today
Being able to pivot and adjust. I started in 2008 after the financial crisis, we pivoted the land my dad had to solar, which was active at that time. The land that was meant to be housing pivoted to solar. Now we’re doing the same with housing and industrialization with the water crisis.
The commercial real estate industry is a dynamic and challenging landscape that offers enormous potential for success. However, it requires a unique blend of skills, knowledge, and aptitude to truly excel. How does one establish themselves in such a competitive field? What does it take to consistently rise to the top in commercial real estate? How does one rise above the headwinds that are challenging the commercial real estate industry today?
In this interview series, we’re seeking to learn from the experiences of those who’ve successfully navigated these challenges. We’re interested in interviewing commercial real estate professionals, brokers, investors, leaders of Real Estate Firms and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), as well as anyone who’s found significant success in this industry.
As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Anita Verma-Lallian.
Anita Verma-Lallian is the CEO and founder of Arizona Land Consulting, a Phoenix-based land investment and consulting company that specializes in commercial real estate. Verma-Lallian is also the founder of local film production and entertainment company, Camelback Productions.
Can you share with us a bit about your childhood and how you grew up?
Throughout my childhood, my family moved around a lot. I was born in Chicago, and when I was very young, we moved to India for my dad’s TV manufacturing business. We lived in India until I was 8. Then we moved to Phoenix, where my dad began his career in real estate, so I spent a lot of my childhood around the industry. I was around 10 years old when my dad started teaching me about specifics within the industry, like bookkeeping and project management.
Can you share with us the ‘backstory” of how you decided to pursue a career in commercial real estate?
Growing up around the real estate industry, I was exposed to many key experiences within the industry, and I always knew that it really excited me. Working in the industry, you’re your own boss and lead in a way you see fit. Since moving to Phoenix particularly, I’ve witnessed the exponential growth of the area. I saw a career in real estate as an opportunity to be a part of that growth story going forward.
Can you tell our readers about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
Currently, we are working on a few industrial developments out west, we are in the process of developing a huge data center project. One of my most notable projects was the KORE Power site in Buckeye. I’ve been involved in the development of that site ever since.
Our recent focus has been to bring more manufacturing to Phoenix. We have also been working within the scope of the current state of the market, so working to identify acquisitions and distress in land deals.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My dad. He’s been in the land commercial real estate industry for 40 years. He has so much experience and has been instrumental in guiding and connecting me with the right people. Even today, he is a great resource and sounding board for helping me excel in my career now.
As with any career path, the commercial real estate industry comes with its own set of challenges. Could you elaborate on some of the significant challenges you faced in your career and how you managed to overcome them?
Commercial Real Estate has always been a male dominated industry, it still is. The most significant challenge I faced was not only being a younger female, but also a minority in the industry. I overcame this through hard work, I strived to learn everything I could about the industry, so I did. I was able to quickly jump on projects and sites due to my vast knowledge. Knowledge was my biggest power and propelled me in the industry.
Another challenge I faced early on was when I first started, I was working with my dad. A lot of people didn’t take me seriously. However, when I started my own business, it changed. This was my own company. I wasn’t using the family name.
Ok, let’s now move to the main part of our interview about commercial real estate. What are the 3 things that most excite you about the industry now? Why?
As I mentioned before, the growth of Phoenix and the industry was an important factor in my decision to pursue commercial real estate. I would say I am most excited about the fact that:
Maricopa County is the fastest growing county in the nation. A lot of growth equals new jobs and opportunities.
Not only that, but new industries are moving to Arizona. Right now, industrial development is huge in the state.
In general, there is more manufacturing overall in the U.S., which again aligns with the idea that there is so much growth for the industry, which always keeps me excited.
What are the 3 things that concern you about it? Why? What should be done to address and alleviate those concerns?
In Arizona, one of the biggest issues we face is keeping up with the infrastructure required for growing cities, including power and water.
We are undersupplied in so many categories, including multi-family and apartment units. We are not adding enough for the growth that we’re currently experiencing.
Another concern is the current market situation in Arizona, which is making homes unaffordable for individuals. This emphasizes the need for accessible affordable housing solutions or build-for-rent options. Addressing housing affordability is vital due to the significant demand and the necessity of meeting it to avoid housing shortages. The shortage impacts both job creation and the ability to afford housing. This has led to a lot of projects being shut down.
Finally, labor shortage is another challenge affecting Arizona’s growth and development. With so many options available, many tend to choose alternative careers.
To alleviate this, we should build more affordable housing, and create incentives for builders and developers. This means we need more construction. We also need alternative sources of labor.
If you had the power to put in place 3 changes to improve or reform the industry, what would you suggest? Please share stories or examples, if possible.
I would first empower more females to enter the real estate workforce to diversify the industry. Offer more education on how investors can get involved in commercial real estate investments. I would also suggest that we, as developers, encourage the cities and towns to be pro-development and assist developers in building projects, because they add to the city’s economy and overall growth.
For a young person who would like to eventually make a career in commercial real estate, which skills and subjects do they need to learn?
I recommend mastering the sector of real estate you want to be in and really understand what the properties are, and when they are available online. It is vital that you are knowledgeable of the area where you want to develop. Oftentimes, people will have a broad focus, however, if you look at Phoenix, the people who have the most success focus on one area or market. I would suggest that you spend a lot of time looking at migration data, including where people are going, and what they are looking for. Also, it is always good to have a mentor. If starting out, align with someone from a large firm or a reputable broker. It is also important to know that with real estate comes a lot of rejection and deals falling through, so make sure you have the perseverance to stick it out and not give up.
Ok, here is the main question of our interview. Can you please share the “Five Things You Need to Create a Highly Successful Career in The Commercial Real Estate Industry”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.
- Start your career with a good mentor, I started with my dad who had a lot of success in the industry. You need the right person to lead and coach you. Identify and align with the people who are investing in developing your career.
- Know the macroeconomics of the market. Generally, know what the trends are, this will keep you ahead in the industry.
- Regionally focus on what your area is and master it. By talking to local experts in that area, whether that is politicians, engineers, or real estate agents. It is important to build your network.
- Have tenacity and do not get discouraged. Most deals fall apart opposed to moving forward. Always keep that in mind. So much is out of your control, so being patient and riding out cycles is vital to your success. The market fluctuates with interest rates, no matter how hard you work, some things might not be in your favor, ride out the ups and downs.
- Being able to pivot and adjust. I started in 2008 after the financial crisis, we pivoted the land my dad had to solar, which was active at that time. The land that was meant to be housing pivoted to solar. Now we’re doing the same with housing and industrialization with the water crisis.
What do you believe makes your commercial real estate company distinctive? Could you share an anecdote about that?
We provide a concierge service to our investors and guide them through the entire process. We are one of the only companies that provides that white-glove service so the investors day to day issues aren’t impacted by their investments.
What is your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that had relevance to your own life?
“Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them. There is no royal flower strewn path to success.” — Madam C. J. Walker. I believe this quote is very relevant to the commercial real estate industry.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Setting the example for women in the industry and empowering them to invest. I would build a movement around women to create their own wealth and financial freedom.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Anita Verma-Lallian Of Arizona Land Consulting: 5 Things You Need to Create a Highly Successful… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.