From football captain to “Industrial King of Polk County”, Augie Schmidt has found major success in industrial and warehouse transactions. In this episode, Augie discusses how he got into this industry and the steps he took to become one of the leading industrial brokers within Central Florida.
Below is an excerpt from the interview. Listen above for the full podcast.
When did you start with SVN | SRD? I want to say was the very end of 2016 when I came to the firm as a research analyst. That was Genesis 1: “In the beginning.”
It was a position in the research department that really gave me the knowledge and understanding of what real estate is all about. What goes into each and every property and also the values of the market. Really, the main part of the job was putting together broker's price opinions. We would help the advisors within our firm create these packets to serve their clients and tell them what the value of a property was.
I spent two years in research. In that time, I looked at probably 2-300 properties and it really set a good foundation of knowledge; for the market, the property types, values, things like that.
Did your athletics follow you into real estate? I think football really helped a lot with that. One thing Dean [Saunders] always says is that he loves his athletes. I was thinking about this because nowadays, being a self starter, I will usually wake up at around 4:30, just very excited to get out of bed, go work out, start the day, get to work, and pursue whatever the day has for me.
One of the reasons why that relates to sports is I truly love what I do and I'm truly passionate about it. There was sometimes in football where you wake up at 4am and then you're hitting with full pads on by 5. So to do that in repetition for years, really set me on a good path of doing the hard work and doing the hard things that you don't want to do. Looking at it now, I'm so incredibly grateful for football and all the other sports I played for just the work ethic and the discipline.
What do you specialize in? When I started off in the business, I focused on multifamily. I was just interested in apartments and the multifamily sector got really crazy and started to heat up. There were a few key players that you attributed to that and one of them was Gary [Ralston]. He's a big social media, commercial real estate investing, and sales guy.
Then, I kind of noticed a lot of people hold multifamily assets for a very long time. It's just cash flow for generations. They’re great assets, but they just don't trade a lot. From a brokerage standpoint, this might not be the most lucrative opportunity so then I went into shopping centers. I liked the multi-tenant aspect of shopping centers. They're just complex and there's a lot going on. So in a shopping center, you have this many leases and there's a lot of moving parts. Being a business major and being more numbers oriented, I really just liked the complexity to it. Gary was a big advocate for my success and he's been coined as “the retail whiz”. He's just an incredible real estate mind.
David [Hungerford] has also been a great mentor of mine. David and Gary have teamed up for the past couple years. I did some shopping center deals and had some good success there. That was a lot of fun, but then somewhere along the way, I got my stab at industrial. Some leads worked out and being young and aggressive, you’ve got to fight. I got my first stab at industrial and then very quickly got a very big opportunity. After that deal, those became the type of properties that I wanted to work on.
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The deal of a lifetime. From a brokerage standpoint, people were saying, “Oh, man. That's a deal of a lifetime,” and I said, “hopefully not.” That's not my plan. My plan is to do another one very soon. Do bigger and do multiple deals every single year. This is what I want the tone of my business to be: to work on these large complex transactions, to bring a lot of value to clients, and do really good deals with good people. One of the biggest things in commercial real estate is: “business gets business”.
Where in Florida do you focus? When I'm mapping out the market area, it's a big rectangle in the middle of the state. At least on the commercial side, we can go all throughout the state of Florida. There's definitely some deals that will go a little bit farther outside of this rectangle, but right on the outskirts. At least for my business, I focus on the eastern side of Tampa to the western side of Orlando, then up to the north boundaries of Zephyrhills and Brooksville, down to Sebring and Arcadia. So it's a big rectangle in the middle of the state that the industrial presence with our ownership have just built up such a relationship for such a long time.
Are you in competition with other brokerages? We've definitely beat out some bigger corporate competition, but we've also been beat out as well. You just have to understand how relationships work. People ask me all the time, “What about this million square foot warehouse?” but that is really not where I specialize and not where I think we can best serve the clients.
I know what my ballgame is and my sweet spot. I still love to compete and go toe-to-toe whenever we can, but at the same time, you understand your lane. I know where we can bring the best value to our clients and what we're really good at. At the end of the day, that's really what matters most. That the client is served best.
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