Real estate agent John Walsh says he had no special formula for brokering $57.6 million in multifamily investment deals last year.
“It’s no secret hard work, integrity, and knowing the market,” Walsh said. “I don’t look at it as I’m a better agent. I’m willing to work harder.” And, Walsh cautioned, “You’ve got to have ethics or you won’t get repeat business.”
Walsh handles between six and eight apartment listings at a time. His largest current listing is a 253-unit complex in Panorama City. And he only works with sellers who are serious. “If they’re not truly committed… I don’t try to talk them into it,” Walsh said.
Walsh’s largest deal in 1999 was the sale of a 127-unit complex in Glendale. He got the listing a couple of months after setting up Walsh & Co. at the end of 1998. He was one of four agents competing for the listing.
“He did not give the highest valuation, but he had a distinctly different approach,” said the apartment complex’s principal owner, Stewart Kim. “It was more analytical than market driven.” While Walsh’s initial valuation was conservative, the complex sold for $10.41 million, about 5 percent over the listed price.
Walsh found 15 qualified buyers and, “We leveraged the buyer pool into getting the price that we wanted,” Walsh said.
Walsh is the principal at Walsh & Co., but he is a real estate agent rather than a broker becoming a licensed broker involves additional training. One of Walsh’s employees is the firm’s licensed broker.
Walsh majored in business and finance at USC. One of his professors was doing real estate deals and urged him to follow when he graduated. So Walsh got his real estate license in 1987 and decided he really enjoyed doing apartment deals.
“I found that real estate was a great vehicle, a profitable vehicle for people to invest. I’m dealing with high-net-worth individuals with a high degree of integrity. That’s something I’m very comfortable with,” Walsh said.
After obtaining his license, he worked for Marcus & Millichap before setting off on his own in 1998.
Reflecting on his career, Walsh said it was a fluke of timing that landed him in the real estate business. “If it was five years later, I’d be a wealthy guy at some Internet company right now,” Walsh said.