Nick Ito is a Director of MetLife Real Estate and this addition covers his job duties and what the commercial mortgage division at MetLife Real Estate is like.
Nick is responsible for the entire Southwest Region’s loan production and loan portfolio. He has a team of producers, portfolio managers, and analysts that he is responsible for leading. On the production side, he needs to make sure the team is doing new loans, which are consistent with MetLife’s platform and provide a good risk/return ratio. For portfolio management, Nick ensures that the loans in the portfolio are performing as expected and makes sure the team is responsive to requests made by borrowers. The largest part of his job to him seems to be leading the team, providing guidance to them and helping them grow.
The team is tasked with sourcing their own opportunities. Performance is evaluated based on “what” they do and “how” they do it. MetLife has a cumulative review, which takes into account how much loan production is done, how profitable it is, and how well the portfolio performs over time. They are expected to do this in a collaborative team like fashion, so the “how” tends to be just as, if not more important, than the “what”. Argus and CoStar are primarily used to perform their valuations.
Travelling is also an important component of Nick’s job. He travels as needed based on deal flow. 90% of the deals from the Southwest region tend to be in the Southern California area, so those are typically day trips driving around. The remaining 10% is in Hawaii, Phoenix and Las Vegas. Trips primarily consist of Nick touring collateral, touring the market, touring competitive properties, and meeting with owners and brokers.
Nick says the biggest challenge he faced starting out in this industry was paying his dues. Real estate is an experiential and time-based business. There is no way around it and it can be frustrating early on in your career.
Furthermore, Nick also sees technology as being a big changer to the field of real estate. Real estate generally adapts to technological changes at a slower rate than other industries, so eventually, he sees things like driverless cars, high-speed transportation, and energy use changing real estate in the future.
Nick gives credit to mentorship from folks within the industry as the biggest help in his career. The ability to discuss items with folks and getting different perspectives has been instrumental.
Nick’s advice to students looking to do what he does is to get in the industry and start working hard. The best way to jump-start a career in real estate is to start early and begin paying your dues. Since real estate is such a situational business, it’s hard to build up the cumulative experience needed without just jumping in head first.