Real Estate Broker Charts His Own Path

By Bhambhani, Dipka | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 17, 2000 | Go to article overview

Real Estate Broker Charts His Own Path


Bhambhani, Dipka, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Michael Boland resists bureaucracy, automated answering services and employees that compete with each other in the same company.

From that resistance was born his vision - Boland Real Estate Services, his small D.C. commercial real estate company.

"I'm not looking for a pat on the back from the boss anymore, rather from the client," Mr. Boland said. "When you're getting checks made out to your firm, there's no greater rush."

For 15 years, Mr. Boland was the top producer at D.C.-based Transwestern Carey Winston, a national commercial real estate firm and one of the largest in the area. "You've got to have credibility," he said about starting a business. "You have to have a track record."

And, he did. Mr. Boland helped negotiate more than 500 leases worth over $1 billion. Now, as an independent broker, Mr. Boland has 12 tenants for whom he finds office space and works to keep space filled on behalf of 19 landlords.

Mr. Boland attributed his move into independence to what he saw as a diminishing level of customer service within Transwestern Carey Winston as the company expanded. "It's a very disloyal industry," he said. "And, it became a much more impersonal place to work."

So, he took some of his clients with him and started his own business in November 1999.

Mr. Boland intends to grow his business slowly using only five to six agents to keep things manageable and to maintain solid long-term relationships.

"In the real estate field it's very much a personal business," said Jonathan Kempner, president of the National Multi-Housing Council and the National Real Estate Association. "Wherever a person like that goes, the business tends to follow."

Mr. Kempner said Mr. Boland's decision to move away from the national firms is a wise move for someone of Mr. Boland's experience.

Ten years ago, when Mr. Kempner was looking to find offices for the association, Carey Winston suggested Mr. Boland. Mr. Kempner has stuck with him since. "I said, `Who is the best guy you got?' "

"They introduced me to Michael Boland. I have recommended him to many, many people," Mr. Kempner said. Most commercial brokers either represent tenants or landlords to find tenants, Mr. Kempner said. Mr. Boland can find space for companies, or he will find tenants for empty buildings.

"He's a switch-hitter broker, which makes him even more valuable," Mr. Kempner said.

Mr. Boland has found office space for companies like Bally Corp., Smith Barney, Ashcraft & Gerel and Harcourt General. He has found tenants for the landlords of buildings such as Citicorp, Chase Manhattan, Prudential, George Washington University and Washington Group. …

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