Five Questions with Essex Principal Jordan Gottlieb
August 20, 2020

Welcome to “Five Questions,” a monthly series where Essex Realty Group, Inc. brokers share their observations and experiences gained while working in Chicago’s real estate world. This month we are getting to know Essex Principal Jordan Gottlieb.

Introduction: Jordan Gottlieb joined Essex Realty Group in 2008 and focuses on the sale of investment real estate throughout Chicago. He has been recognized as one of the top Chicago Multi-Family/Investment brokers in the city by the Chicago Association of Realtors Commercial Forum Committee.

Jordan is a licensed attorney in the State of Illinois, receiving his Juris Doctor from the Chicago-Kent College of Law in May of 2007. He worked as an attorney in Insurance Defense litigation until February 2008 and previously for a prominent national residential developer. Jordan received his bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Illinois at Champaign in 2004.

Q: Why were you interested in starting a career in Real Estate?

Jordan: I graduated law school and passed the bar exam in the summer of 2007. By September 2008, I was on my fifth “temporary” document review job. After working for various law firms, it became clear to me that this career was a dead end. We were three quarters of the way through 2008 and firms were not hiring, plus I realized I just didn’t have any passion for this career path. Once I decided to move on from the idea of a career in law, I started meeting with as many people as possible to network and learn more about their industries. One of the people I met with then introduced me to Essex Realty Group, Inc., who incredibly, was hiring at the time. I started working at Essex in late 2008 as an analyst for Jim Darrow. Real estate was something I always had interest in, but everyone says they have an interest in real estate because real estate is tangible, interesting, and fun! Looking back on that time, I really had no idea what I was getting into or how much I would enjoy a career in brokerage.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do when you are not doing brokerage?

Jordan: I like to think of myself as a very active person. A career in brokerage has been well-suited to my active lifestyle because it allows for flexibility within your workweek. In the summer I am an avid tennis player, and in the winter I play platform tennis. I also golf often and enjoy biking around the city. Just a few months ago, I biked down Wacker Drive in the middle of the workday and it was completely empty. It was such an eerie feeling seeing the empty streets of the loop during the beginning of the pandemic. In the summer I also go on walks on the Riverwalk with my wife and my dog. My dog Benny is a local favorite over at Tiny Tapp on the Riverwalk!

Q: Tell me about one major difference between being a broker today vs. being a broker 12 years ago?

Jordan: I have noticed email marketing campaigns are far less effective compared to 12 years ago when I first started. That medium has become so saturated. As brokers a current challenge I see is finding a new medium to communicate with people en masse. Though, this challenge also highlights the importance of our individual relationships with clients, knowing their current needs and investment goals and being able to command their attention quickly with a phone call is an important skill.

Q: If you could teach someone starting as a broker tomorrow just one thing, what would it be?

Jordan: I would want to prep them for the hard work ahead. Some words to live by as a broker - your pipeline is never big enough, no deal is ever a sure thing and just when you think everything is going great, get ready to be knocked in the face. As a broker you need to have a constant “go-getter” attitude, because at any minute a deal can fall apart. I would ask a broker starting out, “are you able to commit to a career where you can lose 30% of your annual compensation in a minute?” It is important to teach a new broker to be realistic and to expect a roller-coaster ride ahead.

Q: Describe one effect on the industry you see stem from the reaction to COVID-19?

Jordan: There is no doubt that COVID-19 will forever change the world. However, I believe most people have gone off the deep end with outlandish predictions. Over the years, we have seen many knee jerk predictions in these situations that have since been proven wrong. For example, in 2001, immediately following 9/11, experts predicted companies would never lease office space in a high rise again. In 2005, it was thought that New Orleans would never recover from Hurricane Katrina. After the financial and housing crisis of 2008, cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas, and most of South Florida were predicted to need a decade to recover, but instead found their footing within a few years.

In talking to numerous business owners across several different industries I believe that large cities, like Chicago, will recover. People will go back to the office. The overwhelming sentiment is that once safe, employers will require workers to come back to the office, though likely with some added flexibility. I believe dense urban areas will recover and the suburbs will NOT become the cool place to live. Young professionals will graduate from college and continue, as they have in recent years, to move to urban areas near their jobs, great restaurants, and nightlife.

Since 1990, Essex Realty Group, Inc. has served Chicago's investment real estate market as a top multifamily brokerage firm. Contact us today to learn more about our recent multifamily and mixed-use property sales.

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