Executive Q&A: Jim Belfiore
President, Belfiore Real Estate Consulting
Years in CRE: 21
Years at Belfiore: 8
What first attracted you to commercial real estate?
The diversity in real estate attracted me to the business. No two properties are the same; every project differs because locations differ, the characteristics of structures often differ, and amenities, whether natural or man-made, differ, too. These differences keep the work fresh and fun.
How has the industry changed since you started?
Finance is really different today than it was 20 years ago. If you look deep into how projects take form, in the beginning they are heavily influenced by finance because without financing they are never built. The biggest single influence over growth in the housing market over the next three years will be driven by changes in the finance industry.
What are three qualities of a great executive?
To me, a “great” executive is a great leader. To be a great leader, you must show you are willing to make the tough decisions when they come up. Leaders are charged with determining the direction of the company, creating a productive and healthy company culture and recognizing when a need to change course arises. Great executives are willing to roll up their sleeves and pitch in at every level; they must demonstrate a constant willingness to pitch in to make the company successful, and this means getting their hands dirty. Finally, I believe great leaders know their business better than anyone. They study their competitors, are in touch with their clients and are always looking for the next opportunity. They are working on the next “big thing” because they are always a student of the business.
Of what professional achievement are you most proud?
I’m proud that I have built this company, Belfiore Real Estate Consulting, through one of the most difficult recessions this country has ever faced. Of course, I’m fortunate to have had my family, great friends, absolutely phenomenal employees and a core of close clients that helped me do it.
What’s one of the biggest market changes or areas of growth you predict happening in Phoenix’s near future?
I believe people are going to be thoroughly surprised at how fast the residential market grows in the next few years. More than 40,000 new jobs are being created in Phoenix annually, driving population gains of 100,000+ each year. These people will need places to live. Last year, homebuilders constructed 12,500 homes; over the course of the next five years, I think the residential market is going to go from 12,500 new homes annually to more than 30,000. This growth is going to create a wonderful opportunity for those in real estate.
What’s the most influential professional advice you’ve received?
Hard work can get you through anything. My mother worked her way out of every bind she had while I was growing up; she has been the single-greatest influence on my life, fighting through every challenge (there were many!) that came her way. While in high school, the hard work theme was further kneaded into my fabric by some close family friends I worked with. These friends, the Taylors, owned an RV park, small motel and restaurant that catered to summertime tourists. Laying concrete, replacing roofs, painting hotel rooms and waiting tables, I learned that hard work and “doing it right the first time” was the clear path to success.