This series profiles men and women in commercial real estate who have profoundly transformed our neighborhoods and reshaped our cities, businesses and lifestyles.
The name may signal a single city, but Boston Realty Advisors, the real estate brokerage and consulting firm Jason Weissman launched 18 years ago, has expanded beyond Beantown and into greater New England. As several competitors have been acquired or merged with national firms, Boston Realty Advisors has become the largest independently owned real estate brokerage firm in Massachusetts.
Over the years, Weissman has attracted business partners to establish a firm that has been the go-to shop for Boston and New York City developers to market opportunities throughout New England. BRA’s list of clients includes Tishman Speyer, The Davis Cos., Ashkenazy Acquisitions, Midwood Investment & Development, GTI Properties, Synergy Investments, The D.L. Saunders Real Estate Corp., Sawyer Realty Trust and The Druker Co.
Within the last year, BRA has opened an office in Nantucket and Providence, Rhode Island.
Bisnow: What is the favorite part of your job?
Weissman: I love the deal and am an absolute deal junkie. From landing a large brokerage assignment to running a successful call for an offers process, I live for the deal!
Bisnow: What is the worst job you ever had?
Weissman: When I was 16, I had a job to dig ditches for an irrigation company. I don’t mind manual labor, nor working with my hands, but that job was likely the worst ever.
Bisnow: If you weren’t in commercial real estate, what would you do?
Weissman: The running family joke is if I weren’t in real estate, I would’ve been a chef. I was fortunate to learn a lot about food and wine when my father lived in Belgium. Today, when I have time, I enjoy cooking up a proper dinner and pairing it with the ideal wine.
Bisnow: What deal are you proudest of?
Weissman: Marrying my wife — the best deal I ever closed.
Bisnow: What deal do you consider to be your biggest failure?
Weissman: I was involved in a ground-up development deal pre-the 2008 recession. Our team executed nicely. However, in the downturn, there was a lack of liquidity to finalize the construction financing. That experience taught me a valuable lesson about development and market cycles. To illustrate, starting a new project is like driving into a 10,000-mile-long tunnel. When you enter that tunnel, you can’t possibly predict the weather for when you exit. It may be 80 degrees and sunny, or it might be the middle of a major Nor’easter. You need to be prepared for all types of variables: both the length of time in the tunnel and all types of conditions for when you get out.
Separately, I’m still learning the value of time and firmly believe that I can divert a future failure if I seize each moment and appreciate the moments as they come.
Bisnow: What is your biggest pet peeve?
Weissman: Lack of ambition and lack of curiosity in life.
Bisnow: What is your greatest extravagance?
Weissman: Burgundy and vintage champagne.
Bisnow: What motivates you?
Weissman: I love to win — while doing the right thing.
Bisnow: What advice do you wish you got when you started in CRE?
Weissman: I am helplessly in love with the brokerage side of the business. I also have this perpetual drive to be involved with investment deals on my own behalf. Since 2011, I’ve been an active investor and am now owner/manager of over 60 investment properties. When I started the business in 2001, I wish someone recommended to start investing sooner. Ergo, that missing advice and my suggestion to all: “It’s never too early to invest in real estate deals.”
Bisnow: What is the biggest risk you have ever taken?
Weissman: I’m risk-averse and am a strong believer in slow and steady wins the race. With that said, I started Boston Realty Advisors when I was 22 years old (18 years ago). Further, all my investments have strong downside protection. From a young age, I was passionate about the real estate industry and knew it was something I would be happy doing for the rest of my life.
Bisnow: What keeps you up at night?
Weissman: For the first 10 years of the business, cash flow. It isn’t easy to start something from nothing. The net — many sleepless nights. Today, I spend a lot of time thinking and dreaming of business strategy and forward growth.
Bisnow: What is your favorite place to visit?
Weissman: My wife and I love Capri and Paris. Our two favorite spots.
Bisnow: Outside of work, what are you most passionate about?
Weissman: I’m passionate about healthy living. I work out every day, ran the New York Marathon and dabble in yoga. My wife and I love to travel and enjoy learning from the rest of the world. We look forward to applying those experiences back at home and in the workplace.
I try to live by the motto of “Doing Well by Doing Good.” I’m passionate about driving that theme into the culture of Boston Realty Advisors and thus created an internal program to support our team in and out of the office called BRAignite. At its core, the focus is philanthropy, education and giving back to the community.
Bisnow: What CRE trend do you think will have the most impact over the next few years?
Weissman: In the residential and multifamily space, we are in the infancy stage of how technology will affect how we live in our homes and how properties are managed. A great example of this is the company Ring.com. They reinvented home security and community policing, making people’s homes and neighborhoods safer. We should expect to see similar innovations that will bridge living and management with valuable technology.
Bisnow: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Weissman: I’ve been a foreign film fanatic since I was about 14 years old and have been a producer and executive producer of multiple films.
Bisnow: What do you want your legacy to be?
Weissman: For me, doing what’s right and playing an active role in making the world a better place is most important. While I love the built environment and hope to have a picture-perfect portfolio, I want my reputation to be synonymous with hard-working and remembered as always treating people honestly and fairly.