Taking Charge – Leor Hemo and Wolf Commercial Real Estate
It’s tempting to look at successful only at the point when they’ve pulled themselves up over the crest assume that getting there was for them. Those who achieve success in life without first putting in years of grueling work, however, are few and far between. ·
Leor Hemo knows this as well as anyone. Fourteen years ago he entered the real estate business when he and some partners formed an investment group. Hemo always viewed real estate as a perfect fit for himself, so he jumped into it, and he worked. Hard.
He knew enough to know he had to master as many areas of the market as he could, and that he had to do so through hands-on experience. His list of specializations is comprehensive: leasing, investments, site identification, financing, acquisition, and on and on.
For Hemo, real estate is about people, and that’s why he immediately answers work emails-even when they appear in his inbox at 11:00 pm. He’s not a workaholic, though.
“Just a hard worker. I care about my clients and business,” he tells JerseyMan Magazine while sitting in a small conference room in his Marlton, NJ office. Hemo strives to be number one, but he won’t sacrifice time and attention for his family to do it. A few days prior, he reschedules our interview when he needs to take a day off to care for his sick son. Today he’s back in full swing, making time to chat with JerseyMan only after delaying a tad longer as he takes a business call.
THE RIGHT MENTALITY
The office is Wolf Commercial Real Estate’s, and Hemo is Executive Vice President here. He left his own enterprise after the U.S. housing bubble infamously burst in 2008. That’s when Hemo knew that the timing “made sense” for him to start thinking about making a move.
“So in 2008 when the entire real estate market pretty much came to a stop,” he says, “you didn’t get financing, you couldn’t sell proper ties and tenants were struggling paying rent , I had to do something. And this just made sense.
“It was an interesting transition, but I was used to doing it as an owner, I was an investor, and now I’m brokering deals, which actually, I think, gave me an edge over a lot of my competitors because I understand the mentality of an owner, the mentality of an investor and I understand the mentality of tenants and buyers.”
The real estate executive is plainly sure of his ability his years of experience have brought him. He claims there are no business challenges for him, “just solutions.” Really? “Yeah,” he says pithily, locking eye contact and going silent. He feels no need to explain.
It’s easy to imagine Hemo’s often serious demeanor and terse answers intimidating some. But he lets his guard down when asked what a normal day is like for him. A smile creases his face before he explains in between bits of laughter that there is no normal day at Wolf. The real estate brokerage and advisory firm’s tightly knit team must be prepared to move from servicing current clients, to marketing new properties, to assisting buyers and investors to meeting realty requirements. Hemo says nothing can “surprise” him at this stage of his career, but that he still manages to learn some thing new every day.
“The big thing that I’ve learned is that people do business with people,” he says. “It’s not about the name of the company, it’s not about whether you have a thousand signs in the ground-it’s about the people.”
YOUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD BROKER
Many companies try to position themselves as personable. Warm messaging and friendly slogans attempt to create the impression that companies aren’t nameless, faceless entities that care only about profits. Wolf’s website, for instance, harps on its “commitment to community” and being “a true partner” to its clients, one that operates with values like “integrity” and “open communication.”
Hemo points to an uncommon commitment to social media as one way Wolf shows its personal side. Indeed, the company announces to its Facebook followers that a “relationship” has been sold when it brokers a new deal. Newly available properties, meanwhile, are marketed as “potential solutions.”
As for putting a face to the company, Wolf does it by getting out to local events. From the start “the idea was that we’re going to be different than everybody else,” says Hemo. “Most companies just put a sign on the ground, they put a nice brochure out on the websites, periodic emails-and that’s it. They wait for the business to happen. We go after the business.”
Although he says Wolf’s “marketing is un paralleled” in the South Jersey/Greater Philadelphia region, Hemo is also quick to note that it’s about more than having the right voice; it’s also about backing it up. Pointing out the conference room window at the Roth man Institute building next door, he insists that Wolf really cares about that exact space being a good fit for Rothman.
And when Wolf finds such a fit and sells a “relationship,” it gives back to the community in which it sells them. A portion of the proceeds from every single deal it closes is given to a charity of the client’s choosing. The American Cancer Society, the Jewish Federation, the CARES Institute and the YMCA of Burlington receive the bulk of their donations, but Wolf will share the wealth with any charity the client designates.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Hemo sounds like a man who loves the South Jersey community. He moved here because of its great schools, its proximity to Philly and the many business opportunities. Previously he resided in Philadelphia, but he’s originally from Israel where he served as a tank commander as a young man.
Israel’s military differs from those in most other countries. Service in it is mandatory for all young men and women, and its soldiers are fighting for their land, on their land. Hemo saw about a year and a half of active duty in the South Lebanon Conflict. By simply turning around he could see his hometown’s lights during nighttime. Defending his family taught him to appreciate life, society and his home. He thinks America’s youth would be well-served learning the same lessons.
Hemo believes that in the U.S. “we should have some form of mandatory national service. I know it sounds very controversial, but I know what it does for Israeli youth”.
As a youth inside a cramped tank, the commander and four other servicemen were constantly bumping into each other. Intense training ensured everyone knew what they had to do. Leor Hemo’s task was the same then as it is today: lead. Serving planted the seed of discipline in him.
“You called it workaholic,” but it’s not,” he clarifies. “It’s hard work, and when you have a target, you’re very focused on that target. So you need discipline to go after your goal or target. Then appreciation for how everybody works as a team, because being in a tank, everybody works as a team, or you’re dead.
WCRE is a full-service commercial real estate brokerage and advisory firm specializing in office, retail, medical, industrial and investment properties in Southern New Jersey and the Philadelphia region. We provide a complete range of real estate services to commercial property owners, companies, banks, commercial loan servicers, and investors seeking the highest quality of service, proven expertise, and a total commitment to client-focused relationships. Through our intensive focus on our clients’ business goals, our commitment to the community, and our highly personal approach to client service, WCRE is creating a new culture and a higher standard. We go well beyond helping with property transactions and serve as a strategic partner invested in your long term growth and success.
Learn more about WCRE online at www.wolfcre.com,on Twitter @WCRE1, and on Facebook at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, LLC.
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