3 Major Takeaways from Real Estate Weekend @ Harvard

Albert Ng
Albert Ng

Albert Ng is a Johns Hopkins full-time M.S. Real Estate & Infrastructure (MSREI) student with vast experience in mixed-use real estate development and infrastructure construction projects. His interests include real estate development and finance. He is the founder and current president of the Carey Social Poker Club and is a Certified Associate in Project Management. He received his Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering from the University of Waterloo in Canada.

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Last weekend, over 400 real estate professionals and graduate students from across the country attended the 2016 Real Estate Weekend @ Harvard. Over the two days, participants attended an Argus training workshop, a design and development workshop, panel discussions, a “fireside chat” with Dan Gilbert, and a pitch competition for real estate start-ups.

Uncertain about what to expect from the conference, I wanted to be informed about potential disruptions that startups are causing in the real estate industry and to network with industry experts. In order to do that, I flew into Boston, MA from Washington, DC on Saturday. From the pitch competition on the final day, I was glad to get a peek at the future of the mortgage brokerage industry. RateGravity, a startup that plans to simplify the residential loan qualification process, is developing a platform for borrowers to gain access to the lowest interest rates available in the market. By taking advantage of technology, it would capture large shares of the existing mortgage brokerage market and provide services at a lower cost. Is it a surprise that they won this year’s Harvard Real Estate Venture Competition?

The following are my key takeaways from the conference:

  1. Excellent negotiation skills are necessary in every real estate job.
  2. Millennials prefer lifestyle hotels. Major hotel brands, such as IHG, Marriott, and Hilton, have begun responding to this trend by actively shedding the cookie-cutter image and merging with boutique hotel chains.
  3. People become more productive when they work in densely populated areas surrounded by other people; therefore, ensuring sufficient supply of office and residential spaces in urban areas is important.

Because of the disruptions that technology advancement has caused in every facet of our lives, I have discovered the importance for us to embrace technology instead of resisting it. For me, that means committing and investing time to learn more about it.

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