Patrick Carroll
Patrick Carroll Patrick Carroll

The multi-family real estate industry had a pretty challenging time during the pandemic, but one way to weather the storm is through the sharing of information and ideas. CARROLL is a top east-coast real estate investment company founded by American entrepreneur and philanthropist M. Patrick Carroll. The firm hosted a roundtable discussion via webinar in May 2020 that included industry leaders who shared their experiences and lessons learned as the pandemic changed the way they approached their business.

Carroll’s namesake company has acquired over 60,000 multifamily units, with its current portfolio consisting of over 30,000 residential and commercial properties along the east coast. Some of the leaders that participated in the webinar include Robert LaChapelle, the Regional Managing Director for CBRE’s Debt & Structured Finance Group in Atlanta, Georgia; Kris Mikkelsen, the Managing Partner and COO of Atlanta-based investment firm of Walker and Dunlop; and Blake Okland, Vice Chairman, Head of Multifamily Investment Sales for Newmark — and of course, Carroll himself.

As for how he pivoted during the pandemic, Carroll said learning to communicate effectively was the most important yet biggest challenge. After all, real estate is largely a face-to-face industry. Carroll cites that the way his company has been able to communicate through the pandemic is the biggest change he has seen over the past several months. “We are a solution provider to our investors and to our renters,” he said. “[This] has been instrumental in keeping us afloat during the shutdown.”

Looking ahead, Carroll thinks there will be a migration from high-rent locations such as Silicon Valley and San Francisco. The real estate expert predicts that people will move towards places with lower rent prices as more companies embrace work-from-home strategies. Arizona, Boise and Salt Lake City are likely destinations.

“I won’t lie; the middle of March, 2020 was kind of scary. However, I stressed optimism to my people. It’s the American way. When I talk with people from Europe, it’s really obvious that we Americans are more hopeful and optimistic,” explained Carroll. “I think if you wake up with a positive attitude every day, that’s your advantage, because your competitors probably aren’t doing that.”