Mark Fogel, CEO and President of Acres Capital and Exantas Capital Corp, jumped onto the Ask a CEO Podcast to share the importance of real estate, liquidity and building a team upon trust and mutual understanding.  Check out all the other episodes here.

To learn more about Mark Fogel and his business:

Key Facts:

  • Mark has over 25 years of experience in the commercial sector, development, debt and equity solutions
  • Before launching his own company, he served in several senior positions in various companies
  • He is a frequent panellist in seminars and conferences related to real estate and finance and was awarded the 2016 Long Island Smart CEO Award

Key Takeaways:

  • His journey started with an accounting degree where he thought he would land a stable job and be happy for the rest of his life but he realized within less than a year that he hated accounting. He believes he was fortunate enough to be part of a company where he was able to look at various real estate holdings and he figured out that tangible assets excited him far more than crunching numbers.
  • With a bit of experience in real estate and finance, he switched over to general growth properties where he began working on the field and that was well-received by him. Here, he was able to look at property management, leasing, operations, marketing and construction which excited him further.
  • After realizing the complexity of real estate finance, he got into developing properties, management and lending and joined a company where he oversaw the assets against which loans were being given commercially. The company blossomed and their portfolio grew to around 4 billion dollars.
  • His company, Acres Capital deals with complicated and complex finances of real estate which do not have regular cashflows and that are hard to deal in the formal banking structure. They are all differently handled than the other with some requiring minor capital enhancements whilst others have to be rebuilt from ground up. It is primarily dependent on the preferences on the buyer and how they wish to see the property.
  • In real estate, everything is about the location. The value stems from the spot where the property is situated. 
  • The vision behind Acres Capital was to focus heavily in the middle market space whereby helping deal with properties that were difficult on the market. They observed that buyers would graduate over to other systems for stabilization once the initial work was done and they wanted all of this to be done in house.
  • Due to COVID, Exantus became an obvious option as it came onto the market. They had a great team working in compliance and legal departments that were able to take the burden off from Acres Capital. 
  • The focus of his company is primarily on residential related assets: apartment buildings, student housing, for sale condos, and independent senior living.
  • The residential sector is considered more liquid and enticing for the investors and the fundamentals upon which loans are granted are also better.
  • Acres Capital’s portfolio comprises of 70% of the residential properties and spaces because they provide short-run exits and safe options that are pleasantly accepted in the market space.
  • Right from the beginning, Mark envisioned a company with a strong system of creativity, innovation, intelligence, and execution. He also built an opportune wide net and a big pipeline to ensure that opportunities keep growing. 
  • His management style is being approachable and letting others do their job. His role is that of a facilitator where he is always available but never intrusive or invasive. He ensures that no voice goes unheard of in the company. 
  • The companies that he drives are built upon a style where employees are encouraged to work independently yet collaboratively to spring out better ideas.

Best advice for CEOs

  • Mark talked about how when he was fresh out of college, his father was taking him over to get his first-ever job and he told him to never get comfortable in any place and to keep testing his boundaries. He feels that it might have been a reflection of his own regrets of staying in a job for thirty years but also was great advice in the avenue of growth and diversifying one’s skill set.

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About Mark Fogel

Mark Fogel
Content marketer and philosopher; at least that's how he views himself. Working with people and companies to tell great stories and help businesses engage with their audience. Loves public speaking, creative writing and working with startups.

He's been through so many aspects of the marketing world, from agency work to building my own tech startup. This broad range of experiences has helped Mark shape a unique perspective without becoming bitter about the ad and communications world.

As a content writer, Mark gets the distinct pleasure to help companies better communicate there values and advantages. He's always interested to talk about communications, put on a presentation or just sit and have a coffee and talk about marketing and copywriting.

Mark's a huge sports fan, love a good beer and enjoys working on his own stories. He has this nagging hatred of free time, so he fills every moment with working on his company, playing sports or spending time with his pets.