Meet Andrew Kapanowski!
Why/how did you choose this career path?
To keep a long story short, I was originally majoring in pre-optometry at Ferris and decided it wasn’t right for me. My parents were on vacation and they ran into someone up there who was a commercial real estate developer of shopping centers in southeast Michigan. I got the opportunity to job shadow him and I realized I like the creativity of it, the impact it has on the community, and the visual impact. When I moved back to the Grand Rapids area, I had a friend who knew one of the agents here, Doug Taatjes, who helped me get an internship and I’ve been here ever since!
Have you ever considered residential real estate?
Not really. I hadn’t considered real estate much before and my first exposure was through commercial. I think I ultimately would have picked commercial anyways. I like various things about it, such as working with all different businesses and learning how they operate. I also like how commercial real estate has more of an impact on the community, rather than on one person or family.
What has been your greatest accomplishment?
My real estate career is still early, so I don’t think I have had my greatest real estate accomplishment yet. For what I have done so far, I’m proud that I was able to get my license while I was still an intern and could start getting listings. I’ve closed a few deals since I started, so I’m proud that I just got right into it when I started. I consider myself lucky that I was able to find a job that I like doing and I was able to start doing it right after college.
How do you endure through hardships in finding buyers or selling a property?
Leaning on people in the company is what helps. I’ll talk to various agents here and ask them about what they did when they were in similar situations. They have all been through it and have gotten through it, so I listen to their advice.
There’s also another newer agent in the Kalamazoo office, Jaclyn Brohl. She’s about my age and started right out of college, as well. We’ll call each other now and then because we have the same struggles and are able to lean on each other.
What is a professional skill you have developed through working in CRE?
There are several, but one of them that stands out to me is developing a thicker skin. Having deals start to happen and then fall apart multiple times wears on you after a while. Learning to deal with those setbacks is important because they happen frequently, and you need to learn how to pick up and keep going. It’s important to manage emotions amidst things falling apart all the time. A few other professional skills I’ve been learning is to cold call better, keeping up on multiple things happening at the same time, and ensuring to follow up with people.
What is the best advice you were ever given?
I don’t have a great one-liner; however, I have a mentor in Grand Rapids that gave me good advice a couple summers ago. After my first two years of doing pre-optometry, I was going to try to finish up my business major quickly so I could get out in four years by taking summer classes. His advice to me was to not rush. He told me to take a regular number of classes, let it go to 5 years, and to do an internship during that 5th year. Aside from the experience I would gain, he told me that it would allow the company to get to know me better and when it comes time to hire, it could be an easy hire since they’ve worked with me for a year already. Had I just rushed through and finished in 4 years, I wouldn’t have had the year of internship here. Extending the extra year helped me get more settled into this career in a smarter way. I also did a lot in school my final year that I’m proud of and I had a lot of fun, so I’m glad I did that. It helped me get set up for my career, so I’m grateful for receiving that advice.
What is your favorite NAI Wisinski moment?
So far my favorite moment at NAI Wisinski is when I closed my first big deal. I felt very accomplished and successful, it was a good feeling.