RG 142 – How to Become A Commercial Real Estate Developer with Bryant Brislin

About Bryant

  • Bryant buys and redevelops second-use land
  • Bryant initially wanted to be a professor
  • Bryant invests in LA and Southern California

Nuts and Bolts

Bryant has been a land broker since 2009 specifically focusing on redevelopment sites in LA and South California. He develops the land for multifamily properties and has completed over 100 land deals worth over $200 million in transactional volume. He identifies land in greater and central LA that would be prime for real estate based on zoning, current use and history. For example, commercial strips or churches. He contacts the seller and it’s normally a family piece of land that’s been in the family for years, the value is usually in the land rather than the current use. Bryant made his first dollar working at a Pizza Hut which was a job he got as soon as he turned 16. He went to college to study English and wanted to be a professor. One of his classmates was studying on the side of her day job at Fidelity National Title and she asked him to be her assistant because of his good organizational skills. While he was there he realized he could get into development as a title assistant so when his classmate left the job a year later he got her job and started running a title unit working with developers.

Bryant now works for himself and hangs his license at a brokerage and their brand helps him get work. After 7 years in the title world he realized he wasn’t going to be paid enough so he moved to be more entrepreneurial. When Bryant is looking for land he isn’t necessarily looking for just dirt as normally there will be something already built in the space, so he classifies ‘land’ as anything of one story or less. He advises that a good way to find land is to go for a drive and look for small properties on large plots of land. Once these places are identified then the next step is to check with city zoning or go to the planning department counter and ask how viable a zoning change would be. In LA there’s a website for tracking all the city zoning codes by property.

In LA there’s a new Bill called Measure JJJ which prohibits zoning changes so if you do a zone change for anything over 10 units you have to use union labour and you have to build an affordable component. When looking into a new project Bryant recommends that while your broker might know some pain points you should visit as many urban departments as possible – eg, transport, fire, engineering, DWP, forestry – to get extra information on your possible project.

Top Tips

  • Most important habit – Time blocking and swallowing the frog
  • Most influential person – Richard Kiyosaki
  • More important tool – LinkedIn
  • Biggest failure – working on too many smaller properties – they take too long for cost

Contact – LinkedIn message or Instagram LA_land_broker

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