Community isn’t just a buzzword for Baird & Warner broker Brendan Perlin. Brendan was born and bred in Chicagoland — and he’s putting his local connections and expertise to work for a breakout 2021.
Originally born in Glenview, Brendan moved into the city at 18 to study at DePaul University, and he’s called Lincoln Park home ever since.
“I always find myself bringing up what ‘used to be there,’’ Brendan says. “Being in the city since I can remember, and seeing everything change building by building and neighborhood by neighborhood, I constantly find myself remembering, reminiscing, and bringing up the history to other folks.”
In fact, it was Brendan’s lifelong love of history — and his deep Chicago roots — that helped draw him to Baird & Warner. After deciding to transition out of the futures trading industry, Brendan’s aunt, a top producer at Baird & Warner Evanston, recommended that he get connected with his local Baird & Warner office in Lincoln Park.
And after that? “I didn’t need to look anywhere else,” Brendan says.
Part of the appeal was Baird & Warner’s history of building up Chicagoland, he says.
“The roots and history that Baird & Warner had here really drew me in,” Brendan explains. “I loved the fact that they’re a Chicago-based company, and to this day they’re really rooted in Chicagoland.”
“We’re not trying to expand to Miami and New York and California and everywhere else,” he continues. “Although we have the reach and the ability and the referral networks in place to get people who are moving in and out of Chicagoland help, we’re a Chicago-based company through and through.”
The other thing that made Lincoln Park stand out for Brendan was Managing Broker David Bailey.
“Plain and simple,” he says. “He is why I chose to be a broker at this office, and never even bothered to interview elsewhere. He is wise beyond his years and immediately drew me in with his breadth of knowledge, skills, ideas, creativity, and uniqueness.”
“Any situation that I have ever had where I’ll rack my brain for hours, like ‘what could be a possible out, how can I help this buyer…’ and I will come up with nothing? I will go and have a meeting with him and within two minutes he will get me astounding ideas that I didn’t even contemplate, because he’s been through it all so many times before,” Brendan says.
And Brendan quickly realized that this culture of excellence ran all the way through the Lincoln Park office — from the management team, to the incredible support staff, to the other brokers in the office.
“I was just really, really impressed with the way that they ran things, the camaraderie in the office, and their general approach to things,” Brendan says.
“Baird & Warner’s whole motto is, It’s Easier Here,” he continues. “And it’s true, it really is easier here! It’s easier for the clients, and it’s a heck of a lot easier for the agents because they let us do what we do best — which is cultivate relationships, work on people skills, and build rapport, while the backend stuff is being done.”
“And the backend stuff, there’s a lot of times it’s monotonous and takes quite a bit of time. Our support staff is really so great. Everybody that they bring in on the staff side has always been really, really good, and they really do a great job of taking on the administrative work that keeps successful Realtors from selling, which is what we really should be doing.”
And for a Lincoln Park local like Brendan, the office’s philanthropic spirit and sense of community help it stand out.
“I mean, I was on the softball team, and we do a ton of events like the ProHOWbition event, Habitat for Humanity, Good Will Works… I was a philosophy major in college, so I always look at everything from an ethical standpoint. Morals and ethics are very important to me, and David made it very clear to me that the office was run on that kind of a system — on honesty, integrity, and being there for your clients.”
“And there’s just endless opportunities and endless support,” Brendan says. “If you’re starting off, it’s really easy to use the other more experienced brokers to help grow your business… The environment just really sets us up for success. It’s hard not to do well when you’re surrounded by morally grounded, helpful, knowledgeable, creative, intuitive, innovative, amazing people.”
For Brendan, 2021 is poised to be a major leap forward in his career, thanks to practices that he’s been cultivating over the past five years — including developing a consistent schedule, and fostering a referral-based business.
“Everybody likes to get into real estate because they’re their own boss and they think they’re not going to have to work as much. But you’ve got to work twice as much,” Brendan says. “Commitment and consistency are key. Without them your clients falter, you’re not going to be there for them, and they’re going to get the sense that you’re not 100 percent invested.”
For Brendan, this means setting a detailed schedule, splitting up his morning and afternoons. Mornings are for lead generation; afternoons are for client-servicing and administrative tasks; and weekends and evenings for showings and listing appointments.
“It’s really, really easy to grow complacent when you’re not consistent. So if there’s one day in there where I fall off it’s a lot easier to pick myself up on day two than it is to have ten of those days in a row,” he says.
And for Brendan, his relationship-based approach is making all the difference.
“My sphere is the vast majority of my business. The relationships that I’ve cultivated over the years within and outside of real estate are really coming to fruition,” he explains.
“The folks that I’m talking to on the phone are a lot of the time strangers when I’m prospecting in the morning, but the most important conversations are the ones I have with my past clients,” he says. “So the referral-based business that I’ve set up by placing an emphasis on client-servicing since day one has really led to me now getting a trifecta of business in 2021 — I know buyers who are growing up; the people that I first helped buy are starting to sell; and at the same time more and more of the folks that I’m helping along the way are referring me to more and more people and growing my database, which is just allowing me to have a lot more success.”
For Brendan, it’s all about laying groundwork year after year — particularly in turbulent times, like 2020.
“We saw an influx of people into the business, but we also saw a lot of people leave the business,” Brendan says. “The folks that were out there helping people with necessary moves were showing that we were serious. So 2021 is going to be built on the fact that people saw that I wasn’t going anywhere in 2020.”
“I’m planning for this to be a huge year, and I owe without a doubt the vast majority of it to David and Negeen and Diana and our staff,” Brendan says. “And there’s nothing that’s going to drag me away from Baird & Warner — because of what they’ve allowed me to do, how they’ve brought me up, taught me everything that I know in my first five years in the business, and set me up for 2021.”
Outside of real estate, Brendan is an outspoken advocate for mental health and addiction issues.
“I overdosed on heroin at age 16, was dead for a few minutes, and luckily was revived to be sitting here today,” Brendan says. “Not that I have done anything special, but I like to shed light on the stigma of mental health and addiction issues for the people out there struggling, to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that no matter your vantage point, there is always greener grass somewhere.”
Brendan also loves exploring and giving back in Chicago with his girlfriend, Ariana. He is an active mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, a certified adrenaline-seeker, and “a walking Yelp restaurant guide” for the city and suburbs.
Curious about how the training, support, and services at Baird & Warner – Lincoln Park can help take your business to the next level? Get in touch today to get the conversation started.