Part II of a multi-part editorial series, the Watermark Team will define what we like to call “The Watermark Advantage.” In the non-stop cacophony of noise reverberating from real estate firms regarding options, opportunities and advice, we want to highlight how Watermark is unique and why our partners choose to entrust us with their investments.

Visitors who stop into our Illinois office are often surprised by the energy emanating from our team. And this is no accident. What may appear to be mere employment happenstance, in fact, is a well calculated staffing and hiring plan that feeds into our core identity as a company. Watermark consistently achieves optimal results because the team behind each result is comprised of scrappy, gritty, never-say-die, world-beaters.

Project Managers Steve Browne and Brett Currens at Elevation Lofts.

Project Managers Steve Browne and Brett Currens at Elevation Lofts.

Admittedly, the Watermark team doesn’t satisfy the traditional status quo found at most private equity real estate firms. Instead of a nine-to-five mentality, you find a passionate group of competitors who are willing to out-hustle, out-grind and out-perform every other real estate team in the industry. We don’t need to be the smartest person in the room, we just need to be the hardest working. Best described, “hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle”.

Our team’s tenacity is borne out individually

Our posted hours may read 8AM-5PM, but it’s not uncommon to find the Watermark office humming with activity well beyond business hours. Our employees are never asked to work odd or extra hours, rather, their insatiable desire to compete and win compels them to stay. Sometimes, it compels them to leave; packing a suitcase and traveling across the country to secure a new deal or to personally oversee the success of a construction project. It's not found in any Watermark handbook, but each employee has a drive and passion to be the best. When Watermark accomplishes big things, it's not an anomaly, it's because our employees push themselves to achieve the best results. 

Our team’s tenacity is borne out collectively

One can only imagine that by assembling a team comprised of these scrappy Watermark employees would reap optimal results, giving new life to the expression: the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts. By leveraging the gritty resourcefulness of each member, Watermark departments are transformed into engine-rooms, vibrant with activity. For example:

  • Deal Sourcing - The Watermark team prides itself on its ability to stay apprised of the latest industry trends and market conditions. Whether it’s identifying a hot, new geographical region, or recognizing a shift in product demand, Watermark has the ability to discover, identify and act on current industry trends. Our team isn’t reactive, they're proactive. We don’t base our decisions on hearsay, we go out and discover the opportunities for ourselves. By leveraging our growing network of professional connections coast-to-coast, our analysts don’t leave any stone unturned. Whether it's investigating social media or knocking on doors, Watermark is determined and confident that we will find the best deals for our partners.
  • Value Engineering - When others in the industry stay fixated on outdated project designs, Watermark remains skeptical and does not grow tired of pushing boundaries and challenging contemporary wisdom. During the design stage of any project, our team of analysts, superintendents, and project managers meet with architects/engineers to identify the best designs for each deal. Nothing is phoned-in, rather, all options are thoroughly discussed; single-family v. multi-family, conventional construction v. pre-fabricated, traditional building materials v. progressive, to name a few. After a design has been determined, our teams will then explore which construction methodology will best support the design criteria, budgets, and timelines. We want to not only build products that the market demands, but we want to exceed the expectations of every stakeholder, community and end-user.
  • Project Management - Once a product has been identified and designed, our construction teams jump into action and mobilizes on-site. Regardless if it's down the street or across the country, our construction teams are ready to work wherever the job requires. Leading the charge are our project managers, who by being physically present on every project allows them to remain “hands on” and in control of every detail of the project, from ground-break to ribbon-cutting. And by working with local contractors and vendors, our project managers are able to secure the best pricing, products and timelines. 

In the end, Watermark desires competition. Our staff sees every hurdle, not as a setback, but as a new opportunity. We not only want to prove to ourselves that we can rise to every occasion, but to prove to our stakeholders that we are able to succeed in everything we do - not necessarily because we always know the right answer, but because we’re willing to put in the time and effort to find the right answer.


Karl Sorensen

Karl is the Director of Operations of Watermark Equity Group. Since graduating Wheaton College (IL) with degrees in Business and Economics, Karl was active in both finance and construction before joining Watermark in 2016.