Learn more about the multifamily investment advisor and co-founder of 100Units
With ample experience and in-depth expertise, our team at 100Units is committed to helping you buy and sell multifamily properties in Central Florida to match your unique real estate investment goals.
Join us to learn more about one of our team members: Johnny Pullman, multifamily investment advisor and 100Units co-founder.
Laying the Foundation
Johnny Pullman is the co-founder of 100Units alongside his longtime business partner, Joe LaFleur. Although his official job title is multifamily investment advisor, Johnny says that when you run a small company, you can pretty much call yourself whatever you want, and he prefers to label himself as an agent.
Johnny’s educational background is in finance with a degree from the University of Central Florida which he earned while working as a sales representative for Verizon.
After graduating from college, Johnny moved away from his home state of Florida to be a manager for Verizon in Pennsylvania. At the time, he was excited for the promotion and all the perks that came along with it, but the Florida native soon realized that living in the freezing cold Northeast and navigating corporate drama was not his ideal lifestyle.
Once he was back in the Sunshine State, Johnny began considering his next career move and decided he wanted to stay in sales, but work with real estate. Johnny found what he was looking for when he was hired by Marcus & Millichap, a national real estate investment firm with agents working on different product types from hotels and apartments to retail and shopping centers.
Just Getting Started
Johnny first met Joe, his future 100Units business partner, when he joined Marcus and Millichap in 2011. At the time, Joe was also relatively new to commercial real estate with minimal experience selling a couple of office buildings.
After completing Marcus & Millichap’s internship-style training program, Johnny officially launched as an agent with Joe’s multifamily asset team.
“Once I launched as an agent, it took me eight months to close my first deal which was tough because I didn’t have a single dollar of income for eight months. When I finally closed my first deal, I think the check was $8,000 and I was super excited about it even though it only equated to about $1,000 per month of work. After I got that first deal done, we were off to the races from there,” shares Johnny.
After years of working together, Johnny and Joe reached a point in their careers where they wanted to branch out on their own from Marcus & Millichap.
“We got to a point where we didn’t feel that paying a national corporation half of our fee every time we closed a deal was worth it,” explains Johnny. “It was a really tough decision, but after Joe and I discussed the pros and cons, we finally decided to take the leap and go out by ourselves.”
In 2015, Johnny and Joe founded 100Units with the mission of creating a boutique firm with the inside information and niche knowledge of the multifamily market to add value to clients’ investments.
Success with 100Units
Although Johnny and Joe were excited to be running their own firm, Johnny shared that it was extremely scary to be out on their own at first.
“During the first six months, we were nervous every day about trying to change the systems and get everything up and running. We had to do everything on our own which we’d never done before. Although we were well-versed in buying and selling properties, getting all the business-related items in place like a website, new marketing materials and email blasts posed a bit of a learning curve for us,” explains Johnny.
Once all the administrative items were in place, it wasn’t long before 100Units began to experience great success. “Ultimately, it was extremely scary to go out on our own, but we’re happy we did it because looking back now, it was clearly a great idea. Now we’re just rocking and rolling at 100Units,” Johnny shares.
Johnny with colleagues and clients at 100Units networking events over the years.
Perks of the Job
With most of his time spent on the phone reaching out to property owners, Johnny’s favorite part of his job is during the first two weeks that a property is listed.
“The first two weeks of a new listing are my favorite because it’s super chaotic with tons of offers coming in. There’s a lot of negotiations that go on between myself and potential buyers and the seller, so you’re trying to navigate multiple offers to pick the best person who’s most likely to close,” explains Johnny. “It’s easy to identify that buyer now, but at the beginning it was extremely difficult to figure that out. After nearly a decade in the industry, it’s so much easier to pick who’s most likely to close and move on to the next deal.”
Reflecting on Accomplishments
When asked about his greatest career accomplishments thus far, Johnny shared that he’s proud of not only the fact that he and Joe made it on their own with 100Units, but that they made it in general as commercial real estate agents.
“The turnover rate for a commercial agent is roughly 98%. When Joe and I were working at Marcus & Millichap, we’d meet a new agent every week, so the fact that I’m still here as a commercial real estate broker in a small company is a huge accomplishment,” Johnny says.
One of the factors that Johnny feels has made 100Units such a success is the valued partnership between him and Joe.
“A lot of partnerships in commercial real estate are unsuccessful and short lived because a lot of guys tend to go off on their own, but for Joe and I, it’s always worked really easily,” explains Johnny.
“The main reason I think we still successfully work together is because we have fun while we’re in the office. We spend half our day joking about deals and telling stories, and it keeps us going while maintaining a light atmosphere. You need positivity in this business because cold calling people and talking on the phone all day is tough. It mentally wears you down, so jokes keep it light and fun,” Johnny says.
Beyond their business success, the compatibility of the partnership between Joe and Johnny was apparent when they both had the same answer for their favorite quote during separate interviews, months apart. “My favorite quote is from Gary Vaynerchuck when he says you’re gonna die, so just do what you want to do and go for it,” shares Johnny.
Meet the Team: Joe LaFleur
Outside of Work
When he’s not working, Johnny most enjoys spending time with his family. Johnny and his fiancé, Sarah, who are getting married in early 2022, share three daughters, Kalin (13), Juno (5) and Olive (3).
In addition to being with his family, Johnny loves to play golf and hockey. He enjoys the team atmosphere and camaraderie of both sports, plus the fact that you get a little bit of exercise too.
“I’m in a golf league at RDV Sportsplex and another one at Timacuan Golf Club, and it’s really fun to go once a week and hang out with a group of people and play together. It’s always the same people, everyone is cracking jokes on each other, and it’s a fun atmosphere,” shares Johnny.
Although Johnny’s love for hockey may seem surprising as a Floridian, his interest came from his parents who are both from upstate New York. “My dad was a big hockey fan and when we moved down to Florida he still kept up with it and got me into it. The first hockey game I ever went to was a Buffalo Sabres game with my dad and uncle, so the Sabres are my favorite team, but I definitely jumped on the Tampa Bay Lightning bandwagon since they’re close-by and winning,” Johnny says.
Johnny playing a round of golf and participating in an Orlando Solar Bears charity hockey game.
Advice for Multifamily Investors
As for advising multifamily investors, Johnny shared his top two tips: buy it right and work with good management.
“Buying it right is the number one most important factor in terms of the price. Then, if you’re not already a professional, you need to hire someone strong to manage your property,” Johnny advises. “People get in trouble when they’ve never owned a property and they want to manage it themselves, but they don’t understand the process. They don’t understand the deposits, they don’t have the right rent amounts, they rent it too low, and all of these issues are solved by hiring a good manager. Investors try to do it all themselves to save money, but they ultimately just cost themselves more money.”
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