Munish Ghai started his real estate career almost a decade ago selling cheap foreclosure homes in the depths of the recession, then he switched to commercial real estate.
The emotions involved with selling a house were hard on Ghai, who prefers the cut-and-dry number crunching in commercial.
“When a buyer and seller understand the numbers, it’s a deal that’s automatically done,” Ghai said “That’s what I love about commercial.”
Ghai, who was born in India and came to the United States in 2000, opened a commercial real estate brokerage firm called A13 Properties in Fresno this month. He has one broker associate, Ethel Groger, working alongside him and is looking to grow.
His goals are to lead clients through the complex transaction process and mentor new associates who want to get into the business.
“Success is a process,” Ghai said. “Anybody can get a real estate license, that’s not a problem. You need the right mentor or you have to be self taught to be successful.”
Ghai knows how tough it can be to get started. He once lived in Kentucky and worked as a semi-truck driver hauling produce for a Fresno-based company to pay the bills. But long hours on the road without meals, tickets in almost every state and little sleep prompted Ghai to quit and move to Fresno, where he fell in love with the weather. Kentucky had too much snow, he said.
That’s when he got into real estate. But it wasn’t easy. He was broke for a time and didn’t have $15 to buy gas for his car. He asked a friend to lend him $1,200 to get on his feet. Then, the real estate deals started coming.
“The potential in Fresno is growing every day” to buy, sell and lease vacant land, offices, apartments, hotels and motels and gas stations, Ghai said. His office will do business from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
Groger, who came to California in 1999 from the Philippines, got into real estate six years ago at the recommendation of a friend. She was previously a business owner with her husband, Ingo. They owned eL Tea, a retail and tea tasting room, on Shaw Avenue near West Avenue, that closed in 2010.
Real estate “is the only business I would do,” said Groger, who shares Ghai’s work ethic. “When you have the desire and the passion inside you to do something, you’re going to do whatever it takes to get there,” she said.
“We are immigrants. When you come form another country to pursue a dream, you want to work on that dream otherwise it’s pointless to come to America and not do anything,” said Groger, who is specializing in senior care properties. “It’s exciting. It’s adventure. I’m looking forward to all of this.”
How about that business name? I have to share because there’s meaning to it, actually two different meanings.
First: A is for apple, the first letter in the alphabet. Ghai’s 5-year-old son was born on the 13th.
Second: In Hindi or Punjabi, A13 means “hey, tera properties” or “hey, YOUR properties.” Ghai is using that as a slogan of sorts to say he’s working for you, the client, for a property that is yours. In Sikhism, the number 13 is considered lucky.
2585 E. Perrin Ave., Suite 104, Fresno