Peter Hungerford

Real Estate Investor

Peter Hungerford was born in upstate New York. After graduating from Syracuse university, he began a career in real estate, founding and successfully operating a residential real estate brokerage for four years. As managing partner, he closed over 1,000 residential leases negotiating with some of New York city’s oldest private ownership groups. Additionally, he represented both buyers and sellers of apartment buildings. At this point, he was in love with apartment buildings. He left the brokerage business for graduate school at Columbia university, learning how to model any investment, any aspect of uncertainty, and in general how to maximize returns. this background and education are actively used throughout his businesses today.

Beginning in 2009 he began to buy real estate as a principal and owner-operator. What he quickly realized, given the macro-economic environment at the time, was that he loved buying distressed and value-add deals. This has been his recipe ever since; value-add apartment buildings. throughout the great financial crisis, the commercial real estate boom of the 2010’s, the pandemic, and more recently the unprecedented interest rate moves, peter Hungerford has navigated the macro cycle and repaired apartment building after apartment building. his management company has any/all in-house capabilities, currently managing several thousand apartments in various states along with hundreds of apartment renovations. his capital partners, both banks and equity partners, have come to love and value his honesty, transparency, and attention to detail.

When he is not managing the property turnaround process, he is most likely playing with his four young children, enjoying the Adirondacks, and spending time with his wife.

What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?

My typical day starts with me driving my kids to school. From the moment they get our of the car until the moment I return home for dinner, I spend as much time on the phone as possible. The phone is how I communicate with all different parties across my businesses and properties.

How do you bring ideas to life?

This is what I love about real estate; people need it and it is tangible! My ideas have to do with turning a property around. So not only do I need people to help me turn a property around but we’re also turning it around so that other people can use it. and if people don’t want to use our real estate, then we don’t have a business!

What’s one trend that excites you?

People working from home excites me. This makes people’s homes more important to them and since my business is about other people’s homes, this works well for me

What is one habit that helps you be productive?

I never sit still. I always take action. When I get the response I want, I lean into it and do it more. When I don’t get the response I want, I make a change.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Fail more and fail faster. I have learned more from one mistake than I did from 10 wins.

Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you on?

The New York Mets are going to win the World Series this year!

What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?

Never give up. never take no for an answer. wake up every single day and push push push.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

Set my phone down and go for a walk.  play with my kids.  open up a bottle of wine.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?

Make mistakes. Make changes. Take action again. Repeat.

What is one failure in your career,  how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?

The first interaction with the press I ever had was a negative one and I stuck my head in the sand hoping it would go away or that the press would simply print the truth. Well, they didn’t, and it was completely my fault. I didn’t give them the truth, so they only told one side of the story. It was a classic mistake. but I didn’t cry about it, I simply never ever tell a reporter no comment anymore. If you want the truth to be told you need to tell your side of the story.

What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I am the least creative person – my business is simply about fixing toilets and collecting rent. That said I always point out that we’re in the customer service business and we have customers, and we better take care of them or they will walk away with their feet. any business where the customer is at the center will be a successful business!

What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Yardi. It is our property management platform. customer service, billing, accounting, everything comes out of it.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast you’ve gotten a ton of value from and why?

Yardi. It is our property management platform. customer service, billing, accounting, everything comes out of it.

What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?

Star Wars 1-9.  Because I watched all 9 movies with my kids and they are obsessed now and it just really surprised me that they were that interested.

Key learnings

  • Don’t fear failure. instead welcome it as an opportunity to learn. When you don’t get the desired result, think of it as a failure which is now a learning opportunity. ok so we tried this, and it didn’t work, so what else can we try?
  • There is no substitute for persistence. no amount of education, desire, or talent in any form can replace raw perseverance.
  • Without your customer, you are dead. focus on the customer and everything else will fall into place.