By Marjorie Rice
Joseph Chaplik has a simple explanation for his success as a broker in apartment real estate. “I come at this as a business person running a real estate brokerage, not as a real estate broker running a business. And my focus is on our customers’ success—not my own.”
Chaplik began Joseph Bernard Investment Real Estate in 2005 in Portland, Ore. The company has grown revenue every year since and increased clients and market share dramatically.
Two years ago, seeking to expand the company further and find a home for his family in a less rain-soaked environment, Chaplik, his wife and two sons moved to Scottsdale. The company’s headquarters moved with him. Today, Joseph Bernard Investment Real Estate has 11 employees in three states.
Chaplik’s outlook for his company is ambitious.
“I have a plan that calls for us to be in 35 markets in seven years and to become a national brokerage firm,” he says. “That’s five new markets a year for seven years, starting in 2015. We were ranked among the 100 fastest-growing private businesses in Oregon the past three years. We’re looking to match that growth here in Arizona.”
Chaplik got into real estate after a successful career in the telecom industry. He credits that experience with giving him a solid grounding on how to manage and grow a business.
“I started as a long-distance salesman for Sprint,” he says. “I ran up the company’s management ladder pretty quickly in their business division. After a ton of training and really good management mentoring, I left the company and went to Allegiance Telecom in Los Angeles. I helped rebuild their national accounts division and was asked to launch their Portland office as a vice president. Allegiance was acquired by XO Communications, and they kept me on, so I had experience with three large, successful companies.”
After he moved to Portland, Chaplik started buying apartments buildings. “I didn’t find high-quality professionalism and service in the apartment brokerage community that I was accustomed to in corporate America,” he says.
Seeing this void in the marketplace, Chaplik decided to walk away from his telecom career and take a high dive into a full-time career in real estate. He started in a small firm, brokering apartment buildings. Six months into it, he was confident he’d learned what needed in the apartment market to start his own venture.
“Our company exists to provide outstanding real estate brokerage through high-quality professionalism, integrity and service, helping clients build wealth through a process called ‘4 Engines: cash flow; tax benefits; principle paydown; and Appreciation of an asset,’” Chaplik says.
Joseph Bernard calls itself a “boutique” brokerage. “In the apartment market, there are big companies that broker everything—office, leasing, retail and multifamily,” Chaplik says. “Those companies have a mixture of products. We broker solely apartment buildings.”
For the most part, Chaplik’s customers are not buying the large, top-tier apartment complexes in the costliest areas. “Those are mostly owned by the institutional side of the market with little returns,” he says. “Our customers are individual owners who are buying in the next level of buildings and neighborhoods for a larger return and increased overall wealth.”
Real estate is an industry notorious for its ups and downs, and Phoenix was one of the hardest-hit markets for real estate in the recent recession. Despite that history, Chaplik is optimistic about his company’s prospects for growth.
“A few years back, you could say it was a horrible time to be in real estate in Phoenix,” he says. “But that was on the selling side. On the buying side, three or four years ago may have been the best time to be buying property.”
Joseph Bernard’s focus on helping clients sets it apart from other apartment brokerages—and fuels growth in both up and down markets, according to Chaplik. “We make the market by helping the individual clients of all sizes make the right decisions on buying and selling. They’re the ones who own them, and they make all the decisions. Our clients’ needs and goals—not our own—are at the forefront of every transaction. We are helping them build success with high returns for their massive wealth gains.”
Chaplik’s commitment to service extends to helping his community succeed. He serves on an advisory posse memorial fund for the families of fallen law-enforcement officers in the state. Chaplik is on the board of trustees for Ronald McDonald House Charities. He also fits in time as a Little League baseball and soccer coach and Tiger Den leader for Boy Scouts of America.