My name is Aktar and I am a Real Estate Developer. You’re probably thinking I help people buy and sell homes, if so, you are very wrong. Most people automatically relate "real estate" to being agents and brokers. However, Real Estate is a very broad & complex industry, made up of Architects, Engineers, Developers, Bankers and Investors. I happen to be an architect by training, and real estate developer by career. What I do is, identify & purchase potential real estate assets, such as buildings, or land that provide me an opportunity to create value through development.
Its funny how I found myself in the real estate world looking back. When I applied to college, I planned to study engineering…but because of immigration issues I was denied a scholarship to NYU. It was tough for me but I had to keep moving forward. I ended up applying to a CUNY instead and chose the major most related to engineering, which was Architecture. I thought I was going to be a regular architect designing buildings. But during my 2nd year of college I had a professor who asked the class, as part of an exam, “Where do we see ourselves 10 years from now?” I wrote about my interest in buying land, designing and building for low-income families. The professor came up to me and suggested that I look into specializing in Real Estate Development. He told me about many architects who have done so and have been very successful. He felt I would be too. It was then that my passion for development truly started and I decided to specialize in it. By my 3rd year of college I had launched my 1st company and began purchasing properties with partners.
I completed my Bachelor's in Architecture, along with a minor in Construction Management. Post graduation I started my 1st job at an architectural & development firm in DUMBO that specialized in primarily high-end condo developments throughout Brooklyn. After earning 3 years of professional experience, I decided I was ready to leave the 9-5 world.
Today I run my own firms, which allow me the opportunities to meet other entrepreneurs who are just as passionate as I. The opportunity to work with and manage multiple professionals at once in any given project is pretty exciting. The simplest of projects are made up of numerous moving parts at any given time. From negotiations with seller, collaborating with local consultants, vetting contractors, negotiating with bankers, and marketing the project all at the same time. In the end - every minute of it is worth it. To watch your vision and plans come to reality is priceless. I am at the start of my career, building the foundation and constantly learning as I go. Where will I be in the next 10 years or 20 years? I can’t say for sure. It won’t be a smooth ride, that's for sure, but I am prepared to take on any challenges along the way. I started with a couple thousand dollars and a vision; today I own buildings in multiple cities throughout the northeast. In the future I plan to take my company to a global level with real estate holdings in all major cities around the world.
As a child though, I dreamed of being an astronaut. I wanted to travel to space and meet aliens. Yes, I believed aliens were real. I still do, but maybe not like e.t looking guys. Speaking of movies, the 1st time I ever heard of a developer was in the movie Home Alone 2, when Donald Trump appeared. Times sure have changed huh?
Thinking back to where it all started…my father was a contractor, so along the way he always provided me with career advice. Most of which I never really agreed with, he’s old school. However, I didn’t want to be a contractor, I wanted to be much more. I wanted to pursue a career with power. I probably wouldn’t have pursued a career in development if it weren’t for my immigration issues. I believe everything in life happens for a reason.
And so, my greatest challenge is one shared by many New Yorkers today. I was undocumented for most of my life in the United States. Growing up no one ever imagined for me to attend college or hold a job. I always overheard my family worry about my well-being. I never really understood why untill I was much older. When all my friends started to get their driving permits and I couldn't…When they opened bank accounts and I couldn't. It really affected me the most when I was denied a scholarship to NYU. My merits, my hard work and good grades didn't matter.
Despite all this, I feel no pain, no anger, and no regrets. I still look back and feel it was a blessing in disguise. Because of my restrictions I worked harder then anyone else around me. I set my goals higher then those around me. And it is because of that challenge that today I am in the Real Estate industry and running my own firms. All my life everyone was worried I wouldn’t find a job. I guess they were right. Because today I don’t have a job, I have a career. I wanted my family and friends to know that, NOTHING could stop me from achieving my goals. I started a company from the ground up and am continuously growing. My immigration challenge kept me ambitious all my life, pushed me to do better and be better then all those around me. I love where I am, whom I am, and am blessed to have overcome such a challenge.
I am motivated by my life experiences. Most of my life due to my family’s immigration issues, our dreams and goals were restricted and limited. While our friends and families began to buy homes, my family couldn’t despite my father’s income. Growing up we was forced to live below standards. Even as those around us knew about our situation - it didn't stop them from making negative comments or thinking they were better then us. It is that past, that motivates me.
Never forget your past, and embrace your struggles. Let it fuel the fire. Let it motivate you. And drive you to execute your plans and achieve your goals.
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