The Blog

Richard Crunkleton, CCIM

How did you become interested in commercial real estate?

I was busy doing other things in life related to construction and development when I came across it. My interest began when I started purchasing value-added properties and fixing them up—I’d lease and eventually sell them.

I began to think that doing deals like that every day would be a fun way to make a living. Soon after, I pursued my real estate license and earned my CCIM designation. It feels like this business was personally made for me. I’m able to work with numbers and people—two things I love.

What were you doing before you discovered commercial real estate?

Great question. I had a number of “day jobs” that led me to where I am today. My background is in Civil Engineering. In fact, I earned my degree from The University of Kentucky in that field. I knew I wasn’t going to work in that industry full time after graduation, but I did a lot of design work while in school for different co-op engineering firms. What really appealed to me about those types of jobs was working with numbers.

I’ve worked in Atlanta at a construction consulting firm, in Dallas with a developer, and ended up in Columbus, Ohio at a highway contracting firm. Columbus was where I made my next big career move by purchasing a Stanley Steemer franchise. My wife Nancy and I ended up moving to Montgomery, Alabama and running that business together for 10 years. She ran it on her own for another 10 when I moved on to commercial real estate.

How did you end up in Huntsville?

Well, at the time I was unhappy in Montgomery. I knew the Huntsville market pretty well and I saw opportunities.

We didn’t know anyone in the area, but we quickly became involved. It wasn’t long before we started Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate. We knew shortly after that we wanted to grow the business.

What do you think contributes to a successful commercial real estate business?

In commercial real estate, you have to offer exceptional service in areas like leasing, property management, selling of properties, and development. But really the value lies in providing industry knowledge to your client and applying that knowledge to deals that will maximize their benefit.

We care a lot about our clientele, and we have had the pleasure of working with some of them several times.

What do you love about your job?

Every day is a new challenge with different opportunities. Figuring out how to make a deal work well for everyone is what I love the most.

Sometimes a client will come to you and not know exactly what they need. You have to take the time to assess the situation and discover what that is. You have to find out what’s important to them so you can draw lines in negotiations.

I really enjoy working with people and helping them discover their needs so a mutually beneficial deal can be made.

What would you say to someone who is interested in becoming a broker?

You need a passion for it. It has to be something that you wake up every morning wanting to do. You also have to be prepared to work on the same deal for a long time. Things in this business don’t happen overnight. Actually, the longest deal I ever worked on took more than 9 years to complete. But the deal worked out well.

Patience and attention to detail help make deals successful and advantageous for all parties involved.

What do you think contributes to Huntsville’s continual growth?

This city is always asking what they can do to make more of an impact—to make things better. It’s an extremely supportive community when it comes to new endeavors and ideas. It’s that outlook that makes growth possible.

I always encourage people to serve on local committees or boards. Nancy and I have been involved with the Huntsville Museum of Art since we moved here. It’s where we have developed many friends and business relationships.

We consider ourselves very blessed and we enjoy giving back to the community. No matter how much you give, you always get more back.

What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

Spending time with Nancy and my family is very important to me. And, many people don’t know this, but I used to drive race cars—Porsches mostly. I quit driving in 2010, but I’ll always love it. I also love spending time at the family farm and I cherish the memories we’ve made there.

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