Cresa CEO Jim Underhill on the Company's Growth Plans

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WASHINGTON, DC—Cresa CEO Jim Underhill believes its strategy  of solely representing tenants allows the firm to continue chipping away at others in the industry that represent both tenants and landlords.

“Our strategy is client-centric. The main reason we can promise and provide higher quality service versus our competitors is because we solely represent occupiers of real estate and have built our whole company around that purpose,” Underhill  tells “Our clients tell us they can see and feel the difference. We’re not looking to be one of our big competitors – we just want to be exceptional at what we do and provide an opportunity and experience for our people that they can’t find elsewhere.”

On Cresa's Expansion Plans

In the role for just over three years, Underhill has guided Cresa in expanding to more than 15 offices outside of North America. It expects to shortly announce two more acquisitions.

“We’re growing because our clients want us assisting them in these global markets. Much of our growth is also a result of interest from real estate professionals and companies overseas who are attracted to our occupier-centric model,” says Underhill.

Why Cresa Only Represents Tenants

Underhill believes that drawing a line in the sand when it comes to representation is good for Cresa’s business and for their clients. Cresa is one of the few global commercial real estate firms solely focused on representing occupiers. Compared to a decade ago, the big real estate brokerage firms have only gotten more invested on the landlord side, as evidenced by JLL’s recent purchase of HFF, Underhill says.

“By structuring our firm to exclusively represent occupiers, clients tell us they feel a different level of advocacy from us that they don’t get from other firms. Personally, one of the reasons I decided to join this company was because of Cresa’s 100% focus on the occupier side of the business. This is the area that I have always loved,” says Underhill.

On Tech Solutions

The ever-changing use of technology in real estate decision-making has captured Underhill’s attention.

“Tech solutions are a significant and growing part of our service offering. The business intelligence tools we provide help clients make smarter decisions, from optimizing square footage and commute times to improving employee engagement and productivity. I am incredibly excited as I assess new tech investments that will help us deliver more value for clients.”