Mike Easter, Finance Expert in San Diego, CA, United States
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Mike Easter

Verified Expert  in Finance

Finance Expert

San Diego, CA, United States
Toptal Member Since
March 19, 2018

Mike is a real estate finance and investment expert with 15+ years of experience in deal structuring, capital raising, valuation analysis, and due diligence. He has held senior roles at JLL, NGKF, and CBRE, advising a broad range of clients on $2.5+ billion in investment and M&A transactions. Mike enjoys leveraging his extensive transaction and financial experience as a freelancer while broadening his knowledge base.

Career Highlights

President and Founder
The Journey Companies
Executive Vice President
Jones Lang LaSalle

Education Highlights

Master's Degree
University of Denver
Bachelor's Degree
University of Colorado Boulder

Certification Highlights

Case Studies

Work Experience

President and Founder

2010 - PRESENT
The Journey Companies
  • Founded and served as President of The Journey Companies, a provider of investment advisory services including deal sourcing, investment analysis, capital structuring, financing, transaction management, and operational consulting.
  • Created and executed a growth strategy for a client that included sourcing, negotiating, structuring and fundraising for six acquisitions over a five-year period. Led the post-acquisition operational integration and spun-off two additional businesses.
  • Advised a client on the reorganization and restructuring of a company, resulting in a 100% increase in revenue and 200% increase in profitability. Strategies included an overhaul of company operations, the development of standard operating procedures and process flows, the integration of technology and software, and real estate advisory work related to the consolidation of operations.
  • Advised on $500+ million in real estate projects and transactions, providing investment and feasibility analysis, as well as project financing. Projects ranged from a $100 million urban mixed-use real estate development to a $2.5 million refinancing of a converted medical office and retail property.
  • Provided investment structure recommendations, created financial models, developed investor presentations for prospective financings, and led pitches to potential investors and lenders.
  • Served as the President of a real estate property management company, as well as a construction and property maintenance company, managing 20+ employees and 250 clients.
Focus areas: Property Investment, Business Advisory, Debt Structuring, Finance, Real Estate, Corporate Finance, Profitability Optimization, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Budgeting, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)

Executive Vice President

2016 - 2018
Jones Lang LaSalle
  • Served as Southern California market lead, specializing in the sale and financing of multifamily, residential and mixed-use assets across the U.S. on behalf of mid-market and institutional investors.
  • Acted as an expert advisor helping source, negotiate and underwrite $600+ million in real estate debt and equity financing as well as sell-side transactions ranging from $5 million to $100+ million.
  • Advised a client on the launch of a new multifamily real estate investment platform targeting $5 to $50 million investments in secondary markets.
  • Sourced, negotiated, and structured long-term debt with proceeds from debt issuance driving a 50% return on investment and helping to create a 200% increase in property value in less than four years.
  • Advised several clients on project-level investment partner sourcing strategies and multi-project investment programs for $5 to $100+ million deals.
  • Conducted financial analysis and modeling, created offering and pitch materials, sourced investment partners and lenders, and negotiated proposed financing terms and structures for multiple real estate transactions.
Focus areas: Finance, Real Estate, Property Investment, Subordinated Debt, Debt Raises, Debt Structuring, Credit Underwriting, Loan Origination, Lending, Equity Capital, Capital Structuring, Capital Raising, Capital Formation Strategy

Managing Director - Capital Markets

2015 - 2016
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank
  • Served as a Managing Director for NGKF Capital Markets, and was responsible for sourcing real estate financing from investors, brokers, and principals as well as maintaining a robust network of capital providers including banks, life companies, GSEs, investment funds, and REITs.
  • Sourced, negotiated, and executed the capitalization of two multifamily real estate investments totaling $40+ million, and was one of the first to utilize loans from Fannie Mae’s Green Rewards Program.
  • Advised a client on the restructuring and refinancing of a $50 million Tenant-in-Common (TIC) project with 30+ individual private TIC investors.
  • Advised a client on the capitalization of an $80 million 300-unit multifamily development project.
  • Built the capital markets practice from inception, sourcing and developing capital relationships with equity and debt providers, and creating financial models, pitch books, and offering materials.
Focus areas: Capital Structuring, Capital Raising, Loan Origination, Lending, Debt Raises

First Vice President

2006 - 2010
  • Served as First Vice President for CBRE Capital Markets, specializing in real estate debt and equity placements through a broad range of capital sources.
  • Advised private investors and institutional investment managers on the underwriting and structuring of real estate investments and sourced debt and equity capital.
  • Closed on $1.2+ billion in commercial real estate capitalizations, including $300+ million of joint venture equity arrangements.
  • Led financial modeling and created offering and pitch materials for potential investment partners and lenders, helping a multifamily real estate investment client to grow from one property and 280 units to twelve properties and 3,000+ units in four years.
  • Advised a client on the launch of a new real estate investment and construction company, playing a critical role in securing the client's first urban redevelopment project.
  • Served on the major accounts advisory group, setting the tactics and strategy for securing and servicing major institutional clients.
  • Developed financial models, offering materials, and investor presentations on behalf of clients.
Focus areas: Capital Structuring, Capital Raising, Equity Capital, Debt Structuring, Subordinated Debt, Debt Raises, Loan Origination

Financial Analyst and Transaction Manager

2002 - 2006
Apartment Realty Advisors
  • Managed and executed all aspects of the real estate sales process including directing all underwriting and valuation recommendations, supervising and managing the marketing process, coordinating buyer due diligence and facilitating the transaction process from contract to closing.
  • Managed and executed $1.5+ billion in real estate investment sales transactions.
  • Managed all financial underwriting and analysis on $300 million in real estate investments and projects on a monthly basis.
  • Conducted and analyzed market research and data for use in client presentations, company research, and investment offering materials.
  • Managed team of financial and research analysts, maintaining responsibility for all financial modeling and research activities.
  • Developed all financial models, research databases, and tools.
Focus areas: Market Research, Due Diligence, Property Investment, Asset Valuation, DCF Valuation
2003 - 2004

Master's Degree in Real Estate & Construction Management

University of Denver - Denver, CO

1998 - 2001

Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration

University of Colorado Boulder - Boulder, CO


Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA)

Corporate Finance Institute


Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM)

CCIM Institute