From the Eastern Seaboard of the United States to the Middle East is approximately 6,500 miles—a quarter of the Earth’s circumference. To even fathom that anyone could amass a client roster that spans this astonishing distance is inconceivable, and yet, it is exactly what Antoinette Khatib has done. With a cache of prime residential and commercial listings throughout Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and soon New York and Florida, foreign investors are lining up to do business with Antoinette and her boutique agency, Metropolitan Realty.
Antoinette’s is a story that has evolved and ascended over the past 20 years, reaching one apex at her company’s inception in 2005, and several more still on the horizon. And during her journey, she has traversed the full spectrum of real estate ventures. It is perhaps the chronicle that produced her maxim, “No request is out of reach, there is only the matter of how we can make it happen!”
Making it happen is what Antionette has become known for. In 2021 alone, Metropolitan Realty closed more than 92 multifamily units totaling over $30 million. They currently manage close to 100 apartment units, single-family homes, commercial and industrial properties, and maintain a diverse portfolio, having collaborated with Michael & Son, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Cinnabon, and NT Autobody. It is a unique model that transcends the role of a traditional broker, encompassing sales, condo conversions, investments, developments, management, government contracting, and purchases of virtually every property type. It is a company that Antoinette was destined to create from a career she was born to have.
You might say that real estate is in Antoinette’s DNA. Her father owned a brokerage, and when she followed in his footsteps, it was the fruition of a family legacy as well as the fulfillment of her true passion. It was a meteoric rise for Antionette, who entered the field in 2000 and obtained her broker’s license and opened her own firm within just three years. In complement of her unwavering ambition is a certification as a REALTOR® and an appraiser’s background, as well as practical experience in project management for General Resources Development Group and Ward Hall Associates, where she oversaw the renovation of the American Red Cross buildings.
Few people can claim such a pedigree and fewer still can juggle the myriad responsibilities of such a position—and do so while upholding the commitment to exceptional client care. In her own words, Antoinette shares, “As the owner of a boutique brokerage, I oversee each agent's transactions and contracts with the same level of precision and care that I do of my own. I train every agent on my team and continuously work to improve the process for the benefit of our clients and the staff. This year we invested in additional education, resources, and training to strengthen our commercial real estate unit to provide unsurpassed property management and transaction execution.”
We spoke with Antoinette to learn more about Metropolitan Realty’s business acumen and how she has managed to capture such a large share of international investors.
Antoinette, your company is unique in that you employ specialized professionals for various aspects of real estate. What led you to create this model and how does it benefit your clients?
I’m very selective in all aspects of my business. With regard to agents, I’ve learned that when you have people who specialize in particular areas of real estate, it results in better client service. Initially, I operated with a small staff, and they did only residential listings. I had the experience to handle residential and commercial transactions as well as property management and development. At the time, I wasn’t really considering expansion, but agents were constantly reaching out to me. By year five, I hired my first specialist, Jennifer, who was an expert in commercial leasing. From there, it just evolved, and I began to bring more experts onboard.
Metropolitan Realty has a designated property management division for its commercial clients, investors, and government entities. Tell us about this.
I’m definitely not your average broker—specialized services are my niche. We provide management for almost every property type, from single-family homes to office buildings, subsidized housing, multifamily residential buildings, and townhomes. Currently, we have four larger multifamily apartment buildings, 60% of which are subsidized (Section 8). Not many people want to manage these properties. For our investors of triple-net investment retail properties, many of whom are foreign, we handle every aspect of management and serve as the point of contact. For example, when we acquire a space for Starbucks or McDonald’s, we ensure their lease payment includes upkeep and maintenance expenses, property taxes, and insurance, which provides a 6% to 7% return for our investors.
You’ve been serving foreign investors for over 15 years. Are you seeing increased demand for U.S. real estate from overseas clients?
I’m absolutely seeing greater demand for our property management and acquisition services from foreign investors. They’re cash-liquid and want to put their money where there’s more stability. The U.S. markets are not as high risk as those in Europe and the Middle East. We have many clients in the Gulf countries—Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, etc. My father is Middle Eastern, so I speak the language and know the culture ,and that makes this particular group of clients comfortable. Many of my agents are bilingual, so we’re able to serve foreign clients from many other countries as well.
What gives you such insight into the needs of your clients?
It’s a combination of factors, really. When you’re doing this for as long as I have, you develop a sixth sense for what each type of client wants. I’ve learned a lot from buyers, sellers, investors, and even tenants. Typically, in this industry, realtors only work with buyers and sellers; they don’t manage properties or deal with outside investors. They know only one side of the transaction, whereas we have such a wide range of services and people who specialize in various aspects of those services, so our knowledge bank is expansive and still growing. My background in construction and development is also a distinct advantage. Oftentimes, commercial clients don’t even see the properties—they trust me to choose on their behalf, and my appraisal background allows me to make a realistic assessment that mitigates risk and facilitates a profitable venture. All of this not only makes the client confident, but reduces costs and helps to expedite closings, which is critical in hot markets like we’re seeing now.
Antoinette studied business management at George Washington University, is a diamond member of NVAR Top Producer’s Club, and qualified for CoStar Power Broker of the Year and 2022 Agent of the Year awards.
Antoinette Khatib, Owner/Broker, Metropolitan Realty
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