The FORT Podcast: Holt Lunsford

Holt Lunsford is the Founder & CEO of Holt Lunsford Commercial, a Dallas-based full service commercial real estate company. They talk about luck in business, the process of finding and hiring great people, and Holt’s advice for fathers.

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1:40 – Holt Lunsford
4:00 – The Generation of Texas Real Estate
16:40 – How much of business success is luck and how much is things that you can control?
18:55 – Growth Standards
21:40 – How long were you in business until you started hiring?
22:40 – What were some things you were not doing well that people could learn from?
26:12 – Building Relationships & Loyalty
28:37 – Culture of Constant Job Switching & Attracting the Next Generation of Employees
33:36 – What within Real Estate has changed dramatically since starting off in ’86?
35:49 – Life Balance
40:20 – What did you give your kids for their 18th birthday?
43:35 – What advice would you give your 21-year-old self?


Holt Lunsford is Founder and CEO of Holt Lunsford Commercial, a commercial real estate service and investment company founded in 1993. HLC’s core lines of business include development leasing, property management and investments in the office, industrial and multifamily sectors.
In addition to his commercial real estate business, Holt is Founder and Chairman of Liberty Capital Bank, Global Fulfillment Solutions and City Park Construction. Holt is also a guest lecturer at Harvard Business School and Tuck School of business at Dartmouth, teaching cases in the Harvard curriculum called “Holt Lunsford Commercial, Inc. and Shady Trail”.

Episode Summary

Lunsford, known for his entrepreneurial spirit and his profound understanding of the real estate market, offers an in-depth look into his journey, business strategies, and the life lessons he has garnered over the years.

Lunsford begins by discussing the intersection of business and personal mission, advocating for an integrated approach where one’s work serves as a conduit for fulfilling their personal mission. He challenges the conventional separation of business and personal life, emphasizing the importance of alignment between the two. This perspective sets the foundation for a conversation that traverses the realms of business, entrepreneurship, investing, and life, providing listeners with a holistic view of Lunsford’s approach to real estate and beyond.

As the conversation unfolds, Lunsford shares pivotal moments from his career, recounting transformative experiences that have shaped his journey in real estate. He narrates a significant episode from 1993, a challenging year marked by a stagnant construction industry, highlighting how an unexpected call from a tenant led to a significant project and a testament to the power of relationships and reputation in the real estate business. This story underscores the value of trust, positive interactions, and the role they play in opening doors to opportunities and fostering growth.

Delving deeper into the financial and operational facets of his business, Lunsford emphasizes the critical importance of maintaining a healthy profit margin, sharing his strategy of sustaining an 18% margin. He sheds light on the challenges associated with investments in new divisions or cities, setting realistic expectations for achieving desired financial outcomes. This segment provides listeners with a transparent view of the financial considerations and strategic planning involved in real estate investments and business growth.

Building on this, Lunsford speaks to the importance of perseverance, dedication, and the choice of industry and geography in building a successful career in real estate. He advocates for selecting stable and enduring sectors, such as real estate, energy, and banking, and emphasizes the need to establish influence within a chosen market. These insights highlight the long-term nature of success in real estate and the importance of strategic decision-making in achieving career longevity.

In the final part of the podcast, Lunsford shares a personal and heartfelt story about a tradition of reading and annotating the Bible, a practice initiated by his father and continued with his own sons. This story, rich with values and wisdom, intertwines personal beliefs with business acumen, showcasing Lunsford’s holistic approach to life and work.

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