Commercial Observer's Top Young Professionals of 2020: Sarah Mae Selnick, Cignature Realty


Yes, Sarah Mae Selnick got the real estate bug early.

“I was a part of the founding members of the Washington and Lee [University] Real Estate Society,” Selnick said. There had been a similar such society at the university for investment, but real estate had not quite yet assumed its proper place. “It wasn’t a major,” Selnick said. However, after the real estate society was formed, “the school gave us a piece of endowment to invest in REITs.”

If that’s any indication of Selnick’s persuasive power, color us intrigued. “Initially, I was head of the Northeast region, doing retail, but I pivoted to multifamily,” she said.

Of course, college is where a lot of people learn to love real estate, but it was in Selnick’s blood long before. “My grandfather was in real estate, buying in the 1970s,” said the Cincinnati native. “It got me interested in it as I grew up.”

After her stint at Washington and Lee, Selnick struck out in New York City, where she landed a job at Cignature Realty Associates working on multifamily. In the three years she’

s been at the firm, she’s done the underwriting for $2 billion worth of real estate. And, she’s certainly been no local wallflower when it comes to the properties she’s been trading. In 2019, she sold a six-building, 781-unit portfolio spread over southwestern Ohio for $35 million.

Like the rest of the world, Selnick was affected by the pandemic. Business “took a big pause as the whole world took a big pause — but it’s starting to loosen up. We’re probably busier now working with clients than I ever have been, looking for valuations now; that’s what we’ve been focused on. I think there’s a lot of money out there waiting for cheap prices.” — M.G.

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