Craig Barrett – NBI Co-Founder
No matter how many real estate deals and transactions he has in the works, Craig Barrett, co-founder of NBI Properties, can be found walking his two huge Newfoundland dogs on 30A in Santa Rose Beach almost every single morning. In the evenings, Barrett and his wife, Melanie, like to stroll the same beach to take in the spectacular sunsets they have enjoyed for years on the Emerald Coast. A fifth generation native to the area, Barrett grew up in Fort Walton Beach and has never found a reason to leave. As NBI Properties celebrates its seventh anniversary this year, he’s proud to say he is devoting his life to helping others achieve their dreams in this special part of the world.
A graduate of Choctawhatchee High School and Okaloosa Walton College, Barrett worked for the U.S. Postal Service Postal service and for Federal Express several years before he was bitten by the real estate bug! His first stint was as an employee of Realty House, where he worked for eight years and found his niche for commercial real estate. In 2005, Barrett teamed up with Jayme Nabors and founded NBI Properties, which is now one of the largest and most successful commercial real estate firms in the Southeast. Barrett said that he and Nabors were a perfect match from the start for many reasons.
“Jayme is one of the smartest people I have ever been around in the real estate business,” said Barrett. “There is a long line of successful entrepreneurs in his family and he has an incredible business sense. When we founded NBI, we both agreed that our source would be God and that we would not be motivated by greed, but that we would always put the needs of our clients first.”
Currently managing more than 1250 properties on the Emerald Coast, Barrett says the high powered team has enjoyed steady financial success year after year and they have never experienced a downturn despite the volatile marketplace.
“It’s truly a ‘God’ thing,” explains Barrett, who has been an active member of the Destin Assembly of God since the early eighties. “We both believe in Psalms 115 where the scripture says you will increase more and more and that your future generations will also be blessed.”
Barrett describes his relationship with his business partner Jayme Nabors as “brother-like” and says he is happy to welcome him back to the NBI office full-time this month after spending four years in South Florida while his wife attended dental school.
“It’s a great time for him to come back, as we’ve been so busy this year that we need him to keep up with our growth spurt!” said Barrett. He added that in addition to numerous commercial real estate transactions involving everything from big box retailers to office buildings and industrial space, the company recently added a residential division, Lifestyle Properties, in Destin.
“We had so many commercial real estate clients who also insisted on working with us on residential sales, so this naturally evolved into Lifestyle Properties,” said Barrett. “We started the business a few months ago and we are pleased to see our new agents hitting their stride and picking up momentum.”
Barrett added that knowledge of the area and the market is what sets NBI and Lifestyle Properties apart from their competitors.
“No one knows the market like we do,” he said. “Honesty and integrity is what we are known for, so we always tell our clients the truth – even when they don’t like to hear it! “
According to Barrett, many investors are looking for at least a 10 percent return on their money on the Emerald Coast while others are remaining patient and looking for deals with higher returns. He said he has noticed some upticks in the market, but overall there’s still a long way to go before the market can be considered stable.
“If I could change one thing about the commercial real estate business right now, it would be to alter the political environment to more of a pro-growth administration,” said Barrett. “I would like to be able to see banks give loans to qualified people so they wouldn’t be required to put 30-40% down on properties.”
No matter if the roller coaster market goes up or down, Barrett believes investors will always be interested in the Emerald Coast.
“The fact that tourism is a huge draw and brings 8-14 million people to the area every year is always a plus for real estate,” he said. “And when you add our enormous military bases to the mix, there’s always going to be a lot of people wanting to put down roots in this area.”
One thing is certain – Barrett doesn’t mind sharing his slice of paradise with others and is one of the best ambassadors the Emerald Coast will ever have!