Commercial Quest: Local woman and veteran comes 360 to open real estate firm

From the pages of In Business magazine.

After nearly 10 years with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, including seven years of active duty, Janine Punzel felt she could do just about anything. “It helped with people skills, problem solving, decision-making, leadership, and prioritizing in different levels of stress,” she said.

But when it came to pursuing her dream of starting her own business, she was her own worst enemy. “I’ve always had the skills and knowledge to run my own business, but it was about my risk-averseness,” she admitted.

Twenty years later, she’s overcome that fear thanks to a combination of time, experience, and “the bank of Mom,” referring to a five-figure loan she received from her mother to start 360 Commercial Real Estate, a full-service firm handling everything from property management to brokerage to property investment. “I thought, ‘Thank you for not making me ask [for the loan]!’ It was so freeing.”

“Of course businesses post a loss,
but I won’t be posting a loss this year. That was all done [in 2014].”
— Janine Punzel, owner, 360 Commercial Real Estate

Her commercial real estate experience comes from 14 years at Hovde Properties and four years in the real estate division at American Family Insurance. That, combined with personal finances and her mom’s loan, made it possible for Punzel to launch the firm in March 2014.

Helping her decision was a tip she received around the same time from an acquaintance, informing her that the owner of a small property management company was looking to retire and might be seeking a buyer. By Aug. 1, after due diligence was completed, Punzel assumed the management responsibilities for a portfolio containing 249 condo units and 23 rental units, including 15 single-family homes. “I ended up purchasing just the management contracts, as well as the goodwill that the previous owner had established,” she explained.

She also hired Katie Myhre, an employee of that firm, who brought 11 years of condo and rental property management experience to the 360 portfolio. The two women hadn’t worked together previously, but Punzel believes they’re a force to be reckoned with. “We make a much better team together. I’d have been crying in a corner had she not taken the job,” she laughed.



Now, in a small, light-filled office across the hall from The Brink Lounge, Punzel’s mind rests much easier. They’ve maintained all of their contracts and recently added a 20,000-square-foot commercial building to their management portfolio.

More importantly, her penchant for risk-averseness has been transformed into confidence. “I look at how far we’ve come in such a short time. Of course businesses post a loss, but I won’t be posting a loss this year. That was all done [in 2014].”

Within five years, she hopes to be working in a building that is managed, leased, and owned by 360 Commercial Real Estate, and she offers the following advice to entrepreneurs:

“Determine which things are worth paying someone else to do so you don’t get in trouble,” she says. “And purchase workman’s comp insurance through providers, so instead of having to guess what your payroll will be, you pay as you go, so there’s less cash outlay.”

Punzel also opted for $5,000 in overdraft protection on her checking account so when she “got busy,” she didn’t have to worry about paying herself.

“It costs $3 to not be stressing,” she said, “which is well worth it.”

360 Commercial Real Estate Services LLC
701 E. Washington Ave., #LL3
Madison, WI 53719  
608.807.0660 |

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