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Nelson Pratt

An internship opportunity in a Haslam College of Business finance class changed Pratt’s life, leading him into a career in real estate.

- Alumni

An internship opportunity announced in a finance class in the Haslam College of Business changed Nelson Pratt’s (Finance, ’00) life. Pratt began interning for the Bob Hodges Company his senior year at UT, hoping to gain insight into the real estate business. He found much more.

“That opportunity essentially turned into a career,” Pratt says.

It quickly became apparent that Pratt had found his niche at the commercial real estate firm. After graduation, he began working full time for Hodges and eventually became a partner. Today, he is owner of the firm, now Hodges & Pratt Company, P.C. 

Hodges & Pratt Co. offers commercial real estate appraisal and consultation. Focusing on multifamily properties, the Knoxville-based company provides services in eight states, carrying 25 to 30 projects at any time. The company employs 10 appraisers and researchers to provide market studies and valuations. 

“It’s a different take on the real estate industry,” Pratt says. “There’s a lot of data, a correlation with business analytics, an understanding of supply-and-demand fundamentals and carryover in finance and marketing.”

Hodges & Pratt’s market analysis services include HUD and conventional market studies and preliminary and rent comparability studies, along with a variety of consultations and assessments. Appraisal services include eminent domain, commercial appraisals, conventional loans and other investment opportunities. 

As his business grows, along with the demand in the real estate market, Pratt has turned his attention back to the place where his own career started. He recently returned to Haslam to speak in finance classes about his own experience in the industry.

“It was surreal,” Pratt says. “Twenty-two years ago, I was a student sitting in that same spot, and now I can help them learn about the industry and open opportunities for people.”

Pratt is passionate about education for future real estate professionals and sees Knoxville as the perfect location to enter a successful career.

“There is so much demand for people to be in real estate right now,” Pratt says. “We’re in a great place with the economy and well positioned geographically. We’re close to major cities with major brokerage firms, banks and alumni who can open doors for students.”

Pratt is one of those alumni opening doors. He counts current UT students among his firm’s full-time staff and interns and enjoys engaging in the classroom at Haslam.

“Going back and talking to classes lit a fire under me,” Pratt says. “I encourage any alumni to go back and connect with a class and share their knowledge. It’s mutually beneficial.” 

Pratt plans to stay involved and provide support as the need for real estate professionals as the real estate department and associated education grows.

“The demand for housing in East Tennessee is going to be very interesting to track,” Pratt says. “Jobs announcements and in-migration are happening at levels we’ve never seen before in the Knoxville MSA. It’s a great spot to be in career-wise.”