TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Real Estate isn’t a career for Sid Knight, it’s embedded within his DNA.
The Mountain Brook, Alabama native spent most of his early childhood walking around a property with a yellow open reel tape measure, reciting distances back to his grandfather, Sidney Knight.
Little did he know how important an accurate distance was to his grandfather’s evaluation of the property. Knight was content with spending time with the man he was named after.
“It’s so cliche to say it’s in my blood, but it was definitely a passion for people in my family that I looked up to a lot,” Knight said. “Subconsciously or consciously, whichever one it is, from a very early age (real estate) was ingratiated in my mind and it’s something I have enjoyed for a long, long time.”
Knight’s real estate journey took him to The University of Alabama where he began his academic career as an accountant. However, after dreading a career stuck behind a desk, coupled with his mom’s outgoing personality, Knight migrated back to real estate thanks to a push from Alabama Center for Real Estate (ACRE) Executive Director Grayson Glaze.
“(Glaze) convinced me to change my major to finance with a specialization in real estate, he got me set up in the ACRE program and then he got me an internship with Engel Realty Company,” Knight said. “So for a year while I was still in college, I would drive to Birmingham and work 20 hours a week as a brokerage intern, knowing that upon graduation, I would then dive headfirst into brokerage.”
While at Engel, Knight was given a desk, a phone and a phonebook where he began to cold call potential clients. Knight estimated he made 100 calls per day and while he didn’t strike a deal on every call he made, he learned a valuable lesson that he shares with students who have aspirations to get into the real estate industry.
“The best way to advance yourself and really learn this business is to learn from mistakes,” Knight said. “Those no’s you’re going to get is only going to make you sharper. You’ve got to come into it knowing it’s gonna take a while, but if you stick it out and have a good attitude about it, it’ll pay off in dividends.”
Those lessons continue to drive Knight to this day now as an Associate for Retail Specialists. During his two-year tenure with the company, Knight has been involved in more than $30 million in transactions. In 2023 he was awarded the CoStar Impact Award for the best lease in the Birmingham market when he helped turn a former Family Dollar location into The Epic Center; an event space that hosts live events, comedy shows, community gatherings, motivational speakers and educational and business forums.
“We are thrilled to see UA and ACRE alumnus Sid Knight burst onto the commercial real estate scene,” Glaze said. “Knight’s path is a prime example of what we hope to do here at the center, but we’re only one half of the equation, Sid also needed to do the work to make it happen. His story has charted the path for future real estate students to follow. We’re so proud of him and his accomplishments.”