“Within the dynamics of real estate, one key ingredient to the client’s successful outcome is to understand the details of the subject property in question. In being able to look behind the preverbal real estate curtain to the inner workings of noted subject property, Nathan has established himself as one of the integral pieces to our client’s​ success within the market place.”

-Michael Knapp

Portland native Nathan Bernhardt was just 21 years old when he began to follow in his father’s footsteps. His company, Bernhardt Swiss Trust, focuses on brokerage and appraisal services, as well as investing. Estate planning appraising, bankruptcy appraising, appraisal rebuttals, residential appraisals, and land appraisals are just a few. It is no surprise Bernhardt is always working several roles. Since he began, Bernhardt says his job is to connect with clients and simplify the process. For him, long-term success comes with knowing every facet of his business.

With a lifetime of overseeing 20,000 plus homes, Bernhardt has learned what helps and doesn’t help him achieve his goals. Being credible, accessible, and honest come at the forefront for him. “My real estate businesses, both brokerage and appraisal, are founded on trust and independence,” he says, “Without it, there is no business communication, and no deal.”

Taking responsibility for your own strengths and shortcomings is the key to learning what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.  For Bernhardt, he learned to overcome short-term thinking, lack of experience, and arrogance to be where he is now. Learning, he says, never stops coming your way. Here are a few valuable skills that Bernhardt found as a key to long-term success:


If a customer stops talking, ask questions, then listen again. You’ll learn so much more.


Nathan can feel when a house is well made or not; sometimes there is a smell or noise or humidity. It’s all in the details! Observe your surroundings and you’ll be surprised at how much you begin to notice.

Be honest

“We lose business every day by being honest. We don’t sell, we inform. Long-term, it works. We are not business cycle driven; it’s the lifecycle that keeps us busy. I believe there is no such thing as ‘too honest.’ I don’t know why we lie to children about things, for their own good. I don’t know why it’s ok for a politician, or public figure, to lie and keep their job. Brutally honest communication should be rewarded.”

Keep learning

The learning never ends. Everything you want is out there if you take both responsibility and action.


Bernhardt is a Portland native but that doesn’t stop him from exploring his city. He enjoys Portland’s food scene, and tunes into the cities architecture, real estate, and environment sectors. “I am impressed with Portland’s uniqueness, the art and the beauty of the new built environment,” he says.

Every day is a new day

“I wake up happy every morning. It might be naive, but I believe in each and every new ‘look’ every day.” Bernhardt finds inspiration from Nassim Taleb, a Lebanese-American essayist, scholar, statistician, former trader, and risk analyst. Taleb writes, “People overvalue their knowledge and underestimate the probability of their being wrong.” It’s a quote that highlights what has led Bernhardt to be a successful entrepreneur. Know your strengths and weaknesses, be honest, listen, explore, and be inspired.