What You Need to Know About Starting a Career in Commercial Real Estate

So, you’re interested in a career in commercial real estate but want to learn more about what it’s like and how to get started. You’re in the right place.

What Does a Commercial Real Estate Agent Do?

As a commercial real estate agent your job is to assist clients in buying, leasing, or selling commercial properties which can include office, industrial, retail, and multifamily properties. Each of these product types can become even more specialized, but generally, these encompass the main market segments. The depth of broker specialization is largely dependent on the needs of the market. The larger the market, the more specialized it tends to become. This specialization can not only account for the type of product, but also for the side of the deal the agent specializes in. Some specialize in just tenant representation which is to say that they help their clients lease space from landlords, and others solely represent the landlord, and some work on any product type and any side of the deal.

Commercial real estate professionals have the same licensing as residential agents, however, commercial requires a somewhat different set of skills and knowledge. Clients are investors, owner-occupants, and other businesses – all of which requires an understanding of market data, tax and zoning laws, financial analysis and more.

Why You Should Start a Career in Commercial Real Estate?

A career as a commercial real estate agent can be extremely rewarding, both professionally and financially. If you believe that the future is what you make it, then this may be the field for you. Success in CRE is largely a product of the effort you put into it. It does take some time to get started, and there is much to learn, but through positive mentorship and hard work, you can establish a successful career. You will have to plan financially, as this role is commission-based. This may be the most challenging aspect for many, but if you can make it work, long-term, it can be worth it.

It also offers variety. No two days are the same. From prospecting to client meetings, to market research, if you hate being stuck doing the same old same old, day in and day out, you are sure to avoid it in CRE.

Another aspect of being a commercial agent is that you learn the ins and outs of other businesses, and it’s very fulfilling to help a company get established by finding the ideal space that will facilitate their growth!

How to Become a Commercial Real Estate Agent

Becoming a commercial real estate agent can be achieved by obtaining a real estate license. However, building a successful career is more nuanced. Often, many are unaware of the field, so the first hurdle is connecting with those in the industry.

“My advice to someone just starting out would be to put in as much time as it takes to learn as much as you can and meet as many people as you can,” explains Matt Gregory, a twenty-year veteran and managing director of NAI Ohio Equities.

Gregory started as an intern. “I made myself indispensable as it related to marketing and technology and was hired into a fulltime position,” he said.

Mitchell Moore can attest to that. Upon graduating from college, Moore wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. He had taken broad coursework with a foundation in communications and marketing, with the hope that these skills would make him more attractive to a variety of professions. Moore had accepted a role in insurance, when he stumbled across a job listing for Client Services Coordinator for a team of agents. Moore had neither a background in commercial or residential real estate, but was willing to soak up every bit of wisdom the experienced members of his team were willing to share.

“After about nine months, I began my coursework to get licensed in the state of Ohio, which helped me to learn the basics of CRE, but nothing compares to on-the-job training,” quipped Moore.

Moore has now been working with the Office Brokerage Group for nearly two years and is a licensed, working agent.

“Building relationships is the heart of commercial real estate, but being personable, hardworking, and willing to take direction, are equally important if you want to be successful,” he added.

“The best advice I have to give, is that you get out what you put into it. Successful agents weren’t made overnight; those who stay the course and keep working through the ups and downs are the ones who become the most prominent in the field,” Moore continued.

“For those who want to get started in this industry, I suggest meeting as many people in it as possible. LinkedIn is great for connecting with other professionals. Find agents in your market and try to provide them with value in some way. Meet them for coffee or lunch so you can get your foot in the door,” said Moore.

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