7 Tips for Launching Your Career as a Commercial Real Estate Pro

By | December 20, 2018

While some parts of the residential housing market are struggling to regain their pre-Great Recession levels — and a few are barely registering a pulse on the ECG — the commercial real estate market isn’t just humming along nicely, it’s flat-out booming. And according to forecasts from the Urban Land Institute, the uptick should continue at least through 2019.

As such, if you’re been thinking of launching a career as a commercial real estate professional, there has arguably never been a better time to get in the game and hit the ground running. To help you soar in the air vs. stumble on the ground, here are seven tips to keep in mind:

  1. One of the key abilities that will set you apart — and elevate your earnings — is the ability to understand what differentiates a hot commercial property from a lukewarm or cold one. And one of the best ways to develop this competency is by visiting in-demand properties. Photos and descriptions won’t tell you the full story.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of outstanding signage. While commercial buyers obviously don’t look at real estate signs the way that residential home buyers do, they certainly notice them — and often make a snap, subconscious judgement of whether a commercial realtor is professional or amateur. For some examples of excellent commercial real estate signs check out the online gallery of Landmark Signs, a leading St Louis sign company.
  • Master the art of the cold call. Until you establish a referral network, you’ll need to populate your pipeline by picking up the phone and speaking to property managers and owners. If this is something you dread doing, then the world of being a commercial real estate professional might not be for you.
  • Roll up your (virtual) sleeves and dive deep into insightful analytics and data. For example, you want to stay on top of local market data published by the Chamber of Commerce, demographic data published by the Department of Labor, and so on.
  • Prepare to play the long game. Remember, this isn’t the residential real estate market. Even in a sizzling commercial real estate market like San Francisco and Austin it can take several months for a deal to close. And for large, complex deals it could take years to go from initial engagement to signed, sealed and delivered (and paid!). 
  • When you start out, you’ll typically need to have a few prospective deals going at the same time — or else you might not be earning enough income to make things viable.
  • Always carefully calculate your expected revenue from any deal. Don’t assume anything or make guestimates, because you may find yourself disappointed — or shocked — by your compensation.

The Bottom Line

Being a commercial real estate professional is interesting, challenging, and potentially very financially rewarding. The key to your success is doing your homework, strengthening your weaknesses (hey, we all have them!), building beneficial relationships, and keeping your eye on the prize.

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