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How to Become a Commercial Real Estate Agent

Table of Contents

If you’re already a member of a brokerage firm, you may have noticed how commercial agents tend to be where the money is. If you’ve wondered how to become a commercial real estate agent, you enjoy the industry, and you possess the necessary confidence and communication skills, here’s how you can close the deal.

Do Some Research

If you’re already a residential real estate agent, you’ve run half this race. If you’re not yet in real estate and you’re considering a career change, don’t write your resignation letter just yet. Are you suited for commercial real estate? The commercial side of the real estate industry isn’t for everyone. Are you prepared for the road ahead?

And financially, are you aware of the potential implications? Agent salaries are almost always based on commission. Larger real estate firms might offer small, supplementary salaries when you first begin, but your real estate commission will form the bulk of your income.

Commercial real estate brokers normally make about 3% commission on their sales and lease transactions. Sure, this can add up fast – but when you’re just starting out, you’ll see deals don’t always close quickly. Some negotiations take months before closing.

Look Into Licensing Requirements

Before you can actually begin selling any commercial properties, you need a commercial agent’s license. The rules are different from state to state. Look into the specific requirements where you live so you know what your state requires.

As an overview, you’ll most likely have to meet the following requirements:

  • Be 18 years old or older
  • Have residency in the same state you’re apply for your commercial real estate license
  • Have a residential real estate license in the same state you’re applying for your CRE license
  • Have at least one year of real estate sales under your belt – some states even require two years of real estate sales experience
  • Take any specific classes your state requires prior to the license exam
  • Pass the commercial real estate brokers exam

That may seem like a lot of steps but look at this way – all the experience you gain during your time as a residential real estate agent helps you discover your ideal commercial properties market. It also gives you time to build your own personal real estate brand. Best of all, your local community college most likely offers the education courses required.

Apply for Your Commercial Real Estate License

After you meet your state’s licensing requirements and passed the CRE broker’s exam, it’s time to apply for the license. Depending on your state, you may still have a couple hoops left to jump through, though. See if you have to meet any other requirements or if there’s any other forms that must be completed after your CRE exam. Having all requirements met helps speed up the process. Take a look at your state’s real estate licensing board webpage to see your specific requirements.

Once everything is complete, you’re now a licensed commercial real estate broker. But don’t sit down just yet – there’s still a little more work to do.

Attend Activities and Network

Commercial real estate is still viewed as a traditional career. Getting ahead – as in knowing where to find opportunities and how to convert leads – means networking. In much the same way as planning your week is an ongoing activity, so is networking.

Like the ever-present “cold call”, networking isn’t a numbers game. Without genuine connections, you won’t make a strong enough impression. Sites like LinkedIn offer incredible networking opportunities, but it’s not enough to simply connect – you must foster the growth of that connection. Check in with your friends and followers. Look for them at non-real estate related events. This ensures you’re the first person they think of when the time comes that they need your assistance.

Start Your Own Brokerage or Work Independently

With all the above under your belt, you’re now able to start your own brokerage or work independently as a broker. Before you do so, however, it’s a good idea to learn the accepted practices governing various types of properties. Zoning and Use laws apply to both residential and commercial properties. Commercial real estate is complex. Continuing your education at a local community college bolsters your personal development and, as in many industries, ongoing training is simply smart business.

If you decide to open your own commercial brokerage, create a website and put together a strong real estate marketing strategy that includes the major social media platforms. You can share property listings, tips, blog posts, and property images.

If you’re in a specific commercial real estate niche, this is a specialty that differentiates you from your competition. If you’ve learned all you can up to this point, you won’t need as much help running your own brokerage. Plus, if you’ve networked properly, you’ll have no trouble attracting both clients and agents to work with you.

Don’t Stop Eyeing Other Firms

You may or may not enjoy running your own brokerage. If you do, great! But staying friendly with other agents and brokerages keeps your options open.

The idea of closing up shop after you’ve opened your own brokerage or leaving a firm you’ve been with for years can be intimidating. Lots of commercial brokers find out they enjoy working for a firm better than running their own. There are plenty of reasons why switching brokerages can be beneficial.

Be aware of new developments in the commercial real estate industry. While you may enjoy your current position, you might see a day that you realize future prospects might not be at a different firm. By constantly networking, you’ll have an edge as to whether switching firms is right for you.

Wrap Up

Every commercial real estate broker’s secret to success is different but they all have one thing in common –persistence.

If you:

  • Continuously improve your skills
  • Develop specialties
  • Become more valuable in your current position
  • Create a value proposition for other brokerages

…there’s no end to the potential of your dream to sell commercial real estate.

ProspectNow can show you how to become a commercial real estate agent. We’ve been helping real estate agents just like you since 2008. From building owners lists to discovering what makes clients tick, ProspectNow can help you get more leads and make more money.

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