Getting Started in Commercial Real Estate in 2022

The world of commercial real estate is vastly different from the more familiar world of residential real estate. Everything from what your day-to-day schedule looks like to the types of people you talk to is different. If you are considering a career as a commercial real estate agent, there are things you should consider before making the leap. Sure, the commission checks can be bigger, but so is the sales cycle. Also, even if you have an extensive background in sales won’t always guarantee that you will be successful.  

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about becoming a commercial real estate agent to see if it’s going to be a wise career decision for you to make.

What You Need To Get

The nice thing about working in the real estate industry is that there is just one license that covers all industries. There is no special license or application process to get into commercial real estate. If you have your license, then you can choose to work in either the residential or commercial space, or both if you are ambitious. Most people choose to just stay in one area because there is more than enough work to fill a lifetime and it is better to be an expert in one area than do a mediocre job trying to do both.

Working in commercial real estate also doesn’t require any prior work experience or education background. You don’t need to know anything about the real estate industry to qualify or have a rolodex of business contacts that you can readily tap into. However, like most things in life, commercial real estate brokers will prefer to hire candidates who do have some experience, especially having a college degree. 

What The Job Is Like

When you see a TV show featuring real estate agents, they are most likely agents in the residential industry. There’s a good reason for that. Commercial real estate can seem very boring to an outsider. The job is more of a corporate gig, where you work regular Monday through Friday daytime hours. You will hardly ever need to work on weekends. This stability in your work schedule can be a very appealing proposition for some people.

The real estate transactions are very corporate as well. You are dealing with businesses and investors rather than people looking for a home to live in. This means you are talking to CEOs, CFOs, and HR directors, who expect a certain level of professionalism at all times. The good thing about working with these types of people is that they are usually more pleasant to work with. They tend to do what they say they will do and follow through on their word.

One of the biggest challenges about the job, especially for newer agents is the long sales cycle. A single transaction could take up to a year to close, which means you will need to have plenty of other opportunities in the pipeline to help you keep food on the table. This isn’t like residential real estate where you get in, do a quick flip, and get out. Commercial real estate is more about building relationships. Ideally, your goal would be to build lifelong relationships with all of your contacts.

What Personality Type Is The Best Fit?

People who have established a successful career in commercial real estate come from a wide variety of different backgrounds. In fact, people who used to be teachers with no previous experience can thrive over people with decades of sales experience in other fields. What you’ve done in the past doesn’t seem to be a good predictor on whether or not you will be good at commercial real estate.

If you are coming in completely new to real estate, it will help to be younger though. Younger people have more energy and perhaps even loftier ambitious goals they hope to achieve. Better still, it helps a lot if you come from a competitive background playing a lot of sports or if you have been involved with a lot of social engagements such as being in a fraternity. This drive will help you get through the initial hurdles of establishing your name in the industry.

At the end of the day, what matters most is if you have a likable personality. People want to work with people that they like. Other qualities such as having a strong work ethic and discipline are important as well. But real estate is a people business first, everything else is secondary.

Tips On How To Get Hired

If you feel like commercial real estate would be a great fit for you, the best and most common way people get started is by being referred to a broker through someone they know. If you don’t have any immediate contacts who are currently working in commercial real estate, try expanding your sphere to include friends of friends or friends of family members. You don’t have to actually know the person, you just need to know a person that does.

If you’ve exhausted those options, you can always attend networking events, seminars, and real estate conferences. The real estate industry never has a shortage of events where you can meet and mingle with new people. Ideally, you would like to find someone that you not only get along with but would even go so far as to be your mentor.

Unless you build a connection beforehand, it may be difficult for a new agent to get started in commercial real estate. On the residential side, brokers will wine and dine new agents to try and recruit them. However, with commercial real estate, you will need to take the initiative to make things happen.