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The 9 First Steps for Your Commercial Real Estate Career

You can do very well in commercial real estate today if you are prepared to take on the challenges of professional skill development, property knowledge, and market awareness.

There are many different career paths to take, all of which involve the different property types, investment types, client profiles, and property improvements.   You could say that there is an equation here to be considered.

A creative and motivated agent or broker can move into the segments of the industry that they find the most attractive and the most rewarding. A full investigation of the local property market at a personal level will help with that decision and segmentation.  So there is a career path here for those that want to stay and work in the industry for the long term.

Here are a few questions to get the process started.  Think about these things:

  • Do you prefer sales, leasing, or property management?
  • What are the property types you prefer?
  • Where are the future opportunities locally for you to work into?

To answer these questions, local market research will be required.  When you fully understand the marketplace and the levels of local activity, you will also see where you can focus your efforts in new business activity and client opportunity.

There will always be local property opportunities to tap into in both sales and leasing; it is just a matter of understanding what you can work with and what is happening in the local area currently. Here is how I would do that:

  1. Determine the location to work within – look at the regional sections and precincts of the sales and leasing market where things seem to be happening. Divide your property market into primary and secondary zones.  The primary zone is that where you will be prospecting for your listings and finding most of your clients.  A full 80% of your business should come from within that zone.  The secondary zone is the area where you will accept listings and new business but you don’t actively prospect in the zone.  Keep your primary zone down to about 2000 properties.  Get to know all the activity, and other trends in that zone.
  2. Choose the best property types within the location – some properties are really desirable in today’s property market. Choose the property types that you know something about and can offer a professional service into.
  3. Understand listing processes – ask about the listing processes that apply to the properties that you introduce to the brokerage. Ideally, you should be allowed to work with your clients for the full duration of the marketing campaign and the listing process. You should be converting your listings exclusively, and any other agent or broker introducing a buyer or tenant to your listings should direct such enquiry and negotiation through you as the listing agent. The concept here is that your clients will remain your clients for the duration of their marketing campaign; you will develop and retain level of trust in the client service process. Other agents and brokers within the brokerage cannot then interfere with your client conditioning processes and services.
  4. Research the clients in the area – decide what a client should be to you both in commissions and relationships over time. Stick to your clients and prospects with a bias towards long term business relationships and property service.  Develop a client contact formula.
  5. Check out the competition – in most towns or cities there are plenty of agents working with commercial properties in the different precincts. Choose your property precincts, and then look at the particular agents and their brokerage marketing processes. Some agents will be stronger than others, and there will be reasons for their prominence and dominance. When you understand what the agents are doing currently, you can adjust your marketing processes accordingly.
  6. Review all current and existing listings – when you focus into a property precinct, you will see many types of listings, marketing factors, and precinct pressures. Some properties will be better than others when it comes to investment and or occupancy. The best properties will usually create the best levels of interest. That is perhaps the most important rule for you to remember with your listing processes in the location.
  7. Look at the trends of business and the location – review the levels of business activity and the segments of business in the property precinct. Talk to some of the business proprietors and managers as part of your prospecting and area coverage processes. Find out what their thinking when it comes to property activity and occupancy. Look for the pressures of change where some businesses may be needing to relocate or expand.
  8. Assess the time on market – some properties will stay on the market for a considerable period of time, and may not achieve the required sale or leasing outcome. There will always be overpriced properties to contend with, and there will also be unrealistic clients expecting property results which are not achievable. When you know the factors of time on market for the location and precinct, you can advise your client of the realistic expectations they should have in their marketing campaign. You can also help your client adjust their marketing funds and activities to achieve the best results in the shortest possible time. Client conditioning is part of the professional services that we offer. Local market facts will help you condition the client in the right way given their property type and their property challenge.
  9. Select the best brokerage for your career start – some brokerages are better than others. So make sure you understand the differences and the support structures offered in each brokerage before you make an employment decision. The differences usually occur in marketing support, administrative support, and professional training. All three things require special attention as you proceed in your career in commercial real estate. If you are considering a particular brokerage as an employer, ask about the support structures they offer you as part of the employment package. As a further extension in brokerage review, understand how they pay commission to their agents and brokers both in percentage and timing. As you grow your market share and professional skills, you will want your commission percentages to increase as you convert more transactions in both sales and leasing. Understand how that process can occur for you over time and how your brokerage will allow you to improve your financial goals and outcomes.

So there are some things to look at here when it comes to considering and establishing your career in commercial real estate today. Fully review the opportunities presented to you through the brokerage and or a number of brokerages.

Get all of the facts before you make the final choice of employer. As your market share improves and your commission results increase, you will want to see an improvement in your remuneration and market coverage. The brokerage that you work for should allow that to occur.

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