The Steps to Become a Commercial Real Estate Agent

A real estate license provides you with many career options within the real estate field. With a real estate license, you can work in both commercial and residential real estate.  

In commercial real estate, you can work as an agent, a commercial real estate broker, a property manager, or in real estate development. With the right educational background, you can also go into commercial real estate law. 

Specializing in commercial real estate is necessary because the transactions involved in commercial real estate are more complex than in residential real estate. 

What Is Commercial Real Estate? 

Commercial real estate deals with the sale, purchase, and leasing of properties that generate income. These would be properties that are used for business such as apartment buildings, hotels, and shopping centers. They are generally owned by investors who collect rent from the properties being leased. 

What Are the Steps to Entering Commercial Real Estate as an Agent? 

Step 1: Obtain a Real Estate License 

To obtain a real estate license, you will need to meet the requirements for your state. These typically include:

  • Meeting the minimum age requirements for your state.

  • Passing a background check.

  • Having at a minimum a high school diploma.

Age and minimum educational requirements will vary from state to state. Check with your state's board of real estate or state-level real estate regulation agency for the specific requirements. After you meet the requirements, you'll need to:

Step 2: Build Your Network as a Commercial Real Estate Agent 

The first step in networking is to join professional organizations. Below are a few examples:

  • The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) is a great option for you to join whether you are in commercial or residential real estate. They provide resources to grow your knowledge and can connect you with other professional organizations and real estate professionals nationwide. You can join NAR by joining your local NAR group.

  • The Women's Council of REALTORS (WCR) is a great option for women in the real estate industry who are looking to connect with other women in the industry with mentorship and events. You can join the WCR at the local level.

  • American Real Estate Society (ARES) is a great option for those in the real estate industry who have an interest in research. Membership is open to anyone, including those in academics.

Once you have plugged in with a professional association, attend their events and talk with other members. Online join professional groups on Linkedin and Facebook that pertain to real estate and other professional interests you may have, these online groups are a great source for finding new clients, finding networking events to attend in person, and sharing about your services as a commercial realtor with a larger audience. 

Step 3: Gain Experience 

Finding the right brokerage firm to work with can you set off to a great start in commercial real estate. A good brokerage firm will offer you the chance to work with more experienced and established commercial real estate agents and brokers who can mentor you and help guide you as you start your career. 

A brokerage firm specializing in only commercial real estate will have experienced agents and brokers who will know the ins and outs of commercial real estate. As established professionals in the field, they can help you grow your network as a commercial real estate agent.  

If you choose to become a commercial real estate broker, they can provide you with guidance on this process and provide you with opportunities to work as a broker. 

Why Should You Specialize in Commercial Real Estate?

In commercial real estate, you have the potential to earn more with fewer transactions per year because each transaction is a higher value. However, you will also have more complicated transactions and more required continuing education as a commercial real estate agent. A few additional benefits of becoming a commercial real estate investor include: 

  • Having greater opportunities for growth. When you work within the residential real estate sector, most of your contacts will be with families and local businesses. Commercial real estate provides you with the opportunity to work with larger-scale businesses and companies.  

  • Facing less competition because fewer agents are specialized in this sector. Residential real estate has a lower barrier to entry, and therefore, more competition. 

Commercial Real Estate Is a Great Specialization for the Right Person 

If the idea of commercial real estate excites you, and you have a mind for sales, commercial real estate may be a great fit for you. While specializing in commercial real estate takes longer and requires more training, the benefits of higher commission, growth opportunities and less competition make it worth it.

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