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How to Get Started in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

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To get started in commercial real estate brokerage and agency today it is essential that you undertake a full review of the property market, your competition, the listings, and the business community. In reviewing those things, you can make some clear choices and take up on the opportunities that you identify.

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

Whilst you may work for a brokerage within a particular location, there will be strengths and weaknesses to consider and address as you establish your career; make the right choices and build the momentum that you need as an individual broker and agent. The right choices, and some specific action steps will help you move ahead faster in the industry.

 Understand your market

Every property market is unique and different; your professional services will need to be shaped into the local market conditions and the opportunities that you identify on the horizon. You can move through some choices relating to sales, leasing, and property management. You can also choose the property types that suit your skills and local property knowledge.

You can develop your skills according to the prevailing market conditions and the property types locally. All of these elements require a definite plan and a definite approach.

Here are some ideas to help you get started in your career in commercial real estate today:

  1. Licensing laws – understand the property licensing laws that apply to commercial real estate in your town or city. Visit the local licensing authority for real estate agents and brokers so that you can see how the licenses are issued, the costs involved, and review the local knowledge required to pass the appropriate examinations. There will always be plenty of other competitors in the location chasing listings and clients. Your skills and your local property knowledge will need to be shaped over time to improve your listings and your commissions. There is an education process here and also the relevant licenses to obtain.
  2. Location specialization – review the location in which you are going to work, and understand the property precincts of activity. You may be restricted in the locations where you can work, so look into the locations specifically and ask all the right questions before you make final decisions. The location or locations may have limitations when it comes to future listing opportunity. The size and the types of assets within the locations will dictate the levels of sales and leasing activity that you can attract.
  3. Professional skills and property knowledge – in looking at a property zone or precinct, understand how you can build the professional skills and the local property knowledge to compete with the other agents. Some agents are better than others, and some of those agents will already dominate the location for particular reasons. That assessment needs to be done as soon as possible as you consider entering into the property market as a broker or agent.
  4. Market specialization – it is very difficult to work with all property types from a sales or leasing perspective. There are just too many facts to understand and listings to cover. Look into the local property market so that you can specialize within certain property types. In that way you can become the agent of choice attracting more business and client opportunity.
  5. Brokerage selection – some brokerages offer more support than others. They can also be very different when it comes to administration, listings, client contact processes, and commissions. There will also be a degree of marketing and promotional support driven from the brokerage level. Ask questions about how these things are done and who pays for each particular process. Marketing in commercial real estate today can be expensive. The listings should be promoted through vendor paid marketing in most cases. You will also require a personal and professional marketing process for yourself. The brokerage may dictate how personal marketing that is done. They may also apply certain costs to the process as part of your employment package. Regardless of who you work for and how many skills you think you may bring to your career, it will very likely take you at least 3 to 6 months to generate some momentum in listings, commissions, and clients. For some brokers and agents, it takes a lot longer. Be prepared for some hard work, and make sure that you choose the correct brokerage to support your actions and momentum.
  6. Personal marketing plan – as mentioned earlier, you should develop a personal marketing program to send a message of attraction to the right clients, the investors, and the business leaders locally who may need your services. You want those people to remember you at the right time when they reach a property or commercial real estate challenge. On that basis your personal marketing plan will be very important. It should cover the media channels available to you both online and off-line. Understand how you can promote your services through your existing listings, your clients, and referrals; also use the fullest promotional opportunities available in social media. Spread your message professionally, personally, and comprehensively using the information from the local area. The property related knowledge that you have now as an industry specialist, and can generate from the location will be a point of difference in your marketing. Use it as leverage when you talk to do people and existing clients.

So there are plenty of things that you can do here to fast track your career in commercial real estate brokerage. Establish a plan to help you get started as a broker or an agent working on commercial property today. Refine that process over time to increase your traction and your career results.

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Tips for Conditioning Your Client on the Commercial Real Estate Leasing Market

two business men in car talking
Working with clients in commercial real estate leasing.

When it comes to leasing commercial property today make sure that you understand the current market conditions, and that you convey those market conditions to your local clients, landlords, and the tenants that you serve.  Our industry is not an experiment; it is a very specific process and it is established on set investment, marketing and negotiation principles.

Help the Client Understand the Facts About Leasing

Any misunderstandings or missing information when working with tenants and landlords from a leasing perspective should be realigned to current day market conditions with clear market evidence and relevant supporting material.

Your job is to have that ‘comparable’ material available and handy solve any negotiation, listing, or leasing challenge.  Condition the people that you work with in the correct and the most professional way; use market evidence.

Your Message on Leasing?

The concept here is that you are the best person to ‘recondition’ your property market and the people that you work with; you understand the realities of the property market far better than they do.  Help your clients and prospects realize that the real market conditions are here to stay and brief them on those conditions.  Explain the prevailing market conditions comprehensively.

Gather the facts and then help the landlords and tenants that you work understand the prevailing market conditions across:

  • Rental activity – track and measure the levels of rental activity across all recent leasing transactions. Compare the differences between net and gross rentals in each case.  Understand how they relate to the location and the property type.  Provide the rental details to those that do not fully understand what is happening locally with property segments.
  • Market rentals – real market rentals are determined as a result of negotiation between willing and committed tenants and landlords. Some of those rentals will be impacted by local vacancy factors, the available competing properties, and the asking rentals applicable to each property and landlord.
  • Competing listings – where appropriate take your clients to see competing properties in the location. The visual approach will help them understand the influencing factors that impact levels of enquiry and offers.
  • Property improvements – with older properties there will be issues with the standards of property improvements. Do assessment of improvements, services, and amenities when it comes to every leasing vacancy.
  • Industry enquiry – understand where the levels of enquiry coming from today when it applies to particular locations and property types. If you are marketing effectively in an ongoing way then the enquiries coming to you should show trends and opportunities.  Every inbound call generated by a quality listing should help you understand what tenants are looking for today.  You can chart those requirements and provide recommendations to the landlords that you work with.
  • Methods of marketing – certain methods of marketing in commercial real estate will be more successful than others. A lot depends on the target market that you are chasing however choose the right marketing solutions to suit the situation, the current market conditions, and the target audience.  The Marketing Solutions that you adopt will be somewhat subject to the amount of available funds and the prevailing market conditions.  +
  • Inspection processes – some properties require specific inspection strategies allowing for the improvements, the property layout, the strengths and weaknesses of the listing itself, and the landlord. As part of every exclusive property listing process, establish the inspection processes that will feature the property correctly and directly at all times.  In a complex property, establish the track or route that you will take across floors and through common areas.

So, all of this is informational and helpful when you are working with property investors, business owners, landlords and tenants today.  Are you prepared to provide and explain all the elements of the property market to those people? Have you got all of the information to help ‘close’ on a leasing transaction?

Recondition the clients thinking and perceptions in leasing properties and premises locally.  You are the specialist to do that.

Need help with commercial real estate leasing?  Get our free eCourse here.