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What is a Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

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I get asked the question regularly – what is a commercial brokerage and how do I start my career as a commercial agent? These are fairly unique question because there are many ways to get involved. Here are some things I wish I had known before I started my career in this space.

First thing to know is that most commercial brokerages have a property management group they work with. This gives you the opportunity to work for a brokerage as a property or maintenance manager first, gaining experience and connections in the industry before having to get your actual brokerage license. Another option is to do leasing work for a developer. Both are great ways to enter the industry and gain a better understanding of how things work and function.

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Once you’re starting to feel comfortable, and you have grasped the vocabulary and built connections with some clients it’s time to get your real estate license. In Idaho, like most states, getting your commercial license is a very similar process than getting your residential license. To get your real estate license it requires a 2-4 week course and state and national exams. Pay attention during the course so you pass your exams the first time and I strongly suggest blocking out that four week period to only focus on learning.

Once you pass the exam there is a mandatory background check. A word of caution, you will be fingerprinted and looked up in a registry so trying to hide previous run-ins with the law can’t be hidden.

Now that you’ve passed the tests and picked up your license, it’s time to find a brokerage. I recommend interviewing with all the brokerages in your city. Not all brokerages are the same, whether big or small you’ll find each one will have a different culture, a different attitude, and different personnel that may either help or hurt you. Feel out your options and select the best firm for your long term success.

My last piece of advice is to be patient. Like everything, it takes time to get established and most brokerages will have a new broker intern and then be a JV. Keep hustling, keep learning and most importantly grow your network in the business community in your area.

Commercial brokerage holds many different aspects to service their clients. Property management to handle all daily operations of an investment and they handle everything from maintenance requests to rent collection. The second aspect of commercial brokerage is the sales agents. These are the people that negotiate the deal for the owner of the property or the buyer. In most cases a transaction has a broker/sales agent on both sides of the deal.

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