Commercial real estate brokers focus on income-producing properties such as retail stores, warehouses, apartment and office buildings, shopping centers, and industrial parks. Brokers sometimes arrange financing as well, and are responsible for managing agents.
As a client advocate, commercial brokers are responsible for understanding the characteristics of a good investment property, as well as growth possibilities for specific geographical locations. They must also stay current on income tax regulations as well as options that allow a buyer a larger return on investment. Working in the highly competitive real estate field means commercial brokers must have good interpersonal skills and a head for detail.
Commercial real estate brokers must undergo between 60 and 90 hours of formal training in addition to passing a written exam and possessing 1-3 years of experience in the field. To become a commercial broker, one must take courses in the following:
- Real Estate Finance
- Real Estate Appraisal
- Real Estate Economics
- Real Estate Practice
- Legal Aspects of Real Estate
Most brokers enter the field after working as an agent and training under brokers. However, being an agent is not a required prerequisite for becoming a broker.
Areas of Specialization
Commercial real estate brokers can specialize in the following areas:
- Office properties, one of the highest-profile areas of commercial specialization
- Retail properties, a busy field given a high amount of retail turnover
- Industrial properties, which require expertise given the legal, zoning, and environmental issues involved
- Business brokerage, another highly specialized area that requires dealing not only with the client but with equipment, customer base valuation, and other factors
- Investment properties, which can prove a lucrative niche
Below is a list of possible career options for qualified commercial real estate brokers. This is not a complete list and serves only as a guide to potential career paths.
- Commercial Real Estate Manager
- Commercial Sales Agent
- Director of Management Services
- Leasing Agent
- Office Leasing Manager
- Owned Real Estate Representative
- Real Estate Representative
- Regional Leasing Manager
- Sales Associate
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), median annual earnings, including commissions, of salaried real estate brokers were $60790 in May 2006, with the middle 50 percent earning between $37,800 and $102,180 annually. Median annual earnings in the major industries for brokers during this period were:
Offices of real estate agents and brokers: $64,350
Lessors of real estate: $61,030
Activities related to real estate: $48,250
There are several professional groups for commercial real estate brokers. These can prove a powerful resource and offer helpful information.
ACRE – Association of Commercial Real Estate
Commercial Brokers Association
ICSC – International Council of Shopping Centers
NAIOP – National Association of Industrial and Office Properties