Commercial Real Estate Encyclopedia

Thinking of a Career in Commercial Real Estate?

What is Commercial Real Estate?

If you're thinking of getting into commercial real estate, the first question to know the answer to is "What is commercial real estate?" Commercial real estate is all real estate that has a commercial purpose including investment property that produces an income. It's essentially everything but individual residential homes.

Getting Into Commercial Real Estate

The commercial real estate industry encompasses a variety of disciplines. These disciplines include real estate investment, asset management, property management, brokerage, project management, real estate development, appraisal, law and finance to name a few. You may even have an entrepreneurial spirit which can lead to even more career paths for you. This means there is a broad spectrum of real estate career paths to choose from.

Whatever discipline you are drawn to, it's important to understand your attributes and skill sets so you can decide on the right commercial real estate career path. This means targeting commercial real estate positions that are aligned with your personal and professional experience. This in turn helps you select the best commercial real estate companies to work for so you can find the right fit.

Once you determine the career path that is right for you, getting into commercial real estate may prove to be the best decision you ever make. The right path can offer unlimited opportunity for professional and personal growth.

Continuously Learn Through Commercial Real Estate Education

As you begin your career, you may, or may not need a lot of guidance and training depending on your skill sets, experience, and ambition. Initially, your minimum level of education required will depend on the legal requirements for you to perform your job, plus the additional educational level your prospective employer wants to see.

For example, to act as a commercial real estate agent in the United States, you are likely required to be licensed by the state in which you will do business. The state will mandate certain educational requirements for you to obtain and maintain your real estate broker's or salesperson's license. States may give credit for certain university level courses, however many private educational companies offer required courses to qualify for the real estate salesperson's license.

The larger commercial real estate firms may require a four year degree from a university or more. Many universities offer a real estate oriented program. An example is a Master's Degree In Real Estate which is a post graduate degree offered at several universities including the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Many commercial real estate firms appreciate a degree in Finance. Many of the world's most successful real estate professionals also possess an educational background in law.

Commercial real estate firms vary on the level of training they provide. At some firms, the only training you may get may be on the job as a runner for an established professional. If you pick the right professional to run for, it could turn out to be the opportunity of a lifetime. At worst, it's a great opportunity to learn about the business, hone your skills, and get your foot in the door.

Other firms may invest heavily in the education of their professionals while encouraging their more successful and experienced professionals to take on mentorship roles for their more junior professionals. The level of education the firm provides depends on the resources and priorities of the company.

Professional organizations and associations can also support you throughout your commercial real estate career. These organizations include NAIOP, AIR, CCIM Institute and CREW. These organizations often provide research, networking, education, certifications and guidance.

Research The Best Commercial Real Estate Companies to Work For

The commercial real estate market is large and fragmented and the companies that serve these markets reflect that. Companies in the real estate services industry range from large full service multinational firms, such as CBRE or Jones Lang LaSalle, to small boutique companies that have a single small office that focus on a local market.

Each company, large or small, has a particular approach to their business. In part, this results from the people the firm has selected to work with them and the resulting company culture. You should make sure that the culture, the people, and their approach to the business and their clients suits you. It's also important to have a sense of how each firm will support you throughout each stage of your career, and even after. Firms offer different levels of benefits including retirement plans and health insurance. To help you in your research, most firms have a variety of information available on the internet.

Search Through Commercial Real Estate Job Postings

If you don't already have relationships in the commercial real estate industry, you will likely have to search through job listings. Fortunately there are many resources available online. First, the usual job search sites on the internet all list commercial real estate jobs, however their is a very broad spectrum of job listings on these sites.

For a more targeted job search, the major commercial real estate companies list employment opportunities on their own sites. These companies include CBRE, JLL, Cushman Wakefield, Knight Frank, and many others. A commercial real estate industry specific search site for commercial real estate jobs is Select Leaders. As you search through jobs, pay attention to the educational requirements, the industry sector, the firm, and the attributes and characteristics of the ideal candidate sought.

Embark On Your Commercial Real Estate Career Path

Regardless of your role and your firm, there are a few things to keep in mind about the commercial real estate industry. Most successful professionals and clients you interact with have paid their dues. They have taken the risks and succeeded through continuous hard work, good acumen, and professionalism. They have built a reputation and brand for themselves that they base their livelihood on.

Consequently, it will be important to continually rival the work ethic and level of professionalism of your colleagues and clients. In the beginning, it means having the right energy and attitude. It also means an eagerness to learn, and willingness to solve problems in a dynamic environment.

Most colleagues will be aware of your work and your results. It's important to be available and responsive to those who you'll be working with. This may mean getting to the office first, and leaving last. They also tend to be observant of how you carry yourself and interact with others, even if they do not let on.

Keep in mind that in the beginning you are not just learning the business, but you are also building a brand for yourself. In addition to the quality of your work, your brand among your colleagues and your clients can lead to more opportunities and open more doors for you.

Your Future Is Up To You

With all this in mind, a career in commercial real estate can lead to one of the most rewarding experiences you may ever have. For those looking to be continually engaged in a dynamic environment, there is virtually limitless opportunity for personal and professional growth. If you are the right person, choosing a career in commercial real estate may be the best decision you ever make.


Real Estate Terms

1. How much cash will be required to make your mortgage payments? Debt Service >>

2. Who can you go to to finance your construction or development project? Construction Lender >>

3. What professional can assist you in maximizing the value of your investment property? Asset Manager >>

4. How can we assess future commitment to infrastructure to support our communities and future development? Capital Improvements Projects >>

5. What measurement indicates if a property's financial performance can cover its debt? DSCR >>

6. What part of a city is the center of urban economic development? CBD >>

7. What allows property owners and professionals to estimate the market value of a commercial property? Comparable Property >>

8. What can landords do to entice prospective tenants? Concession >>

9. What critical factor do stores depend on to drive traffic? Anchor Tenant >>

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