Oct 29, 2018
Kick-Start Your Commercial Real Estate Career With These 15 Secrets To Success
Have you decided you want to get into commercial real estate as a career, but don’t know where to get started? Every real estate professional started in the same place: knowing nothing. I get asked on a daily basis how to get started. With more than 30 years in a commercial real estate (CRE) working on the landlord side, tenant side and leadership side, I've seen many newcomers take their first steps into CRE. Stop thinking and start taking action by following these insider secrets:
1. Sign up for local real estate classes: Take a variety of classes from your local real estate schools, community colleges, and online platforms. The best part of taking in-person classes is meeting other people in the industry.
2. Read, read, read: Find every bit of information you can on a commercial real estate. Find the top people in real estate and read about their work every day. As they say, the more you learn, the more you earn. After reading, start taking action.
3. Attend local meet-ups and events in your city and state: Check out local meet-up sites and community boards to find and join events on real estate investing, cash flow, investment clubs and more. The largest real estate investors meet-up is the New York Real Estate Investors Association (REIA). Other organizations offer events, training and classes. Get out and meet other people in your field.
4. Intern at a local brokerage firm: The best way to get hands-on experience is by learning from a top broker or agent. Everyone is looking for help, and it doesn’t matter what age you are for an internship. It does not have to be through a college. Call and request a coffee meeting to get the ball rolling.
5. Find your niche: What are you interested in? Retail, office, industrial, hotels, golf courses, self-storage, food halls, restaurants, man cave garages, medical spas, fitness centers, senior living or maybe daycare? The riches are in the niches. You can make more money by being a specialist and not a generalist.
6. Join memberships: Check out the MIEA or BOVEA if you are interested in retail. Look up other local real estate associations, and become a member of several groups.
7. Ask people and write letters: Reach out to people on social media; ask family and friends if they know someone in real estate they could introduce you to, and don’t be shy. Write letters to people and request to meet with them or congratulate them on a new project. Follow the five-second rule if you have a hard time asking.
8. Read trade magazines: Keep up on markets and the industry by reading relevant industry columns and publications.
9. Follow people and favorite companies on social media: Discover the individuals doing what you aspire to do and follow wherever they share content. Watch other companies you are interested in getting news about. Follow leaders and influencers in the industry to learn from their experience. Take 30 minutes a day and watch top commercial real estate videos.
10. Join your local chamber of commerce in different cities in your region: This is the best way to start meeting business owners. Attend ribbon cuttings to create and deepen relationships.
11. Visit your local economic development director: Get to know your community and what is happening in your city. Meet with the EDC and request a package with demographics, aerial map, properties for sale and other valuable info. Meet with them every six months.
12. Hire a mentor or coach: You can always hire and learn from the best. Don’t be afraid to spend the money on a coach to help you learn — it will save you time and money in the long run. They know how to avoid the mistakes in real estate.
13. Start looking at property for sale and lease: In commercial real estate we do not typically use the MLS like residential agents do. The best resource for commercial properties is on LoopNet. Start to learn the real estate terminology by reading and decoding listings.
14. Join real estate-related Facebook groups: Request to join groups that you have interest in, or even start your own group.
15. Learn to have persistence and patience: These are key traits in commercial real estate. It is not an overnight success story; it takes years to be an expert in real estate.
The best way to get started is to take an initial action. Stop thinking about it, and do something today. Don’t wait. Every CRE deal you do will help build your confidence in real estate, and if you keep learning every day, you can eventually find great success in a commercial real estate.