Getting Started in Commercial Real Estate

Commercial real estate is perfect for people who are looking for constant action. It is an evolving and dynamic industry that only certain people can be successful in. Commercial real estate involves any property that produces income aside from residential housing. There are a few different career options that you can choose from. You can do general brokerage, be involved in the development of commercial real estate, or become a property manager.

Becoming a Real Estate Agent

Even though having a bachelor’s degree in real estate will surely help you, it is not a requirement for becoming a real estate agent. However, you are required to acquire a license before you start working as an agent. This means that you will need to pass a written exam. Depending on which state you live in, you will also need to complete somewhere between 30 and 165 hours of different real estate courses. These courses can be done in an actual classroom or online. Some of the courses that you will need to take in order to become successful include real estate law, economics, marketing, accounting, statistics, and business.

Keep in mind that you will also need to renew your licenses every 2-4 years depending on where you work. In some states, agents are required to retake the written exam in order to get their license renewed.

General Brokerage

The majority of people who become real estate agents go on to perform general brokerage services. This means that they get involved in representing people who want to buy or sell commercial property. Even though there are big commercial real estate companies, many agents work as independent contractors and get an income that is based on commission.


If you don’t think that working in general brokerage is the best option for you, then you should consider focusing on development. In case you choose this career path, you will be involved in purchasing land, hiring architects and contractors, arranging optimal financing, and more. In fact, the last part of the development process that you would oversee would be tenant occupancy.

Property Management

Even as a property manager, you will still need a real estate sales license. Doing this job means that you will check on the day-to-day operation of commercial property. Some of the tasks that a property manager has to do include hiring staff and contractors, showing the property, leasing it, as well as overseeing repairs and maintenance.

Investing in Commercial Real Estate

If you don’t want to become a commercial real estate agent, then you still have the option to be an investor. Investing can be very rewarding, since you can make much more money than people investing in residential property. On top of that, the leases on commercial properties can be very long, which means that you’ll be getting a steady monthly income for a while. You also won’t face a lot of competition, since not many people decide to get into commercial real estate.

You may think that you don’t have enough money to get into this industry, but keep in mind that you always have the option of taking out a commercial real estate loan. There are many companies that offer different options, so you’ll surely find one that suits you.

However, know that you may hear a lot of terms that you don’t understand when you go to negotiate the loan. Because of this, it’s important that you know the key commercial mortgage terms, so that you perfectly understand the instructions your lender is providing you with.

Of course, before you even start thinking about a loan, you should learn how to recognize a good deal and become aware of all of the different factors that make a great commercial property.