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Commercial Real Estate

36 Tips to Go From Selling Residential to Commercial Real Estate

36 tips and tricks

hurdleIs it not amazing how you start out on one simple path and end up going in a completely different direction?   I’m referring to my last sarcastic post about staying away from Commercial Real Estate.  I think my intent was to encourage people to look at Commercial Real Estate in different ways and look at it as an opportunity. 

I have been asked many many times over the years, “so, how do you get into commercial or how do I do both residential and commercial?”  Some may debate the correct answers to this question.  Some of the answers may seem obvious or redundant.  I decided to make up a good basic list.

Property Information and Research:

Niches you can dominate with lots of data and industry connections to help:

Education and Resources Available:

  • CCIM 101
  • National Association of Realtors intro to Commercial Real Estate
  • Research the top 5 firms in your market
  • Mentors. Contact them and ask for meeting- they are more hungry for talent than you could ever imagine.  They want to get next to people who are trying to create business. Send them an e-mail to introduce yourself. Start with, “I would like to possibly send biz to you”. What are they going to say?  NO.

Learn These Terms and Find the Forms:

  • Exclusive Tenant Rep. Agreement
  • Exclusive Buyer’s Rep. Agreement
  • Exclusive Listing Sale and Lease Agreement
  • Letter of Intent
  • Purchase Contract
  • Master Leases
  • Representations & Warranties of Seller
  • Zoning/Governmental Approval

Most all forms are online and were created and or maintained by a state commercial board.  The cost is surprisingly affordable.  I have forms that are used throughout my entire state.

Social or Online Commercial Real Estate Networks- Get Connected and Learn:

What do you have that they don’t?  Simple:

Your connection to the street and your community. Your database it is your gold mine.  Think of everyone in your database that has a connection to a business owner, property owner, restaurateur etc. Ask them, who are you doing real estate business with now?  Who is their go to Commercial Real Estate person?  I bet if you ask, they won’t have a name or they probably haven’t done any biz with whoever they may think of in a LONG time.

Referral business- how much money are you passing up by not thinking Commercial Real Estate?

Here is one last big thought:

You don’t need a special license to sell, practice, refer, learn, get into, look at, buy, own, rehab, lease, or just make money in Commercial Real Estate.

What’s holding you back?  What are you doing now to get your piece of the Commercial Real Estate business?

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Written By

Broker/Owner in Lafayette, IN, whose passion is Commercial Real Estate with focus on Technology, Social Media, and Networking.



  1. Joe Loomer

    March 18, 2010 at 7:12 pm


    You scratched a big itch here buddy – great post. I’ve reposted on Facebook and emailed it to two agents in our area who’ve dabbled in both but haven’t taken the Commercial plunge. Like the book “Shift” tells us about how to tackle tough times and explode our business in the residential sector – the same tactics can be employed during this implosion in the Commercial realm to carve out a significant piece of market share. Very timely info – Well Done!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    • Duke Long

      March 18, 2010 at 7:28 pm

      Thanks for the comments Joe…oh and let’s ease up on the Navy stuff….AIM HIGH AIR FORCE!!!

      • Joe Loomer

        March 18, 2010 at 9:38 pm

        Yeah. Not happening Duke. Here I give great props to your post and all you got is “Aim High?”

        Stand Navy out to sea!
        Fight! Our battle cry!
        We’ll never change our course
        so vicious foes steer shy-y-y-y
        Roll out the T.N.T,
        Sail on to Victory
        and sink their bones to Davey Jones HOORAY!


  2. Steven Ladin

    March 18, 2010 at 7:21 pm


    It always amazes me how intimidated residential agents are in attempting to make the transition into commercial. We’re recruiting heavily right now for CRE agents and see the intimidation factor firmly embedded into the residential agent’s psyche, which is very difficult to break. Over the years, the CRE industry has done a good job in keeping most of its nuances tight chested and exclusive to “the good old boys club” which actually suppresses the innovativeness of the industry as a whole. It’s up to passionate and persistent folks like us to rip off the wrapping paper.

    Keep up the good fight!

  3. Benjamin Bach

    March 18, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Terrific, just terrific.

  4. Lorraine Beato

    March 18, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Thank you! I have been nervous about getting into Commerical and have had a friend of mine beating me over the head saying “What are you afraid of! You are a numbers person!” I think I have been “stuck” in residential for too long and need to Shift into a new market. Thanks again for making the decision easier.

  5. Jason Sandquist

    March 19, 2010 at 12:28 am

    ahh Steven (see what I did there Steve-O). Do you not remember how easily I was to recruit? Came in inquiring about starting my own property management biz only a month later to be a commercial real estate agent. If you need me to stand by the door before the wimps leave, just ask 😉

    I made the jump from residential to commercial at the beginning of the year. It’s about the story you tell yourself. If you go in thinking it is going to be hard, then it is. CRE is a big opportunity for some, including myself. Let them quit at it before they begin if thats the thought they have, they can be mediocre in something else because average is for losers.

    Great starting point Duke ::fist bump::

    • Steven Ladin

      March 19, 2010 at 12:39 am

      See there Jaz (Yes, I called you Jaz). You are the exception and that is why I hired you. ; ) Spread the love. Spread the word. Spread the wealth.

      BTW Duke,

      ::Double Fist Bump::

  6. Candice In AZ!

    March 19, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    NICE post, Duke.
    I’d add subscribing to a commercial/industrial forms program such as AIREA’s
    which provides more comprehensive CRE specific forms than I’ve seen in the ‘Res RE world’.

  7. Tim McDonald

    March 20, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    While I do residential, I found myself involved with or following more than half of the sites/groups you suggest being involved with for commercial. My apprehension, other than fear of the unknown, is that commercial doesn’t seem to have a clear cut coop commission structure in place. With residential it’s almost always very clearly defined on the front end what you will get from the deal. Am I missing something on the commercial side?
    Congrats on being in the top AG posts for the last couple weeks!

    • Duke Long

      March 21, 2010 at 9:16 am

      The one part of my post that did not make it in. Negotiation with Commercial Brokers. Most will not be offended if you ask up front. Most will be more than happy to sign some from of commission agreement. My standard response is that I will split the total commission. I also reveal the percentage I have on the listing agreement. Having said that…Beware..and cover your ass…the minute you reveal your client…you better know what your position is..period. I would say that my experience over the years is has been incredibly upfront, transparent and professional…..with a little caution thrown in. Oh, and you could kick ass in CRE BTW. You are way ahead of the curve!!!

  8. Benjamin Bach

    March 21, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Yea, full discoluse up front re: commissions. I split all commission when ppl bring me offers, i love win-win

    But Tim, there are agents who say ‘i only have the listing side compensated here, get your buyer to pay you’ – and in the end, the buyer is the one paying commission anyways (they’re writing the cheque for the purchase price, right?).

    If you rep the buyer, and you’re doing a great job representing them, you’ll get paid. YMMV

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