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Commercial Real Estate

Who Else Wants to be a Commercial Real Estate Broker?

Commercial Realtor Member Profile:

bald spotTo start off with, the National Association of Realtors has created a profile of it’s Commercial Members. It has 51 pages of detail and stats about their Commercial Membership.

A quick thumbnail shows that the Commercial Real Estate Industry is comprised of white males averaging 56 years of age. 70% of these boys have a Bachelors degree, are married and have been in the Real estate business 24 years and average 17 years in Commercial Real Estate. Most members of the Boy’s Club state that they intend to stay in the business for at least 2-3 more years or longer (maybe some will have no choice).

For those not as familiar with the industry the boys do a great job of segmenting themselves into different groups such as CCIM, SIOR, IREM, ICSC, CRE, NAIOP, BOMA, ULI, etc. Each of these groups concentrates on a particular segment of Commercial Real Estate. And, you say well great thanks for the generic op ed piece for the Commercial Real Estate Industry or so what…anyone I have run into in Commercial Real Estate pretty much fits the demographic.

Yes, I know they have their meetings and lunches with rubber chicken and give reports of stats and stats of reports. GEE wouldn’t it be really neat and fun to be included in the Boys Club. Well maybe and maybe not! Having been in denial about being in the Boys Club for years there are certain advantages and …dare I say… disadvantages (there are so many references I could go to here, but hey that’s a whole different subject).

The Boys Club Advantages:

  • Advantage 1: ”We all get to hold hands in our little boy group and rule the world.” … that maybe the perception but is not the reality at all. My experience has been nothing but the opposite. Commercial Real Estate is a small group that is fiercely competitive, we do at all times try to interact and work with each other to create deals but the whole independent maverick, me against the world mentality still rules.
  • Advantage 2: We all work at BIG City firms and do deals with each other… possibly, but the percentages are 52% Commercial Real Estate only firms to 48% Residential and Commercial firms. The term “Resi–mercial” was mentioned at a recent “BIG BOY” conference and received a big laugh, I have also heard the statement “how can anyone with a Residential license even think they can do what we do”? I was once called a “Provincial Broker” from a kid just out of college and with the collar on his shirt raised up (is a douche bag link appropriate?).
  • The numbers seem to tell that there are many Commercial Real Estate people especially in smaller markets that do a good number of deals. Advantage 3: No MLS to speak of and we own the data. Well, this is fairly true and national corporate firms do create and have historical data to work from, but sites such as Loopnet, CoStar, CCIMNet, CommericalSource have created other sources of data along with Individual Commercial Boards.
  • These sources are helpful but so much more could be done for Commercial Real Estate. Advantage 4: Experience and Education…well, YES. The stats don’t lie and the educational opportunities are varied and great. Take the CCIM designation. I term it the Mini MBA for Commercial Real Estate. One Principle Broker at a large firm stated if someone in Commercial Real Estate was not involved in CCIM then he considered that person not to be really serious about Commercial Real Estate as a career.

The Boys Club Disadvantages:

  • Disadvantages 1: Have you by any chance looked at the Commercial Real Estate market lately? Blood in the streets? Next shoe to drop? Impending Doom are just a few of the phrases that are put out daily.
  • Disadvantage 2: It takes a long term commitment to make it in this business. Period. Building up clientel, local market knowledge, construction and building specifications, land uses, economic development and political street cred, just does not happen over night.
  • Disadvantage 3: The deal cycle is LONG. This is not a churn and burn business. Work on a deal for a year and have it collapse for 10 reasons or just 1 little one. Relationships matter.
  • Disadvantage 4: Technology…oh my, how the dinosaurs roam.

If I look 10 years into the future what do I see. Hopefully, a lot of this The meetings are fascinating and a little scary if I’m honest. Look at what they stand for, look how they work together and educate not only themselves but other industries about Commercial Real Estate. Many, many things “The Boys Club” could learn. Resi-mercial grows and grows. It goes back to face to face. Local and personal.

Maybe we get our gray heads out of our asses and quit denying that this internet thing is not just to keep the kids busy while we watch football, or an outsourcing opportunity or something the wife does to send fruit baskets to the Christmas list. And tell me you haven’t done all three. The boys and girls behind us are laughing and drooling at the possibilities. I am going to take up a personal challenge to put a face on commercial real estate in my community. Many thanks to my mom’s side of the family for not making me wear the hat, YET.

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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.


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