How to Become a Commercial Real Estate Agent: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Become a Commercial Real Estate Agent

Commercial real estate agents are professionals who help clients buy, sell, or lease properties that are used for business purposes.

These properties can include retail spaces, office buildings, industrial warehouses, hotels, and more.

REAL estate agent
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Commercial real estate agents have specialized knowledge and skills to handle complex transactions involving zoning laws, environmental regulations, market trends, and financing options.

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a commercial real estate agent, you will need to meet certain requirements and follow some steps to obtain your license and start your business.

In this article, we will explain what commercial real estate agents do, what benefits they enjoy, and how you can become one.

What Does a Commercial Real Estate Agent Do?

Commercial real estate agents perform various tasks to assist their clients in finding and acquiring suitable properties for their businesses. Some of the common duties of a commercial real estate agent are:

  • Searching for potential clients and listings in their local area
  • Pursuing new clients via cold-calling, networking, and referrals
  • Researching the area’s demographics, population, and environmental studies to share insights with clients
  • Tracking and analyzing the real estate market for trends and property valuations
  • Coordinating and attending property inspections
  • Conducting marketing activities to promote properties
  • Drafting legal documents, such as contracts, leases, and disclosures
  • Negotiating and completing contracts between owners and buyers or renters
  • Providing after-sales service and support to clients

Commercial real estate agents work with different types of clients, such as:

  • Retailers who want to open or expand their stores
  • Investors who want to buy or sell income-generating properties
  • Developers who want to build or renovate commercial projects
  • Corporations who want to relocate or lease office space
  • Entrepreneurs who want to start or grow their businesses

Commercial real estate agents also work with different types of properties, such as:

  • Retail spaces, such as malls, shopping centers, restaurants, and convenience stores
  • Office buildings, such as skyscrapers, business parks, and coworking spaces
  • Industrial warehouses, such as factories, distribution centers, and storage facilities
  • Hotels, such as resorts, motels, and bed-and-breakfasts
  • Residential complexes, such as apartments, condominiums, and townhouses
  • Hospitals, such as clinics, nursing homes, and medical offices
  • Churches, such as cathedrals, temples, and mosques

What Are the Benefits of Being a Commercial Real Estate Agent?

Commercial real estate agents enjoy several benefits that make this career attractive and rewarding. Some of the benefits are:

  • High earning potential: Commercial real estate agents can earn commissions based on the value of the properties they sell or lease. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for real estate brokers and sales agents was $51,220 in 2020. However, this figure can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, market conditions, and client base. Some commercial real estate agents can earn six-figure incomes or more.
  • Flexible schedule: Commercial real estate agents have the freedom to set their own hours and work at their own pace. They can choose when and where to work, depending on their clients’ needs and preferences. They can also take vacations or time off whenever they want.
  • Variety of work: Commercial real estate agents deal with different types of clients and properties every day. They can explore new areas and markets, learn new skills and information, and face new challenges and opportunities. They can also specialize in a niche or sector that interests them.
  • Personal satisfaction: Commercial real estate agents help their clients achieve their goals and dreams. They can build long-term relationships with their clients, provide valuable advice and guidance, and witness the positive impact of their work on their clients’ businesses and lives.

How to Become a Commercial Real Estate Agent

If you want to become a commercial real estate agent, you will need to follow these steps:


Step 1: Meet the Eligibility Requirements

Before you can start your career as a commercial real estate agent, you will need to meet some eligibility requirements set by your state. These requirements may vary from state to state, but generally include:

  • Being at least 18 or 19 years old
  • Being a legal U.S. resident
  • Having at least a high school diploma or a GED

You can check the specific requirements for your state by visiting the website of your state’s real estate commission or department.

Step 2: Get Licensed

The next step is to obtain your real estate license from your state. This will allow you to legally represent buyers and sellers in property transactions. To get your license, you will need to:

  • Complete the required coursework: You will need to enroll in a prelicensing course that covers topics such as real estate law, ethics, finance, appraisal, and marketing. The course can be taken online or in person, and the duration and cost may vary depending on your state and provider. You can find approved courses by searching online or contacting your state’s real estate commission or department.
  • Pass the real estate licensing exam: After completing the coursework, you will need to take and pass a written exam that tests your knowledge and skills in real estate. The exam can be taken at a testing center or online, and the format and fee may vary depending on your state and provider. You can find exam information and resources by visiting the website of your state’s real estate commission or department or the website of the exam provider.
  • Find a real estate broker: Once you pass the exam, you will need to find a real estate broker who will sponsor you and supervise your work. A broker is a licensed real estate professional who has more experience and education than an agent. A broker can provide you with training, mentoring, support, and access to resources and leads. You can find a broker by searching online, asking for referrals, or attending networking events.
  • Apply for your real estate license: After finding a broker, you will need to apply for your real estate license with your state’s real estate commission or department. You will need to submit an application form, pay a fee, and provide proof of your coursework completion, exam passing, and broker sponsorship. You may also need to undergo a background check and fingerprinting. You can find application information and forms by visiting the website of your state’s real estate commission or department.

Step 3: Build Your Network

The third step is to build your network of contacts and clients. Networking is essential for any real estate agent, especially for commercial real estate agents who work with diverse and sophisticated clients. Networking can help you:

  • Generate leads and referrals
  • Establish credibility and trust
  • Learn from other professionals
  • Stay updated on market trends and opportunities
  • Expand your reach and influence

You can build your network by:

  • Creating an online presence: You can create a website, a blog, or a social media account that showcases your expertise, services, and portfolio. You can also use online platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter to connect with potential clients and partners.
  • Joining professional associations: You can join professional associations that cater to commercial real estate agents or specific sectors or niches. For example, you can join the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network, or the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). These associations can provide you with education, certification, events, and resources.
  • Attending industry events: You can attend industry events such as conferences, seminars, workshops, trade shows, and networking sessions that are relevant to commercial real estate. These events can help you meet new people, learn new skills, and discover new opportunities.
  • Asking for referrals: You can ask for referrals from your existing clients, partners, friends, family, and acquaintances. Referrals are one of the most effective ways to generate new business, as they are based on trust and word-of-mouth.

Step 4: Gain Experience

The fourth step is to gain experience and expertise in the commercial real estate field.

Experience is crucial for any real estate agent, as it helps you improve your skills, knowledge, and reputation.

Experience can also help you attract more clients, close more deals, and earn more commissions. You can gain experience by:

  • Working with different types of clients and properties: You can work with different types of clients and properties to broaden your exposure and understanding of the commercial real estate market. You can also specialize in a niche or sector that interests you or has high demand or potential.
  • Seeking mentorship and coaching: You can seek mentorship and coaching from your broker or other experienced commercial real estate agents. They can provide you with valuable advice, feedback, and guidance on how to succeed in the field. You can also learn from their best practices, mistakes, and achievements.
  • Pursuing further education and certification: You can pursue further education and certification to enhance your credentials and skills. You can take courses, workshops, webinars, or podcasts that cover topics such as marketing, negotiation, finance, technology, or legal issues. You can also obtain certifications from professional associations or organizations that demonstrate your competence and professionalism in commercial real estate. For example, you can obtain the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation, the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) designation, or the Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) designation.

Step 5: Grow Your Business

The fifth and final step is to grow your business as a commercial real estate agent.

Growing your business means increasing your income, expanding your client base, enhancing your reputation, and achieving your goals. You can grow your business by:

  • Setting SMART goals: SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. You can set SMART goals for your business that define what you want to accomplish, how you will measure your progress, how you will achieve your objectives, why your goals are important, and when you will complete them.
  • Developing a business plan: A business plan is a document that outlines your business goals, strategies, actions, budget, and evaluation. A business plan can help you organize your thoughts, plan your steps, allocate your resources, and track your results.
  • Marketing yourself effectively: Marketing yourself effectively means promoting yourself and your services to potential clients and partners. You can use various marketing channels and methods to reach your target audience, such as online platforms, print media, direct mail, email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, video marketing, or referral marketing.
  • Providing excellent service: Providing excellent service means satisfying your clients’ needs and expectations. You can provide excellent service by being responsive, communicative, honest, professional, and courteous. You can also provide excellent service by delivering quality work, solving problems, adding value, and exceeding expectations.


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