How to Become a Commercial Real Estate Broker

How to Become a Commercial Real Estate Broker

Commercial real estate agents must have federal and state real estate licenses in order to offer their services.

If you have a knack for business and enjoy the world of real estate, a career as a commercial real estate broker may be the right choice for you. These professionals handle real estate transactions involving commercial properties and can earn a substantial income by doing so.

Job Overview

A commercial real estate broker is the one who arranges commercial real estate transactions. These may include the purchase or sale of commercial real estate or the lease of a commercial space. Often, brokers manage a team of agents, but in the commercial real estate field they will also work directly with clients. Brokers also may work underneath another brokerage firm that has a recognizable name, which can be helpful in the commercial market.

Requirements and Qualifications

Commercial real estate agents must have federal and state real estate licenses in order to offer their services. Typically these licenses are granted at the end of real estate class work. In order to get a license, you will need to pass the state and federal real estate tests.

The test for commercial versus residential real estate is the same test, and many brokers start with residential real estate, then move on to commercial at a later date. The resulting license is typically good for two to four years, at which time the real estate broker will have to have it renewed.

Typical Education

While each state has different requirements for commercial real estate brokers, thy typically have to complete between 30 and 90 hours of course work. A bachelor’s degree in real estate can cover this requirement, or the broker can take coursework outside of college to complete these requirements. Continuing education will be required for license renewal.

Because commercial real estate brokers work with businesses, they often benefit from a degree in business.

High School or GED
1 to 5 years

Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Those with an MBA or similar degree will have the upper hand in this industry according to

Steps to Become a Commercial Real Estate Broker

After completing your education and gaining your license, you will need to get some sales experience. This may mean spending a few years selling residential real estate. Once you have that experience, apply to some brokerage firms that specialize in commercial real estate. This will provide the foundation for understanding the commercial real estate market. Finally, you may choose to branch out on your own and start your own brokerage firm.

Salary and Job Outlook

A real estate broker is paid based on commission. That means that your salary will be based on the number of properties you sell or rent and the value of those properties. Typically, commercial real estate brokers retail three percent on all of the sales and leasing transactions they close. If the broker is working with a brokerage firm, the \ firm will receive between 35 and 40 percent of that amount. Because it can take up to a year to close a commercial real estate deal, most brokers have several deals underway at a time.

Because many agents work in both commercial and residential real estate at the same time, statistics and salary estimates for commercial real estate brokers are hard to come by. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that real estate brokers earn an average of $54,910, which is more than sales agents. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $25,550, and the top 10 percent earn more than $161,820.

Between 2010 and 2020, real estate brokers are expected to see a job growth rate of 8 percent, which is less than the 14 percent rate expected by all occupations. This growth rate will be highly dependent on changes in the real estate market. If the market grows and sees an upswing, then the demand for commercial real estate brokers will grow. If it stagnates or declines, so will the demand.

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