What You Need to Launch Your Career in Commercial Real Estate

If you’re looking for a lucrative career with long-term potential, commercial real estate may be for you. This means investing in commercial properties, like retail buildings, office buildings, warehouses, and industrial buildings. According to NOLO, the income potential in commercial real estate is higher than in residential real estate. That said, commercial property investments do require more money and planning. This guide provides some pointers for starting your commercial real estate journey.

Get the Education You Need

Commercial real estate is a complex field, and it’s important that you understand the ins and outs of the profession before you dive in. There are many opportunities for learning the ropes. You can get a certificate in commercial real estate to learn the basics. You’ll learn about topics from real estate financing to development practices and real estate law. This also gives you a valuable credential to demonstrate your expertise to others. Some courses are offered online, giving you the flexibility to study when and where you want.

Obtain the Necessary Licenses

In order to practice in commercial real estate in the United States, you will likely need a license. Licensing requirements vary between states, so check your state’s guidelines to see what’s needed. A license allows you to legally buy, sell, and lease non-residential properties. Being licensed also attests to your professionalism and will make it easier to network in the field. Note that some states do practice “reciprocity,” meaning that if you’re licensed in one state, you can still practice in another state.

Determine Your Funding Needs

One of the biggest hurdles in commercial real estate is financing. You’ll need funding to cover basic startup costs, like licensing fees and employee salaries. Then, you’ll need money to actually buy commercial properties. There are many options for financing commercial real estate purchases, like SBA loans, conventional bank loans, and online marketplace loans. Note that commercial real estate loans are usually only issued to business entities, so you’d have to set up your business as an LLC or similar entity first.

Hire Your Team

Commercial real estate is a big venture, and you’ll want a skilled team of support professionals to help make your business thrive. This guide outlines some of the people you’ll need, like administrative support staff, marketing people, financial controllers, leasing agents, deal creators, sales specialists, sales managers, and property managers. For example, administrative support staff will process listings and leases, while sales specialists will close the deal on property sales.

Select a Site for Development

Once you have the basics of your commercial real estate business set up, it’s time to get started. The first step is acquiring a commercial property. Knowing what to look for in a commercial space can be difficult. When you’re starting out, it can be helpful to work with a broker. A professional like Commercial Consult can help. These professionals work with property owners, buyers, brokers, and sellers, organizing seamless transactions without broker fees or closing costs.

Draw Up the Appropriate Contracts

When working with clients and contractors, you want clear contracts in place. It’s usually easiest to create and edit contracts in Word, where you can revise and format text and other details as needed. However, you want the final contracts to be in PDF format, so they can’t be altered. You can convert from PDF to docx in record time using a PDf converter. This way, you can take old contracts and revise them as needed, saving time. Simply upload your PDF, convert it, make the needed changes, and then save it as a PDF.

Oversee the Construction Process

Once the paperwork is in place, it’s time to start building. In some cases, you may be working with a commercial property that’s ready to go. In others, you may have to oversee the construction or renovation process yourself. If you don’t have construction experience, this job is best outsourced to a contractor, architect, or similar professional. Work with them to come up with a timeline for the project, detailing major milestones. They can also collaborate with you to ensure the construction site is safe—more on that next.

Make Safety a Top Priority

When it comes to construction, safety is a major issue. You don’t want people to get injured on your worksite, which could leave you liable. Make sure to follow best practices for construction safety. For example, crane operators should be licensed and well-versed in maximum crane load and hand signals. Electricians need to locate overhead power lines before starting their work. Forklift drivers need to wear seatbelts. These are just some of the details to consider when establishing guidelines for construction site safety.

Make a Portfolio

As you complete your first commercial real estate projects, start building a portfolio. This allows you to showcase your work, demonstrating to others that you’re an experienced professional with proven expertise. To create a portfolio, have professional photos taken of properties you’ve worked on. Then, include basic specs, like square footage, number of commercial tenants, location, and more. Also, describe the property purpose—such as whether it’s a retail or industrial space. This allows you to show expertise in a niche.

Market Your Services

Marketing is essential in commercial real estate. It’s how you attract interest from buyers and sellers and helps to establish your presence in the competitive marketplace. Start your marketing by creating a winning website that includes your portfolio and essential information about your firm, like your credentials. Other marketing techniques and tools you can use include creating a blog, starting a company newsletter, contributing thought leader articles in industry publications, and running targeted ad campaigns on Google.

Network to Boost Your Brand

Commercial real estate can be a competitive field. To thrive, you don’t just need to have the right credentials. You also need to know the right people. Networking is imperative, allowing you to connect with brokers, buyers, sellers, and more. Buildout’s guide to networking in commercial real estate offers some suggestions, like joining CRE networking groups and organizations, attending local Chamber of Commerce meetings, and establishing a strong social media presence. You can also host your own events to connect with others.

Commercial real estate can be a lucrative and rewarding field, offering plenty of variety. No two projects are identical and no two days are the same. That said, getting into the field can be difficult. Follow the best practices laid out above to make sure you start on the right foot.

Want to learn more about commercial real estate? Check out the blog.

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