When you were a child, you most likely dreamed of becoming something like an astronaut, superhero or president of the United States. If you were extra ambitious, you may have started training early with breathing exercises, purchased your very own pair of X-ray glasses or recruited your siblings to join in so that you could exercise your leadership skills. Well, while your adolescent career aspirations may have not panned out, you might be interested in the next best thing: a career as a commercial real estate professional.
The only question is, where do you start? How do you make sure you hit the ground running in your CRE career? We’re here to help you out. From applicable degrees and training courses to associations/organizations and networking in general, we look at ways aspiring CRE professionals can break into the industry.
- Earn an Applicable Degree
While not a requirement for a successful commercial real estate career, an applicable college degree can give you a solid foundation of skills that are useful when it comes to creating strategy, building your portfolio and executing your day-to-day tasks. So which degrees translate best? Economics might help you better see property trends and develop more accurate pricing for your investments. Finance will make you a superhero of financial statement development. Marketing can help you build your business faster than the competition. Whatever you choose — and whether you’re looking to become a broker, landlord or corporate user — an applicable degree can be extremely beneficial in the beginning of your career.
- Take the Right Training Courses
You don’t need a degree to sell commercial real estate, but you do need a license. Most states require anywhere from 30-to-90 hours of courses before passing a test for a CRE license (though if you have the right degree, you might not need to take all those hours). Don’t think of these training courses as a drag, though — they can be tremendous educational opportunities for your CRE career. Plus, you can complete many training courses online or at a community college. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to get your license renewed every two-to-four years.
- Become a Thought Leader
Think a degree and/or license will automatically make you a CRE expert? Think again. The very best commercial real estate professionals are always looking for new information to bolster their business. From news websites and trade publications to CRE associations and organizations, there is a wealth of knowledge out there just waiting for you to grab and use in your business. Some good examples of strong national organizations include NAIOP, Core Net and BOMA, and there is likely a local chapter of each in your area. Your clients are going to be privy to the nuances of commercial real estate and it pays to be well-informed of what’s going on the market and able to offer insightful analysis and advice.
- Network, Network, Network!
Once you have a solid educational foundation in commercial real estate, it’s time to get the word out about your business expertise and your desire to grow. Start with the people you know, such as relatives and friends, then move on to calling everyone you know in commercial real estate. (You might have even gained some CRE contacts from your time in college or during CRE license training courses.) You can also reach out to the editors at CRE news websites and trade publications or the leadership at trade associations and organizations. Finally, attend as many CRE conferences as you can and remain active on professional social media sites like LinkedIn.
- Invest in Commercial Real Estate Software
Many commercial real estate professionals don’t realize this until later in their career, but you need a good CRE software program to automate the time-consuming process that make up your daily routine, and give you insightful information about your portfolio. Otherwise, you’ll get bogged down in business tasks that aren’t related to growing your business. With straightforward commercial real estate automation software like Quarem, managing the complex world of commercial real estate operations is simple. You’ll be able to organize all of your important documents, build meaningful reports and better forecast for the future.
To learn more about this last tip for kicking off your commercial real estate career, contact us today.