How to Become a Commercial Real Estate Broker

Learn how to become a commercial real estate broker. Research the job description and the licensing requirements and find out how to start a career in commercial real estate.

Should I Become A Commercial Real Estate Broker?

A commercial real estate broker is a licensed professional who helps clients buy, sell or lease properties that will be used for business purposes. They represent and act as mediators between buyers and sellers. Real estate is a very competitive field, and long work hours are often required for career success.

While a college degree is not required to become a commercial real estate broker, professional licensure is required in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Many postsecondary institutions offer courses and certificate programs that prepare aspiring real estate brokers for their licensing exam. Associate's and bachelor's degrees in real estate may be offered by some institutions as well.

Career Requirements

Degree Level No degree required, though postsecondary education is helpful
Training Real estate coursework typically required prior to taking a licensure exam
Experience Variable, but often 1 to 3 years of experience in real estate sales is required before becoming licensed as a broker
Licensure and Certification A broker's license required in all states and the District of Columbia
Key Skills Comfortable working alone for extended periods of time; strong communication, people and problem solving skills; persuasive, self-motivation
Salary $57,360 per year (Median Salary for Real Estate Brokers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May, 2014)

Step 1: Get Licensed in Real Estate Sales

In order to become a licensed commercial real estate broker, most states require prior real estate sales experience. Because real estate sales agents must also be licensed, the first step towards becoming a licensed broker is earning a real estate sales license. The requirements for obtaining this license vary from state to state. Most states require individuals to possess a high school diploma or the equivalent, complete a certain number of real estate courses and successfully pass an exam.

Success Tip

  • Consider a postsecondary certificate or degree in real estate. Although not required, aspiring commercial real estate brokers may wish to enroll in postsecondary certificate or degree programs. These programs are offered at many colleges and universities. The pre-licensing course requirements may be waived for those who have earned a state-approved postsecondary certificate or degree in real estate.

Step 2: Gain Experience in Real Estate Sales

To prepare for a career as a commercial real estate broker, individuals typically need to gain 1 to 3 years of experience as a real estate sales agent. They can get this experience by working for real estate companies or individual brokers. Because commercial real estate deals with properties that are used for business purposes, focusing on commercial real estate sales may provide the experience and skills needed to become a successful commercial broker.

Success Tip

  • Develop and strengthen needed skills. Specializing in commercial real estate sales helps those who are serious about becoming commercial brokers. Learn the basics of zoning and tax laws, how to evaluate a business and how to choose a business location. Think like a business person and develop a network. Stay in contact with people who are operating successful businesses in locations you have marketed. Their support may be of great help in the future.

Step 3: Become a Licensed Real Estate Broker

After gaining the experience required by their state, a sales agent may become a licensed real estate broker. This usually involves completing a certain number of real estate training courses and passing an exam. Licensing requirements vary by state, and the exams will vary as well.

Success Tip

  • Complete continuing education as needed. State real estate licenses must be renewed every 2 to 4 years, with some states requiring an examination or continuing education with each renewal. Each state has its own licensing commission and it is best to contact the appropriate state for specifics on both licensing and renewal requirements.

Step 4: Become A Commercial Real Estate Broker

Upon receipt of their real estate broker's license, individuals can obtain positions as commercial real estate brokers. Commercial real estate brokers will likely gain additional skills and continue to develop professionally as time progresses.

Success Tip

  • Stay up-to-date on the latest advancements and innovations in the field. To show commitment to their positions, commercial real estate brokers must stay informed of the latest developments in commercial real estate. Innovation is occurring in many areas, such as property marketing, environmental standards and mobile data.

Step 5: Open Your Own Business

With experience, brokers may choose to open and operate their own commercial real estate offices. Brokers interested in pursuing this path will likely need some business and finance knowledge, which may be developed through experience or postsecondary training.

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