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.

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Do I Want to Be 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 may manage their own real estate business and act as a mediator between buyers and sellers. Real estate can be a very competitive field, and long work hours are often required for career success.

Job Requirements

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 the aspiring real estate broker for their licensing exam. Associate's and/or bachelor's degrees in real estate may be offered by some institutions as well. The following table highlights the typical requirements of commercial real estate brokers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Common Requirements
Degree Level No degree required, although a certificate or degree in real estate may help with professional advancement
Licensure Broker's license required in all states and the District of Columbia
Experience Variable, but usually 1-3 years of experience in real estate sales
Key Skills Comfortable working alone for extended periods of time; strong communication, people and problem solving skills; persuasive, self-motivated

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 license in real estate sales. Although the requirements for obtaining a real estate sales license vary from state to state, most 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, some aspiring commercial real estate brokers may wish to enroll in postsecondary certificate or degree programs in real estate, which are offered at many colleges and universities around the nation. 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 1-3 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 or specializing in commercial real estate sales may provide the experience and skills necessary to become a successful commercial broker.

Success Tip

  • Develop and strengthen needed skills. While gaining work experience as a real estate sales agent, individuals may attempt to develop and strengthen the skills required of commercial real estate brokers. Completing daily real estate-related tasks can develop and strengthen people skills and encourage persuasion and problem solving. Specializing in commercial real estate sales can help those who are serious about becoming commercial brokers learn the basics regarding commercial zoning and tax laws.

Step 3: Become a Licensed Real Estate Broker

Once licensed real estate sales agents have gained the necessary amount of work experience required by their individual states, they can become licensed real estate brokers. This usually involves completing a certain number of real estate training courses and passing an exam. Because licensing requirements vary by state, the actual exams may vary as well.

Success Tip

  • Complete continuing education as needed. State real estate licenses must be renewed every 2-4 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: Obtain a Commercial Real Estate Broker Position

Upon receipt of their real estate broker's license, individuals can obtain positions as commercial real estate brokers. Some may choose to open and operate their own commercial real estate company, while others may find positions with companies that are already established. Regardless, commercial real estate brokers will likely gain additional skills and continue to develop professionally as time progresses.

Success Tip

  • Stay up-to-date of the latest advancements and innovations in the field. To show commitment to their positions, commercial real estate brokers may want to keep informed of the latest advancements and updates in the field of commercial real estate. This can in turn boost sales and help brokers stand out among competitors in their areas. Innovation can occur in many areas, such as property marketing, environmental standards and mobile data.
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