Becoming a Commercial Real Estate Broker: Job Description & Career Path

Explore the licensure needed to become a commercial real estate broker. Learn about the skills that will help you succeed, the median salaries, and the projected job growth to examine this career option. Schools offering Real Estate degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Commercial real estate brokers assist their clients in the acts of buying and selling properties. They also work for individuals interested in commercial rental properties. These brokers must meet with clients to show them properties and advise them on market conditions, community offerings, and mortgage types. In the table below, you'll find the education and licensure requirements, median income, projected job growth, and necessary skills for a commercial real estate broker.

Education Required High school diploma, real estate coursework
License Real estate agent license and broker license; requirements vary by state
Required Skills Interpersonal skills, business skills, organizational skills
Projected Job Growth (2016-2026) 5% (for all real estate brokers)*
Median Income (2017) $56,730 (for all real estate brokers)*

Source: *US Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Commercial Real Estate Broker Do?

Commercial real estate brokers are responsible for conducting and overseeing all business transactions between parties selling, purchasing, and renting commercial spaces, such as stores and office buildings. For clients looking to purchase or rent a property, commercial real estate brokers meet with them to determine the size of space they need, the purpose of the space, and their price range. They then compile lists and take clients to these buildings to show them the available properties in a given geographical area.

For clients looking to sell or rent out their commercial space, commercial real estate brokers help determine how much to ask for given the current state of the market and help attract companies or individuals looking for a new space. They are also responsible for drafting and preparing documents and contracts to ensure all transactions follow the necessary regulations and deadlines. As a licensed real estate broker, an individual is allowed to conduct their own business; thus, many commercial real estate brokers also handle administrative tasks and oversee the work done by real estate sales agents.

What Type of Initial Licensure and Experience Is Required?

The first step towards becoming a commercial real estate broker is to become a licensed real estate sales agent and gain practical work experience in the industry. While real estate agent licensure requirements vary by state, there are some basic requirements an individual must meet. Candidates must be at least 18 years of age and have a clear criminal record. After meeting these basic requirements, the process of earning licensure typically begins with taking courses on the principles of real estate and property markets. This pre-licensing coursework must be approved by the state in which an agent is seeking licensure. Candidates must also pass a written exam on such topics in order to become licensed.

Real estate sales agents then apply to work under the supervision of a real estate broker. State requirements vary, but typically consist of working as a real estate agent for between one and four years before a candidate is eligible to apply for their real estate broker license.

What Is the Next Step Towards Becoming a Commercial Real Estate Broker?

After earning an initial real estate agent license and meeting the work experience required by their state, individuals become eligible to gain their real estate brokers license. This process is very similar to that of obtaining the real estate sales agent license. Candidates must complete a set number of pre-licensing course hours in a brokerage program that is approved by their state. They must also pass a written exam on similar topics to that of the real estate agent licensure exam.

Some states require additional on-the-job training or exam sponsorship in order to achieve this license. With passing scores on the licensure exam, a candidate is then eligible to run their own business as a real estate broker, allowing them to oversee the work of other real estate sales agents. A commercial real estate broker license must be renewed between two and four years, depending on the state, and is maintained through the completion of continuing education classes.

What Skills Are Necessary for a Career as a Commercial Real Estate Broker?

Interpersonal skills are at the core of a commercial real estate broker's work. It is essential that a commercial real estate broker gets to know what their clients are looking for in terms of space and price range. Forming these relationships allows commercial real estate brokers to prove that they can be trusted to advise clients when making a decision as important as buying or selling a property. Business skills are also required of commercial real estate brokers' day-to-day work. They must understand how to properly manage finances, negotiate with others, and follow legal regulations for contract and draft proposals. Since many commercial real estate brokers operate independently run businesses, they also need to create their own marketing tools and determine effective means of identifying and reaching out to their client base. In order to manage multiple clients or multiple properties, commercial real estate brokers must be well-organized.

How Much Do Commercial Real Estate Brokers Make?

Real estate brokers, both commercial and residential, earned a median income of $56,730 annually, according to May 2017 figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Commercial real estate brokers charge commission on property sales that they oversee, and this is their primary means of income. Job growth in the industry correlates directly with the state of the real estate market, which fluctuates often. The BLS states that employment of real estate brokers is expected to grow 5% between 2016 and 2026 as the real estate market continues to grow.

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