In search of Suggestions for breaking into CRE Brokerage (Graduated Undergrad 2018) – Score: 7

8 thoughts on “In search of Suggestions for breaking into CRE Brokerage (Graduated Undergrad 2018) – Score: 7”

  1. Big shops offer most opportunity to grow into the profession. Starting as an analyst helps expose you to all the personalities in the office before you commit to joining a specific team/broker.

  2. I’d reach out to older/successful brokers at the larger shops. It doesn’t cost them anything to hire you, you just have to be able to get across that you are a hard worker and worth their time to train. More people you talk to the better, and always ask who they recommend you speak with.

    -fellow former D1 tennis player

  3. IMO you’re always better off starting in an analyst role at a big name than at a smaller shop that tries to put you in a sales position right away.

    CRE is NOT residential real estate. Good brokers know their shit – they understand the markets, they understand the financials, etc. etc. That stuff is harder to learn when your pay is 100% commission based and you’re just worried about networking.

    Besides, you may find out you prefer the analytical side and decide you want to work on the buy side instead.

    In terms of the how – depends on your undergrad background, but D1 sports is a huge selling point for a brokerage as they’ll typically assume you’re an interesting person, hard worker, and likely have a reasonable amount of confidence. If you network hard and have a somewhat quantitative undergrad degree, you can likely get in now.

    Alternate option is to get an MSRED, or better yet an MBA, and use that to pivot in. But I’d try networking first.

  4. I would echo some of the comments from others who have already replied.

    Why kind of broker do you want to be? Sales? Leasing? Mortgage?

    I’ve worked as a mortgage broker for 15+ years and you definitely don’t need an MBA or Masters to do our job and based on my experience it’s not really necessary for the other service lines as well. I have my MBA but I used that as a pivot point from another profession.

    CBRE used to have a 2 year wheel program but it was dependent on which locations were offering it. Not sure about now…I work at CBRE and couldn’t tell you if we have it.

    Networking and persistence are two main paths for a lot of folks. Also for firms like CBRE we have a lot of people join in whatever role they can get and then transfer to other service lines 1-2 yrs later once they have a better feel for what they want to do.

    Our team talks to a lot of candidates like yourself and I’m amazed at how confident recent grads are on their career paths. Maybe they just want to project that for interview purposes but I would argue most recent grads have no clue what they really want to do (including myself) and that’s ok and expected. I’d rather have a new hire want to work hard and learn…they can figure out what they want to be when they grow up as part of the process.

  5. First I echo everything u/HornedSpyder said, I work with him he is the real deal.

    I started as a broker at M&M, eventually went back and got my MBA then ended up at CBRE for the past 10 years. Here are some thoughts based on my experience:

    1. You do not need a graduate degree. Nobody at CBRE even knows I have one, clients don’t care, management doesn’t care. This business pays people based on what they bring it not on their credentials.
    2. Starting at M&M is sink or swim. You get a shot and don’t have to pay your dues. At CBRE you might have to be in a junior role for a while before an opportunity to be in sales comes along. The flip side is that 7 out of 10 people I started with at M&M are not in the industry anymore. At CBRE the name brand and support system I feel guarantees some level of success for those who work hard… but you have to work your way up
    3. If you want a job, Cold Call the Managing Director of the local office. It’s their job to source talent and keep some resumes on file.
    4. Persistence is everything in this industry. Follow up with everyone, it’s not annoying – it shows you know how to stay in front of people.
    5. This is my biggest piece of advice, the team you end up on matters more than the company, role, or starting comp… maybe only the business line matters more… but each team is like a small business, some are looking for cheap labor to use-up and others are looking to groom potential partners…. you won’t know which teams are the right fit for you from the outside. Paying your dues in research or as an intern gives you a chance to scout out the teams and people… getting on the right team is essential

    Good Luck

  6. Try to get inside the door as a commissioned agent. It is a field knowing a manager / broker will help a lot. The MBA, CCIM designation do not help if you have never worked in the field.

  7. Brokerage is sales and if you want to get in then don’t be afraid to call a top broker in your market and ask them to meet for coffee to pick their brain. They will most likely reschedule and flake on you a few times so make sure you confirm the day before and often the day of. Ask lots of questions and listen to their story. The goal is to prove to them you’re hungry and willing to work. Whether we like it or not the boomers who are the leaders at many of these top firms really only help our their own so you have to play the game and figure out how to be of value to them and vice versa.

    I started at a boutique firm in a tertiary market doing leasing and literally researched the broker of the company, called and introduced myself and closed him for a meeting. My first meeting with him we spent 3 hours together sharing our stories and building a connection. He basically told me I had to prove myself to be successful and his role in the company was to be a rainmaker and bring in listings to feed the brokers who would split with him 50/50 while basically doing all the work after he brought in the business. I was there for 3 years, paid my dues working 7 days a week and most importantly figured out after those 3 years that brokerage is exactly what I was meant to do. From that boutique firm I joined M&M (I had to relocate 2 hours from where I was originally based to a metro market) where I was a junior with a top retail investment sales broker and went thru their formal training program. Stayed there for 6 years and continued building my skills/track record and was recruited to a big firm where I now have a managing director title. Many big firms love hiring from M&M because you learn how to pick up the phone and generate business.

  8. I have been in the CRE brokerage industry with a focus on retail for almost 30 years. I have worked at a few of the national firms over my career and then started my own firm in 2010. I have also written a book called Value Added, Successful Strategies for Listing and Selling Investment Real Estate which is a step by step guide to CRE investment sales brokerage. It is not as valuable for people focused on leasing. Please note that I write on Reddit because this is fun, not to sell books. The book was a labor of love certainly not a way to make $$$.

    A few thoughts for you. First, although you say you are open to relocating anywhere, you really need to know where you want to live before going into CRE brokerage. CRE brokerage is generally geographically focused. CRE brokers are experts in their markets and once you become an expert in one market, you would taking a huge career setback to up and move someplace else. So figure out where you generally want to spend the next 20 years of your life before reaching out to CRE firms.

    Second, your Division 1 tennis background will get a lot of CRE firm’s attention because athletes have traditionally had a lot of success in CRE brokerage because they understand work ethic, the need to follow systems, the ability to lose and pick yourself back up, the willingness to practice, etc. so if you are interested in getting into CRE brokerage, start emailing owners and managers of CRE brokerage firms in your area and I suspect that many will be willing to meet and/or talk to you.

    Good luck to you!

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