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What Is a Commercial Real Estate Agent and How to Become One

What Does a Commercial Real Estate Agent Do?

Commercial real estate agents assist business owners in the buying or selling of commercial properties, as well as managing lease agreements for tenants in commercial properties. The purchase and sale of commercial properties take much longer than residential properties; some transactions may last as long as six months, and can even take longer. Most commercial real estate businesses are large operations that include many agents, analysts, and other financial and building experts. As a commercial real estate agent, you are often on the move, networking with potential clients, inspecting sites, doing public records research, and consulting with lawyers about legal issues, such as zoning and permitting. You may also follow up with tenants concerning lease issues and renewal contracts.

How to Become a Commercial Real Estate Agent

There are no formal education requirements to become a commercial real estate agent, though many agents hold a bachelor’s degree in real estate, economics, accounting, or a related field. Some community colleges and vocational schools also offer real estate certification and coursework related to real estate. All real estate agents are required to be licensed. Qualifications for the license include taking thirty to ninety hours of relevant coursework and passing a state exam. You may be able to bypass the coursework with a real estate degree. Make sure to research the license qualifications in your state. Acquire an entry-level position at a commercial real estate firm or shadow a successful real estate agent to gain experience in the field.

How Do Commercial Real Estate Agents Get Paid?

Commercial real estate agents are typically paid on commission. They receive a percentage of the total cost of the sale or signed lease. Sometimes a lease contract stipulates that an agent is paid a portion up front and the remainder when the tenants move into a property. Commercial transactions take much longer than residential sales. Commercial real estate agents may not be paid for several months after they initiate a contract. Because commercial real estate agents are paid on commission, they must be self-motivated and seek out new clients, especially in a downturn of the market.