10 Steps to help you get started in commercial real estate
- Identify the market area. To start, it will be helpful for you to cover an area that you are familiar with and comfortable working (also one where you are known).
- Investigate the current market. Locate every property that is currently listed. Gather listing information on each property, with as much information as you can find about recent commercial sales in your market area.
- Identify the type of property you would like to specialize in. In a small market this may not be prudent but in a larger market it will help you keep focused. Each type of property requires a little different skill set.
- Know your market area. Even though you may have lived in an area for a long time you will need to look at it from a different prospective. What are the demographics of the area and traffic patterns? Know about the leakage – money for goods and services that are not being provided currently. Obtain a list of businesses with the names of the owners to begin your prospecting file.
- Zoning. Get a copy of both a zoning map and the zoning ordinance for your market area. Make sure that you understand the zoning. When working with a city the “area of impact” will be helpful information.
- Community involvement: Attend city and county council meetings – Zoning meetings. Join some civic groups – Local Chamber of Commerce – Rotary – as examples.
- Get an education: I can’t stress the importance of this enough. Knowledge is power. Commercial real estate requires different skills than residential real estate. Look on line for trade organizations, like CCIM, SIOR, RLI, that offer either classroom or online courses. Education is a continuing process and in most cases the knowledge you learn will make you want to take additional classes.
- Know the numbers: Commercial real estate is all about the numbers. Learn how to analyze the performance of property. Learn to prepare cash flow analysis to help calculate investor returns. This kind of information will help you to better serve both sellers and buyers.
- Website: Take the time and spend the money and invest in a good website. It can be the least expensive way to let people know about who you are and what you do. Join social media sites & interact.
- Sell yourself: Make personal contact with people. Knock on doors and introduce yourself. Not with just owners of listed properties but of all property owners.
The ten steps above will put you well on your way to getting started in commercial real estate. More in-depth information on these topics will be covered in a three part report to follow.