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Starting Your Career in Commercial Real Estate


A strengthening economy and historic levels of job growth is giving real estate professionals confidence in commercial market conditions.  The commercial real estate market has shown incremental improvements since the economic collapse of the 2000s.  Navigating the commercial real estate landscape requires deft knowledge and skill.


NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require a password.

Business and Demographic Characteristics of NAR Commercial Members

  • The typical commercial member has 25 years of real estate experience, 20 years of experience in commercial real estate, and has been a member of NAR for 18 years.
  • They had a median of 7 sales transactions in 2017, down from 8 in 2016.
  • Fifty-one percent of NAR’s commercial members work in sales and 16 percent in leasing.
  • Forty-nine percent are brokers and 29 percent sales agents.
  • The median age of a commercial member is 60 years old.

(Source: 2018 Commercial Member Profile, National Association of REALTORS®, 2018)

For more commercial market data, go to NAR’s Commercial Research Page

Succeeding as a New Commercial Broker

Commercial Real Estate Day-to-Day Work Life (The Balance Small Business, Sep. 23, 2019)

5 Reasons to Get into Commercial Real Estate (Real Estate Like A Boss, Jun. 24, 2019)

Kick-Start Your Commercial Real Estate Career with These 15 Secrets to Success (Forbes, Oct. 26, 2018)

Getting Knocked Down, Then Getting Up Again: It's How New Brokers Succeed (RE Journals, Oct. 25, 2018)

11 Key Factors for a Commercial Real Estate Broker Career Change (CXRE)

Deep Dive: Careers in Commercial Real Estate (Adventures in CRE)

How to Be Successful as a Commercial Real Estate Broker | 9 Tips (The Massimo Group)

How to Succeed as a Commercial Real Estate Agent (Rethink CRM)

Commercial Real Estate: News and Trends

Biproxi Raises $10M Seed to Become the ‘Zillow of Commercial Real Estate’ (Crunchbase, Sep. 17, 2019)

CRE Firms Update Their Strategies for Recruiting New Talent (National Real Estate Investor, Sep. 9, 2019)

Denver Now Has an Airbnb for Commercial Real Estate (The Denver Post, Aug. 27, 2019)

CRE’s Top 10 Issues: A Deeper Dive (Commercial Property Executive, Aug. 23, 2019)

Commercial Real Estate Expert Says "Recessions Need to Be Caused By Some Sort of Intervention" (Forbes, Aug. 16, 2019)

CRE’s Most Powerful Women on Facing Bias and Reshaping the C-Suite (Bisnow, Jul. 15, 2019)

15 Top Skills of Successful Commercial Real Estate Brokers (Commercial Café, Jul. 10, 2019)

In The Future of Real Estate, Nice Guys Will Finish First (Forbes, May 30, 2019)

Commercial Real Estate Still Struggles with the Talent Deficit. What Solutions are Available? (National Real Estate Investor, Mar. 29, 2019)

Responding to Increased Warehouse Space Demand (REALTOR® Magazine, Mar. 1, 2019)

Attracting Top Talent to Your Commercial Real Estate Enterprise (Commercial Property Executive, Jan. 21, 2019)

Embracing Proptech (Journal of Property Management, Jan. 1, 2019) E

Resources for Gettin​g Started from NAR and its Institutes, Societies and Councils

NAR Commercial on Twitter

Commercial Connections – NAR’s quarterly commercial real estate publication

CCIM Institute – The CCIM Institute confers the CCIM designation and is an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)

Commercial Investment Real Estate Magazine – Bi-monthly magazine from the CCIM Institute

Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) – The source for education, resources, information and membership for real estate management professionals

Journal of Property Management – Bi-monthly magazine from IREM with comprehensive coverage of trends and issues affecting all property types

Realtors Land Institute - RLI confers the ALC Designation and is an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)

Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS® (SIOR) – SIOR confers the SIOR Designation and is an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS®

SIOR Report – SIOR's quarterly magazine which addresses the concerns of industrial and office real estate practitioners

Commercial Investment Real Estate Magazine – Bi-monthly magazine from the CCIM Institute

Journal of Property Management – Bi-monthly magazine from IREM with comprehensive coverage of trends and issues affecting all property types and is password protected

Commercial-Specific Resources from NAR and its Institutes, Societies and Councils

NAR Commercial Home – NAR has a broad array of resources to help you provide the best service to your clients, and to be the best in your field. From education to advocacy efforts, from networking to property data – NAR works to help you be more profitable, while protecting the commercial real estate industry.

Affiliate Organizations – details on the variety of Commercial Institutes, Societies and Counsels.

Commercial Services – here you can download a handy guide with an overview of Commercial Services for NAR Members.

Publications and Information – make sure your NRDS record is up-to-date and includes at least one commercial specialization in the “Field of Business” to ensure timely delivery of the commercial-related communications.

Research – Take advantage of the commercial-focused research found online at, including the Commercial Real Estate Market Survey, the Commercial Lending Survey, the Commercial Member Profile and much more.

Resources for AEs and Staff – NAR research shows approximately thirty percent of REALTORS® will complete one or more commercial transactions each year. NAR’s Commercial staff team will help you identify services to share with your members, connect you to resources, and help you develop a plan to grow your local commercial membership.

Courses, Designations and Events – Explore the many educational opportunities available through these Institutes, Societies and Councils, all part of NAR. There is an array of classroom and online learning options for your convenience.

NAR Commercial Priority Issues - 116th Congress (National Association of REALTORS®, 2019) – Americans with Disabilities Act Lawsuit Reform, Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Deduction, Infrastructure, National Flood Insurance Program, Qualified Opportunity Zones and more issues.

eBooks & Other Resources

The Art of Commercial Real Estate Leasing (Kindle, eBook)

Commercial Real Estate (eBook)

Commercial Real Estate Finance (eBook)

The Due Diligence Handbook for Commercial Real Estate (Kindle, eBook)

A Guide for Commercial Real Estate Agents (Kindle, eBook)

The How to Add Value Handbook for Commercial Real Estate (eBook)

Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals for Dummies (Kindle, eBook)

Principles of Real Estate Syndication (Kindle, eBook)

Commercial Mortgages 101 (eBook)

Commercial Real Estate Investing (Kindle, eBook)

Commercial Real Estate Investing in Canada (Kindle, eBook)

Commercial Real Estate Investment (eBook)

The ABCs of Real Estate Investing (Kindle, eBook)

The Commercial Real Estate Revolution (Kindle, eBook)

The Complete Guide to Buying and Selling Apartment Buildings (Kindle, eBook)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through the NAR Library & Archives. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call the library at 800-874-8272 for assistance.

The Commercial Real Estate Tsunami: a Survival Guide for Lenders, Owners, Buyers and Brokers (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2011) HD 1394 W85

After the Fall: Opportunities and Strategies for Real Estate Investing in the Coming Decade (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2009) HD 1375 B45

Commercial Real Estate Investing: a Creative Guide to Successfully Making Money (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2008) HG 4521 D34

Shift Commercial: How Top Commercial Brokers Tackle Tough Times (Austin: TX, Rellek Pub. Partners, 2011) HD1375 N78s

Success Strategies for Commercial and Multifamily Real Estate Careers (Management-Mentor, 2010) HF 5438 B74ss

The Fundamentals of Listing & Selling Commercial Real Estate (West Conshohocken, PA: Infinity, 2007) HF 5438 K26

Systems for Success: the Complete Guide to Selling, Leasing, Presenting, Negotiating & Serving in Commercial Real Estate (Gretna, LA: Pelican Pub, 2007) HF 5438 L66

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The inclusion of links on this page does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this page complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.


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