10 Reasons You Will NEVER Become A Commercial Real Estate Broker.

10 Reasons You Will NEVER Become A Commercial Real Estate Broker.

1. You are not smart enough.

Oooo did that piss you off? Sure, you are as smart as anybody, right? You went to a school somewhere sometime “back in the day.” The average commercial real estate broker has at least a college degree based on finance real estate or construction. They have been in the business at least 15 years and only focus on commercial real estate. Most of them define a niche of commercial real estate such as retail industrial or tenant representation to name a few, and they pound it…hard…I said hard. When you walk into a room with someone in commercial real estate, you automatically are not the smartest one there. Don’t think so? Bullshit. I have met hundreds from all over the country. They are ON IT! Go ahead get in a room with some commercial real estate people. You will be smarter just for being there.

2. You are not big league material.

Commercial real estate is The Big Leagues. Click here and look down the list. Yes, that is billions of dollars in transactions and worldwide. Now do me a favor and click on one of the sites and dig into your local market. Check out the people that they have “on board.” Yea, I know…….fucking impressive. Call one of them up and see if you can get them to go to lunch. I dare you.

3. Math is a foreign language to you.

Commercial real estate is numbers, and after you get thru the numbers there is the dollars. They are all important and relevant to every deal. They are the deal. You think your beautiful smile and mommy loves you personality will skate you thru commercial real estate? Uh..no! Your potential client will know the numbers better than you do…….and they will let you know it to your face and in front of everyone you work with including your boss……..on purpose. A personal side. I had someone walk away from the closing table and 200k because he thought his wife was screwing around, and he did not want her to get it. TRUE STORY. Numbers and money matter. It’s what commercial real estate deals are based on. Not emotion! Do your math!

4. You are not a man.

Yes, I said it. Do you want me to repeat it? You are not a man. It’s a man’s world……. most of the time…….. except sometimes.

5. You don’t even know what a building is.

Sure, you think it’s just a box with some doors an office and some dock things out back. This may bore you but stay with me. Proximity. Ins and outs. Turning radius. Dock height. Ceiling height. Cubing. Stacking. Traffic counts. Trips. Setbacks. Drainage. Composites. Double plate.Vent stack. Allowable use. Ok, I think you get the point, and that was just off the top of my head. Oh and that is me just thinking about a simple industrial warehouse. Throw in office flex multi-family, etc. You didn’t major in construction engineering at school?  You want to make a living selling leasing and dealing with buildings right? Hell, just fake it nobody will notice.

6. 10,000 square feet and 4,200 square feet.

Those numbers are what commercial real estate calls bread and butter or somewhat of an “average” commercial real estate deal size. Go online and search for a 10,000 sq ft. building in your market. Go to your local municipal database and look up the address of that building. Google the owner’s name. Try and call them and get to someone who will talk to you about the building. You just want to help them lease it or sell it or….hell…something. Who do you think is on the other end? My guess. A broker. A seasoned professional broker/owner. They know that building in out upside downside backwards and in their sleep…and so does every other professional commercial real estate broker/owner within a 50 mile radius. No shit!

7. You are not a boomer.

The Average age of a commercial real estate broker is 57 years old, yea I know that seems pretty old to some people. It’s the old boys doing business with their peers and guess what, they are all boomers too. Decision makers deal makers movers and shakers. Hate that the man is keeping you down? Let’s see the age of retirement is 65 right? I played golf with a developer/broker of government buildings who happened to tell me he just turned 65……. guess what, his quote ” I will never retire.”

8. You don’t have the guts to walk thru the door.

The boys call it cold calling and shoe leather. Go ahead spend a few minutes checking Facebook for your aunts cousins daughters cat memes so you can “like” it and be “connected.” to your friends and family. Show them how you care. Commercial real estate brokers get off their ass knock on a door and talk to a human being face to face. Crazy, I know!

9. Money. Real money scares you.

Do the calculations. 10,000 sq ft times 12 dollars a foot times x percent with renewals =  $$$$. It seems pretty simple. Now do a sale. Let’s say a simple 4 million dollar deal…uh 4 million times x percent = Holy Shit money. WooHoo…… the lottery. In commercial real estate, 4 million isn’t shit. 4 million is a hobby. But wait I work my ass off and I am worth it damn it! Nah……real money scares you.

10.  It Takes Real Work. 

Nobody backs into this (unless daddy is flush) business. Most of us wanted to tried real hard to busted our asses paid our fucking dues just to get into commercial real estate. 365 24/7 A cliché? Fu*k you, no it’s not! Even when I am “golfing or networking” at an event, I AM ON. There is always talk of this magical life work balance thing. HA! What bullshit. The day you start until you are dead you are learning and always dealing.

I have always joked about this but in the future I see myself standing on a tee box in my seventies talking into whatever device is the thing at that time and I say ” that’s bullshit we already agreed to a price on that lot, and we don’t care………” and I fall over……….dead.

How lucky can a guy get!


10 Reasons You Will NEVER Become A Commercial Real Estate Broker.





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Duke Long

  • Lowell Peabody

    …only into your seventies? C’mon Duke you know you want to do this ’til your 100!

  • Laurel Lewis

    Duke, your posts are always fun to read, motivating and for the most part accurate. However, women can kick ass in CRE more than sometimes and your 2011 info on the top producing offices is out of date. Still…. your posts are fun to read.

  • abuchanan

    I agree with Duke. With RARE exception, women have a really hard time in the biz. We can all site some stalwarts that kill it…Barbi Reuter, Darla Longo, Lee McCullough, etc. Spot on analysis in a fun to read format!

    • NYC_Traffic


  • Stephanie West

    Whenever I receive an off-putting remark about being a woman in CRE, it just makes me work that much harder. Thanks for the bump in motivation, I’m sure my competition will not appreciate it.

    • Amy future CRE

      I just want to let you know my mother made it at the age of only 31 years old keep trying you can do it

  • Always a kernel (or cob) of truth in what you say, Duke. This should help serve to scare off the B team and motivate the inner super star… And thanks, Allen!

    • Ricky, Barbi is one of the most reputed names in the industry.

  • Barry Cohen

    The average age is 57?? Makes me feel better!!!

  • Marysela Flores

    It’s funny how a lot of what you said goes for both genders in general. Then again for those reasons listed and many more, women in CRE are always up to the challenge to prove the good ol’ boy network wrong. Thanks for the good read and for reminding me that I have what it takes.

    • Cbowenusc@gmail.com

      I agree. I worked with a tenacious woman, an owner’s rep, leasing some Inglewood properties. Imagine if there were an equivalent to these power women conferences.

  • Neil Johnson

    I am relieved to know I am above average in this business (in age for #CRE brokers). Now back to work crunching large numbers… Who else is working tomorrow (Saturday)? Give me a call & lets do a deal!

  • Dave Meyer

    Finally something other than pulp fiction. Turn 57 in 11 days. I don’t Facebook and I don’t Tweet. People lie but numbers don’t . Nice one.

  • Michael Carnes

    This post is so spot on to our industry Duke. I love it! I’m a young guy in the industry and agree with the boomer comment. I also dream about IRR’s, BIP’s, NOI’s, ROI’s and any other acronym I’m missing every night… I’ve designed custom 8-10 page spreadsheets to try and be one up on my competition when it comes to the numbers. Then when I think I have one up on my competition, I go to a first meeting with some savvy S.O.B. and walk out feeling like he was speaking French with my tail b/w my legs. You are so right,there is ALWAYS somebody out there who knows more! In the case of my meeting last week… WAY MORE!

  • AutoBizBrokers

    I like #10.

  • Heather

    Can we send this to all residential brokers?

    • Cbowenusc@gmail.com

      I had a lyft driver in san diego telling me how he was in residential back when everybody and their mom tried to get in and didn’t know what they were doing… an awkward silence graced the car and I had to look out the window–my friend who is in music management and even the stripper we happened to be sharing the ride with were witness to these antics you speak of. He proceeded to tell us how he was also the smartest substitute teacher ever because he finished the qualification test in 15 minutes

  • Betsy Donahue

    WOW #4 really? As with all the other ladies thanks for the motivation

    • Jay S

      except sometimes, he said.

  • Vicky Salizar

    You are describing the top tier. Where I am, those at the very top are making $3M+ per year, with an occasional broker making north of $10M. That is some serious FU money, but let me tell you, there are people who don’t know their heads from their asses and couldn’t put a spreadsheet together if their life depended on it, and they’re still making $200-300K per year.

    I appreciate where you’re going with this article, but we’re not curing cancer here.

    • Cbowenusc@gmail.com

      lol bringing it back to earth, nice

  • Snowy

    Thanks for giving such a beautiful advice to me. I liked the post because very simple to understand, creative analyze and well written.

  • Tiffany Allan

    That just made my night. Hilarious.

  • Great article! Liked the part where you said 4 million dollar deal means nothing. Laughing !

  • Cory Friel

    Lol this asshole is a shitty writer that’s depressed about his income.

  • Bitch in Heels

    Oh really Mr. Duke Long. As a woman, aka. Bitch in heels, you have inspired me to work harder (If that’s possible). As a representative of a non-baby boomer generation, I will remember your words, when all of your “boomers” are retiring and or going into nursing homes…..my generation will be right behind taking your jobs. Let me tell you, non boomers are MUCH different than your generation…..it is no longer a “man’s world.” Intimidated by a powerful woman perhaps? It’s a good thing you are a boomer, because I don’t think you could survive working with a newer generation with that mentality. It’s a new age, get with the times old man! Yes, I said it!

    • duke long

      Hell is that all you got.

      • Monica Sandoval Banker

        This “bitch in heels “could easily be my daughter!
        Duke, Who the fk do you think raised these ” next generation?” YOU AND I perhaps?
        So if you DID your job right, and shut your obnoxious ” I know it all” mentality off, you, too would be lucky enough to have a Top Hitter, No Shitter in your sphere with the SAME LAST NAME!
        You go “BITCH IN HEELS, take no prisoners” and to you Duke, when you admit your shortcomings and get the fk over yourself… You might only then see your real competition! Your kid!

        I bitch therefore I am! Uh huh, I said IT!

    • Saskia

      Hah – boomers will never retire. Your whole schtick makes real CRE pros who are women laugh and realize that the generation gap is actually a brain gap it’s not age it’s attitude, time 24/7 effort. Wasting time wishing others would retire and going on about powerful women might be an indicator that you will have a steep learning curve to break into this profession – one that really doesn’t care what you think, you are only judged by what you produce.

      • Monica Sandoval Banker

        I could Not disagree with you more, and I AM PROUD TO BE A BOOMERANG @ 61.
        Give it up, we all have expiration dates!

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  • Patrick Britton

    LOL – now I WANT to be one more than ever!

  • david croft

    A friend of mine and I applied for an internship with Marcus and Milchap. He got it and I am perfectly happy with having gone straight to investing instead. He makes more money, lot more, but my 15 rentals bring me a good 3k per month so i technically don’t have to work anymore. Also dont have to do the 24/7 stuff like him.

  • Jay S

    Do ANY of the women in these comments know how to read? Seriously…

  • Tex

    you sound like a colossal douche bag. It really is people like you that make this world suck, you money-grubbing twit.


    Duke you are an absolute idiot! I know your type and you exhibit signs of NPD ( let me spell that out for you…Narcissist Personality Disorder! Good news is that in your mind “you” are “NEVER” wrong. The BAD NEWS THAT THERE IS NO CURE for NPD and you will never see that you have a problem.

    • dukelong

      (NPD) YES, thank you< at least now there is a name for it and not just in my mind but in reality I AM NEVER WRONG!

  • Glorified Middleman

    After reading this Its easy for me to understand why I despise all realtors. What a bullshit, self-prostrating pat on the back.

    • Duke Long

      Your welcome!

      • jb

        it’s you’re. self righteous loser. If you are as successful in the biz as you claim to be….Where do you find the time to write this crap. Just somebody else who couldn’t hack it trying to tell others they can’t either. Tale as old as time.

        • Duke Long

          If I’m nit pissing some people off I’m not trying hard enough. Thanks for reading and commenting.

          • kariharper

            LOL keep telling yourself that. You are your biggest fan. It’s quite adorable, the relationship you have with yourself. I love you like Duke loves Duke.

      • Emily McHugh

        Learn grammar. Looks like number 1 doesn’t pertain to you. Also, MANY women work in this field, like at CBRE.

  • DeFactYo

    Why are CRE agents such arrogant, basic, fucking pricks? THIS is a blog post you need to write. The people wanna know.

    • dukelong

      Don’t need to write it. It’s just a gift we all have.

      • DeFactYo

        I understand the act, the need to put up armor when nobody likes you, (really, nobody likes you) but I’d like to understand why.

        • dukelong

          Hiding behind armor or a cartoon avatar and a fake made up name?

      • I concur, Duke. I’m arrogant and can be a prick at times (a polite arrogant prick, well sometimes I’m a brash flesh pounding prick too) but you know what I add value to the work I do for my clients which is followed by economic rewards. Now people know!

  • season

    Spent 13 years in banking, are you telling me I will fail? So even trying is a waste…

  • Jackie Leggs

    This is where all the intelligent people go, eh?

    Glad I found this place.

  • David Land

    Please don’t feed the trolls everyone. It just encourages them.

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  • Whatevs

    SMH, you sell buildings. You can make it sound as complicated as you want to but at the end of the day… You. Sell. Buildings.

    Like someone else said, not exactly rocket science.

    Try diversifying a hedge fund one of these days….There’s some math for you.( eye roll)

  • Joey

    This explains Donald Trump.

    • Duke Long

      This post has officially jumped the shark.

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  • Cynthia

    1: Nope
    2: Nope
    3: wrong..I love math
    4: Nope
    5: wrong… I learnt it in a commercial class 😉
    6: Nope
    7: Nope
    8: Wrong… old enough to know when it is waste of time/money
    9: Wrong… different between $40,000 and $4,000,000 There are only a couple more zeros.
    10: Agreed

    5 out of 5… I like a challenge!

  • Ethan Brisby

    Good read. I’m a millennial, like 5’5″, and African American another scarce breed in commercial….but, I’ve been preparing for this newly 10 years. Looking forward to years and years of leading the next guards for commercial brokerage, development, and investment syndication starting in the Houston market. EB

  • Lindsay Clark

    I find it intriguing that you’re so arrogant as to claim others could not make it as Commercial Real Estate Agents because they “are the smartest people out there”, and yet you seem to struggle so greatly with both spelling and grammar. Ironic.

    • TengoPaz

      I also think that there may be a little bit of gatekeeping going on here but he has some great points.
      The other thing that many people do not put together is that there are a lot of commercial Realtors who do not do run clients around looking at properties. They are investors and developers who need the license to manage properties, sub lease, save on acquisitions and have access to data.
      Why buy or sell a property when you can manage or broker it with half the headaches. I like the way the article was written only because it smacks down any false sense of euphoria about the business. But yes, I picked up on the tone and see how it could be offensive to some.

  • Hyrule

    You’re so good at your high demanding and time consuming job… that you have time to bastardize the English language in a worthless internet blog post. Hilarious. I find most truly successful people are too busy producing results to tell the world how successful they are.

    • Duke Long

      And on purpose.

  • kay

    Very interesting…i like your harsh take. Refreshingly honest!

  • Katherine Grace

    You are so FUNNY, and SO RIGHT!!!! I agree on all points, except, in my case, even though I am a woman, an “outsider” guys accept me, as I am also an architect and have completed many large commercial projects, and worked on pre contract deals with developers, so I am fine. I just added real estate to my credentials, and it seems like commercial is heating up fast, in only a few months I have gained strong clients, even one Female developer. Hahahahah But I agree, its hard even for people like me who know buildings inside and out, esp since I have not yet learned to play golf. But I can fly a plane and sail a boat, thats something….My goal is to re create my practice with a full time department for real estate development, and take only those architectural projects that make sense.

  • Robert Burns

    Commercial real estate brokers are professionals. There are NO part-time commercial brokers (none of any consequence). Residential agents are all over the map. There is a small segment that are professional who run a business, and they are to be lauded. Most are hacks who “got into real estate”. The market would be better if they “go out of real estate”.

    Commercial real estate properties are investments. As such, many are bought and sold by investors who never see the property; the value is in the numbers. Residential is, by definition, about the house. What is the neighborhood like, the schools, shopping, commute to work.

    The two are totally separate businesses, with little in common other than the licensed required.

    And both are gender neutral.

  • Mary Willison

    I became a commercial RE Broker in NYC at age 25. Sold $54MM in 1st 3yrs in NYC, $250+MM over 4yrs in Dubai. Have been licensed in CA, NY, Dubai. Getting my 2nd Brokers license now in CA so that I can purchase 8+ deals/year on my own account. FEMALE! No college degree. No support from family or family in the biz. 365 24/7 is very true of broker life. You don’t have to be a man or a boomer. Work hard, work smart, put yourself in the right market and niche.

    • Michael Gaias

      Get off the computer and get back to work.

  • TengoPaz

    Old post I know but this is what every new agent should know. Tone it down about 50% for those thinking about residential sales but this is the way it is….. with one exception: some women actually do very well in commercial real estate. For the last century, it has been male dominated.
    You will not get in unless you hit 90% of Duke’s guidelines. Most brokers will gladly allow a residential Realtor to hang a shingle because it is minimal investment on their part with little risk (some may say it is a big risk but not really. Contract review and pre settlement processes usually pick up and remedy any oversights by a new agent). Commercial side is simply not this way. Just accept the rules and make the decision to never start or never give up until you see success.

  • Michael Gaias

    I am getting into CRE no matter what the hell you say. You give me 10 problems. I have 10 solutions. People, like you, who talk are usually the ones who cant walk. I will do the walking and less talking while you work on your “Blog” … I am working on the degree now. See you at the top ShortDick.

  • Jason Bourne

    Lmfaooooo I fucking died laughing when I read this 😀

  • Ty Gott

    I think some of your sentiment proves true in the industry. However, based on the tone of your post and how off putting your overall message is (especially regarding women), most respectable business owners should despise doing any kind business with you. It seems that you revel in the idea of being narcissistic broker, acting out as a pseudo Grant Cardone or Donald Trump. This may be a long shot, but I’m nearly certain you would support Trump’s disdain for women, similarly how you’d admire his shady business conduct.

    • Duke Long

      This was written almost three years ago and i don’t need to qualify any of the above mentioned tone. Oh, and who is Donald Trump?

  • Anton Walker

    This Will Gibson fellow who seems to talk a lot. Well he works for McQuaid Real Estate. He has gone on for more than a year without selling shit as I have the inside scoop. He talks a big game, but rarely delivers. He has some insecurity issues too.

  • Scutum51

    Don’t be intimadated by CRE professionals, a bit of common sense and information goes a long way if you have gutts & ppl skills….a few connections may help also.

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  • Eliani Torres Perez

    Translation: it takes thick skin, time, hard work, and dedication to make it in commercial real estate. Especially as a woman. Sounds like just about every other industry. I think I’ll be ok 👌🏻

  • Kara

    This is actually the worst article that I have recently wasted my time reading. As with everything, there are people who work hard and make it and those who don’t. ALL commercial realtors had to start with the initiative and the desire and…..their first commercial sale. Who are you trying to scare?

    • Duke Long

      I’m not trying to scare anyone. Why then does this get more views than any other article I have ever written?

  • Danielle Hayes-Ward

    Great article. Very honest and realistic. Thumbs up.