Here Are 10 Reasons You Will NEVER Become A Commercial Real Estate Broker And Why This Still Stings Even More Today.

It’s been right at five years to the day that I sat down and wrote the original 10 Reasons You Will NEVER Become A Commercial Real Estate Broker. And I have stated in various places online and off over those last five years my amazement of the absolute viral life that this one article has had.

When I do check my site stats that article is always as in always at the top. It’s at the top this week. It’s at the top of my quarterly stats. It’s at the top of my yearly stats and yes it’s at the top of my all-time stats as the most clicked and read article. Nothing else is even close. How about a bit of transparency?

Below is the copied and pasted stats for 30 days directly from my site back end.

So, if you multiply that times 12 months generally on the average…yeah it’s…crazy and it’s?

So, it must have hit some kind of nerve someway somehow. Obviously, my style of writing is, let’s be honest…shitty and not exactly going to win any middle school writing competitions, which means it has to be the content and the way it was presented. Some took it for what I thought was obvious and that was as a challenge to those who wanted a real-world peek into what it takes to be a commercial real estate broker. Others well let’s just say they took it to heart and let me have it in the comments section. And if you happen to look the comments section they are all still there for the world to see.

And so, why revisit it today? As I said it’s almost five years later and I thought it might be interesting to and see what has changed or may not have changed in my mind over that period of time. I did say “In My Mind.”

Oh, by the way, I did write another article stating that there were hundreds of reasons why you could and should become a commercial real estate broker and guess what? Nobody gave a shit about that article and it gets a few clicks here and there. What does that say? You make up your own mind on that one.

Let’s get started, I will comment and highlight in red.

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 for 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.

A couple of things stick out. One is that nothing about this has changed at all. It’s still all about knowledge and experience. Any college program I am familiar with that has any commercial real estate as a part of it is all about numbers and then again numbers. There are no “this is how to be a broker” degree programs that I know of. There may be but again none that I am aware of. The second is the time that is required to build a successful business and never relent. How many people will do even that? There is a clear way to filter people out no matter how smart they may think they are. 

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.

Yes, it’s The Big Leagues Still! I had a conversation out at ICSC in Las Vegas a few years back with someone from KW Commercial who assured me they would be a Top 5 Global commercial firm without a doubt. I remember reminding him we were in Vegas and I was willing to bet whatever amount of personal money that scared him to death that that would not happen. He just gave me the “Fuck You” smile and wandered off. I’m not singling out KW here specifically but the point made even five years later still stands. As far as who and how the big firms attract talent, that may be another conversation for another day but do what I said and click on the top firms in your market and look. Could you possibly pull one of those people out and get them to come to your firm? Could you do what they do and do it even better? Maybe I should dig and find out what that guy from KW is doing today. (Can’t wait for the self-righteous emails to come in from this one!)

3. Math Is A Foreign Language To You.

Commercial real estate is numbers, and after you get thru the numbers there are the dollars. They are all important and relevant to every deal. They are the deal. Do you think your beautiful smile and mommy loves you personality will skate you thru commercial real estate?! 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!

Let’s start with this. “Do you think your beautiful smile and mommy loves you personality will skate you thru commercial real estate?” Wow, did I catch serious hell for that statement on its own. There must be a lot of vain ass and narcissistic people with glam shots still out there who think that’s all it takes. Did they even look at the part about the maths? There has was then and it continues today the conversations and investing into data and how that can and will define a marketplace. How much data and information does a potential client have access to today compared to five years ago? You still don’t think that matters? Take a peek a residential, ironically even though we are the big leagues they are decades ahead of commercial real estate in that regard. But #CRE is coming and catching up and we are coming fast. (Don’t even)

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.

Wow, do I even touch this one? It’s still true, it just is. Look at the comments section of the original article. Hell hath no…

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.

Again market and product knowledge is #CRE gold! Think though about what has happened in the visualization space. How about BIM. Don’t know what BIM is? I’m not going to help you figure it out. Do the work. How about sensors and real-time visualization just for starters, there are some fantastic tools out there now but they are just a small piece of the entire ecosystem. Might want to stay up on your tech tools…or don’t. Ok…here… Building Information Modeling. BTW BIM is huge in Europe and they have a bunch of ladies out kicking ass with it. Hmmm.

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 backward and in their sleep…and so does every other professional commercial real estate broker/owner within a 50-mile radius. No shit!

Do it, call and just ask a few questions, it couldn’t hurt. By the way, ALL brokerages and brokers track and database every building and everything that happens with every building. If you have a buyer/user they might take time to listen. Good luck convincing them that your deal is real. Don’t get offended by that statement. The person on the other end of that call has probably done hundreds of transactions and most likely has seen thousands. They can tell what’s real in about five sentences. It’s what they do to eat, every day. It’s what every commercial broker in every market does to eat.

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.”

“In 2011, that first round of Baby Boomers—those Americans born between 1946 and 1964—turns 65. From now until 2030, 10,000 Baby Boomers each day will hit retirement age.” Source- Senior Living. So, that means that we still have over 10 years to go, we are just about half way. That means most of them are 60 and under. Sorry, the stats don’t lie. “But you say, but the millennials and”…well they may be…hell let’s be honest, no they won’t and for at least another decade.”Won’t what” you may ask? Run fucking commercial real estate for one hell of a long time yet still!

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 aunt’s 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!

Oh yes, we are all online. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, What’s App, Slack, Telegram and so many various industry-specific sites and services. We are connected to the world and #CRE is a Global Industry with ties to anything and everything. So it should be easy and simple to get business buy just sitting your fat ass in front of a computer and “networking.” Is that how you do it? Really? I’m thinking of two brokers I know in different but major markets here in the US. They do ALL of the online stuff. They do videos, they write content, they do whatever the hell they can and use whatever tools available to get a deal. You know what comes next, don’t you? Yes, the one thing both of the seasoned big hitters have told me. They get their ass out of the office and SELL! EVERYDAY! Nothing good or great happens in the office in front of the computer. Nothing! They hit doors and get face to face. PERIOD. That does not take guts, not in their mind it’s just doing their fucking job right, EVERYDAY!

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.

Everyone has a number, they make think they know that number. It’s the number you think you’re worth and then there is the number the market tells you what you are worth. That’s called reality. I attended a major brokerage conference recently and I got pitched a property or deal (ABC) in just about every conversation I had. One of those conversations stuck out to me. The broker and I will quote him word for word here, “after a certain point it’s about the game, the deals, and the process, how many cars can you buy and how many times do you need to count? I quit chasing dollars a long time ago. Once I got past all the toy buying bullshit my business took off like I never imagined.” I think he was from Seattle if I remember correctly. Real money doesn’t scare him, hell he’s not even counting. Compete against that!

10. It Takes Real Work.

Nobody backs into this (unless daddy is flush) business. Most of us wanted to, tried really hard to, busted our asses, and 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.

One of the very first things I ever wrote was about how old school commercial real estate still kicks ass. In that article, I related a story about of friend of mine who is a fucking legend in the business. His quote,” seventeen hours a day seven days a week.” There is a movement online that tries to shame anyone for being what they call “hustle proud.” In their mind busting your ass and doing your job like a MF’er is wrong and shameful. Well, I say fuck you to them and have fun being shitty at your job and life. I’m not ashamed and or will be shamed for kicking ass. It’s what commercial real estate is. There are some of the best and brightest and most competitive people on the planet doing serious work. Yea, that’s where I want to be. Give me the big stage, the global stage and put me up against them all. Now I’m fucking interested.

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!

Everyone has to have goals and some of us will get there or die trying!

So, five years ago I wrote the 10 Reasons You Will NEVER Become A Commercial Real Estate Broker and what has changed?

In my opinion nothing, nothing at all.

And to some that have made every effort to “disrupt” any and all of the above…and have been and or are still offended because of…

That Must Sting Even More Today.



+1 Do you know where the fuck you are? You’re in the jungle baby! Welcome!


Duke Long

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