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 backward 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 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!

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 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.

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


  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

    • 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

  • 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.

  • 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!

      • 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!

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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)

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 👌🏻

  • 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?