Advice for New Agents in Commercial Real Estate

Contributing Author: Anthony “Tony” Catalano

So, you passed the real estate exam and you were able to find a spot on the team of a local commercial real estate (CRE) firm. 

What’s next? How do you really get started in the business? 

Just 18 months ago this was my challenge. And while it’s not science there are some things that you can do to make your transition as effective and efficient as possible.  Most of these pointers will seem like common sense, but actually practicing them can be a bit harder, so here goes…

Shadow a broker/Find a mentor:  The first thing to remember is the brokers in your office most likely work for themselves. Time teaching you is something they probably don’t get paid to do; it takes them away from their day job of selling commercial real estate

Some advice…be humble. If the broker has been in the business for a while, and this is your second career like it is for me, he/she will have forgotten more than you will ever know.  If you can find someone who is approachable, be concise with your questions and ask if you can tag along when appropriate. 

Most importantly, try to add some value to your new relationship.  Offer to do some of the mundane work the broker needs done. You will certainly learn something, and the broker will get to do something else they want or need to do, or maybe go home a little early that day. Creating this value will go a long way in developing a win-win scenario for both of you. 

Learn the market:In addition to what you can glean from your new mentor, read the trades.  Attend industry functions. Join your local chamber. Simply let others you meet know you are in the business and you will pick up lots of news and info about the people, property and products driving the market.  

And speaking of driving, get in your car and drive. Be sure to notice things that you might not have in the past.  Real estate signs, new construction, open fields, municipality work. Think commercial real estate. Developing a nose for street activity is key.  Here’s a tip:  Drive a different route to get from routine point A to B.  In other words, don’t drive home the same way, every day.  

Spend time with industry resources/websites:  The sooner you get comfortable with certain websites the better.  For me in the Capital District it was CIREB or our MLS. Spend time learning how to navigate the site.  Make up fictitious searches so you get a real sense of how to use their tools.  If you are stuck and your mentor is busy or you have already asked them one more question than you should have, call up the organization and they will help you understand the nuances of their site. Read some of the top 25 Commercial Real Estate Books compiled by LDCRE and its users. 

The faster you can navigate their site and maximize the resource the better you will be able to serve your clients.

Pick a focus, but not right away:  Give yourself some time to see the inner workings of the various market segments: retail, office, medical, warehouse, manufacturing, land investment, etc. Get a feel for which of your skill sets and interests line up well. Within a couple of years, you should know what works best for you.  

In my office, the most successful brokers are the ones that are considered experts in their space, but have the ability and knowledge to do a deal of any sort.

Good luck learning and go out and make some deals!

The expert knowledge and experience in commercial transactions that the real estate experts at NAI Platform possess can often be the competitive edge that enables their clients to successfully locate that diamond property or space, navigating the potential pitfalls, while completing the process more quickly, helping their clients save valuable time and money.

Our brokers at NAI Platformpossess extensive knowledge and experience of the industry’s intricate nuances, with a singular focus of working diligently to help our clients meet and surpass their goals. 

For more information and expert guidance on your commercial real estate needs, please give us a call at NAI Platform or visit our website at

Anthony “Tony” Catalano

Real Estate Salesperson

NAI Platform

14 Corporate Woods Blvd.

Albany, NY 12211

Direct: 518-465-1400 Ext: 206

Fax: 518 465 1441

As Seen On:

yahoo marketwatch business-times dallas biz_journal los-angeles atlantachicago new-york boston