Every one of us is a broker. That is to say, we’re all using someone else’s money. Whether you’re a baby-faced runner at CBRE or quarterbacking a big-time pension fund, you’re still a broker—you need to sell your deal to somebody, whether to a mom & pop investor or a bored investment committee. It’s not your money and, for that matter, it’s usually not theirs. The only true principals in real estate may be the millions of 401K retirees who are the capital behind every major player in the industry. Even the old rich guys still in the game are using some else’s money; in their case, it’s their kids’.
Commercial brokerage is a bit like bull-riding. Only a handful of agents, the best, last much beyond their twenties, the vast majority unable to deal with the pressure of having their cash flow meter reset to zero every January 1st.
To fully understand and thrive in commercial real estate one has to understand much more than the simple “bricks and mortar” that make up a building. A successful commercial real estate broker (developer, investor, or lender) wears many hats and should have knowledge across a variety of different industries and disciplines.
Whether you’ve just been hired to consult with land owners or you are wanting to purchase a parcel of land for any kind of commercial development use, don’t go it alone. Doing so can easily lead to some very expensive learning experiences and will make the progression of the project much more difficult.