Real estate agent for commercial property - what does a commercial agent do?

The responsibilities of a real estate agent for residential property and those of a real estate agent for commercial property (called “commercial agent” at Engel & Völkers) appear similar at first glance. Both advise their clients, handle acquisitions, carry out negotiations and broker properties. Does this mean that both job descriptions are the same? Is a good real estate agent for residential property also automatically an expert for commercial property and vice versa? We will explore both questions in-depth in the following and show you the job requirements for commercial agents.

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Commercial agent training

As far as training is concerned, there is no prescribed path to becoming a commercial agent. However, becoming a successful commercial agent requires a certain amount of training, commitment and much practical experience. At first, this may sound similar to the job requirements for residential property agents, as here, too, the training is more open than for other professions. Claudia Alfano, Senior Talent Attraction Manager at Engel & Völkers headquarters in Hamburg, explains what commercial agent training could entail: “Ideally, the real estate agent has a Bachelor’s degree in real estate, as well as at least five years’ experience as a real estate agent for residential property.” According to her, switching from residential real estate to commercial real estate after a few years is quite common for real estate agents: “Often, residential property agents make a switch after a couple of years in order to extend their expertise to commercial real estate.”

Specialisation in the marketing of commercial real estate

Thus, the differences do not necessarily lie in the choice of professional training, but rather in subsequent career specialisation. “A good real estate agent invests a lot of time in learning all aspects and areas of the real estate business,” Claudia Alfano reveals. That is why real estate agents were often previously active in residential real estate, where they built up an extensive network of contacts and could gain many years of sales experience. This experience is necessary because the commercial property market follows a different set of legal rules: “Before commencing as a commercial agent you must have an in-depth understanding of the market dynamics.” This includes, among other things, the ability to perform complex submarket analyses. Furthermore, this work is well suited for career changers from the field of architecture. What is definitely required, however, is good instinct and a willingness to busy oneself with other economic sectors.

Conclusion: What skills are required to become a commercial agent?

Apart from the skills mentioned above, there are two other aspects which are decisive for being successful as a commercial agent: patience and foresight. This is because the brokerage of commercial real estate, from property valuation to contract conclusion, can take everything from several months to several years - this ambition and perseverance can, on the other hand, be highly lucrative.

All in all, the work of a commercial agent, just like that of a residential property agent, can pose an enormous but also worthwhile challenge that requires much commitment and ambition. Yet both professions vary with regard to specialisation and the processes necessary for successful brokerage. Would you like to take up this challenge? Then you are welcome to contact us and become part of the Engel & Völkers team.

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