Networking Your Way to Success
You can get started building your commercial real estate network online. This means you get to choose the times of the day that work best for you, and there’s no traveling to in-person meetings. You can even reach out across the country (or the world) to create relationships and even invest virtually. Hop onto any major social media platform and search for “multi-unit investor” groups or pages. You’ll be able to meet and connect with brokers, other investors, wholesalers, and more. We encourage all of our Commercial Dream Partners to do this, and as a result, they’ve ended up both buying and selling properties by tapping into this resource.
The COVID-19 pandemic created a need for virtual meetings. As a result, real estate investor associations now have online meetings and forums. This is a great place to meet, connect, form relationships, and do deals. Find groups in your local or virtual market by searching for “REIA groups” or “real estate investor association” along with the name of the city or state.
Getting Serious with Your CCIM Designation
Ever want to attend medical school just to earn the prestigious “MD” stamp after your name? How about having the highly respected “CPA” added to your last name? Having earned either of these titles brings you automatic credibility in the respective industry. In commercial real estate, we have such a prestigious tag: CCIM, which stands for Certified Commercial Investment Member. This title designates you as a recognized expert in the disciplines of commercial and investment real estate. Once earned, you’ll be among only 9,000 or so elite professionals worldwide who hold the CCIM title. Titleholders include brokers, asset managers, commercial lenders, leasing agents, developers, property managers, and investors, just to name a few.
To earn the CCIM designation, you must pass commercial core educational courses, submit a résumé of completed commercial investment transactions or consultations, and pass a comprehensive examination. These rigorous requirements ensure you and the public that you not only have a command of commercial real estate investment theory but that you also have relevant practical experience.
Networking Using Search Engines
It’s easy to look for a house online in any city. You just go to the city’s multiple listing service (MLS) and see what’s out there. With this service, you see prices, pictures, property features — you name it. But for commercial real estate, no such service exists in each city. The next best things are independent online listing services for commercial real estate. Several companies have filled this niche, and each of them approaches listings a bit differently.
LoopNet, Inc. refers to itself as the largest commercial real estate online listing service in the world. It’s an easy-to-use website that lists properties that are for sale and for lease worldwide. LoopNet reports to have more than 500,000 commercial properties for sale and for lease on its website. You can also search for brokers nationwide who specialize in a field that you’re interested in. LoopNet even provides reports on recent sales and closings nationwide in hundreds of cities. LoopNet is a powerful way to get immediate access to deals and commercial professionals of a broad nature. It’s a great starting point for investors to contact brokers to get their investment ball rolling.
CoStar calls itself the number one commercial real estate information company in the United States and United Kingdom. And judging from its extensive website and the wide range of services offered it would be difficult to disagree with its status as number one. CoStar offers a commercial property listing service that’s similar to LoopNet.
CoStar has the most comprehensive database of property information we’ve ever seen in one website. If you’re looking for an investment property for yourself or client, or if you want to expose your property (or your client’s) to millions of people, CoStar can get the job done. When you need detailed, accurate, and up-to-date information on comparable sales, this company sets the bar; it tracks more than 1.9 million properties in its database. CoStar is invaluable for finding commercial deals of all types and for advertising your business. It’s also a powerful networking tool for any commercial professional or would-be professional.
Commercial Real Estate Exchange, Inc. (CREXI) enables commercial real estate professionals to quickly streamline, manage, grow their businesses, and ultimately close deals faster. Since launching in 2015, Crexi has become one of the more active marketplaces in the industry. With millions of users, the platform has helped buyers, tenants, and brokers transact and lease more than 500,000 commercial listings totaling more than $1 trillion in property value.
ApartmentBuildings.com focuses exclusively on the multifamily asset space and exposes agents’ listings to a nationwide audience. It serves the needs of investors, REITS, private equity firms, and investors
Other listing sites that have jumped into the commercial real estate space are Cityfeet, Showcase, and Ten-X.
Connecting With the Investment Firms
You can find firms to work with in several ways, but the best way to find one is by referral from a fellow investor. After you find some firms you like, you need to make the call to see whether they fit your investment criteria. But most important, you must develop a relationship with a person within the firm. The best way to find an agent or advisor to begin work with is through referrals; referrals from another satisfied investor are best.
Begin by calling on a few of the following “big dogs” in the commercial real estate investment industry:
* Sperry Van Ness Commercial Real Estate
* CB Richard Ellis Group
* Marcus & Millichap
* Colliers International
* Coldwell Banker Commercial
* Staubach Capital
* Cushman & Wakefield
Hundreds of smaller local firms can do the same level of work you require. We have great small firms that we continue to work with today, and we found them in various ways — referrals, by going to commercial broker networking events, or simply by searching online. To find the most up-to-date firms or listing sites in your area, search online for “commercial properties” or “multi-unit properties” along with the name of your city or state. You’ll discover that most commercial real estate brokerages now have their own listing sites, along with any new players on the block who’ve jumped into the online listing game.
Reading the Trades
To stay ahead of the game, we suggest that you subscribe to (and read!) online commercial real estate newsletters and magazines. Here are a few that we recommend:
* RealEstateJournal.com, which is a property guide from the Wall Street Journal
* Multi-Housing News
* Wealth Management
* Commercial Investment Real Estate Magazine, which is the magazine of the CCIM Institute
* Multifamily Executive
* Shopping Center Business
* Commercial Real Estate Development Association
We’ve provided you with a number of these for you to choose from for a few reasons. First off, things change quickly and any of these could go away (or two could merge together). Try to find several that you like and we suggest choosing a time slot each month on your calendar to review the latest commercial investing news. If you don’t do this, and think you’ll read this stuff while you’re relaxing at the end of the day, it just won’t get done.
Joining a National Association
It wasn’t that long ago that only one national apartment owners’ association existed. There’s currently a number of players in this group, and it’s likely that we may see more develop over time. To sort through your options search online for “national apartment owners association.”
Some of these associations offer useful tools to investors who are looking to set up an operating budget or who just want to see what income or expenses they could expect for a new property. Tools can be found such as surveys of income and expense data. These types of reports allow you to see where other apartment owners nationwide are operating their properties in terms of income and expenses. Other invaluable benefits of these associations include admittance to annual multifamily housing trade shows and conferences.