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The process of becoming a commercial real estate broker is two-fold. Aside from possessing the license itself, previous experience is crucial. Acquiring a real estate sales license and smiling brightly during an interview will not cut it. Likewise, potential clients who detect a deficiency in knowledge or experience are apt to go in another direction. However, as the achievable salaries are rather enticing, knowing the steps for entry into the industry is paramount.


“Salesperson” licensure is the inescapable first step. According to theBrokerList, a prominent real estate blog, a “High school diploma [is] required. No college degree required although postsecondary education is helpful.” Each state handles real estate licensing differently; in most, one will require several certificates obtained through courses sold on third-party websites. (In some cases, an adequate bachelor degree will exempt one from this first step) Subsequently, a passing score on the specific state’s “Real Estate Salesperson” test is required. Applicants take a proctored exam in a local testing center. In most states, after passing the exam and receiving a license, assuming a sponsoring broker is in place, one is fully eligible to transact commercial real estate leases, acquisitions, and dispositions.


As previously mentioned, becoming transactional on the commercial side is a two-step process. First, you need to receive a state brokers license and a sponsoring broker before the brokerage of any deals. Commercial brokerage firms, particularly large ones, seek candidates with a documented history in the real estate industry. Whether it be on the residential side, property management, or analyst work for a large firm, candidates that can become transactional without extensive training are desirable.


If your goal is to sell or lease commercial real estate independently, without answering to an employing firm, a broker’s license is required. Prerequisites vary from state to state; in most cases, the combination of “continuing education certificates,” time as an active real estate salesperson, and a set number of transactions completed will qualify one to take their state’s brokerage exam. Once licensed as a broker, one can transact or “broker” any real estate deal independently within their state.


Regardless of one’s long-term goals in real estate, a salesperson’s license is a must have. From there, available time can only predicate one’s ceiling in the commercial real estate industry.