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8 Most Important Commercial Real Estate Investing Questions Answered.

by Duke Long on January 19, 2011 · 28 comments

commercial real estate questions

The 8 Commercial Real Estate Investing Questions:

1. Is it better to invest in residential or commercial real estate?

Residential or commercial pick your poison. Think about the last 2-3-4 years. Hey, what geniuses are left?  We can go further later but it’s simple. Whatever fits your style. A quote from me to a good friend of mine who owns an industrial building: “When your building is full and tenants are happy you are a genius.” “The minute that changes and you come out of pocket you are an IDIOT!” Sounds simple. The everything in-between is the called The Commercial Real Estate Business.

2. What are the fastest and best ways to find commercial property/deals?

Well, this is another simple answer. A. There is none B. Hard ass work. C. Pay some online pimp scammer to give you a checklist that’s not worth crap. D. Actually take the time, work and effort to get to know every commercial inch/number/stat/trend/price/vibe/ in your own back yard!

3. How to find partners who will put you in the deal for 0 money or experience.

Can’t believe I’m wasting time on this one. READ THIS>>> IT WILL NOT HAPPEN! They have the money, they find the deals, and they do them themselves, PERIOD. If it is such a fantastically stupendous earth shaking deal…why did they all pass it up? It slipped thru and got to you…REALLY?

4. How to get paid to bird dog deals and push them out to investors.

Bird Dog as in not in the lead, as in not able to do anything but maybe root out possibilities? See #3 above.

5. How to find and buy properties and not pay any attention to the Cap Rate or ROI.

Analytics, it is the true pure life blood of commercial real estate. There are classes, there are programs, and there are businesses that exist just for the purpose of analyzing commercial real estate. Become the best commercial real estate analyst that you and everyone you know…know. There are no short cuts, there are no “to good to be true” deals.

6. Financing …Every way possible to not use the existing system to get deals.

Lenders and Financing….[SIGH] what a mess, what a fiasco, what an industry. Obliviously not a lot of love coming from me. This is a subject that needs a complete series in itself.  Give up your first born and have cash in escrow and still not get financing. Seen it more times than not. Alternative or seller financing….. You deserve what you are surely going to get.

7.How to use your internet skills and create a commercial real estate wholesale business.

Yeah, that’s how you can do it. Just surf. No one else has the “special” access/knowledge/ typing/aggregation/ list making skills that you have. A little heads up>> we all have access to the internet! Creating bullet point lists with three paragraphs of how to tips…and junk not a business…it’s a time suck hobby. How many “deals” or “buyers” come from this…Oh, I know someone will jump all over this and say ”but I have made kabillions from”….. Yea sure, add those in with your MLM checks. Investors…oh wait; real investors are doing the real deals. Want to make money getting on the internet and creating lists…think recipes.

8. Find the markets that are easy to find and flip quickly with little or no effort.

How about your own back yard….oh I forgot there are no good deals there. Grass always looks greener. Big market looks into small market because the small market people are not as savvy as they would be in a big market. Small market people look to the big time because hey, it’s the big time. The numbers always look better with some sunny pics and a flight/recon/market drive by weekend stay over. I know I know all the world is out there. Yea and I forgot..what are you going to do with that 300 buyers list and squeeze page? Maybe the banks have already beat you to it.

Real World!

I know that this post may seem a bit contrite and preachy, maybe a little harsh and hardcore with some attitude (what I am known for), maybe I am just setting the tone for what’s to come in future posts. I have run into and dealt with just about every type of …no check that I have run into and dealt with EVERY type of investor/broker/owner/lender/developer/vendor out there. What most every serious investor is looking for is practical, realistic, on the street, this is how it is really done in the real world advice. That is exactly what you are going to get. Straight talking, hard ass, hardcore commercial real estate. I’m looking forward to learning, talking, and discussing commercial real estate with the “tons of smart and savvy people in the commercial real estate business.”


Photo credit via Flickr: mworrell

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Joshua Dorkin January 19, 2011 at 11:55 am

Welcome to the BiggerPockets blog team, Duke! I love that you keep it so real for everyone, and I’m very much looking forward to your contributions on the blog to come.


Duke Long January 19, 2011 at 11:56 am

Josh, THX!


Kevin Kaczmarek January 19, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Duke, you crack me up reading this article because its so you. You always tell it straight whether people like it or not. Welcome aboard and good to hear your insights.


Duke Long January 19, 2011 at 2:04 pm

It’s a gift!


Giovanni Isaksen January 19, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Now all you need to do is bundle up some CDs in a notebook and sell your great advice through an info-mercial!


Duke Long January 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm
Jeff Brown January 19, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Hey Duke, welcome.

Harsh? After reading it I wondered if you’d just finished a Dale Carnegie course. :)


Duke Long January 20, 2011 at 10:25 am



Jacob Holub January 19, 2011 at 8:47 pm

I’m glad this article was pushed through to my Evo. I’m new to the commercial brokerage business and I found this post refreshing. I look forward to the learning and hardwork before me and I look forward to reading your future post.


Duke Long January 20, 2011 at 10:25 am

There are quite a few great forums and places to learn on Biggerpockets. Hope I can help a little along the way! THX for commenting.


Jason Sandquist January 20, 2011 at 5:51 am

Gotta love the calls from Miami looking in your market from someone fresh off a Carlton Sheets seminar inquiring about bird doggin’ wholesale deals ;-)


MH January 20, 2011 at 9:47 am

Fantastic straight-shooting. Especially item #6.


Duke Long January 20, 2011 at 10:27 am

Lending…..Big [SIGH] …thanks for reading the post!


D. Scott January 23, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Great Stuff!


Jay January 23, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Duke: You nailed it to the wall. It is refreshing. You have done everyone a huge favor. Unfortunately most will ignore your advice even though you stated the unadulterated pure truth in single syllable English language. CRE is not for amateurs. You always pay for your education either now or later. Just about all the stuff on the net about CRE, NPL, BulkREO’s, etc is a load of crap peddled by dream merchants selling moonbeams and fairy tales.


Joshua Dorkin January 23, 2011 at 8:15 pm

You nailed it too, Jay. Sadly, those crap peddlers give a bad name to the rest of us out there, and take advantage of people with dreams — people whose dreams and savings are often destroyed thanks to these crooks.


Mark January 24, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Keepin’ it real, what a breath of fresh air. Love Bigger Pockets and your comments will certainly be appreciated.


Reginald Reglus January 24, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Straight-forward, hard-hitting advice. Good job Duke!


Duke Long January 24, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Thanks guys!!


D. Scott January 24, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Had a similar conversation with a residential agent today that said that they wanted to start wholesaling commercial properties in Washington D.C. and wanted to know if I wanted to help. Seriously?!


Dan January 26, 2011 at 7:03 am

Wow…What whiner…Thanks for inspiration…Why are you here?…I can find folks to rain on my parade any where. Need help doing deals? I” ve done just about all the things you said can’t be done …Go away…


Duke Long January 26, 2011 at 7:40 am



Joshua Dorkin January 26, 2011 at 7:59 am

Dan – The last thing the business needs is another guy pushing dreams. The truth is that tens if not hundreds of thousands of wanna-be investors are enticed into real estate from these dream pushing, self-anointed gurus, who make it sound like all you need is a dollar and a dream and you’re going to get rich in real estate. Anyone who has made a dime in the business knows that is not how things work.

I come across thousands of these people every year, and sadly, most never make it because they are listening to those guys instead of people like Duke and our other contributors.

As for your successes, congrats. Perhaps you could share some of these success stories with us and show us how we’re all wrong?


D. Scott January 26, 2011 at 7:48 am

Duke Long ” The CRE Fairy Killer” LMAO!


Ryan February 1, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Duke. You just became my new Hero.


Duke Long February 1, 2011 at 2:21 pm

My cape is at the cleaners. :)


Deion Alaei October 30, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Many people mistake negativity and confrontation as “keeping it real”.
Keeping it real means just that, its not some act/persona that one thinks is keeping it real because they saw real housewives or internet forums act like that.
While you are entitled to your opinions/views, I disagree with your approach duke.
Its already hard enough for someone to break into the commercial real estate business and try to make a better life for themselves and their families – and your brash cynicism and confrontational attitude doesn’t make it any better or easier for the person already struggling enough as is.
When advice is coming from someone in the industry, I would think they would be more supportive and encouraging to new or young people wanting to get in the business as well.
But for whatever reason, a lot of people in the industry would rather be negative and use condescending words like “newbie” – and however one tries to mask it, newbie is disrespectful and condescending, no matter how someone tries to explain otherwise.
The newbie part of this wasn’t in reference to you duke, that was just something I wanted to include for everyone in general because I see it used very excessively.
We should all be more encouraging and helpful to each other, as opposed to the approach you took with this article.
I don’t mean any disrespect. I just believe it’s important for this to be said because it doesn’t seem like it’s being said enough.
If I do come off as disrespectful or anything negative, I do sincerely apologize.
It’s not my intention.


Harley Cronley January 30, 2014 at 5:36 pm

I considered some of these questions before I made any decision in commercial real estate Dallas. We all know that investing on commercial properties is not an easy thing so thank you for these guide questions.


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