Commercial Real Estate

How to Build Credibility to Make Your First Big Commercial Real Estate Deal

Expertise: Business Management, Commercial Real Estate, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Personal Development, Real Estate Investing Basics
126 Articles Written

You want to do your first multi-million dollar commercial real estate deal, but you don't have the track record. What can you do? In this article I'll give you some tips to build credibility quickly and appear bigger than you really are.

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The challenge when you're trying to get into commercial real estate investing for the first time is that you don't have a track record. As a result, you're not taken seriously by sellers, brokers, investors, and other professionals to get your first deal done.

It’s a chicken and egg problem.

The challenge is partly real but mostly perceived. What I mean by that is that while you can’t make up a track record, here are 5 tips to appear to be more experienced than you really are.

How to Build Credibility to Make Your First Big Commercial Real Estate Deal

Tip #1: Learn The Lingo

If your goal is to purchase your first 25-unit apartment building, then the first thing you should do is educate yourself. Learn to speak the language that apartment building investors speak. Read books, look at deals, meet other investors, and speak to brokers.

Related: 3 Ways BiggerPockets Can Seem Overwhelming to Newbies (& How to Avoid Them)

Nothing screams “newbie” more than using the wrong language.

Tip #2: Bring Your Business Cards

Common sense, but most investors don’t have any. Don’t be that investor.

Tip #3: Create a Website

Even fewer investors have a website. The truth is that many people perceive someone as more credible if they have a web presence.

Creating a website is so easy these days that you can create one yourself. And if you can’t, it’s cheap enough to pay someone to do it.

Tip #4: Flaunt Your Team

Network like crazy and identify who you want on your team. You'll need a real estate attorney, possibly an SEC attorney if you're raising money, a CPA, and property manager. Also recruit a group of experienced investors who can form an advisory board.

Add the names and bios of your chosen team members to your Credibility Kit (that we’ll discuss in a moment) and mention them frequently whenever you interact with people.

Having a team around you not only helps you overcome your lack of experience, it also makes you seem bigger than you really are.

Tip #5: Prepare a Credibility Kit

The purpose of the Credibility Kit is to provide you with instant credibility whenever you meet a seller, investor, or other professional. It consists of 3 parts:

  • Cover Letter: A one page letter that introduces you, highlights your accomplishments and outlines your goals.
  • Resume: A one page overview of what you’ve done. Even though you may not have a track record in apartment buildings, you want to highlight a track record of success in whatever else you have done.
  • Sample Deal Package: This is an investor package of an actual deal that you may have received from a broker. Everything is real EXCEPT that you don’t have it under contract. It contains an executive summary, financial projections, and actual financials. If you have investors in the deal, it would outline the terms of the investment. Include the bios of the team you’ve recruited in Tip #4.

As you meet with investors or other professionals, you can use the Sample Deal Package in lieu of an actual deal you have under contract. This allows you to get financial commitments from potential investors long before you actually have a deal.

Related: Newbies, Want to Break into Real Estate? Above All, DON’T Do This

It also gives you tremendous credibility if you can show someone that you know what you’re doing.

For more information about the Sample Deal Package, see “Psst … The # 1 Secret to Raising Money to Invest in Apartment Buildings.”


If you're just getting started with real estate investing, and especially if you want to start doing bigger deals, not having a track record can really hold you back. But by learning the lingo, creating a team around you, looking professional with business cards and a web site, and armed with a Sample Deal Package, you can overcome a lot of these challenges by appearing bigger and more professional than you really are.

Try it and see what happens. I think you’ll be amazed by how serious people will take you despite your lack of experience.

How did you first get started with bigger deals? What helped you overcome the “newbie” stigma?

Michael Blank is a leading authority on apartment building investing in the United States. He’s passionate about helping others become financially free in 3-5 years by investing in apartment buildi...
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    Paul Doherty Rental Property Investor from Mc Kinney, TX
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks for the posting! Any suggestions for a good book to read on getting started with apartment investing? That covers all the basics like the terms (NOI, cap rate, etc) as well as how to put together a deal?
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hi Paul – I’m currently reading “What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know About Cash Flow” by Frank Gallinelli. I’m in the process of reading popular real estate books so I’m in a better position to recommend them to people. It’s all about analysis and numbers – very dry but fundamental. It’s a bit painful to read but it’s absolutely essential. Also of course check out all of the Bigger Pockets articles as well as a list of my free resources at — hopefully all of that will keep you pretty busy! Hope that helps. Michael
    Jason Stone Real Estate Agent from Saint Louis, Missouri
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I enjoyed this article and the advice, but I take issue with including this one line in the conclusion, “If you’re just getting started with real estate investing,” It seems to me that if “If you’re just getting started with real estate investing,” you shouldn’t be trying to do a million dollar deal. Period. Recognize you’re new to the game and play it that way. In my humble opinion, experience, even if it’s on smaller deals, matters.
    Rodric King
    Replied about 2 years ago
    I am brand new to the Real Estate market. I totally disagree with being cautious of going for million dollar deals because of lack of experience. Example: I am a full time singer. I usually have 144 hours a week to do what I want. What if I spent the next year totally locked into the apartment buying process? What if I set really high goals and approach it with a plan? I can reduce my risk with knowledge and education. Knowing the difference between knowledge and education speaks volume alone. I can learn from the best and the worst apartment investors out here and learn all the common and uncommon pitfalls to avoid. The point is this; if someone wants something the only person that can stop them is the person they look back at while standing in front if a mirror. So, its easy to stay safe, but understand with ultimate goals require ultimate effort, ultimate time, ultimate energy, ultimate education, ultimate knowledge, ultimate everything…. So, let’s recommend newbies to do what they think they deserve “IF THAT IS WHAT THEY REALLY WANT.” Conclusion: A newbie CAN attack the million dollar apartment deals.
    Samantha Sydnor from Las Vegas, NV
    Replied about 2 years ago
    I totally agree!!! 🙂
    Loretta Wilson
    Replied about 2 years ago
    Well said. I am a “Newbie” and I have studied and went to RE seminars and I know that I can do this. Anyone can do whatever their heart desires (with hard work, focus, and dedication.
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I good perspective, Jason, thanks!
    Ben Leybovich Rental Property Investor from Chandler/Lima, Arizona/OH
    Replied over 5 years ago
    haha You could do all that; it’s all good stuff, Michael. Or, you could skip all of it and write a few articles on the BP blog instead, and suddenly everyone will think you know something… (knowing anything, by the way, is not a requirement in any way…) Hahaha – I know you got a laugh out of this:) I just couldn’t help myself… Call some time. We haven’t talked in a while.
    Willie Morales Investor from New York City, New York
    Replied over 5 years ago
    HI Michael Great article, What I’ve been doing since I haven’t done a deal yet while i’m paying down some debt, I’m meeting investors at least 2-3 per month to get to know one another, and I’m looking for partners to help me out investing in multi-family houses,basically for a mentor/investor who has done commercial real estate and I can learn from A to Z what it takes to start and finish the transaction, I’m starting my own Credibility Kit thanks to this blog of yours Thank you Willie.
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Awesome, thanks Willie!
    Lorissha Coburn from Addison, IL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Enjoyed reading this article and it does take the pressure off of being a newbie. I can only think that being a team would make the process a whole lot easier. I am a Licensed Real Estate Broker so I am sure I’d play a important part in locating the million dollar deal.
    Teresia M. Real Estate Investor from Cartersville, Georgia
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Great article. Definitely answered some questions I had on how to be taken seriously. Getting started on this today. Thank you.
    Tommy DeSalvo Real Estate Agent from Cincinnati, Ohio
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey Michael! Nice post. I’ve been reading a lot of your posts because I’m trying to break into the commercial real estate scene. I have a few questions. If you don’t have actual business cards, is it ok to use a business card app? The one I use allows me to send the card I’ve made by email, text, etc. Or is there just more weight given to a real paper card? What starting out, to help build a track record of success, would it be better to build a sample deal package for a smaller amount? For example, instead of a multi-million dollar deal, what about something like a 10 unit apartment, or even a 4-plex? This would allow me to only need a handful of potential investors/partners and would potentially be able to springboard me into the bigger deals. What are your thoughts? Thanks for your time.
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hi Tommy: not a big fan of e-cards. Either use “real” ones or none at all (also OK). Re: starting out: go for the size building that is just outside your comfort zone. The bigger the better. Ideally you go for a 25-unit because that is a good stepping stone to 75-100 units next. Thanks! Michael
    Tommy DeSalvo Real Estate Agent from Cincinnati, Ohio
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Awesome. Thanks for the advice! I’ll work on making a nice card and stepping up my sample deal package.
    Peter Mckernan Residential Real Estate Agent from Newport Beach, California
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Great newbie tips for apartment investing. These are great tips that everyone getting into their first deal can benefit from. Thank you for sharing!
    Joshua Ryan Meador Realtor from Cleveland, OH
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Thank you sir. Very good tips!
    Tyler James from Tucson, Arizona
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Great read! Is there a way to bookmark articles? I’d love to save this one.
    Rodric King
    Replied about 2 years ago
    So, my question is, “if I am dead broke if I find a great deal and have it structured funding wouldn’t be hard to find, right?” Or am I mistaken?
    Account Closed
    Replied about 2 years ago
    Thanks for sharing these information…