Commercial RE Apprentice/Training Programs

14 Replies


I've been reaching out to some of my local commercial brokerages and have been told that they don't have the resources to train new commercial agents. Does anyone know of any commercial apprentice or commercial re training programs in the Washington, DC area? 

Thanks in advance!


Look up CCIM courses.

Commercial brokers make thousands to tens of thousands per hour in some cases. To train you up and then you not perform doesn't just cost time it cost money to the broker.

Talk is cheap and the new agents always say they will do everything blah,blah,blah and waste time.

In addition to the CCIM courses @Joel Owens mentions you should consider approaching several medium to small CRE brokerages.

The DC area is a major metropolitan marketplace. You should be able to find a brokerage who has the resources and is willing to train a committed new agent. How you present yourself is also important so be prepared when making contact with the brokerages sales managers.

I cannot tell you how many calls I've fielded over the years where the prospective agent said "I've been thinking of getting into commercial real estate". That's a deal killer for me. I will spend time and money on people who have made strides to work in the industry. They don't have to have experience, but they need to show some level of commitment beyond "I want".

That's where the CCIm courses, Urban Land Institute courses, and a slew of courses available at community colleges and through extension programs at major universities become valuable resources for prospective new agents in CRE.

Thanks for the feedback Joel. I will check out the CCIM courses.

Thanks Chris! I totally agree that I must present myself in the best possible way and show what I have done thus far to earn an opportunity. I appreciate the feedback and will add your advice to my toolbox.



Christopher I here that same thing all the time "I've been thinking of getting into commercial real estate".

These agents want to learn without investing in themselves first. You have to think of it as you are starting a new business. When you first start out there are lot's of things to learn and you have to put money into that business and the first few years you are not making as much. Over time and hard work the costs go down and the profit usually starts going up as you learn the trade.

These agents tend to want no risk and take up all of your time. Ones that call me I say 25,000 upfront non-refundable with a 50/50 split. This way they give 25,000 and have skin in the game to lose if they get lazy and do not follow the steps. If they follow they steps and make 50k on the first deal then they already paid me the 25k so they get the full 50k commission etc. 

Just like rehabbing a house the HML lender wants you to drop money to have something to lose if you do not perform. It should be that way for people inquiring about the commercial real estate profession. This isn't like residential where if you can fog a mirror and take a test you will be an agent. There is a lot more required in the commercial space to thrive and flourish.

There are a lot of great residential brokers and agents that are very hard working I am just saying the barrier to entry for residential is very low.


Wow Joel,

Now that's definitely the first real analysis I've ever heard regarding commercial RE. When talking to Residential Brokers, they have given the impression that commercial is just like residential and you can come in and learn as you go. Based on what you said, there is a significant difference in the two. Thanks for the clarification-this info is just what I needed.

Wow Joel,

Now that's definitely the first real analysis I've ever heard regarding commercial RE. When talking to Residential Brokers, they have given the impression that commercial is just like residential and you can come in and learn as you go. Based on what you said, there is a significant difference between the two. Thanks for the clarification-this info is just what I needed.

So the residential agents say learn as you go for clients that are putting down millions of dollars per transaction or more??

It's obvious they do not know what they are talking about unless they are selling small 200k or 300k type mom and pop older commercial buildings.

I don't do any of that stuff. My deals are in the millions to tens of millions in price at a time. One retail center with 10 tenants and each having a different 40 page lease is 400 pages to look at not including LOI, purchase and sale,appraisal, environmental phase one, site inspection, survey, title exceptions,repair bids, service contracts, property management agreements, profit and loss statements, cam reconciliation reports, rent rolls, trialing 36 months, loan covenants, etc.

I just stopped but there is much more so one deal can have over 1,000 pages to review.

That's scary if a buyer is putting millions at risk with an unseasoned residential broker with dollar signs in their eyes dreaming of a big check. If a junior agent is handling such a transaction they are typically on a team and have a senior agent and a director above them. They are given much smaller tasks to learn and the seasoned professional is doing the high level stuff. As the new agent gets more knowledge they move up the ranks and are given more responsibilities on each transaction.

I'm primarily a residential agent. I only a couple of small commercial deals a year, and a large commercial deal maybe once a year or so. The difference between residential and small commercial is a descent amount of difference. The difference between large commercial and residential, is like two entirely different professions altogether. it's like night and day. The first 4 or 5 commercial deals I did were cobrokered with a commercial broker, and even after having done a number of them I still lean on my colleague for advice.

I agree with   Russel small deal are possible but large deal take knowledge of the subject.  I am a residential agent in Rockville MD and so far I did only one small commercial deal for myself.  I just looked at the numbers however, then a Commercial Real Estate attorney helped me out with the details of the contract.  It turned out to be quite rewarding compared to the small investment I made.

However to get started there are a lot of information that you can get : 

Many books on Amazon ( can come up with a few titles if you like or just look at the feedback from other readers) , Udemy also offers courses for rock bottom prices , there re many websites ( like this one ) were you could start getting some knowledge.   

@Samia Bingham My Mentor(mutli-millionaire broker/investor)  said "If you plant tomatoes you can NOT get potatoes.  If you plant potatoes you can NOT get tomatoes".  

If you want to be a commercial broker then work for a commercial brokerage, however, if you want to be a commercial RE investor(which is why you're on BP, right?) then you need to work with a Commercial RE investor.    Brokers are not Investors. The mindset is totally different. 

Brokerages are good start but, focus on creating relationships with RE investment firms in your area.  

I am a principal commercial broker and a real estate developer so do both.

That is why my clients love working with me because I know land development, the brokerage transaction, and the investor owner side of things.

I have a 360 degree perspective versus a single experience to draw from.

So yes you can do both really well.  

Agreed with everything here. Commercial and residential are night and day. The ONLY thing in common is just the fact that you are working with real property. The deals are not similar at all. I agree with looking in to CCIM. That will give you at the very least a taste of what you're getting in to should you choose the commercial brokerage route. I would talk to Marcus & Millichap or other huge national firms. They will have a formal training program. Keep in mind that these are typically the top brokers in the area and not everyone can walk in and join like you can with a lot of residential brokerages. There's an "interview" process. If they offer you to join them the training isn't free but it's cheap ($2,500-4,000 or so). Once that is completed you will typically work with a senior agent for a couple years until you get your feet under you then you can start doing deals on your own. These guys are right though: most commercial brokers make $200-5,000 dollars an hour and for them to spend their time training someone who is just dipping their toe in to see what they think about commercial brokerage is not the best use of their time. 

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