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What is a Commercial Real Estate Agent?

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  • Written By: Angela Covo
  • Edited By: Jay Garcia
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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A commercial real estate agent is a licensed professional who specializes in helping people or businesses buy, sell or lease a property to be used for business purposes. Commercial real estate (CRE) includes offices, retail spaces, industrial properties, apartment complexes and agricultural properties. Because commercial real estate encompasses so many different kinds of properties that require different kinds of knowledge, many commercial real estate agents sub-specialize in one segment. For example, some commercial real estate agents are particularly well-versed with office leasing, while others may be experts at purchasing apartment complexes.

According to the United States Department of Labor, in the United States, every real estate agent must be at least 18 years of age, a high school graduate and pass a written test to be licensed. Generally speaking, a real estate agent must also have 30 to 90 hours of classroom instruction and be sponsored by a real estate broker.

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Most commercial real estate agents work under the auspices of a real estate broker, who is also licensed. Brokers are required to have a certain number of years of experience, the amount of experience varies by state, have at least 60 to 90 hours of formal instruction and pass a more comprehensive written exam. The Department of Labor also indicates that a broker’s license allows him to sponsor agents and manage his own real estate office. The industry also requires that brokers and agents keep up to date with new information by taking continuing education for license renewal.

A Commercial real estate agent is generally paid by commission once a deal is completed, such as, the signing of a lease. Agents who provide more services will charge higher commissions, which are usually split with the sponsoring broker. Listing agents or leasing agents are commercial real estate agents who usually represent the property owner while tenant representatives are commercial real estate agents who represent the tenant. Some agents represent both parties in a transaction. In many cases, the entire commission is paid by the property owner.

Commercial real estate agents can be worth their weight in gold for helping the tenant maneuver through the intricacies of the process. The best agents will first conduct a market survey for the tenant which will include items such as the nature of the business, the size required and the desired location. Based on this information, using their expertise of the market place, the agents can help find the most suitable site and also help negotiate the lease.

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