Changing Career to Commercial Real Estate

I want to change my career to commercial real estate and want to know what the best way is to go about it.
Education is important to me personally so I started looking at real estate programs from USD and UCLA. I have my B.S., in Computer Science so I have no business experience whatsoever but I do have the passion and the drive for commercial real estate that will take me far. Are there any other programs that I should look into? Preferably in the LA metro region.
I will also begin talking to brokers about hiring me. So, to all you pros already in the industry, what advise would you give me when I sit down with brokers? What should I look for in a firm? How hard is it to find work in the industry as a beginner with no prior experience? And how can I increase my chances?
Any advise will be much appreciated, thanks.
In General Area - Asked by Albert P. - Apr 29, 2009
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Paul S.
Broker/Agent
Glendora, CA

Albert
You didn't mention if you have a real estate license? You need that first. If you do then consider the following:
Interview with both the big brokerage houses and small ones. You are going to have to do some grunt work to gain experience. A small brokerage might have someone that will take you on and teach you. A large one will probably put you on a team.

You are going to need education because the language of commercial is much different than residential. Commercial is usually dollar driven an lacks emotion. The clients you come in contact with are generally a cut way above a residential buyer and you won't be able to fake it too well.
The best education, other than experience, can be gained from CCIM courses. Take the intro class and you will know more than 95% of the residential agents do about investment analysis. Many folks decide commercial is not for them after they get their feet wet with the intro course. Next take the 101 course and then the 104 course. 104 is 101 on steroids and they are both a week long. After that you should be able to "talk the talk" and you will be able to hold your own with most investors.
To become a CCIM you will have to take 2 other courses. You will then have to put together a portfolio of qualifying experience (I believe it is 10 transactions totalling $20M) Being new to the business that experience is going to take awhile. Once that is accomplished you can take your final exam and become a CCIM. Take all the classes even if you are not able to qualify for the final for awhile. The information you will gain is invaluable and will make you money.
The local CCIM chapter puts on the classes around the LA area. Other than Intro you must take 101 before you take any of the other courses. Hope this helps
Paul Sylvester, CCIM

Apr 29, 2009
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Albert P.
Owner/Investor
Long Beach, CA

@Paul S. - Thanks for the quick and thoughtful response, I will definitely heed your sound advice.
I don't have my license yet but I will start working on that very soon. I was aware of the CCIM courses but never gave it much thought at the time. Now, I think it's the next logical step to take.
I have read a lot about commercial real estate in the past year and everything about it turns me on. It's definitely a passion of mine that I want to take to the next level. I'm absorbing all the material that I'm reading and the language of commercial real estate like a sponge.
So, I will pursue my licensing and enroll in the intro CCIM courses and if I still love it then I will interview with brokerage houses until I find the right fit for me. Great advice thanks Paul.
I have found the following books very helpful
Commercial Real Estate Analysis & Investments, by Geltner et. al.
How to Succeed in Commercial Real Estate, by John Bowman
and of course, How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
Are there any books out there that will help me begin my career in commercial? Are there any books that have changed the trajectory of your lives or taken your career to new heights? That's probably a discussion for another thread but I love to read and I love to learn so I thought I would ask this here as well

Apr 29, 2009
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Cory S.
Broker/Agent
Peoria, AZ

Another couple books that have blessed me are "Winning in Commercial Real Estate Sales" by Thomas Smith, and "A Master Guide to Income Property Brokerage..." by John Peckham III. These books teach basic fundamentals of commercial brokerage.
Blessings,
Cory

Apr 30, 2009
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