How does one become a business, commercial real-estate broker?

I was interested in selling businesses as well as leased properties. I have searched on the internet, but there doesn't seem to be too much information. I hope one you may be able to tell me how you came into this profession. Thank You in advance.
In General Area - Asked by Gautam B. - May 23, 2009
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Jeff F.
Jenkintown, PA

I hold a real estate license, only, but am somewhat familiar with both parts of your question.
Generally, and depending upon the state(s) in which you may wish to operate, a Series 7 license may be needed to "sell businesses." Series 7 licenses are regulated federally.
States regulate the exchange of real estate. The bar for entrance into real estate is rather low, and usually takes about 3 months.
There are also license reciprocity laws between certain states and others, and a (still sometimes nebulously defined) license portability, allowing real estate brokers to market "commercial" properties in other states, with or without license reciprocity in place. (States like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Nebraska, Kentucky, and Mississippi, have very strident rules about this, and are known as "turf states." Other states are "cooperative"; others are "physical location." has specifics on license portability.)
Finally, you may wish to draw the distinction between "commercial" and "investment" real estate, although all non-residential real estate is lumped under the category of "commercial real estate." With distinction, "commercial" means leasing of a space. "Investment" means buying a building with a tenant already in place and under lease, or with the hope of obtaining a tenant.
In summary, start with the state in which you reside to determine what they require of you to engage in selling businesses as well as leased properties. Again, though, selling businesses is regulated federally, and selling leased properties is regulated by the states.
Your state's Real Estate Commission will probably be the best place to begin for real estate. Searching under the general heading of Series 7 should provide a starting place for selling businesses.

May 24, 2009
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Paul S.
Glendora, CA

I don't agree you need a Securities license to sell a business. In California a person holding a real estate license may sell businesses. They are called bulk transfers. However, if stock is involved in a publicly traded company you may need a securities license. If that is the case your real estate license would do you no good. TIC's are an example to the distinction. Most TIC's are sold under the securities laws and require a Securities license. However, there are real estate TIC's that are handled under the state's real estate laws. A real estate license will not allow you to sell a security regulated TIC and visa versa. TIC's are not generally businesses but I use them as a example.

May 26, 2009
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Gautam B.
Richardson, TX

Thank You for your advice. I greatly appreciate the help. I am planning on getting a real estate license as soon as the courses are available at the local college, and I am going to be studying the Texas state laws closely. I greatly appreciate the point in the right direction.

May 27, 2009
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Brad W.
Fort Myers, FL

For information on learning to sell Main Street Businesses, go to, the International Business Brokers Association. They offer a complete set of courses leading to a CBI designation (Certified Business Intermediary), similar to the CCIM designation for commercial real estate. You might also check out, the Texas Business Brokers Assoc.
Brad W.
CCIM and Business Broker
Fort Myers, FL

Jul 9, 2009
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