Secret to Success? Follow these 5 P's

An instructor for the CCIM Institute's "Introduction to Commercial Real Estate," Tim Hatlestad, CCIM, president of RE/MAX Commercial Investment in Scottsdale, Ariz., has fielded lots of questions about what it takes to succeed in commercial real estate. Here's his process.

April 1, 2011


Assess your individual strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities and threats in your market. "There’s no one personality that succeeds in commercial real estate, but knowing what you’re strong in will help you find a niche and tap resources that complement your skills," he says. A salesperson with great analytical skills might want to hire a part-time marketing expert to prepare promotions, while a salesperson who’s great at relationship-building might subscribe to a service, such as Real Capital Analytics, that provides detailed research.


Have a strategy for finding customers. "I tell salespeople trying to get into commercial that, as a project, they should pick a commercial street and talk to every tenant and owner on it. Usually, either they quit the project because they don’t like the work, or they stop halfway through because they have too much business," Hatlestad says.


Take CCIM courses. Locate and study reliable property data sources, aerial photography, and all the other resources you’ll need to help your clients lease space or buy property. "You can never be overprepared," he says.


Find a peer, or better yet a mentor, to go to with questions. "Ideally, this will be your broker or an experienced commercial practitioner in your office if there is one, but if you’re just getting started, it might be another commercial practitioner in your market," he says.


Understand that commercial transactions can take months to close even after an offer is made. You’ll need the mental and financial resources to handle the wait. "It’s like going back to school. It will pay off eventually, but short-term, you’re going to have to make sacrifices," Hatlestad says.