I knew nothing about commercial real estate growing up. Actually, even up to about 10 years ago, I still didn't know much about it. I didn't know that being a commercial real estate broker was even a career. But as luck would have it I discovered this career path and this industry - after spending some time in the corporate world - and I fell in love with it right away. After I helped my first client lease a commercial space, thus completing my first commercial real estate deal, I was hooked. To this day I absolutely love everything about being a commercial real estate agent and most days it doesn't even feel like work because I'm having so much fun.
But what is it about the profession that I love so much? Here are a few things:
Working with Amazing Business Leaders
Whether it be an entrepreneur who bootstrapped their own business and now has a large and thriving enterprise, or a business executive who has climbed the corporate ladder and is now a valuable leader in his or her company, there is something about the amazing clients I get to work with every day. By their very nature they are passionate, bright, creative, bold, personable, and above all, driven. You can't get to their level if you don't have those skills. Even the smallest entrepreneurs that I work with (because I love working with all sizes of clients and businesses) are so much fun to work with, in fact sometimes even more fun. These entrepreneurs have a dream and passion, and maybe they've achieved a certain level of success but they are driven to achieve more. I feed off of my client's energy, and their passion becomes my passion. It's a beautiful thing.
The Numbers Don't Lie
One of the things I love about commercial real estate, especially as a contrast to residential real estate which is a very different business, is how objective things are. Business owners and property owners are generally not concerned with issues that are subjective or vague - rather, most commercial deals involve factual items and information that can influence the deal, and very often these are financial in nature. Think of it like this - in residential real estate you may have clients say "I don't really like the colour of the kitchen cabinets". On the commercial side it's much less subjective and much more along the lines of "the numbers don't make sense for us" or "the zoning doesn't work" or "building doesn't have feature "X" that we require".
You may get the impression from the section above and how objective the industry is that it is simple - trust me it's quite the opposite. Commercial real estate deals are complex! There are so many complicated components to a deal that can influence the outcome - things like building specs, regulatory and zoning, environmental, financial analysis, legal and contractual, just to name a few! Many items can vary from deal to deal and commercial real estate brokers need to have resilience, perseverance, focus, discipline, and a sharp mind to stay on top of everything and negotiate the best outcome for their client. I love it though, the complexity makes every deal interesting and keeps me on my toes at all times.
As I've sort of touched on already, I absolutely love working with passionate and driven clients and their success becomes my success, especially when I can negotiate a fantastic outcome for them on a commercial property. Many of my clients form long term relationships with me and we work together on multiple transactions through the years, and in many cases they become friends. I also value the amazing relationships I've made with other brokers, whether colleagues at my own firm or brokers at competing firms. It's a special breed of individual that thrives in this industry and there is a certain camaraderie that comes with that. At my current brokerage, we work much more collaboratively as a team on client projects and we each bring specific skillsets and specializations to each project. This not only maximizes our effectiveness and the results for our clients, but it also creates a unique bond among our group of brokers.
I Get Around
When I worked in a leadership role at a traditional corporate entity, I was more or less in the same office each day sitting in front of a computer. That's not the case as a commercial real estate agent. I get to be in the communities that surround me, whether I'm meeting with clients, touring properties, or checking out new developments in areas like Vaughan, Mississauga, Brampton, Aurora, Newmarket, Bradford, and many other pockets and corners of the GTA. I love getting around and seeing so many facets of this great region that we call home and getting to know all of the commercial real estate sub-markets in the different pockets, which can each have their own nuances. Of course I still spend time sitting at a desk in front of a computer, but that is mixed in with being out and about meeting with super interesting people and/or seeing some really cool properties.
Special Shout Out to Industrial
More and more over the last little while I have focused my business and my expertise on industrial real estate. This has happened somewhat organically as it's an asset class that I've come to specialize in and get to know really well, but also somewhat intentionally. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what it is about industrial real estate that I love so much, but I'm always in awe when touring a large sprawling manufacturing or warehouse space where you can just feel the buzz of industry and know that this space is contributing not just to our economy but is providing a tangible product that is essential in our lives. Industrial properties are the structures that are somewhat behind the scenes but that are the lifeblood of our daily functioning. Look around the room you're in now - almost if not everything you're surrounded with was manufactured in a factory and stored in a warehouse at some point.
There is also something about the clients I get to work with on industrial property deals - there is more diversity in their backgrounds and their demeanor. Unlike office properties where most clients are generally white collar professionals - not that there is anything wrong with that, that's the world I come from - though you still get these sorts of folks on the industrial side you also get business leaders or landlords who have more blue-collar roots and come from varied backgrounds. I can work on an industrial property deal with a senior executive who has a handful of degrees from Ivy League schools or I can work on an industrial deal with a business owner who started as a tradesperson right out of high school and is now a massively successful business owner or landlord. It's this variety that I really love.
This is just a sample of what I love about the commercial / industrial real estate business, but this blog post would go on and on if I listed everything I love about it. I consider myself to be really lucky to be able to work in a job I love and with clients and colleagues that keep me energized every day.