Career Advice, Please Advise (starting out in CRE brokerage)

I was hoping I could get your opinion on a particular matter. Through coffee meetups, I was offered a job with a Commercial Brokerage Division. In the job, I am working under a broker in their mentorship program which lasts about a year. It seems I will be expected to generate my own business via methods such as cold calling. I am about half way through the pre-licensing course but I worry costs (such as Costar, MLS, ect) will be heavy for me especially if I am not successful at generating much business starting out, once I am licensed. I believe I am also very close to getting an offer working in the zoning and entitlements department of a local law firm. I love what I am being exposed to at my job (I am in my second week now) but what I am being paid is an advance on my future commissions until I am licensed. Both opportunities could provide some experience that I think will be very useful for a future in CRE development (my end goal). Do you think it would be unreasonable or unrealistic to try working both jobs (if I get the other offer)? I don't think that I have the network to just jump into brokerage full time, at least starting out.

Comments (4)

Feb 26, 2018

if you are joining a brokerage they typically have deals and/or provide you with the tools and resources you will need to cold call and research properties (costar mls etc.) What is the salary structure like? Commission only or some base + commission? Can you afford to make $0 for a year?

Feb 26, 2018

it is a 50/50 split with my 'mentor' and no I can't afford to make 0$ for a year. I work a part-time job on the weekends making just about minimum wage. This is not how I hoped things would go after graduating college with a finance degree but I at least hope to pay off my loans.

Best Response
Feb 26, 2018

Bigjim,

Tread lightly here. This sounds like some of the wirehouse (broker/dealer) structures for recruiting new Financial Advisors.

What is the structure of your pay? Are you paid a straight salary for now, with the eventual drop-off in base that is to be made up with the addition of fees (commissions)? One of the big BD's I'm very familiar with pays you a straight salary for well over a year so that you can study for both the Series 7 and Series 66 FINRA/NASAA licenses, then your insurance license.

Once you've passed these hurdles, you are required to pass an internal assessment, then they expect you to go out and start bringing in leads and/or prospects and/or new clients. If you're really lucky, you'll be put on a team and your monthly hurdles will be shared with your senior teammates. Typically, you will not get brought on right out of testing, but it does happen. If so, you've got a shot. If you are considered a sole-proprietor (and I've been told this by the head of the program at the firm) and do not have access to HNW individuals who will be willing to turn their money over to you, then your chances are slim to none.

Much of the business model seems to be to bring on myriad new FAs, unleash them on the public, and see how many clients they can bring in. If you don't meet your hurdles, you eventually lose your job, but the clients you brought in typically stay with the B/D because it's too much of a pain to change, after just having moved within the last couple of years.

Sorry for the long post. If this is not at all your situation, then I apologize profusely. Just don't want to see anyone get shanghaied into a no-win situation without them knowing what they're getting into.

Best wishes.

Feb 26, 2018
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