To all the commercial real estate brokers out much money do you make?

opus1723's picture
Rank: Baboon | banana points 130

Just curious, to all the commercial real estate brokers out there--how much money are you earning a year.

Answer format below

  • Product Type
  • Investment Sales or Leasing
  • Geography (City, State or Region)
  • Commission after company and team splits
  • Company split %
  • Team split %
  • Number of years in the business

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Comments (15)

Jul 19, 2017

**** Honestly this is a lot of work to fill out, it varies a lot from year to year.

EDIT: Alright I've had my coffee, I'll help.

Market: Large West Coast City. (Seattle, Portland, SF, LA, San Diego, Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas)
Product Types: Retail, Office, Industrial
Role: Sales and Leasing
Splits: Depends a lot on the deal, not usually that great
Team: Just me lol
Pay first 12 months: $28k?
Pay second 12 Months: Maybe like $70k
Pay third 12 months: in progress
Years in Business: 2

Jul 19, 2017

This is from 2012-2013 back when I was in the used car business.

  • Product Type Office
  • Investment Sales or Leasing Leasing
  • Geography (City, State or Region) Mid-Atlantic
  • Commission after company and team splits $15,000
  • Company split % 50%/50%
  • Team split % 60%/30%/10% (I was the 10%)
  • Number of years in the business 1 and it was awful. Much prefer being on the ownership side.
    • 1
Oct 10, 2017

This is reality for 90% of starting brokers.

Jul 19, 2017

from ~2012-3

Product: Office
Major East Coast Market
Commission after splits: $150K (year 1: 50K; year 2: 90-100K; year 3: 150K; year 4 projected (left firm to principal side): 250K)
Company split: 50%
team split: varied by deal, typically around 15-20%
Years in brokerage: 3

Oct 9, 2017

Ricky - If you were going to make $250K why did you make the move to the principal side? I'm assuming you took quite a significant haircut in compensation doing so.

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Best Response
Oct 9, 2017

Definitely took a haircut on total compensation and lifestyle. There were a few reasons why:

  1. Did not find brokerage intellectually stimulating, personally. Every deal has the same ten steps with minor variations and I was already bored after a year and a half. Not a good sign for career longevity at 23.
  2. Income potential is lower and effectively capped. Top leasing guys make $1-2M a year at the best stages of their career. That is obviously big money, but there is bigger upside potential on the principal side with promote structures.
  3. Geographic limitation. This was a big one. IMO the vast majority of your relevance and worth in brokerage is based on your local market knowledge and relationships. Brokering deals is not that complicated. If you leave that market you can be rendered useless, unless you have crazy relationships with large national firms.
  4. Also just an opinion, but did not think brokerage was particularly fulfilling. I did not want to just make money in exchange for helping clients have better occupancy. Working for a developer and building a 50-60 year asset from dirt is a fulfilling experience.
    • 9
Oct 10, 2017

Do you think you would have enjoyed investment sales or debt/equity placement instead? Similar earning potential to leasing but you'd still get to work with developers on equity raises or construction financing.

Oct 10, 2017

Not really--the underlying process is actually exactly the same. Underwrite a deal and come up with some "creative" additive solutions, produce a book and pitch, field/narrow/negotiate offers, close, rinse and repeat. Those disciplines are certainly more intellectual than leasing, but just as formulaic,

That being said, I think brokerage is a very, very good place to start a career if you are on a team with good deal flow and training. I learned a lot about presentation, selling, putting a deal together, reading people, learning about different market players, etc. that I feel gives me a leg up on a pure analyst number cruncher. I also know how brokers think and position deals which makes it easier to screen options.

    • 1
Oct 10, 2017

Reason I asked is because I work in Debt & Equity placement and have a hard time considering leaving for development due to the comp and significant deal flow from multiple developers.

Oct 10, 2017

I don't blame you. Who knows, you may be able to build a development business in the future based on those fostered relationships and the off-market opportunities you will generate from them. Anyone can underwrite a real estate deal, having access to capital and the off-market deal prospects in which to place it are arguably more valuable...

    • 1
Feb 26, 2018

How are you compensated working for a developer? Been in CRE balance sheet lending for a national bank for 3 years and curious how developers pay associates with my type of experience.

    • 1
Feb 26, 2018
  • Product Type Office/Industiral
  • Investment Sales or Leasing Both
  • Geography (City, State or Region) West Coast major market
  • Commission after company and team splits started 7/2017 and made $3,000 for my first 6 months. Estimating $75-$150,000 for 2018. No idea what will come in the following years.
  • Company split % 50%/50%
  • Team split % 5% to 15% when I am the runner. 50% to 80% when I bring in the deal.
  • Number of years in the business Less than one year. Spent 5 years as an CRE broker analyst/acquisitions analyst.
    • 2
Jan 10, 2019

I'm curious about your time as a CRE broker analyst/acquisitions analyst. Did that experience help you jump start your broker career? What kind of salary did you make in that role, and did you enjoy it? Thanks!

Feb 26, 2018

No income to report, but I thought this was funny and made sense. Somebody told me this the other day...."there are no struggling brokers in the business who have been in the industry for more than 5 years. If your in the industry for longer than five years and have not yet quit, then your decent at it and are making decent income. Most brokers quit within 5 years and find something else to do that is worthy of their time"

Jun 25, 2018