Property Biz Canada

10 questions to ask if you’re considering a career in CRE

You might be in your last year of university and considering your career options, or have just come to the realization that your current professional path is not going to be your life work.

Barry Stuart, ICR Commercial

Columnist Barry Stuart, ICR Commercial.

The idea of a career in commercial real estate sales is appealing. What’s your next step?

Talk to a few different brokers. There can be significant differences between commercial real estate companies, so it’s beneficial to gain the perspective of more than one broker to determine if the career is right for you.

If you decide to move forward, you’ll have a good sense of which company you would prefer to work for and the process it goes through to decide who and when to hire.

Here are some questions to raise during the interview process.

Culture and trust

Ask the broker to describe the internal culture. What level of trust exists within the organization?

How many times a year does the crew get together for extra-curricular activities, social events and travel?

Initial and ongoing education

Ask to see an outline of the education program.

Do the senior agents participate in delivery of the education? How do they facilitate ongoing education?

Mentor support

How many senior agents within the organization make themselves readily available for questions and support?

Are there weekly one-on-one accountability meetings scheduled with the sales manager?

Opportunity for inside view of significant transactions

One of the most effective learning experiences for a new sales associate evolves from witnessing the inside sale/lease process details.

What opportunity exists to gain that insight in real time from observing many noteworthy transactions?

Average income

Over the most recent five years, what was the average annual commission income earned after deducting the administration fees payable to the company?

Brokerage fee split

Ask to see the brokerage fee schedule which illustrates how much of each dollar the company retains to cover administration costs and profit.

Financial assistance

Does the company provide a commission draw or salary during the early stage of the career?


How many sales associates left the company in the past five years and why?

Look for a broker who demonstrates a high level of confidence in the hiring processes they have in place.

Dispute resolution

Even within the most harmonious cultures, disputes can arise. If the individuals themselves are unable to resolve a dispute, is there a process in place to reach a fair and unbiased resolution?

Corporate future vision

How is the company preparing for our rapidly changing times?  What is the future corporate vision?

I am impressed when a sales associate candidate comes to an interview prepared to reciprocate with intelligent questions of their own.

It demonstrates to me that they are taking their career decision seriously. The best professional salespeople ask great questions!

Check out these earlier posts that will interest those considering a career in commercial real estate:

What no one tells you about a career in CRE
Sales: A noble profession
Where are all the female commercial real estate agents?


Read more from: CommercialFeatured ColumnFeatured ColumnsProperty Biz CanadaThe Saskatchewan Edge

Barry Stuart

About the Author ()

Born in small town Saskatchewan, I began my real estate career in Saskatoon at a really early age in 1978. Although I can’t claim to be No 1 in North America…I hold bragging rights as the recipient of the 2008, 2009, 2011 & 2016 Top Producer Award for ICR Commercial Real Estate. As a broker licensed in Saskatchewan, we specialize in office and industrial leasing as well as commercial investment sales representing international, national and local clients. Some Previous Experience: Served on the Board of Directors of the Saskatoon Real Estate Board as Vice-President as well as Chairman of the Public Service, Arbitration, Membership, MLS and Public Relations Committees; Chair of St. Philip Neri Parish Council; Member of Canadian Ski Patrol System. I am a member of the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce, St. Philip Neri Parish, Saskatoon Club and the Saskatchewan Professional Marketing Association My wife Franki and I have five adult sons (we’re just beginning the grandparent stage of life). My interests include road cycling, Nordic walking, Pilates, downhill skiing and RV’ing.

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