You may want to remain with the same company but concentrate your efforts in a particular activity. Here are three possibilities:
1. Exchanging. You will recall from our discussion of investment property exchanges in Chapter 9 that there are exciting income possibilities in this activity. Larger transactions may include several different high-priced properties with a total value in the millions. There are exceptionally prosperous agents who work exclusively on property exchanges. If you close three or four exchanges per year (or perhaps only one or two), you can earn an impressive income and be fully occupied.
If you believe you would like to do exchanges full-time, your first step is to learn the basics. Refer to the Web sites devoted to exchanging that we mentioned in Chapter 9 for additional information. Professional organizations also often sponsor educational sessions. If you are lucky, there may be a successful agent locally who specializes in real estate exchanges who teaches courses at your community college or university. If so, grab the opportunity. Make sure that any course you take is taught by someone currently active in exchanging and that the depth of instruction is adequate to get you beyond the initial overview stage.
There may be an exchange club organized through your local MLS. Members are typically agents who deal primarily or exclusively in exchanges and who meet on a periodic basis to trade information about specific properties. Meetings are an excellent source of networking contacts, and there are generally a handful of real pros in the group.
2. Commercial and Investment Activities. If you are fascinated by the prospect of dealing in commercial and investment transactions and you have genuine talent and true ambition, there is no limit to your potential earnings. This is not the arena for the timid or faint of heart, so be ready for life in the fast lane to take you straight to the high-rent district. A good starting point would be to contact the NAR affiliate to find the Realtors National Marketing Institute. You can also log on to www.ccim.com or write to them at 430 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611. The professional designation of Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) is conferred upon those who meet stringent educational and experience standards. Another good research tool is to visit the website of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, which offers the SIOR professional designation.
While I was active in residential sales, there was a young man in our city by the name of Jackson Cooper who was starting to branch out from residential into commercial activities. He eventually left his company and formed his own brokerage, specializing in commercial real estate. His company became the dominant commercial brokerage in our area. Everywhere you went you saw his sign. And I mean on big, big properties. He was a prime mover and investor in the building of a brand new Holiday Inn Express on the lovely Willamette River, and also the building of a large hotel complex adjacent to the local university campus. A few years ago he relocated his business to
Boise, Idaho. If you have not visited Boise lately, trust me it is a growing, robust economy. To quote from an e-mail he sent me shortly after relocating: "Boise is a fantastic real estate market!" To check it out for yourself, including some very impressive commercial listings visit his website at www.jackson-cooper.com. (When I visited the site there was a modest little office complex in Idaho Falls featured for an asking price of $3,915,000). Incidentally Jackson holds both the CCIM and SIOR professional designations we mentioned previously. And if you really want to be impressed, visit the website of the parent company of Cooper's local brokerage, Sperry Van Ness Commercial Real Estate Advisors: www.svn.com. Click on the "career opportunities" link. If Jackson can do it, why not you?
3. Farm and Land Sales. I listed and sold two large farms while I was a general real estate agent. The experience convinced me that there was a great deal more to know than I had originally expected. If you did not grow up on a farm, you will be operating in a strange world with a bewildering language. Soil types, water and mineral rights, crop values, federal and state income tax and incentive programs, land leases, equipment valuation, and animal appraisal are only a few of the subjects with which you may need to become conversant. Farmers do not bluff easily and are exceptionally wary of anyone other than another farmer, so do not say more than you know. Although you can use many of the skills you develop while working in residential sales, the differences are so great that you would be foolish to try to compete with those agents who specialize in this without first preparing yourself.
The properties you will be trying to list or sell will not be located just around the corner, and they will ordinarily have a high price tag with comparatively few qualified buyers. You can easily spend a year marketing a listing, but if you earn a commission of $15,000 to $20,000, it is obviously worth it, particularly if you have more than one transaction going at one time.
While doing research for another writing project I contacted a former college roommate of mine who owns several large almond orchard operations in California. Over the years he has bought and sold a variety of almond orchards. He indicated that his agent (and good personal friend) was one of the most prominent in that niche in Central California and typically grossed over twenty million in total sales yearly. He also said it was not uncommon for him to handle both sides of a transaction. Do the math on that and I'm certain you'll be as impressed as was I. By the way, we mentioned equipment valuation earlier as a topic of specific interest in this niche. My old Modesto Junior College almond growing buddy indicated he had recently sold his almond huller for around a million dollars.
If this career option peaks your interest, a good way to get information is by visiting the Realtors Land Institute (RLI) website at www.rliland.com to get a description of the professional courses they offer. Their professional designation is Accredited Land Consultant (ALC).
Was this article helpful?