Commercial real estate is a group activity. From the time a property is built, sold, occupied and re-sold there will be a number of people involved at every step of the way. As such, the career of a commercial agent is not a lone journey. It not only takes an outgoing personality, but a vast network of leads and contacts to succeed. An easy way to foster these connections is to join associations that can offer you exposure, access to larger networks and continuing education opportunities. These are some of the national associations that are highly valuable to commercial real estate experts and related professionals.
Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International
BOMA is one of the oldest and largest commercial real estate organizations. It focuses on the people behind the buildings who keep them profitable and in working order. A BOMA membership lets you connect with building owners, managers, leasing professionals and developers. BOMA also supports like-minded legislation, standards and codes that protect the interests of its members.
International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)
ICSC is the primary trade association for the shopping center industry, including owners, developers, retailers, marketers, investors and lenders. The association's goal is to maximize its members' profitability by arming them with accurate, up-to-date analysis on the shopping center marketplace. These analyses can be found on the council's website, which also contains a membership directory, deal summaries and job listings that can help you determine your strategy for any given market.
Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM)
This management association services the multifamily residential and commercial industries. IREM encourages ethical real estate management throughout all commercial sectors by offering certification and accreditation programs to members. As an associate member, you can tap into the pool of property, residential and commercial managers in your area.
Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW)
The CREW Network aims to advance women within the commercial real estate profession. It offers training and referral programs, as well as opportunities to nominate fellow members for major industry awards. CREW also provides mentorship and outreach programs. This organization supplies endless ways to grow your clientele because its members are involved in every aspect of commercial real estate.
Urban Land Institute (ULI)
ULI is a non-profit organization that promotes responsible land use and development by educating the leaders and decision-makers who influence these areas. Many ULI members are advisers, policy-makers or CEOs that can affect the commercial real estate landscape, and are therefore beneficial contacts for any agent. Additionally, ULI's research can arm you with the latest land-use trends and laws that may affect your specialization. The institute's focus on sustainability also affords many opportunities to learn about green-building trends and the benefits of environmental responsibility.
Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR)
SIOR is composed of agents who offer office or industrial expertise to owners, operators and executives. The SIOR designation gives qualified agents a number of services to grow their businesses, including access to mailing lists, LoopNet listings, and public relations and marketing professionals. This designation is usually obtained by specialists who have at least five years of commercial experience and a reasonable number of transactions under their belts.
National Multi Housing Council (NMHC)
You can connect with the best and brightest in the multifamily industry by becoming an associate NMHC member. This is an elite council of professionals who help shape the public policies that pertain to multifamily tax laws, building codes and regulations. One of the council's main goals is to publicize apartments as desirable, attractive housing options that are viable for all Americans. As an associate NMHC member, you can attend some of the council's members-only meetings and forums. You can also access NMHC's career guidance staff and post your information on NMHC's online membership and business directories.