Brokerage best practices

CRE market research 101 for brokers

Great commercial real estate brokers know knowledge is power. For example, the better you know your clients’ goals and potential buyers’ needs, the more likely you will strike a lucrative deal and take home a hefty commission. And the better you understand economic trends and real estate law, the easier it will be to guide your clients through the process, and the more likely you are to earn their trust.

But there’s one method of knowledge-gathering every broker should include in their strategy: CRE market research.

Today, we’re walking through why you should do more homework on the markets you serve, the commercial real estate market research process, and how to leverage CRE tech to make it easier.

Why should a broker do market research?

Today, brokers already have a lot on their plates. You have to consistently work to build your pipeline, foster client relationships, find the best buyers for your listings, and do all of the above better and faster than your competition. At first, the idea of spending extra time diving into the granular details of a market you already know can seem a bit unnecessary.

But, in the commercial real estate business, change is inevitable. Economic conditions, interest rates, supply chain disruptions, and local and regional trends have a tremendous impact on the market at a macro and micro level. As we’ve seen over the past few years, many factors can cause property supply, demand, and pricing to fluctuate significantly. Additionally, while you may be well-versed in your region or city, prices and expectations can vary considerably by sub-market.

Taking time to better understand your market and the elements within it (like the demographic and population trends and property sales and leasing numbers) will give you a leg up on the competition and ensure you’re well-prepared walking into negotiations. When you have a thorough understanding of your markets and sub-markets as they are right now, the greater your ability to sell at the best possible price, net the highest profit, and take home the largest commission.

What does the market research phase entail?

Dedicating resources to market research is a critical step in the deal lifecycle. During this phase, you should do the following

  • Identify the market area. Start broad and scale down until you reach the neighborhood surrounding a property. (This is when you’ll also want to factor in comp data to compare a listing to other properties targeting the same types of buyers.) The closer you hone in, the more accurately you will be able to assess current supply, demand, and competition in the area.
  • Analyze physical and environmental factors. This is where you’ll assess factors like traffic flow, proximity to public transportation and relevant resources, and overall desirability compared to the larger geographic area.
  • Evaluate economic trends. Examine the population trends and business conditions. For example, population growth is a good indicator of future economic prosperity within an area and could indicate a wise investment.

The goal of CRE market research is to help you gain a deeper understanding of the properties, people, and geographies associated with your real estate specialty.

How to use tech to become an expert in your market

Market research can be a complicated and time-consuming endeavor — especially if you rely on a mostly manual process. You can leverage CRE technology to ease the burden and cut down on the time and energy you expend, but you need to ensure you’re using the right software as many of the tools on the market are expensive and outdated.

One way the right tech can help is by ensuring you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you need to research a specific market. For example, the Buildout platform allows you to centralize all of your market research, comp, and property data in one place so you can easily reference it whenever you need it. And Buildout Insights, which is a reliable competitor to sources like CoStar and LoopNet, ensures you’re always working with the most up-to-date national tax, deed, and mortgage data.

After you close a deal, you can easily push that data to a shared database so everyone in your brokerage can use these historical comps. Having all this data in one easy-to-access location cuts down on data entry and all the administrative tedium associated with the research process. So while it may be a heavier lift to source data the first time, it will eventually become faster and easier to get what you need as you amass more data.

In other words, the right tech—like Buildout Insights— can help you reduce the time you spend searching for information so you can spend more time winning new business.

In the commercial real estate business, knowledge is power. And equipping yourself with the best CRE market research will ensure you have all the expertise you need to beat out the competition and multiply your success.

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