By Deborah Ball Kearns
It was about three years ago when a client looking to sell a strip mall approached Dan Andrews and asked him how to value the property. A residential agent who had just begun to transition into the commercial realm, Andrews was stumped.
There were cap rates, net operating income, risk factors and several other considerations to calculate. That’s when it hit him: There was a large gap between advanced commercial real estate training (such as the Certified Commercial Investment Member) and more fundamental education, especially for brokers coming from the residential side.
Andrews wondered how many other agents might have questions about understanding and working commercial transactions. Leaning on his love of coaching and teaching, Andrews spent 18 months developing a program aimed at solidifying the foundational knowledge base for any agent.
That’s how the Accredited Commercial Pro
fessional certification – an exclusive training program for RE/MAX agents – was born. The new course would provide a pathway to CCIM training.
“I didn’t attempt to replicate what’s already out there, namely what the CCIM Institute offers,” says Andrews, Director of Commercial Business Development with RE/MAX New Image, Commercial Division, in Saginaw, Mich., and President of Commercial Real Estate Advisors.
“The goal is to explain, in simple terms, how to price properties and look at all the different research and factors commercial agents need to consider to arrive at the right values.”
Speaking the language
Earning the ACP gave Chuck Westrum – a Broker Associate with RE/MAX Momentum in Brighton, Colo. – the knowledge to acquire eight commercial deals in 2011, with more in the pipeline for this year.
“At this point in my career, my business is 75/25, with more emphasis on commercial. I thought the opposite would be true,” Westrum says. “One of the important things I learned from the ACP was how to develop a buyer due diligence process, which helps me think beyond the scope of the transaction.”
So far, Westrum is making great strides in using what he’s learned from the course. On a four-property listing appointment in mid-December, he impressed the seller with market knowledge and action plans he gleaned from the ACP materials.
The result: He wound up with six total listings at a higher fee rate.
The ACP gives David Smith (CCIM), Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Commercial Midwest in Omaha, Neb., a way to ensure that his agents have a strong foundation and understanding of complex commercial transactions.
“Newer agents need this type of training so they can stand toe-to-toe with the veterans who know the ins and outs,” Smith says. “The ACP gives you the ability to speak the commercial language fluently.”
The RE/MAX Commercial listings app (powered by LoopNet) is a free app that instantly locates nearby commercial real estate properties. The app, available on iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch devices, gives commercial buyers mobile access to search all properties listed for sale or lease by the RE/MAX Commercial network, which comprises 3,000 practitioners in more than 45 countries and over 380 commercial offices and divisions. Results can be filtered by price, size and property type, and users also can plot properties on a map and email driving directions.
A second app – the RE/MAX Commercial Brokerage app developed by Blyncc – is a marketing tool that allows RE/MAX offices to promote their agents and listings. Broker/ Owners purchase the app for a special discounted RE/MAX price and distribute it to agents and their clients for their free use. It includes a social media component that lets users follow on social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as numerous analysis tools.