Almost every residential real estate agent has recognized the immense potential in commercial investment. This is especially true at JohnHart where we’ve always been big believers in property investing for generational wealth. But how does an agent with only residential experience make the leap into working commercial real estate investments? It’s a transition that’s as daunting as it is intriguing. Fortunately, we offer plenty of resources to agents looking to make that change. But I’d recommend starting by understanding the bridge between residential and commercial real estate.
Limiting Beliefs Surrounding Residential Real Estate
The vast majority of real estate agents focus exclusively on residential properties. And there’s nothing wrong with that. People need a place to live, after all. But the idea of simply moving on after helping a client find a home isn’t just limiting. It’s a disservice to the client! It’s also a very common practice among residential real estate agents. I’d recommend they instead try thinking like a commercial real estate agent.
JohnHart preaches the importance of lifelong relationships. It’s a philosophy that encompasses both residential and commercial investors. Obviously, this doesn’t mean a handshake and a “good luck” after helping a client buy or sell a house or two. It means illuminating to the client the true value of property investing.
The more narrow-minded agents may return to a client after seven years sniffing around for a new sale or referral like a dog searching for table scraps. Where’s the benefit for a client in that kind of relationship? There’s a word for that kind of behavior: “parasitic.” Sure, it’s consistent. But does it add value to your client’s life? If you’re not bringing value to your clients, you’re not going to last in this industry… or pretty much any industry. So where do you start?
The First Step Into Property Investing
A client enters the world of property investing the moment you put them into a home. But they may not realize it. As their trusted agent, it’s your responsibility to teach them about real estate investments. You don’t have to be a commercial real estate agent to think like one. Facts remain facts. The purchase of a home, for any reason, is a property investment.
Once your client genuinely understands the weight of their investment, it becomes almost addictive. I’ve rarely met a person who stops at their first investment. They feel that unique sense of gravity; a feeling of security with more than a touch of intoxication. It’s a hard feeling to describe. But if you’ve invested in property with a clear understanding, then you’ll recognize it. And once you recognize it, one investment property won’t be enough. It’s an agent’s duty to introduce their clients to this profound feeling. From there, you can guide them to new options in commercial real estate investment.
You’ve already gained your client’s trust. This is your opportunity to show them how to create more disciplined investments. And I’m not just meaning an opportunity for you as an agent. Both of you will get real value from this lesson.
Thinking Like a Commercial Real Estate Agent
Even if you’ve never worked as a commercial real estate agent, residential experience gives you all you need to set your plan. And a plan is crucial when bridging residential and commercial real estate in a client’s mind. I’d start by formulating how much in savings your client needs to set aside. This number is a commitment, but it comes with a great reward. Because if they follow your plan, they will be able to grow their portfolio with a professional’s savvy. And that’s the value that you can consistently offer them that goes beyond the limits of residential real estate.
Anyone who’s worked with a JohnHart agent can tell you that we excel at strategy. That’s not just the luck of the draw. It’s a product of using our resources well. We coach our residential agents on how to present property through an investment lens. We host panels and forums with our top commercial real estate agents, illustrating a wealth of tips and techniques. But most importantly, we impart a philosophy that recognizes the importance of both residential and commercial real estate. Our agents take both seriously and recognize how they relate.
The importance of property investing has always been at the core of JohnHart’s mission. When we first started out, we had a program called “No More College Funds” that illustrated how commercial real estate investments were sounder moves than college funds. We still stand by this statement. More importantly, so do the people who listened to us! I’ve been preaching this for decades and still get stopped by people ten, even 20 years later telling me that property investing changed their lives. Bridging residential and commercial real estate isn’t just possible. As a respected real estate agent, it’s your obligation to your client.