Getting Started as a Commercial Mortgage Broker

Tips to get you into one of the hottest industries in the US.

Are you ready for a change? Have you been looking for an opportunity for uncapped earning potential while making your own hours? If you have a mind for problem solving and a sincere desire to help people, then the commercial mortgage industry may be for you.

The commercial mortgage industry is quickly becoming one of the hottest industries in the United States. The surge of Small Cap mortgages coupled with the need for knowledgeable mortgage brokers makes this the best time to take advantage of this opportunity. All it takes is a desire to learn and grow and the right partner on your side.

As with any industry there are obstacles you must overcome to be successful. For the commercial mortgage industry, these barriers include (but are not limited to):

-Proper training in commercial underwriting.
-Lender relationships and loan programs
-Deal Flow. Getting clients in the door.
-Geographical service limitations.

The first step to getting your foot into this hot industry is the proper training. As you are looking for training, it is important that you find the most in depth and comprehensive training possible. While most direct lenders will provide free training, the training is almost always directed toward the loan products offered by that lender. This type of training, while valuable, will not provide you the breadth of knowledge you will need to be successful in this highly competitive industry. Look to the established industry organizations like the Mortgage Bankers Association or the National Association of Mortgage Brokers for better training opportunities. Another option is to look for a company that serves the interests of commercial brokers as a whole. These companies should provide the best training options and may also include other services that will make your transition a bit easier.

The role of the commercial mortgage broker is to provide financing solutions for commercial property owners. Often brokers are called upon for seemingly difficult financing scenarios. The key to finding a solution is locating the right lender with the right loan product. In the past, this meant a lot of research. There are hundreds of sources for commercial loans representing thousands and thousands of financing options. The best route for someone new to the industry is to locate a database of lenders that will allow you to input the loan information and allow the system to narrow your search to a handful of potential lenders. This technology is somewhat new to the commercial industry so be careful that the database allows you to search programs from multiple lenders, not just one or two. Keep in mind that these lenders want your business, you are their client. They should be willing to do the work required to match a loan program to your needs.

So now you have the training and the lender options in place, now comes the most important piece, the clients. You will spend the majority of your time looking for borrowers that need your assistance in helping them find the right financing. The key to building a client base is education. You must educate your potential clients in the commercial industry and above all why they should work with you. Marketing to potential clients is both time consuming and can be costly. Finding the best way to market yourself will require a bit of research and testing.

As you build your business you will find that most of your clients will come from referrals. These referrals can come from friends, family, or your network of existing contacts. Be sure to let everyone you know that you are now a commercial mortgage broker and what services you provide. You may be surprised to find that your existing contacts may be your best source for business.

What about commercial mortgage “leads”? Many companies offer leads that you can buy. Just be careful about buying leads. Some can be great, but some can be a great waste of money. Leads are often offered to multiple brokers at the same time and you will find yourself competing with several (or many) other brokers for the business. The key term you want to keep an eye out for is “exclusive referrals” not leads. This means that you are the one and only broker receiving that referral and in this industry, a referral is gold. Exclusive referrals are of course not free. Often they are part of a membership to a brokerage service which includes additional services as well. Be aware that these golden opportunities may mean a commission split with the provider that may take up to half of your income. The best advice is to go into any lead or referral situation with your eyes open.

The final aspect you need to keep in mind as you venture into the commercial mortgage industry is your geographical reach. I don’t have to tell you that if you limit yourself to working deals solely in your local area, your earning potential will be equally as limited. Though it will take time, or just the right partner, your best bet is to serve as large a geographic area as possible. This flexibility will enable you to increase your potential client base and your potential income. Once you determine your target regions you will need to obtain the necessary licenses and qualifications to do business in those states. A few states require a special license to broker commercial mortgage loans. However, most states only require a basic qualification to do business. You should always consult your attorney to make sure you are taking the necessary steps to operate your business within the constructs of the law. It is a reasonable expense given the peace of mind you will have in knowing that you are conducting your business in accordance with the law.

Finding the right partner or mentor is a great way to start your career in the commercial mortgage industry. We all know it is much easier to get into something new when you have a friend that already does it. How many people decide, on their own, that skydiving is a good idea? It takes a friend that knows about it to get you involved. To show you the ropes and get you off the ground. This puts you more at ease with trying something new. Knowing someone who has “been there done that”. In the commercial mortgage industry, a little research and networking, will allow you to find the right partner to help get you started in this exploding industry.

In summary, the commercial mortgage industry provides a wealth of opportunity for those willing to put in a little hard work. While there are many companies out there that are willing to help and do provide a valuable service, there are equally as many, if not more, that are of no value to you at all. Do the research and go in with your head up and your eyes open and you may find wonderful opportunities within the commercial mortgage industry. Good luck!