Successful commercial real estate brokers constantly work on building their brand and reputation, but who keeps the ship afloat behind the scenes while they’re off schmoozing with clients and closing deals? You guessed it: An admin.
And although your administrative support work may not be as outwardly glamorous as your boss’s, keeping up with high-powered brokers who chase high-dollar deals can be exciting and rewarding.
Sound appealing? Here’s a quick look at the profession through the words of some experienced pros.
Multitasking Is Mandatory
Flexibility and multitasking are key in the fast-paced world of real estate. “We make our money by closing deals, which can happen at unexpected times, and it is challenging to support so many of these time-critical transactions at one time,” says Christine Bruckner, office manager for Coldwell Banker Commercial TradeMark Properties in Raleigh, North Carolina. “It’s important that you can shift gears and move quickly from each task to get them all resolved. For me, an everyday scenario involves taking a phone call and sending an email, while I have two people waiting to speak with me and other calls coming in.”
Stay on Your Toes
Timing is everything in the competitive commercial real estate business, and keeping pace with all of the deadlines is no easy task.
“Every portion of the deal -- from mortgage approvals to closing and sale of the property -- has its own deadline, and you have more than one property going at a time,” says Lauren-Marie Turner, director of client services for Media, Pennsylvania-based DeSanto Realty Group LLC.
“You had better be on your toes. After completing a task, stop and revel in it for two seconds before you start another. The feeling of accomplishment must be there to continue on. Otherwise, the feeling of frenzy prevails and you lose momentum.”
Organization Is Key
Amid the plentiful and often unwieldy paperwork accompanying real estate transactions, you need to stay organized.
“A good standardized filing system is invaluable,” says Valerie Beard, executive assistant in the Chicago office of Ridge Property Trust, a private real estate investment trust. “By taking a few minutes at the end of the day to straighten up, you can keep track of your current projects and be able to find completed projects when they are needed. It’s also less intimidating at the beginning of the next day.”
Reap the Rewards
Because admins play an integral role on the broker team, you’ll be considered an important part of the success when a big deal goes down.
“It’s a win for the brokers, the company and you,” Kidd says. “Not everyone can be fortunate to work with a great team. When you have that opportunity, it makes your daily work easier to accomplish. It feels good.”
Working as an admin in commercial real estate “is exciting and dynamic, and you will work with some of the greatest professionals anywhere,” says Andy May, director of talent management for Wells Real Estate Funds, a national real estate investment management firm in Norcross, Georgia. “Because of the high level of involvement that our administrative assistants have in the process, it is quite possible for them to progress into other roles within the real estate team.”
For more information and tips to help you advance your administrative career, see all our advice for admin professionals.