'You Sure You Want To Do This?’: Rookie Office Brokers Pursue CRE Careers Despite Downturn
There’s an existential crisis facing the office market, with phrases like “urban doom loop” and “office-to-residential conversions” becoming commonplace. That environment might seem like an unfavorable one for young adults looking to start a career.
But many early career brokers who spoke with Bisnow said they felt energized by the chance to hone skills during a downturn, despite the increased competition and widely acknowledged financial hardships of starting out in CRE. In conversations with nine young office brokers, many of whom entered CRE since the pandemic, and a few in their older 20s and early 30s with some experience, most saw great opportunity and excitement despite the difficulties.
Consensus suggests that, optimism aside, the beginnings for anybody in this industry are rocky. Many young brokers spoke of the grind, taking calls whenever they come in and working 10-hour days, often more than more senior members of their team and doing whatever it takes, no matter how challenging or how small the initial reward. Others said that due to the low deal volume, tenant representation has become especially competitive. Brokers needed to be relentlessly focused on their clients to keep them from being poached.
Isabella Zelinger, 29, who started in 2020 and is now a senior adviser at Cresa, said brokers need to “check their egos at the door” and “work on anything that’s thrown their way.”
“I think a lot of younger brokers look at the successful players who have been at it for 30 years and ask how they get there,” she said. “It’s mostly about having the grit not to leave. It’s a game of ‘can you weather it?’”