Brokers tend to work long hours, spend plenty of time each week trying to find new clients and typically expect to grab one new listing each month. Those are some of the key takeaways from a survey of more than 700 brokers from across the country.
Buildout and the BrokerList have partnered on the DNA of #CRE survey since 2015. For this year’s survey, these partners have revamped the survey, focusing on how brokers manage their data, prospect for new business, close deals and market themselves.
For this year’s survey, BrokerList and Buildout collected the opinions of 730 brokers from across the country.
What did the survey find? First, respondents said that they rely heavily on CoStar and LoopNet to source their property data. In fact, 63.9 percent of respondents said they relied on these services, with just 13.4 percent saying they self-sourced their property data and 5.9 percent saying they turned to Catylist.
The percentage of brokers relying on LoopNet and CoStar was up 12 percent from last year’s survey.
CoStar played a key role in how brokers gathered their comp information and data, too, with 44.7 percent saying that they gather their comps information from CoStar. A total of 39.7 percent of brokers said they sourced this data on their own. Only 7.9 percent of brokers said their companies provided this information.
According to the survey, 51.2 percent of brokers share their comp data with everyone at their firm. Just 16.1 percent keep this data to themselves.
Finding new clients, of course, is an important job for brokers. But how do brokers find these new sources of business? The DNA of #CRE study suggests that most do this the old-fashioned way: They rely on referrals from past buyers and clients.
According to the survey, 75.4 percent of brokers prospect for new clients through referrals from past buyers and clients, while 69.8 percent use cold-calling and prospecting and 54.4 percent have found new clients through referrals from other brokers.
Being active in the community has helped 48.7 percent of respondents find new clients, while 37.5 percent say they have found new clients through the organizations of which they are members. Social media has helped 32.4 percent of broker respondents in their prospecting efforts.
How long do brokers spend on drumming up new business? The survey found that 48.8 percent spent one to five hours a week on this task, while 30.9 percent spent six to 10. An additional 10.8 percent spent 11 to 15 hours while 6.6 percent spent 16 to 20 hours. Just 2.9 percent spent more than 20 hours on this job.
The survey also asked brokers about the number of new listings they expect to win each month. A total of 49.9 percent said they expect to grab one to two each month, while 27 percent said they expect to win less than one. Another 17.4 percent said they expect three to four new listings every month.
25.1 percent of respondents said that the average price of their new listings came in at $500,000 to $999,999, while 24 percent said their average new listings carried a price tag of $1 million to $2 million.
One of the challenges brokers face is that it can take a long time to close a deal. The DNA of #CRE survey highlighted this, with 42.4 percent of respondents saying that the length of their average deal cycle from first days on the market to closing was four to six months. An additional 32.6 percent said their average deal cycle took seven to 12 months, while 15.9 percent said it took just two to three months.
Once brokers win a listing, the majority of them manage the marketing process on their own, with 69.5 percent of survey respondents saying this is how they handle marketing. A total of 84.7 percent of brokers said they rely on email to help market their listings, while 76.5 percent use listing sites, 67.6 percent tap their personal relationships, 61.4 percent rely on their websites and 51.7 percent turn to cold calling.
When asked which property type they expect to sell the most of during 2020, 27 percent of brokers pointed to office properties, 23.1 percent to industrial, 19 percent to retail and 12 percent to multifamily. This isn’t surprising: In 2019, brokers reported closing more office deals than any other property type.
Where do most brokers work? According to the survey results, the majority work at independent brokerages. The survey found that 56.5 percent of respondents worked for one of these firms, while 43.5 percent worked at a national brokerage. 65 percent of respondents worked in the city and 32.3 percent in suburban areas.
Most brokers also reported working plenty of hours. A total of 39.2 percent of respondents said they worked 36 to 45 hours a week while 30.6 percent said they worked 46 to 56 hours. An additional 12.1 percent said they worked more than 56 hours every week, while 18.1 percent said they worked from 25 to 35 hours.
The makeup of the commercial brokerage industry remains mostly male. It’s not surprising, then, that 80.4 percent of survey respondents said they were male while just 18.1 percent said they were female.