The aggregate value of all commercial real estate holdings in the United States is in excess of $5 trillion, and a good percentage of that is wholly-owned by large companies/corporations. These companies are not in the business of investing in real estate, but their real estate holdings are nonetheless integral to their core business.
Take an auto manufacturer for example. The automaker may own office buildings to house its office employees, factories to build its cars, and retail stores to sell its products. The automaker would thus hire a team of real estate professionals to manage its office buildings factories, and retail stores need professionals to manage them. These corporate real estate professionals are experts in a wide range of disciplines including acquisitions, leasing, dispositions, facilities managment, workspace design, finance, among others.
Titles in corporate real estate vary widely depending on the responsibilities of the specific role, the company and their naming conventions, and the market. Examples of titles in this area of real estate include facilities manager, property manager, real estate specialist, and head of corporate real estate. The traditional analyst, associate, and director titles are also seen.
WHERE THEY WORK
The types of companies that hire corporate real estate professionals are generally large corporations with extensive real estate holdings. They include publicly traded companies and large privately-owned companies, both domestic and international. It’s important to note, that in recent years it has become popular for large corporations to sell and lease back their real estate holdings. Nevertheless, in these situations the company will often maintain real estate management responsibilities.
GENERAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Duties and responsibilities of a corporate real estate professional depend on the specific role. For the corporate real estate generalist, duties and responsibilities might include:
- Managing leasing, acquisition, disposition, and site selection activities for the company,
- Acting as liason between senior management and firms contracted to help maintain/manage the company’s real estate properties,
- Maintaining strong relationships with third-party leasing and sales brokers,
- Keeping a database and regularly appraising all real estate owned by the corporation,
- Working with legal counsel to draft and scrutinize legal documents,
- Coordinating with in-house facilities and property management professionals,
- Developling knowledge and tools to best facilitate the company’s need for optimal site selection,
- Collaborating with internal teams to manage due diligence, entitlements, budgets, design, engineering, and scheduling in the purchase or development of new locations,
- Performing market analysis including traffic counts, site accessibility, demographics, employee locations, and competitor locations,
- Touring potential sites
- Making internal presentations to senior management for approval of leasing, acquisitions, dispositions, and site selection decisions
Requirements for individuals wishing to work in corporate real estate might include:
- Bachelor’s degree and/or Graduate degree in real estate, business, economics, or other similar field,
- Existing experience,
- Willingness to travel,
- Negotiations skills,
- Strong written and verbal communications skills,
- Understanding of real estate principals and valuation techniques,
- Profiency in Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Outlook
HOW MUCH DO CORPORATE REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS MAKE?
See our section on salaries in real estate for more information.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
Whereas in many real estate roles you live or die based on your own individual performance, in corporate real estate the ability to work collaboratively in a team is essential to one’s success. Corporate real estate professionals typically work in large, heirarchical organizations and so people who thrive in corporate environmentals do especially well in these roles.
Also, the objectives and motivations of a corporate real estate owner are quite different from that of a real estate investor. Corporate real estate professionals must learn to adapt what they’ve learned about real estate to the specific needs and interests of their company. Real estate professionals who are able to identify value unique to a specific company are highly sought after in corporate real estate.