Market News

Specialization: Finding the Right Agent

The term “commercial real estate” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, including the brokers who practice in the field.  Commercial real estate encompasses virtually all real estate activity outside of residential home sales.


Because of this broad spectrum of activity, an individual broker simply cannot know it all and cannot adequately service the needs of every prospective client.


Whether consciously, by accident, or by necessity, brokers tend to focus their energies over time into a few select areas of expertise and specialization.


Geographic Specialization

A broker generally defines the geographic area they concentrate in.  This could be Bloomington/Normal, all of McLean County, Central Illinois, or something more specific, such as East side, West side or downtown developments.


Market Sector Specialization

Within any geographic area, activity will occur in several different commercial market sectors:

  • Office use can range from a small single-tenant freestanding buildings to large multi-tenant complexes.
  • Retail use includes malls, strip centers, theaters, gas station/convenience stores, free standing retail and restaurants of all types.
  • Hospitality includes hotels, motels, convention centers, resorts and campgrounds.
  • Industrial includes warehouses, manufacturing or smaller flex spaces.
  • Multi-family housing consists of apartments, condominiums, time-shares, mobile home parks and rooming houses.
  • Special use includes banks, churches, schools, government buildings, healthcare facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, day care, fitness centers, gymnasiums, bowling alleys, recreational facilities, etc.
  • Land sales includes the development or re-development of any of the above.


Activity Specialization

Within a market sector in a defined geographic area, a broker may specialize in:

  • “Sales”, which can cover seller or buyer representation
  • Landlord representation
  • Tenant representation
  • Development or re-development
  • Property management


The challenge for the client, who needs the services of a professional commercial broker, is to find a broker with the depth of knowledge, experience, and level of expertise needed to successfully complete their specific assignment.


Start locally.  No one knows the market better than the brokers who work there every day.  Call the full services offices that specialize in commercial real estate.


Ask about experience, references, and professional designations or affiliations.  Don’t hesitate to ask for a referral to another agent with the expertise you are looking for.   The brokerage community has a well—established referral network and should be able to point you in the right direction.