CRE Broker Best Practices – “The 50/50 Rule”

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The following is about the best practices of CRE, and is a posting from our guest blogger, Brad Umansky, President of Progressive Real Estate and Author ofValue Added – Successful Strategies for Listing & Selling Investment Real Estate.” Brad was profiled in the best-selling book, Commercial Real Estate Brokers Who Dominate, for his excellence in the profession.

In this article:

  1. The Real Estate 50% Rule
  2. The 50% Rule Is Not About the Instant Gratification
  3. Join Industry Committees and Help Plan Events
  4. Speaking Opportunities
  5. Return Appraiser Phone Calls
  6. Call People Back
  7. Respond to Reporter Inquiries
  8. Attend Public Hearings

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The Real Estate 50% Rule

I have always believed that 50% of a broker’s activities are geared toward making a dollar TODAY and 50% toward making a dollar TOMORROW. While this is a concept foreign to many brokers, it is one that has had a very positive impact on my career. At the end of the day, success in retail brokerage is largely based on your reputation AND relationships, and following “The 50/50 Rule” helps with both.

“I have always believed that 50% of a broker’s activities are geared toward making a dollar TODAY and 50% toward making a dollar TOMORROW.”
~ Brad Umansky | Progressive Real Estate Partners

The 50% Rule Is Not About the Instant Gratification

Brokers often get called by property owners, tenants, developers, city officials, appraisers, lenders, industry organizations, and others who may need some help, but there is no immediate “pay-off.” Many brokers ignore these requests. I thrived on them. Even though they took countless hours, ultimately I reaped a lot of benefit by helping out. I used these opportunities to build relationships, and hence my reputation and visibility in the business.

“To succeed over the long term, you must make sacrifices of your time in the short term.”

Here are some examples of actions you should take to honor “The 50/50 Rule”:

Join Industry Committees and Help Plan Events

Industry organizations like ICSC, SIOR, CCIM, ULI, and CREW rely heavily on volunteers to facilitate activities and programs. Get involved and help with the planning of events. Ideally, you will take on a role, such as being the moderator or a program coordinator, which gets your name in the program and/or allows you to introduce or moderate the event.

Speaking Opportunities

business trainer giving presentation | CRE Broker Best Practices – "The 50/50 Rule”

Many organizations are also looking for “experts” to participate as a speaker or panelist at industry-related conferences. In addition, these days trade media companies like France Media, Bisnow and RENTV also host events targeted to commercial real estate. If you like to speak (or even if you don’t), this is a great opportunity to position yourself as an “expert” and help out the organization which, as a bonus, often times also leads to free PR.

Return Appraiser Phone Calls

Appraisers need market input about current deals to do their job, and this can be a “win-win” opportunity. In return for providing input, many appraisers will be happy to send you their data, thereby you are able to obtain new market information that adds to your knowledge base. Also, if you ask the appraisers questions, you frequently will gain inside market knowledge about a deal or possible listing.

Call People Back

It may be as simple as someone needing your opinion on working with a specific tenant. Call them back. The same goes for email. Following this one simple rule could be the start of a relationship that will lead to your next big deal.

Respond to Reporter Inquiries

Sometimes I’ve spent half an hour on the phone with a reporter only to find out that they only used one line of our entire conversation. That’s okay because I’m building a relationship with the reporter. In turn, when I have some news to share, he/she will be more likely to pay attention. Reporters need reliable “go to” expert sources, not to mention that this gets your name in print and helps position you as a market expert and thought leader in the field.

Attend Public Hearings

If you have a transaction that requires a public hearing to get the user or project approved, go to the hearing. I have probably attended at least 50 of these hearings over my career. You will be such a better broker if you learn to navigate the municipal approval process.

“Follow ‘The 50/50 rule’ so you don’t miss out on a major opportunity to build your CRE business.”


If you want to succeed over the long term, you must make some sacrifices of your time in the short term. By being generous with your time, doing favors for others, and making the extra effort on items that may not be the most valuable use of your time today; I assure you that you will yield incredible benefits down the road.

In short, if you aren’t following “The 50/50 Rule” you’re missing out on a major opportunity to build your brokerage business.

Brad Umansky is the Owner and President of Progressive Real Estate Partners (PREP), a boutique commercial real estate brokerage firm focused on the leasing and sale of retail properties in SoCal’s Inland Empire region. Prior to founding PREP in 2008, Brad had a very successful brokerage career at Sperry Van Ness, Grubb and Ellis and Lee and Associates. He is also the author of “Value Added – Successful Strategies for Listing & Selling Investment Real Estate” which is a how-to book for brokers seeking a step by step guide for listing and selling investment real estate properties.

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Up Next: 5 Biggest Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Challenges


Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on November 1, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

2 Responses

  1. Great article- i have been doing this since i got into the biz back in 1996. It still pays dividends. I have responded a number of times over the years to a request by a large industrial building owner for opinions of value or current lease rates at no cost. Today he’s ready to sell- guess who he called! Appraiser calls are a pain but my local MAI is always available to help me out or hear me out. Who knows maybe it is a 60/40 rule!!

  2. I completely agree. It has always been the way I operate since 2001. It is imperative to let someone else know that you really care. You must return those phone calls. People tend to ignore leaving a very bad impression to others. People’s reputation is essential if you want to have a 50/50 rule applied into your career. Your future depends in today’s representation of yourself.
    – Danny Laniado, Director
    GREINER-MALTZ Investment Properties

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