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The Ideal Commission Structure to Attract Top CRE Brokers

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I don’t know if it’s true, but I have read that when John Dillinger, an infamous bank robber during the 1920’s, was asked why he robbed banks he replied, “Cause that’s where the money is!” It got me to wonder if money is the motivating factor for folks to work with their selected commercial real estate firm.

In our Annual National Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Survey, we asked what the top attractor to joining your current brokerage firm was? The 500+ responders were given the opportunity to rank 8 factors from most important to least important. These factors were:

  1. Commission structure
  2. Team environment
  3. Technology
  4. Marketing support
  5. Personnel support
  6. Opportunities to work on deals they would not have access to otherwise
  7. Mentorship opportunities, and
  8. Formal training programs

If you are considering recruiting for your firm, your team, or even retaining the talent you currently have, these results would assist you in articulating your value proposition based on the recruit, their experience and your platform.

The most interesting perspective was to examine the importance of commission structure, based on the size of the company one worked with. We segmented the firms by organizational structure; that being Top 5 National (based on deal volume), all other Nationals and Independents.


Based on those who identified themselves as working with independent firms, Commission Structure was the number one cited attractor, and by a large margin. The second attractor was working on opportunities they wouldn’t get access to otherwise, followed by working in a team environment.


Those who identified themselves as working with national brokerage firms cited the same three top attractors; however, opportunities to work on deals they wouldn’t get access to otherwise was the top rated response, followed closely by working in a team environment and commission structure.


Finally, for those working with the Top 5 commercial real estate brokerage firms, the top attractor was opportunities to work on deals they wouldn’t get access to otherwise, and by a wide margin. This was then followed by working in a team environment second and marketing support third. As for commission structure, it ranked 6th in the 8 options provided. That’s right, 6th.

cre brokerResponses from Those Associated with the “Top 5” Firms

By the way, the survey results also suggest that the more experienced one was, the more important the commission split became. So, perhaps as we get older we, like John Dillinger, go where the money is.

If you are curious how your organization performed on our survey, or if you wish to access how your team is performing, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

2 Responses

    1. Great question Nathan. The results did not vary by market, but as reported they did vary by age and affiliation. 55% of the respondents were associated with independent firms and 45% with National firms. 11% of respondents indicated they were affiliated with one of the Top 5 firms.

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