Six months ago the National Real Estate Investor published its annual rankings of the top Commercial Real Estate firms in North America. Did you take the time to notice? If you examine the list of the top 60+ firms, you may see some trends that could impact your personal career.

The rankings were based on closed transaction volume reported over the 2015 calendar year. Note this is not a ranking of commissions earned, so a $5 million sale and $5 million lease have the same value.

It is rarely a surprise who earns the top spots – more interesting, is which firms make up the middle and lower tiers of these rankings.

One obvious omission from this list is Cushman & Wakefield, as they were finalizing their purchase with DTZ in 2015 – thus transaction volume was not reported. The new combined entity would otherwise be in the top 3 positions of these rankings.

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The rankings offer some keen insights to market shifts:

The Big Six remain intact. Year after year it seems CBRE, Cushwake, JLL, Eastdil, NGKF and Colliers are in a group of their own. However, being the biggest does not necessarily mean they are the best. There are great individual brokers in every firm on this list.

There is no one right structure for success. The ‘top 20’ list includes corporate structures, license models, franchises, associations, affiliations and partnerships. Each model has its own advantage.

Don’t discount the new kids on the block. I admit, years ago when I heard Keller Williams was launching a commercial brand, KW Commercial – I was skeptical. Yet, they broke the top 20 on the list with over $8 Billion in transaction volume. I must disclose that I had the privilege of meeting Co-Founder Joe Williams this week – I was impressed with both the progress they have made to date, and the vision they have for the future. The same could be said for Avison Young – this company opened its first office outside of Canada in 2009, and today they are the 13th largest firm in the world (and still growing).

Being a boutique is beautiful. Look at this list. Several boutique firms are closing some serious transaction volume, particularly when you consider the limited number of brokers associated with these firms – their production is impressive.

Focus pays. Massimo Members would be ranked #20 on this list. OK, this point is self-serving – but I am proud of our members (coaching clients). In 2016, they closed over $8.3 Billion in transaction volume. It is also worth noting that our members make up a much smaller group of brokers than those firms with a comparable transaction volume.

Source: National Real Estate Investor

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