For Adam Gregory, being a CCIM means others recognize his commercial real estate experience and credibility. For Tedd Rosenstein, it means having a thorough understanding of the profession and, as a result, confidence and success. For Soozi Jones Walker, being a CCIM means having the tools, education and networking opportunities for personal and professional achievement. For Miriam Campos-Root, it means being one of a network of highly trained and experienced, knowledgeable industry people. For Carol Cline-Ong, being a CCIM means achievement of her second most difficult life goal (the first was the birth of her son).
“Holding the CCIM designation is humbling and rewarding beyond measure,” added Cline-Ong, president and co-owner of MDL Group, a Las Vegas-based commercial real estate brokerage and property management company.
An Elite Corps
What is a CCIM? A Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) is a recognized expert in commercial and investment real estate, a professional who capitalizes on their education, technological information and tools when serving their clients, whether they are an owner, investor or user.
“The name of the game is providing clients the highest level of service in commercial real estate transactions,” said Rosenstein, president of Nevada Development & Realty Co., a commercial real estate and property management firm in Las Vegas.
CCIMs comprise an exclusive group. Of the 150,000 commercial real estate professionals nationwide, only 6 percent have earned the CCIM designation. This is because the process to become a CCIM is intensive and requires personal and financial commitments along with dedication.
“The CCIM is one of the most coveted and respected designations in the industry,” Cline-Ong said.
The first requirement for obtaining the CCIM designation involves completing required classes, including those in financial analysis, market analysis, user decision analysis and investment analysis—all for commercial investment real estate. Subsequently, candidates must submit a portfolio of their closed transactions and/or consultations, which must illustrate a certain level of experience in the commercial real estate field. Finally, candidates must pass a comprehensive, six-hour examination. This three-step process ensures CCIMs are proficient in both theory and practice.
“Because of the extensive education involved, the designation is like getting a Ph.D. in commercial real estate,” said Campos-Root, vice-president at NAI Las Vegas, a commercial real estate brokerage.
Whereas the Southern Nevada chapter of the CCIM Institute, the organization behind the CCIM designation, has 175 members, 88 are designees.
“That’s a very small percentage relative to all of the practitioners in our field,” Rosenstein said. “There are many good commercial practitioners who are not CCIMs. Some are candidates working toward that goal.”
The local chapter, founded in 1988, is part of CCIM Institute’s global network that encompasses every U.S. state and more than 30 nations—about 1,000 markets. This network includes brokers, leasing professionals, investment counselors, asset managers, appraisers, corporate real estate executives, property managers, developers, institutional investors, commercial lenders, attorneys, bankers and other allied professionals.
“Being an active and engaged CCIM opens up relationships around the country with fellow CCIMs with a mere phone call or e-mail, which otherwise wouldn’t be possible,” said Cline-Ong, president of CCIM’s Southern Nevada chapter.
CCIMs have access to more than 8,600 designees across the country, and they tend to refer within their network, as they know what to expect from other CCIMs.
“Whenever I look for someone to refer to, I always look for a CCIM because of the intensive education that we have gone through. They’re really hands on, and everyone is willing to help—like one big family,” Campos-Root said.
Clients are more likely to choose working with a CCIM over a non-designee, particularly when the market is competitive, because they likely have more education, tools and experience, are better armed for handling complex negotiations and transactions, and tend to be in the top 5 percent of their field’s performers when it comes to production. CCIMs have committed themselves to excellence and professional ethics, and have documented successes. They can reach out to other CCIMs around the world to assist a client when necessary.
“With a CCIM, clients get the best of the best,” Rosenstein said. “That serves the community in having a better choice for prospective clients to choose when considering using a broker.”
The Tool Chest
The numerous tools CCIMS have at their fingertips, which they employ to more efficiently and comprehensively serve Southern Nevada, range from a collective property listing service to marketing and analysis applications.
“Utilizing the various resources available to us, when representing our clients, allows decisions to be made at the highest and most informed level possible,” Cline-Ong said. “This translates into successful and thriving businesses and a spirit of community involvement, empowerment and social responsibility that is very high.”
CCIMREDEX is an online resource with multiple offerings. This real estate data exchange aggregates commercial real estate listings from several sources, including Property Line, Catylist, CoStar and Loopnet.com, and also transfers listings from CCIMREDEX to those other sources. So through CCIMREDEX, CCIMs can access available properties on several other listing services and commercial information exchanges. They also can enter a listing on CCIMREDEX, and know it will get automatically added to the individual services’ listings.
“It expands the network and the exposure for more deal making and for more networking,” Campos-Root said.
Commercial real estate professionals who aren’t CCIM designees now can purchase CCIMREDEX, which further expands the network and allows CCIMs to reach more brokers.
Instruments, such as MindMatrix’s inVision tool, are available for generating electronic and print marketing materials. Integrated with the cumulative property listings database, it provides CCIMs with property information, maps, photographs, floor plans and more.
“The ability to market using one main portal that feeds to all the other main Web sites saves hours of time and energy,” said Jones Walker, president and corporate broker at Commercial Executives, a company in Las Vegas that specializes in acquisition and disposition of commercial properties, leasing and tenant representation. “In this very busy market, time is one thing we need to use wisely.”
The Learning Center, whose purpose is to educate designees about CCIMREDEX, affords all kinds of training videos, Webinars, tutorials and documents. Online support is available as well.
Site To Do Business
Site To Do Business (STDB) is an integrated online service that provides information that can be used to analyze and compare the past, present and future trends of properties and geographical areas. The site quickly aggregates data from major database provides, such as ESRI, infoUSA and bing Imagery, and presents them in various formats. Using the service, CCIMs can retrieve, visualize, create, manage and analyze, for a particular location more than 100 reports and documents, including topography, flood and other maps; demographics, business information, consumer expenditures, financial data, aerials, retail market potential, crime, environmental reports, growth trends, employment data and more. Using this information, CCIMs can obtain a complete picture of a specific property or area, from how the market is trending to who lives and works in the area and how they spend their time and money.
“It allows us the ability to provide our clients with both macro and micro perspectives of a particular market and submarket,” said Gregory, vice-president of Access Commercial Mortgage, a Las Vegas-based commercial mortgage banker. “Within minutes we have the ability to provide a complete analysis with data that support a particular property usage (office, industrial, retail, multifamily).
These are tools that we can provide to the Southern Nevada real estate community at a fraction of the cost of assembling them individually.”
Life After the Pin
In the dynamic business of commercial real estate, CCIMs are committed to continuing their education, and the Life After the Pin program allows them to do just that. Designees may retake the core CCIM courses to update their knowledge and skills. In addition, they may pursue other courses on current commercial real estate topics and trends, such as Advanced Negotiation, through the Ward Center for Real Estate Studies. The online site, Blackboard, assists designees with their education. Through it, they have access to course and study materials, discussion boards, CD-ROM recordings and other resources.
Designees also have access to several commercial real estate-related podcasts through CCIM Institute—The Future of Capital Markets, Green Awareness and Strategies for Working with Depressed Properties, for example. The Institute’s annual conferences give them another place and setting for networking and deal-making. Also, to remain current on industry news and information, designees have free subscriptions to CCIM.net, the organization’s Web site; Commercial Investment Real Estate Magazine, the industry’s monthly publication; and I-News, CCIM Institute’s online newsletter.
CCIM Institute supplies designees with financial worksheets, for sales and cash flow, for example; legislative news and updates; and research reports on trends in investment real estate nationally and in local markets.
For those CCIMs who want to gain leadership training and/or further develop their personal talents and skills related to business, they may apply to attend CCIM Institute’s Jay W. Levine Leadership Development Academy.
“Education, technical tools and countrywide networking are paramount to success in our industry,” Cline-Ong said.
For more information about the resources CCIM offers and for a list of the members, go to http://chapters.ccim.com/southernnevada.