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VOL. 123 | NO. 132 | Tuesday, July 8, 2008

CI Class Offered In Light of Tight Times

By Eric Smith

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Memphis Metro CCIM Chapter
“CI: Introduction to Commercial Investment Real Estate Analysis”
July 24-25
Memphis Area
Association of Realtors
6393 Poplar Ave.
$350; call 800-621-7027 to register

A tight real estate market demands versatility from its professionals. If brokers who primarily or even exclusively deal with the residential side of the business are able to switch gears and land a commercial deal here or there, they might keep their livelihood afloat.

With that in mind, the Memphis Metro CCIM chapter is promoting its upcoming “CI: Introduction to Commercial Investment Real Estate Analysis” course as a way for brokers to expand their repertoire. CCIM stands for Certified Commercial Investment Member, a real estate designation that recognizes an expert in the commercial and investment real estate disciplines.

The two-day class, to be held July 24-25 at the Memphis Area Association of Realtors office at 6393 Poplar Ave., will provide an overview of the financial basics of the commercial market, from inspecting a property through the closing.

The course, which costs $350, is a first step for someone hoping to earn the CCIM real estate designation or can be used for 16 hours of continuing education credits.

Tanis Hackmeyer, education chair for the Memphis Metro CCIM chapter and managing partner at Hackmeyer Properties, said the course is designed for anyone who is or might become involved with some aspect of commercial real estate, from brokers to investors, from mortgage bankers to appraisers.

“Anyone in the real estate industry would benefit from this class,” Hackmeyer said. “It gives you the basic financial tools for investment and mortgage calculations. It could go both ways, for residential and commercial. It’s a foundation. If you don’t have any financial experience, it’s a great tool.”

Looking before jumping in

Despite the dip in commercial real estate numbers in Shelby County, the pinch is being felt on the residential side even more. Because of that, the Memphis Metro CCIM chapter has seen quite a few residential brokers sign up for this intro course.

Susan Evans, administrator for the Memphis Metro CCIM chapter, said the course long has seen a variety of registrants from the residential realm or anyone just looking to break into the profession.

“A lot of times we get residential agents who are looking to expand their real estate career,” Evans said. “It’s the best way for them to get a handle of stepping into another arena. For those who are just looking at getting involved in it, this is the course that they take. After they take this course, they’ll say, ‘Yeah, I want to go forward with this,’ or ‘Hmm, this isn’t for me.’”

Even amid the current downturn, real estate companies are taking on new brokers. Steve Woodyard, president of Woodyard Realty, has added a professional to his staff recently, a sign that he doesn’t want the company to contract even if the market does.

“We’ll continue to do that selectively,” Woodyard said. “We’re looking for the right people and the right fit at the right time.”

As he noted, this isn’t a bad time to get into real estate, because if one can sell during a down market, business probably will thrive when things start to pick up.

“Ideally, you’d love to jump into a hot market, but you really learn the basics this way,” Woodyard said. “I came into a slow market in 1984, and you learn the fundamentals, the blocking and tackling, you’re just not on the phone taking orders.”

Preparing for the future

Real estate brokers aren’t required to become solely a residential or commercial specialist, although most wind up choosing one or the other. Of MAAR’s 4,880 registered members in June, about 400 – or less than 10 percent – were commercial specialists, said Jules Wade, executive vice president for the organization.

That could mean a bigger piece of the pie for someone able to do both. And, as Hackmeyer pointed out, just because the market is slow now doesn’t mean it will be in six months or a year.

By then, those who made the jump – into either commercial or residential real estate – might reap the benefits of what traditionally has been a popular career choice.

“Real estate is always going to be there, and you’re always going to have bumps in the road, ups and downs,” Hackmeyer said. “You’re always going to have real estate. If you ride it out and buy right, then I think you can weather any kind of storm.”

PROPERTY SALES 105 193 8,028
MORTGAGES 120 239 9,024
BUILDING PERMITS 192 445 17,512
BANKRUPTCIES 27 69 5,228