Candidate Spotlight Second-tier markets

CCIM Candidate Spotlight: Peter Farsai


Born and raised in Chico, Calif., Peter Farsai didn’t take long to discover commercial real estate. A degree in entrepreneurship and project management led him to a highway commercial development project. Now a broker/agent with California Top Brokers, Farsai splits his time between the Bay Area and Southern California, where he is planning to open another brokerage in San Diego.

If his schedule wasn’t already full, Farsai decided to pursue the CCIM designation in 2019 and plans to take the exam this fall. While hitting the books, he’s also serving as the marketing chair for the CCIM Northern California Chapter and was recently elected as its technology officer in 2022. Farsai takes a moment to reflect on his path to this point and discusses his plans for the future.

CIRE: What experience, professionally and personally, led you to seek the CCIM designation? What was the aha! moment when you knew it was worth the time and effort?

Peter Farsai: Throughout transactions, I heard stories about CCIMs, the knowledge they had, and the types of deals they were doing — spoken about as if they were the elite Navy SEALs of the real estate world — and I wanted to be one. In 2019, I took the foundations course with Bill Mohr, CCIM, and I was hooked. The rest is history.

CIRE: Have you been able to put your education to use? How has the designation curriculum impacted your professional abilities?

Farsai: Yes, tremendously, and both my new and long-term clients noticed. From the beginning, the curriculum quickly opened my eyes to the variety of possibilities of financial strategies the CCIM expertise offers. I loved that I walked away from each course feeling like I had immediately applicable, tactical knowledge for my clients. I’ve noticed also how much more confident I feel in pitching creative solutions and triaging obstacles throughout the transactions. But one of the most valuable outcomes of my experience is the networking and camaraderie within the CCIM community of like-minded professionals.

CIRE: What has been the most challenging aspect of your journey toward CCIM designation?

Farsai: One of the biggest challenges so far is communicating the true value of the CCIM pin to clients and people less familiar with the industry. From my experience, I think people understand that using a CCIM is the ideal way to go, but they don’t fully realize the depth of expertise available to them. I’ve noticed that CCIM isn’t quite yet the household name it deserves to be within the industry, but I’m excited to be a part of helping it quickly get there.

CIRE: What support structures have helped you during the process? Is there a CCIM who inspires you?

Farsai: I would be foolish to say I didn’t have the support of numerous colleagues (including some CCIM mentors), family, and close friends during this journey. I remember calling them after the start or finish of each course, saying how different it was from other education and how much the consumption of knowledge felt like drinking from a fire hose. I’ve never felt more simultaneously excited and overwhelmed, and I’m grateful for a strong support circle during those moments.

I’ve noticed that CCIM isn’t quite yet the household name it deserves to be, but I’m excited to be a part of helping it quickly get there.

CIRE: How has commercial real estate shifted for you, given the impact of COVID-19?

Farsai: Real estate in the Bay Area and Northern California by nature presents some unique challenges and need for creative strategies. Add to that the events of the last few years (wildfires, the pandemic, political shifts, a residential and commercial exodus from the Bay Area, demand for new construction and bottlenecks with supply, etc.), and we’re really talking about what felt a bit like a suddenly new Wild West. I feel confident in saying that it’s my CCIM knowledge that allowed me to optimally navigate these new changes. I believe it’s also what helped set me apart as a local broker, resulting in 2020 being one of my most successful years to date.

CIRE: What does it mean to you to be a part of a family business? Are there any unique positives (or challenges) that come up when working with your family?

Farsai: It was a privilege in that I was able to be closely involved in some high-level jobs and conversations at an earlier stage in my career than I may have been otherwise, but it wasn’t particularly easy. Candidly, working with family sometimes comes with higher expectations and less leniency. Looking back, I’m appreciative of the pressure and trial-by-fire moments because I think that’s what expedited my learning curve and helped me more quickly understand the value of what we as CCIMs do. 

Editor’s note: Congratulations to Peter, who passed the comprehensive exam in October. He is one of class of 122 new designees.

For more on the CCIM designation process and curriculum, visit  Earning the CCIM Designation.

Nicholas Leider

Nicholas Leider is senior content editor for Commercial Investment Real Estate. Contact him at

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