Learn to Earn
Though he started out in commercial real estate by managing one 440-unit apartment complex, Beau Beery, CCIM, CPM, vice president of commercial real estate with AMJ of Gainesville in Gainesville, Fla., “quickly became enthused about the financial potential of having 440 people pay me rent every month!” That enthusiasm evolved into a passion for commercial real estate that inspired Beery, who now manages nearly $50 million of office and retail assets, to become one of North Florida’s go-to industry experts.
To help achieve his goal, Beery earned a master’s in real estate from the University of Florida along with the CCIM designation. Commercial Investment Real Estate asked Beery to explain the return he’s getting on his investment in the CCIM designation.
With an advanced degree in real estate, why did you pursue the CCIM designation as well?
Beery: There was no better way to separate myself from most of the practitioners out there than to earn the CCIM designation. Since UF’s real estate graduate program is aligned with CCIM’s fast-track designation program, I was able to earn the designation quickly. The CCIM courses also counted toward many of the educational requirements I needed to achieve the Institute of Real Estate Management’s Certified Property Manager designation. While racking up designations doesn’t necessarily make you successful, the knowledge, skills, and technology tools in designation programs such as CCIM’s equip you with the elements you need to succeed in the industry.
What specialized skills or advantages did the CCIM educational experience offer beyond what you learned in grad school?
Beery: The graduate program prepared me exceedingly well from a theoretical perspective, but the CCIM courses brought all of the concepts together with real-world experiences. CCIM instructors are seasoned practitioners who use their own transactions to illustrate each principle they teach in the courses. And one of the things I like most about the CCIM education program is that it isn’t just for commercial brokers. Anyone in the commercial real estate arena can benefit from the education. CCIM has given me a deep understanding of the industry from the perspectives of all major participants, including lenders, developers, appraisers, brokers, and consultants.
How do you capitalize on the power of CCIM’s designee network?
Beery: Without a local CCIM chapter in Gainesville, I’ve had to be proactive in building relationships with other CCIMs in the area. There are six CCIMs in Gainesville who fall into the Jacksonville, Fla., chapter and eight CCIMs in nearby Ocala, Fla., who fall into the Orlando, Fla., chapter. Real estate dealings occur far more often between Gainesville and Ocala than between the other cities, so I decided to create an informal Gainesville/Ocala CCIM group. While it’s not a registered chapter, the 14 designees who are involved gather three times a year to discuss new listings, property needs and wants, market data, strategies that are (and aren’t) working in the current market, and the up-and-coming movers and shakers. We alternate venues between the two cities and have a great time networking together.
You also were appointed to serve as a director for the University of Florida’s Friends and Alumni of Real Estate. Has your CCIM affiliation assisted in that role?
Beery: Yes, I’m working to strengthen the relationship between the institute and UF by getting CCIM involved in the educational development, networking, and sponsoring of local UF-FARE events. This group of more than 1,400 global real estate professionals works to provide educational and professional opportunities through local events as well as student scholarship and mentoring programs. The North Florida CCIM Chapter sponsored the 2009 UF-FARE beach retreat, which drew a large number of regional real estate professionals, and provided four CCIM designees to serve as panelists for the event. I’d like to help create more cooperative opportunities like this in the future.
I’m also working with the North Florida CCIM Chapter and UF to offer CCIM’s CI 103 course annually so that UF’s real estate graduate students can take the course as a step to achieving the designation.
As a CCIM who’s acquired a great deal of experience in a relatively short time, what tips can you offer to those just starting out in the industry?
Beery: Commercial real estate is a fascinating industry with constant opportunities to learn. Earning the CCIM designation has been such a boost to my career, having afforded me tremendous relationships and deal-making skills. STDBonline and MailBridge have made it so much easier to get information from the best in the industry. I’ve found that being successful in real estate is possible by following a few simple rules: Educate yourself, immediately return calls, and, most of all, be tenacious.