A Day in the Life of a NYC Commercial Real Estate Agent

Jarad Winter (427x640) (285x403)Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a commercial real estate agent in NYC? Jarad Winter, Associate Director at Capstone Realty Advisors, gives the lowdown on his life as a commercial real estate agent in one of the most competitive industries. Jarad’s no-holds-barred perspective uses wit and candor, as he takes us behind the scenes.

A day in the life of a NYC commercial real estate agent is an adrenaline rush. Here’s why.

I am approaching my third year in the business. The past three years have been like a roller coaster ride. It all began on my first day as a commercial real estate agent at Capstone Realty Advisors. Managing Partner and Founder, Joseph McLaughlin, gave me some advice on how to navigate the ups and downs of life as a NYC commercial real estate agent.

According to Joseph, succeeding as a commercial real estate agent requires perseverance, above anything else. One minute, you will be ecstatic because you just received a great phone call or email that gets you that much closer to completing a transaction.  The next moment, you will be incredibly disappointed about that phone call or email that has just delivered bad news.

Joseph’s words of advice were true to form. Being a commercial real estate agent has brought both challenges and rewards. But, that’s what makes it exciting. Its high moments, low moments, and everything in between – they’re all a part of my life at the Capstone office. And, I would have it no other way.


The alarm goes off once, twice if I hit the snooze button, its loud beeping announcing another workday. There are many mornings when I wish I were more like the late Steve Jobs, who decided that he would only wear black turtlenecks and blue jeans to work. Smart man – by limiting his clothing options, he had one less decision to make during the day. If I showed up at the office in the same suit, shirt, tie, and shoes every single day, my fashionable colleagues would call me out on my “wear, wash and repeat” style.  Oh well, maybe in my next life.

While I walk to the Astoria Ditmars subway stop, I contemplate what I need to accomplish that particular day. It’s a time to multi-task, as I respond to emails using my iPhone. I continue to answer emails as I sit down on the N or Q train and begin the journey into Manhattan. Upon arriving at 34th Street Herald Square, I get out of the train and join the throng of New Yorkers on the streets of midtown Manhattan.

First things first, I immediately head to the deli to buy my morning coffee. That caffeine fix is my saving grace in the mornings. Armed with my cup of coffee, I walk into the Capstone office like a MLB player stepping onto the grass at the Yankee Stadium. It’s game time.

At my computer, I browse the new listings on CoStar with anticipation, hoping that the one space I’ve had my eye on has finally hit the market. I check my email again. Already, a handful of emails have seeped into my inbox. After promptly replying to the emails, I place 3-4 phone calls. Usually, the calls involve speaking with a client to confirm an appointment or discussing an offer with a building agent.

As the morning progresses, I open up my ACT! Database and perform my daily ritual of following up with clients. It’s a simple, yet important, step that involves checking in on clients, even if it’s to say a quick hello. Following up is essential to success as a commercial real estate agent. After all, it is better to be overly keen than not keen enough.

Since no two days are alike in this business, every morning is different. I usually start with an office space tour. I enjoy going on tours; they indicate that a client has placed their trust in me to find the best office space for their business. It’s a turning point in my business partnership with the client.

If I don’t have a tour planned, I canvass consistently. Cold calling and email blasts are a part of my canvassing strategies. By casting my net wide, I gather a few leads each day.

By the afternoon, I’ve literally worked up an appetite. I always try to eat a relatively healthy lunch, but hot and humid summer days call for a more hearty meal. For instance, after I go on a tour in 95 degree heat with 80% humidity, I’ll refuel by indulging in a large Italian Hero with hot peppers.

As I ramp up for the afternoon, I venture out to preview office spaces. Basically, previewing is researching. It involves taking photos of office spaces, jotting down notes of its features (natural light, anyone?), and drawing up detailed floor plans. After previewing an office, I am able to give my clients a first-hand perspective of the space, rather than simply spouting out facts and data that I read on CoStar. Clients always appreciate a “virtual” tour of an office space before they see it for themselves.

As the day draws to a close, I create a list of tasks for the following day.  Always looking ahead and having a proactive mindset is essential to survival in the industry. A commercial real estate agent should always think, ‘Ok, now what is the next step.’  In acronym speak, ATF (always thinking forward).

In this business, you have to roll with the punches. Some days are more hectic and stressful, while others bring a smile to my face. However, I enjoy facing the challenges. They make me a tougher and more resilient agent. After a day of bad news, I approach the following day with renewed vigor. I view every moment as an opportunity to maximize my potential as a commercial real estate agent.

As I’ve already mentioned, being a NYC commercial real estate agent is like riding a roller coaster. Even though it has its ups and downs, I enjoy every single moment of thrill.

Do you have questions or thoughts about the life of a NYC commercial real estate agent? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment. 


Showing an Office Space Through Photos and Images

Photos grab attention and words sustain it

In commercial real estate, is a picture really worth a thousand words? When you want to sell or lease an office space, there are many reasons why you should capture the office through the lens.

Since people are visual creatures, images can be powerful – they evoke a certain emotion or mood within us. They also allow us to make sense of something and to understand it in a way that words can’t describe. Studies have proven that even color can arouse emotion and cause people to respond in certain ways. It’s no surprise that the body and mind are inextricably linked.

Photos also lend credibility and value to your claims. For instance, they provide evidence that the office is sun drenched, with tremendous views and gleaming hardwood floors. Ultimately, that’s what you want: for people to believe what you say. Clever catchphrases are a moot point without the supporting evidence.

Since photos clearly are the sustenance of commercial real estate, here are some tips on how to best represent and showcase your office space.

Take Wide-Angle Shots

Wide angle shots are the best way to feature open space in an office. For some industries, open space is the holy grail of office design. Many creative businesses are opting for open layouts to encourage collaboration and the exchange of ideas. A wide angle shot can really do justice to wide open space.

Emphasize Ceiling Height

Many business owners covet high ceilings in an office. To emphasize the ceiling’s height, hold the camera vertically when taking the photo. Doing so will give the viewer an accurate perspective of those lofty ceilings.

Feature the Building’s Exterior and Neighborhood

If an office is in an attractive or architecturally-unique building, why not make that a focus? I always appreciate when listings feature photos of the building’s amenities or even the neighborhood itself. Such photos can really give you a better idea of what it would be like to work there.

Don’t Forget the Office Views

Think “outside of the office” and look out the windows. Do you see an expanse of cityscape? Perhaps, there’s a landmark building just a stone’s throw away. Capture a shot of the views if they are pleasing to the eye. People enjoy working next to a backdrop of inspiring views. A glance at that picturesque scene can be motivating after hours of staring at a computer screen.

Take Panoramic Shots

The panorama feature is a blessing to real estate photography. Panoramas are relatively simple to create. Just take a few photos and combine them by using a basic stitching program. Panoramic shots add flair to a listing and give an alluring, three-dimensional appearance to an image. They draw in the viewer, making them feel as if they’re looking at the office space itself.

Use Strategy

Before you even begin to snap the camera button, take a mental snapshot first. Ask yourself which qualities you want to emphasize. Will it be its natural light, large windows, or long wall of exposed brick? Focus on its assets and keep in mind that you want your photos to leave an impression.

When I take photos of commercial real estate, it’s a unique experience every time. Each space has its own character and ambiance. Plus, there’s something satisfying about seeing an office space displayed in resplendent detail through photos.

Are you an office space shutterbug? Please share your own tips and suggestions with us by leaving a comment below.

Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Commercial Real Estate Agent

Photo Courtesy of PhotoPinBusiness owners who are looking for office space, this post will help you with your search. Perhaps, you are now looking for a commercial real estate agent, and have hopped online to see what options the search engines will churn up for you. You type in commercial real estate agent, your location, and voila – a long list of commercial real estate agents appears before you.

So, where should you begin? How do you narrow down these options to find the commercial real estate agent who will be best for your business? After all, you want to find an agent who will make the process as seamless as possible.

Fortunately, there are many resources to help you during your search. There are well-known commercial real estate websites that deliver quality advice. They even offer real estate search engines to fine-tune your search. Just simply type in your requirements and allow the search engines to work their magic.

However, one of the best ways to find a commercial real estate agent is through word of mouth and referrals. Ask your fellow business associates who they used for their commercial real estate agent. Testimonials from trusted sources can provide invaluable insight and perspective.

Now, it’s time to narrow down these options even further to find the top candidate. Do some detective’s work by asking the agents several key questions.

Here are some important questions to ask:

How many years have you been a commercial real estate agent?

Naturally, you may want to hire a seasoned real estate agent who knows the ins and outs of the industry. Experienced agents have weathered the commercial real estate market’s ups and downs, and have proven their resilience.

Even though experienced agents certainly have an allure, don’t turn away an agent who is just getting their feet wet. You could benefit from a new commercial real estate agent’s keen and enthusiastic approach, and who hits the ground running.

Do you specialize in a particular industry?

Find a commercial real estate agent who specializes in your business’s industry. For instance, does your business sell computer hardware? If so, then, an agent who works for clients in the tech industry would be right for your business.

Tell me about the most memorable deal that you have closed.

Every commercial real estate agent has those deals that become defining moments in their careers. Ask why this particular deal resonates with them.

What sets you apart from other commercial real estate agents?

The effective commercial real estate agent has a promise, a shtick that sets them apart from the rest. Find out what defining quality they will bring forth to the table (so to speak). Will it be their experience and long-standing track record of proven results? Or, their boutique approach of working with you one-on-one? An agent should bring you their own unique professional style and approach.

Do you have an updated license?

Practicing commercial real estate agents are required to have a license from the real estate branch of their state’s Department of Licensing services. They must also routinely renew their license to keep their knowledge fresh.

Can you tell me more about the neighborhoods you represent?

Your commercial real estate agent should give you the lowdown on the neighborhoods that they represent. Forget about the guidebooks; your agent will loop you in on what’s hot in the area, from the main attractions to the hidden delights.

What are the current trends in the commercial real estate market?

The way the commercial real estate agent answers this question will clue you in on whether they keep informed. The successful commercial real estate agent consistently researches and combs the news. They are plugged into the pulse of the commercial real estate market, and leverage their knowledge on your behalf.

You and your commercial real estate agent will forge a business partnership. The above questions will help you find the agent who pulls out all the stops for their clients – someone who will work for, and with, you to find the best office for your business.

How to Succeed as a Commercial Real Estate Agent

As a burgeoning commercial real estate agent, you might wonder what it takes to become a successful commercial real estate agent. How does one become a leader and go-to source in the industry?

The honeymoon stage of your real estate career is a crucial one, laying the groundwork for your future in the industry. Not only will you learn the nuts and bolts of commercial real estate, but you will also develop your own unique professional style. It’s a time to experiment and to hone your technique, to see what works for you and what doesn’t.

There is no magic formula that guarantees success in commercial real estate. However, the successful real estate agent demonstrates specific qualities that set them apart from their peers.

Honesty and integrity

First and foremost, a successful commercial real estate agent has integrity. Rightfully, clients want an agent whom they can trust. They want to know that their agent will be working for and with them. A commercial real estate agent must always approach their job with an unwavering code of business ethics and professionalism. In fact, honesty and integrity should be a given for every agent, not just successful agents.

Proactive and knowledgeable

The successful commercial real estate agent is proactive. They realize that listings come and go, and act fast to navigate the ever-shifting market. Furthermore, they are experts within their niche. They consistently comb the news to keep informed about inventory, industry trends, and market forecasts. If their clients have questions, they have the answers.

Proficient with technology

When a client searches for a commercial real estate agent, they usually begin with the Internet to scope out the options. The successful real estate agent realizes this and harnesses the power of the Internet to showcase their services. They effectively use media to clearly communicate how they can help prospective clients.

Mobile technology is also seeing a rapid rise in commercial real estate. People are now using their phones to conduct online searches, access listings, and to communicate. With the world becoming an ever mobile place, the cell phone is taking center stage in commercial real estate.

Knows the neighborhood they represent

When a business owner searches for an office space, they are also looking for a neighborhood that will allow their business to thrive. Certain neighborhoods tend to attract certain industries. For instance, the Midtown South area of New York City is a mecca for creative businesses. Meanwhile, businesses in the financial services industry gravitate towards Wall Street, appropriately dubbed the Financial District.

As a commercial real estate agent, you should become familiar with the neighborhood(s) that you represent. Check out the surrounding attractions, happy-hour hangouts, and travel accommodations.  If you prove yourself as a community expert, your clients will appreciate your authority on the area.

Additionally, it’s important to form a strong, supportive anchor of contacts in your community. In a professional network, every contact counts. By networking effectively, you will establish your credibility in the commercial real estate industry and even get referrals to your services.

Never complacent

Lastly, the successful real estate agent understands that their career is always a work in progress. Even at the pinnacle of their career, they never become complacent. Momentum in commercial real estate depends upon your own mindset. If you always try to improve, you will move forward in your commercial real estate career.

How to Become a Commercial Real Estate Agent in NYC

Photo Courtesy of Online Real Estate MarketingDo you want to become a commercial real estate agent in New York City? Perhaps, you’re a recent college graduate looking for your career niche, or you’re considering a change in career. Whether you’re a fledging or a veteran in the job market, commercial real estate can be an exciting career choice. Here, I deliver the whys and hows of becoming a commercial real estate agent in NYC.

Why Become a Commercial Real Estate Agent?

It’s an exciting and dynamic career. If you like to constantly be in “on” mode, then you will enjoy being a commercial real estate agent. Some days, you will be at your desk, corresponding with clients through email and phone, conducting industry research, and performing administrative tasks. Other days, you will find yourself out and about in the city – showing office space, meeting with prospective clients in person, or attending meetings and conferences. In this career, no two days are exactly the same.

You will make connections. Your ability to network and forge quality working relationships is crucial to your success as an agent. To become a standout in the industry, you must spread the word about your services and build your business brand. On any given day, you will interact with many people and will steadily become socially connected to the nation’s premier business hub.

Flexible schedule. A commercial real estate agent’s hours do not adhere to the standard 9am – 5pm workday. Rather, your schedule depends upon the needs of your clients. For those who are less than enthusiastic about a structured workday, this can be an appealing aspect of the job. However, the successful commercial real estate agent will put in long hours and be attentive toward their clients. A strong work ethic and drive go a long way toward success in commercial real estate.

Reap the rewards of your own efforts. Your own efforts will guide your commercial real estate career. Of course, there are other forces at play, such as prevailing market trends, but it’s your skills and finesse that hold the most weight. Your own actions on the job will determine whether you make it or break it in the industry.

How to Become a NYC Commercial Real Estate Agent

Get Your Commercial Real Estate license. To become a commercial real estate agent in the New York State, you must be at least 18 years old. Even though you do not need a college degree to become an agent, a college education can give you an advantage in this dynamic industry. For instance, many commercial real estate agents hold degrees in business, marketing, psychology, finance, and related fields. Since an agent wears many hats on the job, you can apply the skills you learn in college toward your career.

To get your commercial real estate license, you must complete at least 75-hours of course instruction. Upon completing the courses, you are required to take a NY state-mandated exam. Keep in mind that your real estate education does not end there. Every couple years, you must renew your commercial real estate license by passing the state-administered renewal exam. Renewing your license keeps your knowledge fresh and sharp.

For a helpful guide on how to get your commercial real estate license, visit the Department of State, Department of Licensing Services website

Find a Commercial Real Estate Brokerage. This is the most important step to becoming a commercial real estate agent in NYC. The brokerage you choose will have a lasting impact on your career. Your colleagues will be your cohorts, since you will work closely with them as a team.

To find the commercial real estate brokerage that’s right for you, do some research. New York City is a hotspot for commercial real estate, and there are many job opportunities. To narrow down your options, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I want to work at a boutique, mid-sized, or large firm? 
  2. What will be my specialty – the tech, fashion, scientific, creative, or manufacturing industries?
  3. Do I want to represent tenants or landlords?
  4. Which NYC borough(s) do I want to serve?

Knowing the answers to the above questions will make you a competitive applicant in the hiring process. Commercial real estate brokerages are looking for proactive people who have done their research and know what they want in their careers.

Complete a commercial real estate training program. You should choose a commercial estate brokerage that offers a training program to its newcomers who are new to the industry. The training program will be an apprenticeship of sorts, as you learn the ropes and mechanics of the business. During the training program, a seasoned real estate agent will take you under their wing and train you. It’s a very hands-on approach to learning, one that will give you some invaluable skills and career insight.

Being a NYC commercial real estate agent can be very rewarding. You will get to be a part of the nation’s premier business capital. If you follow these steps, you will be well-prepared to survive and thrive as a commercial real estate agent in NYC.

Capstone Realty News | View an Inspiring Loft Sublease

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This inspiring loft sublease, located in the heart of SoHo, is a rare find for the creative tenant. Professionally designed by Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, its built interior features a diverse arrangement of open area, conference rooms, and private offices. The entire floor showcases high-end fixtures throughout and resplendent natural light.

For more information about this creative loft sublease, please contact:

Jarad Winter | 646.443.8568


View the flyer below for additional details and floor plan:





Office Design Debate | Open Space Versus The Cubicle

Open office space versus the cubicle: it’s the office design showdown of the 21st century. Modern offices are becoming expressive, and in some cases, even artistic. The trendsetters in office design are getting experimental with office layouts, with open space emerging as an up-and-rising trend.

Call to mind the prevailing office stereotype, which depicts the office as a maze of cubicles. People sit at their desks, absorbed in their own working worlds. This quintessential image of the office has been the fodder of media satire for years. If you’ve tuned into the “The Office,” or have watched the satirical “Office Space,” you are definitely well aware of office culture humor.

The rise of open space is beginning to shift this office paradigm. Business owners and office designers are recognizing the impact that an office’s configuration has on employee morale and productivity. Many people are beginning to rethink the concept of the cubicle, and devise alternative workstations and layouts. The dawn of office design experimentation is here, with modern offices coming up with some interesting results.

However, not everyone welcomes these changes in office design. The cubicle has some staunch supporters who insist that it shouldn’t ever become a relic of the past. They give some convincing reasons why the cubicle should be a mainstay of office design. After all, they say, there are many good reasons why the cubicle has been such an iconic fixture of the office.

With two sides to every coin, will open space or the cubicle get the cutting edge? To decide, let’s examine the advantages of both.

Open Space Advantages

Increased Collaboration

 Photo Courtesy of Be Interior DecoratorOpen office space does present as a formidable rival to the cubicle. In an open workspace, employees can share, collaborate, and bounce ideas off of one another. It creates more of a team-centered environment where employees can engage their minds with fellow coworkers. If someone has a question or thought, they can easily share with their neighbors. There are no divisions, no physical separation of minds.

For creative businesses, this appearance of togetherness may be ideal, since they are about ideas and innovation. An open floor plan can be just the strategy that invokes creativity in a team of employees.

There is No ‘I’ in Team

Certain businesses thrive most when the office functions as a team, rather than a gathering of individuals. A team-centered environment can create camaraderie, and with this camaraderie, a sense of company pride. Company pride should be a key part of company culture. If employees have a positive emotional attachment towards their company, they’ll feel even more invested in its performance. They’ll be more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty, rather than simply put in the hours. The right dose of office banter can actually be fuel for a business.

The Cubicle Advantages


Photo Courtesy of Stand Up CubicleOn the other side of the coin, there are some key reasons why the cubicle shouldn’t be a ghost of office past. Unlike open space, the cubicle gives you a sense of privacy, cutting out needless distractions. It can help you reach that focused, mindful state that helps you get work done. Some people may prefer a more private and self-contained working environment, which the cubicle provides.

Sense of Ownership

The cubicle not only gives you privacy, but also a sense of ownership over your own space. After all, you can decorate the walls of your cubicle with photos, letters, and other memorabilia. It becomes yours. Just take a look at some of your coworker’s cubicles. Unless they’re a minimalist, their cubicles are most likely adorned with family photos, vacation shots, or gag gifts from coworkers. You can express yourself through your cubicle, turning it into a collage of who you are and your office life. Those same cubicle decorations can also be a visual relief from the rigors of work.

Open Space Versus the Cubicle | Which One Wins?

The truth is that there is no winner. Open space and the cubicle both bring undeniable advantages to the workplace. Rather than viewing it as an either/or debate, perhaps it’s best to consider which layout best serves your particular business and industry. For instance, creative businesses may benefit most from an open layout, which encourages collaboration between employees. Conversely, a business in the financial industry may prefer to have cubicles in order to give employees a more private and streamlined focus.

Some businesses choose to go for a more diverse arrangement by bringing the best of both worlds to their offices. A mix of open space and cubicles/private offices can offer something for everyone. After all, different people have different working styles. While some people may perform best when given privacy, others may prefer a more social environment. When planning out the design of your office layout, it’s best to tune into the needs of your business’ industry and the working styles of your employees. Using a bit of strategy and insight can go a long way for your business and company culture.

We turn the question over to you: Do you prefer the privacy of the cubicle, or are you partial to the integrative environment of open space? Let us know in the comments below.