Unlocking Success: Qualities of Top Investment Sales Brokers

Most real estate investors recognize their broker as a trusted advisor and a source of valuable information, while others view them simply as transaction facilitators. Often, the disparity between the two stems from each individual’s past experience. Top brokers distinguish themselves from the paper-pushers in several ways. Here are a few of them:

Market Knowledge

One of the most important qualities in a commercial broker is their depth of market knowledge. Questions like, "Why did that building sell for a premium?" or "How many jobs have been created in this submarket in the past year?" are just a few examples of common questions that clients may ask when evaluating their next purchase or sale. 

Good brokers know the ‘stock and velocity’ of the market, or at least have it readily available. The best brokers have deep market knowledge, and the ability to use it. They are constantly in touch with the market movers, not just when they’re trying to get a listing. So they often know when a property is going to sell long before the rest of the market does.

Market knowledge isn't just about numbers and statistics. It's also about understanding emerging trends, the key players, and the factors that influence property values. This is the kind of knowledge that gives a client a strategic advantage in a competitive market.


There's nothing worse than hiring a broker and then having them go AWOL. Successful brokers return calls in a timely manner, and they provide regular marketing reports on their clients’ listings. In a hot market, being first in line with an offer can sometimes be more important than the best price and terms. Clients without responsive brokers end up watching deals happen from the sidelines, and they never become repeat clients. 

In a fast-paced market, being the first to make an offer can often be more critical than offering the best price and terms. Responsive brokers demonstrate their commitment to being proactive by keeping their clients informed.


Commercial real estate is broad and complex, and no broker can be an expert in everything. Some brokers may choose to focus on multiple product types, but they are often the master of none, and a millionaire real estate investor isn’t going to trust their money with someone who’s just dabbling.

Top brokers typically specialize in a specific real estate segment, whether it's office, industrial, retail, or multifamily. They possess in-depth knowledge and insights into their chosen niche. A specialized broker is also more likely to have a robust network in their area of expertise and can offer tailored advice that aligns with their clients’ investment goals. They can help identify opportunities that others may overlook. 


Experience is often a testament to a broker's competence. Knowing how long a broker has been in the industry, and how many transactions they've closed, can provide valuable insights that are available anywhere else.

For investors, that could even mean finding an investment sales broker who also owns similar properties. They can offer a unique perspective and share firsthand experiences that may benefit their clients’ investment strategy. 

Oscar Wilde said, "Experience is the name we give our mistakes." A broker who has witnessed and learned from others' mistakes can help their client avoid costly errors in their real estate journey.

Analytical Skills

There’s a reason many top brokerage firms have a new agent work as an analyst before becoming a broker. I was a real estate investment analyst for many years before going into brokerage. Then, in my first year as a broker, I finished as the top-producer out of dozens of agents. I attribute that success largely to the fact that I was able to underwrite deals for my clients without having to rely on someone else's analysis. 

Understanding the fundamental mechanics of real estate and investments isn’t just a competitive advantage, it’s a necessary skill to serve a client properly. Newer brokers who don’t have those skills should take commercial real estate classes, or figure out how to find a real estate mentor. Because a broker with strong analytical skills can help their clients make informed decisions, which is the cornerstone of any successful investment strategy.

Off-Market Opportunities

If you ask most clients what they want from an investment sales broker, they’ll often say “access to off-market deals.” Many clients believe that once a property hits CoStar, LoopNet, Crexi, or any other multiple listing service, it's not a good deal. 

Clients want great service. One way to go above-and-beyond to demonstrate good service is to show them opportunities the rest of the world has not seen. So while some brokers call just to "check in", other brokers work hard to show their clients interesting off-market deals. It’s pretty easy to tell which one is going to help their client make more money. A broker who provides access to off-market opportunities is worth their weight in gold.

Honesty and Professionalism

One might think this would be a no-brainer. But unfortunately, stories of brokers behaving unethically or unprofessionally are not unheard of. Good brokers recognize that the client values the truth above all else.

In investment real estate, overvaluing a property in order to secure a client relationship is called "buying a listing".  If a broker tells a client their property will sell for substantially more than what another broker says, then either one of them has bad information, or one of them is lying. 

Savvy clients know better than to let this happen. They ask the difficult questions, and they make the broker justify their information. They know that if they don't trust the broker, then neither does the rest of the real estate community, because integrity is paramount.

Summary - TL;DR

Commercial real estate brokers can profoundly impact their clients’ success. The best brokers have a deep understanding of the market, exceptional responsiveness,  specialization and experience in a particular segment, strong analytical skills, access to off-market opportunities, and a commitment to honesty and professionalism.

High-value clients prioritize these qualities, ensuring they're not just hiring a broker, but forging a partnership that will guide them toward long-term success. Because in the world of commercial real estate, the right broker is an incredibly valuable asset.

About the author: Trevor Calton is the founder of Real Estate Finance Academy and President of Evergreen Capital Advisors. He was a licensed investment sales broker for over 15 years, and began his brokerage career by earning both Rookie of the Year and #1 Top Producer in the same year, a rarity for the industry. Since 1997, he has analyzed, acquired, or sold more than $5 billion of commercial real estate assets, financed over 500 commercial investment properties, and overseen the asset management of over 6000 units of multifamily housing.

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