Can You Do Both Commercial And Residential Real Estate?

Agent Advice

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Published date: Jul 06, 2023

Updated: Jul 31, 2023 by Ana-Maria

hand businessman moving chees peicesThe real estate world is often seen as a dichotomy, divided into two realms. There are residential and commercial properties, and many agents choose to specialize in one area. However, this is not always the case because there are also agents who dare to thread both paths simultaneously. So, what’s the difference between commercial and residential real estate? And, considering those differences, can you really do both commercial and residential real estate? The answer is a resounding yes, as these agents dynamically navigate the complexities of commercial vs residential real estate, paying careful attention to the particularities of both categories.


In this article, we delve into the world of real estate agents who do both commercial and residential real estate. We will explore the skillset and knowledge required to thrive in this dual domain. Finding answers to questions like can a residential real estate agent sell commercial property will help us to shed some light on commercial vs residential real estate. Whether you’re an aspiring real estate agent eager to know what makes a good real estate agent or a curious homeowner or business owner, we’ve got you covered.


This article will serve as your gateway to understanding the thrilling possibilities that arise when one chooses to do both commercial and residential real estate!


What is residential real estate?

Residential real estate encompasses properties that serve as residencies for individuals and families. This category includes a diverse range of housing units, like single-family homes, townhouses, condos, apartments, and vacation homes. Whether owned or rented, long term residential real estate investments can prove beneficial for several reasons. Individuals can choose to invest in residential properties for personal use, generating rental income. Investment can have the potential of growth over time in property value.


What is commercial real estate?

image of skyscrapers

Commercial real estate entails properties that are specifically designated for business purposes. This diverse sector includes various property types such as office buildings, retail stores, shopping centers, industrial warehouses, mobile real estate, hotels, and restaurants. Commercial real estate serves as a hub for income generation and facilitates a wide range of activities.


Successfully navigating this realm requires specialized knowledge and expertise in diverse areas. Those usually involve leasing, property management, and market dynamics.


For those venturing into the world of commercial real estate, having the ability to do both commercial and residential real estate can open up a broader range of opportunities. Understanding the unique dynamics of each sector equips real estate professionals to serve diverse client needs.


Important differences between the two

There are several important differences between commercial and residential real estate. Understanding those differences can help you decide if you want to do both commercial and residential real estate as an agent. Some of the most essential points to consider are:


Scope of use

Residential real estate serves as homes or dwellings for individuals and families. Those are used as housing units. In opposition, commercial real estate is specifically designed for business activity purposes. The commercial real estate accommodates offices and retail stores. Those provide suitable space for industrial facilities and hospitality establishments.


As a source of income

Residential real estate can be a source of rental income if the owner chooses to rent it to individuals or families. This type of rental agreement serves residential purposes. 


In contrast, commercial real estate is leased or rented to businesses and organizations. This is done with the aim of generating income through commercial activities.


Many different options are available for generating income from real estate. Getting informed about the best starter properties for investment can help understand the differences between the types of properties and the activities allowed to be carried out in them. 

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Accessibility and prospective investment options

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Residential properties in most cases are more accessible to individual buyers. The reason for this is the accessibility of traditional mortgages for example. Commercial real estate transactions may involve more complex financing structures. Those include commercial loans, partnerships, or syndication. These options are often targeted toward investors and businesses.


Lease framework

Commercial vs residential real estate have differences in lease structure. Residential leases have a shorter duration and standardized terms. Those often range from half a year to one year with the potential to continue. Commercial leases tend to be long-term. Those can span from several years to several decades even. They can also be customized to meet the specific needs of the businesses.


Assessment methods

Commercial vs residential real estate differ in the methods of valuation, too. Residential real estate valuation is commonly based on comparable sales in the area. Using the sales comparison method, a property's price can be determined based on other property prices in the area. In contrast, the value of commercial real estate starts with its income potential and cash flow. The income approach or capitalization rate are methods that are frequently used to evaluate this type of real estate.


Dynamics of the market

Different factors drive the residential real estate market as the commercial market. The residential market is driven by population growth, demand, and affordability. The commercial real estate market dynamics are influenced by a different set of factors. Some of them are economic conditions, market demand, and the attraction of certain locations for businesses.


Commercial vs residential real estate - understanding the distinctions

hand man moving chess building

Being informed about the differences between commercial vs residential real estate makes it easier to choose the right career path as a real estate agent. Moreover, his information can be crucial for anyone standing in the front of a decision about investing or leasing.


Professionals in the real estate industry can leverage this information to do both commercial and residential real estate successfully. Navigating the market this way can open up broader opportunities. And that means more connections with both residential and commercial clients.

Can a residential real estate agent sell commercial property?


Whether someone can do both commercial and residential real estate depends on various factors. Residential real estate agents specialize in selling residential properties. Those are used for dwelling purposes. Commercial properties are specifically designated for business or commercial use. Buying and selling of those properties involves different considerations. Market dynamics and local regulations can be more complex compared to residential transactions. As a result, licensing can differ between commercial vs residential real estate in some states. So, can a residential real estate agent sell commercial property?


Real estate licensing and regulations vary by jurisdiction. Still, residential real estate agents have a lot of flexibility to do commercial transactions under certain circumstances. Most states require the same license for both residential and commercial sales. So, if an agent chooses to change specialization, they have the possibility to sell other types of properties, too.


Is there a difference between commercial and residential real estate license?

At the start of their careers, agents usually choose their specialization. This can be in either residential or commercial sales. As a result, there is a difference between commercial and residential real estate license. This can regulate to some extent an agent’s freedom to do both commercial and residential real estate. There can be differences between commercial vs residential real estate licenses. Those differ depending on each state’s jurisdiction. To get more leads as a real estate agent, sometimes it’s important to know what the law allows an agent to do. Each state’s jurisdiction is different. Here are some key generalities that can sometimes differentiate commercial vs residential real estate licenses.


Specialization. In a typical situation, realtors specialize in one of the two main realms of real estate. Residential vs commercial real estate are the two main branches. The two, of course, call for different types of knowledge and education.


open book hardback colorfulTraining and education. What education is required to be a real estate agent and how many years of college it takes to be a real estate agent can somewhat vary. But typically, commercial real estate licenses often require more extensive training and education than residential ones. This is due to the sometimes complex nature of commercial properties. Market analysis, financial analysis, lease negotiations, and property management are a few specifics of commercial real estate that an agent needs to know.


Exam Content. The licensing exams for commercial vs residential real estate may have different content. Since the areas of focus are different, exams are different, too. For residential real estate, buyer-seller representation, property valuation, and insight into the residential market dynamics are important. For commercial real estate, exams may test insight into investment analysis, income potential, and lease agreements.


Law and regulations. Commercial real estate transactions often involve more complex legal and regulatory considerations than residential transactions. Agents holding a commercial license need to have an understanding of the jurisdiction. Knowledge about zoning requirements, building codes, and environmental regulations changes often. A commercial agent has to make sure to stay up-to-date with those.


Those differences between commercial vs residential real estate vary from state to state. Planning to do both commercial and residential real estate transactions might require researching the specific state's regulations.


The bottom line

So, the answer to the question Can you do both commercial and residential real estate? Is YES. Real estate agents can sell bot.h kinds of properties, even if they choose to specialize in one of them. Pre-licensing education covers the basics of both types, allowing to cross over. The commercial real estate market of the future might be in dire need of professionals specialized in both residential and commercial real estate. Yet, it’s important to take into consideration that commercial vs residential real estate has different requirements. Pre-licensing education provides a foundation for both types of properties. Still, agents should evaluate whether they have what it takes to handle a specific transaction. The educational background and on-job experiences often differ. Many commercial agents achieve success only after years of experience and hard work in the field. The bottom line is that a licensed real estate agent can choose to do both commercial and residential real estate. But they should ensure to be well-equipped to handle the intricacies of each type of transaction.

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