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Commercial Department: From the Editor: August 2017


From the Editor

Advance your career with some expert insights

c_2017-08_FTERegardless of what industry you’re in, getting a raise or a promotion is a common career goal. But commercial mortgage brokers are often unsure how to achieve those goals, and that may happen more frequently than in many other professions.

That lack of clarity may be a byproduct of the relative lack of training opportunities for younger or newer commercial mortgage brokers. Certainly, there are traditional classroom programs and online programs that focus on industry-specific skills and knowledge. There aren’t many of them, however. Similarly, many four-year colleges and universities have business schools with real estate concentrations, but the programs may not focus specifically on commercial properties and how to succeed in a unique environment.

According to the National Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS), the number of mortgage originators grew by 7.6 percent in 2016, to more than 145,000 individual originators nationwide. Although a large percentage of them have a residential-only focus, there are clearly opportunities on the commercial side, and it’s a good bet that will continue for the foreseeable future.

Our August magazine, with a focus on career advancement, attempts to reach commercial mortgage brokers who are wondering how to better themselves so they can reach more clients and, consequently, make their commission checks larger. We aim to lay out some trends and advice that will appeal to brokers who have as many questions as answers about their careers.

In her article on Page 40, Valerie Sweeney of APEX Mortgage Corp. tells brokers that “working smart” is a key to success. This may be particularly true within small-balance mortgage companies, a common starting point for a new broker. Effective marketing and time-management skills, as well as a voracious appetite for reading about current industry issues, make mortgage brokers more valuable to their clients and supervisors, Sweeney argues.

Whether you specialize or dabble in multifamily properties, you can benefit from what David Leopold of Freddie Mac Multifamily has to say on Page 31. Freddie Mac, a leading source of financing nationally for workforce and affordable rental housing, is revamping its regulations around apartments, manufactured housing and rural housing, which will have ramifications for borrowers for many years to come.

Shifting to another government-based program, Kurt Chilcott of CDC Small Business Finance has a primer on U.S. Small Business Administration loans. On Page 57, Chilcott compares the characteristics of the SBA’s CDC/504 and 7(a) loan-guarantee programs, along with laying out specific situations for utilizing one or the other.

At the other end of the lending spectrum, private money receives a lot of attention in this edition. It starts on Page 49 with a blueprint on preferred equity. Andrew McManus of QuickLiquidity explains how preferred equity financing can help a borrower unlock the value in a property that is otherwise encumbered by loan terms that make it hard to access.

On Page 64, Stephen Counts and Ralph Cram of Envoy Net Lease Partners discuss a similar financing tool — private-equity debt. Although this product features higher interest rates than a loan from a traditional lending source, it also offers more flexible underwriting standards and options for financing tricky construction or value-add projects. And on Page 74, John Odegard of the Seattle Funding Group makes the case that private-money lenders offer a more efficient model for today’s dynamic, fast-paced real estate climate.

You may be getting hot under the collar thanks to the August heat, but we hope this edition will help cool down any agitation or uncertainty you have about your business or career.


Neil Pierson is editor in chief of Scotsman Guide Media. Reach him at or (800) 297-6061.

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