5 ways commercial and residential real estate can cooperate now



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A brokerage with access to a commercial division, Troy Palmquist writes, experiences a whole new way of serving clients, adding value and creating professional synergies

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Not all brokerages are created equal, and not every brokerage has a commercial division. However, those who do will find that it offers the opportunity for powerful synergies. 

Commercial real estate is a whole different beast, and I have always admired commercial agents for their vision and expertise. They have a unique ability to see the potential in underutilized assets and work tirelessly to identify the right buyer or tenant for a property. Their knowledge of 1031 exchanges and ability to navigate complex transactions further sets them apart.

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When working with clients — whether they are business owners or individuals within your sphere of influence — the need for commercial space or the desire to sell a business often arises. 

As residential agents, we tend to stick to the market and property types we know. However, ensuring the best outcomes for our clients sometimes means stepping outside our comfort zone and collaborating with commercial agents.

In my work at eXp Realty, I have access to their dedicated commercial division. This is the first time in my career that I have had such a resource, and it makes a significant difference in networking and the opportunities that arise. 

In my time here, I have learned a lot about commercial real estate, including the differences in brokerage firms, market dynamics and the ability to work across state lines.

The benefits of a commercial division

Having a commercial division within a brokerage offers several advantages. First, it provides a broader range of services to clients. When a residential client expresses interest in investing in commercial properties or needs space for their business, having immediate access to commercial expertise can make all the difference. It ensures the client receives well-rounded advice and services without needing to look elsewhere.

Second, it enhances networking opportunities. Commercial and residential agents can cross-refer clients, collaborate on projects and share insights that benefit both parties. This symbiotic relationship can lead to more deals, increased client satisfaction and a stronger market presence.

Third, access to a commercial division contributes to professional growth. Residential agents working alongside commercial specialists can expand their knowledge base, learning about different market dynamics, investment strategies, and transactional complexities. This cross-pollination of expertise can make agents more versatile and valuable to their clients.

5 types of commercial real estate needs

Here are five ways to identify if your clients or sphere of influence have a need for a commercial agent and strategies for starting the conversation:

1. Business ownership 

If your client owns a business, they may have commercial real estate needs, such as leasing office space, purchasing a warehouse or selling a business. Ask about their business operations and future plans to identify potential needs.

Here’s how to start the conversation: “I noticed you own a business. Are you satisfied with your current commercial space, or are you considering any changes in the near future?”

2. Investment interests

Some clients may be interested in diversifying their investment portfolios with commercial properties. Inquire about their investment goals and suggest commercial real estate as a viable option.

Here’s how to start the conversation: “Have you ever thought about adding commercial properties to your investment portfolio? They can offer great returns and diversification.”

3. Expansion plans

Clients looking to expand their business may need new commercial spaces. Discuss their growth plans and offer to connect them with a commercial agent who can help find suitable properties.

Here’s how to start the conversation: “With your business growing, do you foresee needing additional space or different types of commercial properties?”

4. Relocation 

Business owners relocating to a new city or state will need assistance finding commercial space. Offer your network of commercial agents to make their transition smoother.

Here’s how to start the conversation:  “If you’re considering relocating your business, I can introduce you to our commercial team who specialize in finding the perfect spaces in new locations.”

5. Referrals 

Even if a client doesn’t have an immediate need, they might know someone who does. Educate your sphere of influence about your brokerage’s commercial capabilities and encourage them to refer others who might benefit.

Here’s how to start the conversation: “If you ever hear of someone needing commercial real estate services, feel free to send them my way. We have a great team that can handle those needs.”

Embracing the synergy

By recognizing these opportunities and initiating conversations, residential agents can provide more comprehensive services and foster valuable relationships with commercial counterparts. The integration of a commercial division not only expands an organization’s capabilities but also enhances the value it offers to clients. 

Embracing the synergy between commercial and residential real estate ensures we meet all client needs, ultimately leading to greater success for everyone involved.

Moreover, this synergy creates a more cohesive and integrated approach to real estate services. Clients benefit from a seamless experience where their residential and commercial needs are handled with the same level of expertise and care. This holistic approach can significantly boost client satisfaction and loyalty.

The relationship between commercial and residential real estate within a brokerage is not just beneficial — it’s essential. It enables agents to serve their clients better, expand their professional horizons, and contribute to the overall growth and success of their brokerage. By embracing this relationship, you can unlock new opportunities and deliver exceptional value to clients.

Troy Palmquist is the director of growth for eXp California. Follow him on Instagram or connect with him on LinkedIn.





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