Updated: Aug 2, 2021
Anyone looking to start investing or working in commercial real estate may find the number of learning materials and information overwhelming. It's a steep learning curve, but thanks to Allison Weiss of CRE Recruiting who provided a list, we've compiled an overview of great resources for up-and-coming professionals to educate themselves as they embark on their careers. The list below includes everything from generalized educational sites to industry-specific members-only organizations.
The Ward Center for Real Estate Studies offers both members and non-members education in the field of commercial real estate and addresses a number of relevant topics. The courses are perfect for anyone looking for a more structured way to get a read on the market. The CCIM also offers courses on financial investment tools, market analysis and technology, professional growth and development, tax issues, business development, specialized programming, and negotiations.
Offering news, research, and resources on their website, the Mortgage Bankers Association also organizes conferences and both in-person and online events. For those looking to get involved beyond investments, they are also involved in both community and industry advocacy. The Mortgage Bankers Association covers a variety of topics from women in real estate to new reforms that can impact CRE.
The International Council of Shopping Centers is a worldwide organization that provides members and non-members with news and resources, as well as tools for business owners. This specialized branch focuses on offering to-the-point resources. They also give clients the chance to meet with other members in-person, advocate for the industry across the globe, attend online webinars, or dive into their extensive record of worldwide policies to learn more about international topics.
The Society of Industrial and Office Realtors gives brokers and realtors the chance to interact with industry-leading professionals across the country. SIOR hosts conferences, collects and disseminates data, creates cutting-edge educational courses, and connects colleagues through a number of awards ceremonies and local meetings. For those becoming brokers or realtors in CRE, SIOR is an invaluable repository of information and networking opportunities.
Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA)
The Building Owners and Managers Association is a mix of both local United States associations and global affiliates, affording members the chance to connect across the world. BOMA also offers applicable industry standard resources, hosts an awards ceremony annually, continuing and baseline education, a focus on sustainability and emergency preparedness, and opportunities to participate in community service and outreach.
The NAIOP, or the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, is focused on retail, mixed-use, industrial, and office real estate within North America. They center their focus on advocacy, education, and research for owners, investors, and developers alike. With six different publications, their own research center, a market blog, and news updates, they’re at the forefront of providing information. This parallels their work in education and career development, and their involvement in frontline advocacy.
With a focus on community building and helping members thrive, the National Multi Housing Council provides a bevy of resources focusing on apartments. News, research, networking opportunities, education, and advice on how to create sustainable communities. While membership provides benefits, most of their informational pages are available to the public, including statistics, press releases, and reports for journalists.
The Commercial Real Estate Women Network focuses on international advancement of women in commercial real estate, with everything from career advancement and networking opportunities to industry research and leadership development available. CREW also hosts live events and provides leadership certification for qualifying members. They emphasize the importance of global gender diversity within CRE through online forums, in-person discussions, and a variety of coursework.
The National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers centers their work on industry benchmarking and best practices through intensive industry-specific research, peer to peer learning, surveys, and annual reports. Meetings for members take place both virtually and online, stressing the importance of gathering intelligence from colleagues from across the country for the most effective learning possible. Membership allows visitors a much wider and in-depth experience, as well as more collaborative networking opportunities.
The Association for International Real Estate Investors was founded to support international investors working with properties within the continental United States. Membership is only available to principal investors and senior executives, making it a great option for those that are more involved in the industry and looking to further their knowledge and networking. Along with regular news updates and social media posts, they also publish their own journal and podcast to allow members to access information on their preferred channel.
The Commercial Real Estate Financial Council is focused on education, advocacy, and building ground-level connections across the industry. While some of the CREFC’s webinars, forums, live events, and reports are locked for members-only access, their online courses can be purchased on their own. These online courses cover basic CRE topics to provide learners with a more solid foundation before embarking into the real world. The CREFC also chairs committees for female, young professional, and LGBTQ members to find support within their expansive network.
The National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries prides themselves on providing the strongest and most varied database in the international real estate investment community. While they are a non-profit, memberships are available for access to some of the NCREIF’s more exclusive benefits. With webinars, conferences, general news, and their proprietary academic and industry-driven reports, their diverse resources are invaluable to anyone working in real estate.
The Institute of Real Estate Managers is a great place to start for those looking to manage real estate properties rather than just investing as a silent partner or purchasing a property. Along with a number of courses and official certifications, they also give you handy tools like checklists and facilitate events. Additionally, they founded and host the Real Estate Management Excellence Awards and help you find certified real estate managers in different locations.
The Urban Land Institute focuses on the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific to provide a number of resources related to all types of real estate, with an emphasis on land usage. They look to shape the future by actively participating in communities across the globe and disseminating knowledge through their magazine and conferences. Research and events are limited to members only, but events are available for online and face to face attendance.
The Appraisal Institute is one of the oldest and largest organizations on this list, and if it relates to real estate appraisal, they offer it. Publications, registries, certifications, continuing education, awards, and resources are all at your disposal through their site. This isn’t the best general resource, but if you’re looking for appraisal materials specifically, they’re the gold standard. They also belong to a number of national and international organizations in the field, guaranteeing the best and most cutting-edge information available.