Greg Martin’s business in the small town of Elko, Nev., has always included commercial real estate. A 25-year veteran of the business and CCIM designee, Martin has watched the National Association of REALTORS®’ commitment to commercial—and its value to his business—grow steadily in recent years. It’s no surprise to him that NAR is the largest commercial real estate association in the U.S.
“The leadership’s focus has been so important,” says Martin, who’s giving back by serving as the association’s 2023 commercial and industry specialties liaison. “It benefits all of us, because there’s a symbiotic relationship between residential and commercial. Rooftops drive demand for commercial, and commercial services drive demand for rooftops.”
Advances made in recent years by NAR and its wholly owned subsidiary Realtors Property Resource demonstrate the sea change that has taken place. The organizations have invested in a broad array of resources to help commercial members provide the best possible service to clients and customers. From delivering a wide range of commercial property data and listings on a single platform to creating networking opportunities and forging strategic partnerships, NAR and RPR are giving commercial members the tools they need to focus on what’s important to their business: identifying opportunities, serving clients and closing deals.
1. Gathering commercial inventory in one place. RPR and NAR launched a proactive strategy in 2018 to expand the resources available to members working in the commercial real estate. Partnerships with Crexi and Brevitas led to data license partnerships with RPR, greatly expanding agents’ and brokers’ access to commercial listing data. In 2020, RPR executed a contract with Biproxi, which soon after acquired OfficeSpace.com, further expanding the available listings in RPR.
“We’re passionate about providing members with the tools they need to succeed,” says NAR Charlie Dawson, vice president of engagement and advocacy outreach for NAR. “Our ‘hand in glove’ collaboration with RPR has enabled us to provide our members with the most comprehensive data and analysis tools available. We’re proud to deliver on our promise to help our members succeed!”
The strategic shift started with the realization that, while commercial professionals use a variety of public facing platforms to list their properties, they’d prefer to have one place to see properties, access trade area data, and connect for dealmaking.
Today, the RPR platform has over 850,000 active commercial listings from sources such as TotalCommercial.com, Land Broker MLS, Biproxi, Catylist and OfficeSpace.com. REALTORS® and Institute-Affiliate members (CCIM, CRE, IREM, RLI and SIOR designees) can log in to RPR and see commercial inventory and off-market properties, conduct research, and send clients informative reports to validate site selection.
And NAR and RPR will continue to forge partnership to build on this promise, Dawson says.
2. Bringing commercial members together. In 2021, NAR kicked off the C5 Global Summit to give REALTORS® and Institute-Affiliate members the chance to connect with the leading players in the commercial real estate industry. Now in its third year, NAR is partnering with the CCIM Institute to host the C5 + CCIM Global Summit in Atlanta Sept. 28-30. The summit gives commercial real estate pros an opportunity to meet innovators, developers, financiers, and other stakeholders and to learn about the newest trends, make deals, source capital and take their careers to the next level.
“The C5 Global Summit showed me how resilient and transformative our industry is—from our brokerage, capital and finance services to new industries and businesses emerging from change,” says James Huang, president of eXp Commercial at eXp World Holdings, Irvine, Calif.
Huang attended the inaugural event in 2021 and served as an emcee in 2022. “I can’t say enough about the leaders and influencers who are helping all of our organizations navigate through a changing market and the future,” he says. “I’m so excited to keep learning and growing connections thanks to the C5 + CCIM Global Summit bringing all crucial commercial real estate stakeholders into one place.”
The summit has also given the RPR and NAR teams a chance to network with key stakeholders, gain insights, and make enhancements to better serve commercial members’ business goals.
3. CompStak partnership. In 2022, RPR joined with CompStak—an analyst-reviewed comp data and analytics platform—to give commercial members access to CompStak Exchange. NAR’s commercial members get 500 promotional credits for accessing CompStak's comps in their respective markets, as well as the opportunity to earn additional credits by uploading their own comps.
“CompStak has been a great source for detailed leasing and sales information for commercial properties,” says Michael Hinton, CCIM, a senior associate at Apex Capital Realty in Miami who served as 2022 commercial president for the Miami Association of REALTORS®. “The service has certainly helped me win more than a few listings by allowing me to provide quality information to my new clients. Using RPR and CompStak together is a huge benefit–both timewise and in cost savings–for me and all NAR commercial members.”
NAR and RPR’s commitment to having easy access to the best data made CompStak a natural fit for integration. The CompStak team offers quality validation for the comps so commercial practitioners can focus on meaningful networking, accurate analyses and ultimately closing deals. And to streamline learning, CompStak and RPR offer joint training, so commercial member can make efficient use of their time by learning and using these technologies together.
4. ICSC partnership. Now, NAR launched an additional member benefit for retail-driven members: In partnership with ICSC (Innovating Commerce, Serving Communities). Formerly the International Council of Shopping Centers, ICSC recently rebranded as a “member organization for the advancement of the marketplaces industry,” which it defines as places and spaces where people shop, dine, work, play and gather. NAR successfully negotiated an extended member pricing offer on all national and regional ICSC events. Commercial members save $250 annually on ICSC’s premiere dealmaking events.
Deena Zimmerman, vice president of SVN Chicago and SVN national retail co-chair, says nothing replaces in-person networking. “I’m a retail tenant rep. I attend ICSC’s events because I have the ability to cultivate existing relationships and grow new business connections specific to my specialty. I legit sit down with clients and potential clients and talk through deals during ICSC events,” she says. “I’m so grateful to NAR for listening to our dealmaking needs and negotiating this discount for commercial members.”
To keep the momentum going, ICSC launched its new Marketplaces IQ platform (powered by RPR) to its over 40,000 members. This partnership will give REALTORS® and Institute-Affiliate members access to additional property data in the RPR platform. That includes retail lease properties and comps, as well as impactful data insights produced by ICSC—such as shopping center occupancy rates and gross leasable area.
“We’re proud to have this expanded partnership with ICSC, which will encourage stronger relationships between the NAR commercial network of agents and brokers and ICSC’s network of investors, developers and shopping-center owners,” says Greg Hrabcak, CCIM, 2023-24 NAR treasurer. “This partnership not only increases shopping center listings now searchable in RPR, it also connects the dots with all key stakeholders for closing transactions in one database,” says Hrabcak, a broker with Hanna Commercial Real Estate in Columbus, Ohio.
Looking forward, NAR and RPR see even more opportunities to support the needs of members working in the commercial real estate sector, says Jeff Young, chief operating officer and general manager of RPR.
“When RPR Commercial launched in 2012, we knew that our unique data aggregation, powered by partnerships with data providers such as Esri, would be invaluable to our members,” Young says. “We are proud of the success that the platform has seen over the past decade and are committed to continuing to provide agents with the deepest level of access to commercial listing data and analysis tools available.”