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What’s A CCIM And What Does It Mean to Commercial Real Estate?

A Certified Commercial Investment Member, or CCIM, is a highly trained and experienced commercial real estate professional who has achieved the CCIM designation. The CCIM course of study is considered the doctoral degree of the commercial real estate world. There are just 7,500 designees across North America, and the CCIM pin, or designation, is held by just 6% of the 125,000 commercial real estate professionals across the country. Here in Hawai‘i, there are about 100 commercial real estate agents and brokers with active licenses, so the CCIM designation is a rare asset.

Obtaining the CCIM designation is no small feat. As a commercially licensed real estate agent or broker, you have to be accepted into the CCIM program, for starters. Applicants are accepted based upon a portfolio of successfully completed commercial transactions, with high minimums in terms of dollar volume. It requires the completion of a lengthy educational component for those accepted into this prestigious program.

What does the designation mean to industry professionals?

The CCIM designation provides the education and training, as well as a language and framework to pursue commercial real estate at the highest levels – on behalf of individuals, trusts, estates, and corporate entities. Members gain a network of CCIM designees around the world. Corporate entities both foreign and domestic often engage in real estate investment, for the purposes of solidifying their portfolio, for example.

A CCIM designated professional is highly experienced and trained in commercial real estate brokerage, leasing, asset management, valuation, and investment analysis. Only the highest producing commercial agents are accepted into the CCIM program, so it’s quite an elite group of professionals, who engage in continued learning and education in order to stay on the top of their game and their field.

According to The CHOI Group with Hawai‘i Life’s Mark Storfer, who manages the Commercial Real Estate division at The CHOI Group’s Kahala office, “CCIM designated agents and brokers have a wider breadth of knowledge and can use our CCIM network, whether it’s in the Hawai‘i chapter, nationally or internationally, to serve our clients and connect commercial buyers and sellers worldwide.”

Storfer is one of two CCIM designees at The CHOI Group with Hawai‘i Life. Patricia Choi also achieved the prestigious designation early in her career, though she focuses more on luxury residential client services these days. Mark and Patricia are among an elite corps who are highly adept at meeting the needs of corporate investors. Their skills include cash flow analysis, measuring opportunity costs, determining market rents for commercial properties, analyzing long-term market prognoses, estimating a return on investment (ROI), and obtaining finance for commercial investors – whether they’re located in Hawai‘i, on the Mainland, or abroad. 

To be considered for the CCIM program and designation, transactional portfolios must meet minimum volume requirements. For example, a real estate professional must submit a portfolio of qualifying sales, leasing and or development transactions as follows:

  • Three (3) or more qualifying activities totaling $30 million or more; or
  • Exactly ten (10) qualifying activities totaling $10 million or more; or
  • Twenty (20) qualifying activities with no dollar volume requirement.

Gold Coast Honolulu

As you can see, it’s a significant accomplishment to achieve the CCIM designation and a hallmark of commercial real estate expertise. Storfer engages in leasing, but also in acquisition or disposition transactions on behalf of U.S. or foreign companies looking to invest in commercial or residential properties in the Hawai‘i real estate market. He noted, “Often companies want to make investments in multi-family properties here, or in commercial property. Occasionally, they can find reasons to buy residential properties under their corporate umbrella.”

We wanted to know what kinds of circumstances might prompt a corporation to invest in Hawai‘i’s residential market. He replied, “Say, for example, they frequently do business in Hawai‘i and need a home to stay in, or they use a residential property as a corporate retreat for executives. But by and large, our transactions are made up of commercial investments or companies using a commercial property to operate their business.”

For a detailed list of The CHOI Group at Hawai‘i Life’s commercial service offerings, check out our recent post here.

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