By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist

Knowledge is power, especially for professions in industries going through change. Right now, corporate real estate is a prime example. The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t kind to corporate real estate. Many companies are reevaluating the way they manage their portfolio of properties. It’s a good time for corporate real estate professionals new and experienced alike to take a remedial real estate portfolio management course.

Short of going back to college to audit a few classes, many professionals aren’t always sure of where to get the formal education they need to stay on-trend in their profession. Thankfully, there are many great opportunities to learn from accredited bodies and reputable organizations. Often, many corporate real estate professionals are already members of an organization that offers such opportunities.

What is portfolio management in real estate?

Real estate portfolio management is the oversight and management of a company’s real estate holdings. It’s a concept prevalent in companies that both own and lease real estate across multiple buildings—in a portfolio. The goal is to maintain a clear picture of each property as a cost center and a revenue stream, and to understand their effect on the success of the company.

For example, XYZ Company might own two office buildings and lease 40,000 square feet of space across five other properties. The goal of portfolio management is to visualize these spaces in terms of metrics. What is their cost of operation? What revenue do they account for? More importantly: is their cost justified?

The job of a commercial real estate portfolio manager is to maximize the return on investment of the properties in a portfolio. Often, it means making financial decisions about whether to lease, buy, improve, divest, or maintain real estate holdings.

Where to take courses and learn

Industry governance organizations are the best source for continuing education or professional development. In corporate real estate, that means organizations like the Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA), the National Property Managers Association (NPMA), and the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). These organizations are on the cutting edge of industry. They offer everything from trend insights, to data and analysis, to resources for practicing professionals. Above all, they’re a source for education.

IREM in particular is an authority for those who seek real estate portfolio management skills. The organization offers accreditations such as a Certified Property Manager (CPM) and Accredited Commercial Manager (ACoM). These designations contribute to a larger career in portfolio management.

For those who prefer the institutional track, many universities offer courses and programs specific to commercial real estate. Typically, these are certificate programs with a focus on real estate asset management or commercial real estate investment.

Get certified for real estate portfolio management

Certification distinguishes professionals, especially in portfolio management. Companies want to know the person they’re entrusting their portfolio with understands the full spectrum of asset management. As a result, most professional development programs teach fundamentals, as well as macro concepts. Some examples include:

Programs like these range from granular focus on topics like real estate accounting, to broader concepts on the whole of asset management. They’re useful for property professionals who are moving into a management position, as well as those moving laterally from areas like finance or operations management.

Certification from any of these programs signals proficiency in the fundamentals of real estate portfolio management. It’s a signal to companies that a person understands the role of CRE assets in the broader context of the company.

Portfolio vs. asset management

There’s often a question of portfolio management vs. real estate asset management. In truth, it’s largely semantic. Commercial real estate is an asset, and managers oversee multiple assets within a portfolio. Portfolio management is the collective management of a company’s total real estate assets. Asset management is usually singular, in reference to one specific building.

Prioritize ongoing education

An industry shift isn’t the only reason to take continuing education courses for corporate real estate. The landscape of commercial real estate management is one that’s always in flux, which means professionals need to keep their knowledge current.

With the hybrid workplace, remote work, and distributed teams all solidifying themselves as mainstays in corporate real estate policy, portfolio changes seem inevitable. Managers who take a real estate portfolio management course that discusses these trends will be better-equipped to deal with them.

Keep Reading: What is Real Estate Asset Management?

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