Tony Natsis Partner
Allen Matkins Leck Gamble & Mallory LLP

The very first rule is to really concentrate on understanding your profession and learning everything there is to learn about it. Too many young people get caught up in the sex appeal of the deal and they want to skip the important part, which is learning the trade. People who are using real estate professionals are really shrewd and very savvy. When you are approaching them to try to add value, you can't just gloss over details. All the best guys in the business today owners, developers, brokers, investors know the game. You can't solve deals anymore by going golfing.

Bob Safai
Madison Partners

They should align themselves with someone successful in the business. I worked for a smaller firm, I learned the business, I spent a lot of weekends trying to be an expert and then I built relationships that are lasting a lifetime. That was my business plan. You mentor with someone who is good in the business. You go the extra mile and keep your integrity, and all of that works in your favor.

Richard Ackerman
Apollo Real Estate Advisors LP

I would tell them to get a job with some sort of an institutional firm through financing or leasing because those are the two easiest ways to learn the business. I recommend something that has infrastructure in place and lots of deal flow so that they can be thrown into a job right off the bat. You need to have some sort of legal or financial background, whether through business school or law school.

Brett White
President and Chief Executive
CB Richard Ellis Group Inc.

Never underestimate how important hard work and work ethic is. In our business, reputation is everything. Ethics, the way you conduct yourself in your life and the way you treat others, will define your success or failure. Second, approach your business and your client with a view that you are building long-term relationships. Don't focus on a particular fee that is at hand today or a particular transaction. When I joined CB Richard Ellis as one of our pre-sales trainees, I was assigned to two very successful real estate brokers in San Diego, one of whom was Vickie Winters. Vickie told me that if I were willing to work harder than anyone else in the office, they would remember that. She also told me over and over to always leave a little money on the table when I negotiated with clients or other brokers, or in some cases, to do work for no fee.

Richard Ziman
Chairman and Chief Executive
Arden Realty Inc.

Move your focus beyond the boundaries of your immediate business concerns and apply your skills and ideas to addressing community issues. Real estate is no longer a series of transactions, but a multi-trillion dollar industry that touches every part of our community. So do your deals and realize great professional success, but make the time as you go to get involved at the city and county levels with the local political leadership and the issues that drive your community and your future.

John Cushman III
Cushman & Wakefield Inc.

There is nothing more fundamental to success in real estate than working harder and smarter than everyone else. Next, you must be a student of the business and have a thirst to learn about every aspect of the business. Finally, you must always think big in this business. Be creative and imagine all the possibilities because the real estate business knows no bounds.

Robert F. Maguire III
Chairman and co-Chief Executive
Maguire Properties Inc.

Fully understand the capital and financial components of commercial real estate. Know the money sources. Understand what it costs to build a project, understand where the net operating income is derived from and always strive for development returns north of 12 percent. Identify a successful project and understand why it's a success location, quality, credit, financing and management.

Bruce Karatz
Chairman and Chief Executive
KB Home

Listening to your customers is just the first step. You've also got to act on their feedback. This is simple but sound advice for any business of any size. Research your potential customers to make sure you're delivering a product and experience that meets their needs and wants.

Herb Nadel
Nadel Architects Inc.

They should limit the number of projects they are involved with, so if the market turns they can handle what they have without collapsing. In my 32 years of business, I have seen the market collapse overnight and seen many of my clients devastated financially. I would advise young people to be very cautious. The growth of any practice can be very slow and very steady. Someone who is young and is instantly successful is bound to think that it is going to be that way all the time. That's not the case.

*Sarah Filus, Andy Fixmer, Spencer Kallick and Aarthi Sivaraman

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