Investment Sales Firms

Investment sales firms are real estate firms that help investors and companies buy and sell real estate. They are different than single family real estate firms. Single family real estate firms deal with an individual that is buying a residence as their home.

Real estate investment sales firms are real estate brokerage firms that advise companies and investors on the acquisition and disposition of commercial real estate.

In this case, as it pertains to you and us at APTVEST, the commercial real estate product is apartment communities.  The communities these firms sell can range from five-unit small communities up to 1000 plus unit larger multifamily communities. There are a handful of firms because this is a very competitive business. These firms are similar to Wall Street brokerages and investment firms helping an investor, like you, buy and sell a business.

In other articles in our library, we’ve discussed when buying and selling a multifamily asset, you're buying and selling a business.  The business just happens to be a piece of real estate. It is a rental real estate business.

These real estate investment sales firms have real estate brokerage licenses in the state they are located. The firms hire real estate agents, who can become brokers to represent buyers and sellers of multifamily apartment communities.  

The brokerage firms can be few and far between as it relates to the brand and the style of what they do. Specific to multifamily and apartment communities, here are a list of the larger firms that are national and international. The largest commercial real estate investment advisory firm on the planet is CBRE.  They are publicly traded and provide investment sales services along with many other services.

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The next one is JLL or Jones Lang LaSalle. There's another called Marcus & Millichap. Marcus & Millichap strictly specialize in investment sales. They do not work on leasing or have leasing agents. They don't buy and sell their own properties. They're solely focused on advising clients to buy and sell commercial real estate. There is a company called Moran and Company, which is a regional firm.  Most of the firms mentioned specialize in leasing as well as in marketing and management.

Several of these larger firms own their own properties and then lease them out to tenants on the commercial side. They also have a division that is geared towards multifamily assets and apartment communities. Other large firms are Cushman and Wakefield, and Newmark. You may also find a local brokerage firm within your local market that may be just in your market and not in other markets.

Several of these larger firms own their own properties and then lease them out to tenants on the commercial side.

Notice that Keller Williams, REMAX etc. aren’t mentioned. Those firms do have commercial arms, but they strictly tend to focus on residential real estate buying and selling. The other firms listed above strictly focus on commercial real estate. You will not see CBRE in the marketplace representing individuals as a home buyer to buy a house. That is not something that they do for investors.

They want to focus on larger properties ranging from five million up to hundreds of millions of dollars.  They advise businesses, companies, clients, one off investors, etc. on how to buy and sell commercial real estate. Because of this, they are not referred to as real estate brokers, they are real estate investment sales firms.  They work with investors because the investor is investing in businesses that are rental real estate.

Here is a list of the top National Investment Sales Firms for Multifamily by Volume:

  • Marcus & Millichap
  • Newmark
  • Northmarq
  • Berkadia
  • CBRE
  • Cushman & Wakefield
  • SVN International Corp. (Sperry Van Ness)
  • JLL

Source: the Editors of Multi-Housing News. (2023, June 14). 15 Top Multifamily Brokerage Firms of 2023. Multi-Housing News.

As you can see, the investment sales business is very competitive.  Investments sales firms provide more than just brokerage services.  They advise investors on macro and micro market trends and should be a resource all investors and firms use to stay current on apartment market trends.

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