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Stephen A. Cross, CCIM - Advisor to Tenants, Buyers and Investors

What I Do and How I'm Paid

Meet Steve Cross

Early Background
I graduated from West Phoenix High School in 1967 and earned a BS in Accountancy at Northern Arizona University, where I was on the cross country and track teams (880 and mile) and served as President of Babbitt Hall. 

During the decade after graduating from college I was employed in cost accounting (Motorola), financial planning, corporate sales (The Coleman Company) and sales management (MCI Corporation).

My entry into Commercial Real Estate
In 1983 I was assigned the responsibility of finding additional office space for the rapidly expanding Phoenix branch of MCI. The task involved researching the market for suitable space; meeting with real estate brokers; performing due diligence, including cost analysis; and negotiating lease terms and conditions.

During the search for space three things became clear: 1st: Information and straight answers were difficult to obtain, 2nd: Real estate agents were only interested in leasing their listings - and at the highest prices possible, and 3rd: The agents recognized and exploited my lack of commercial real estate knowledge.

It also occurred to me that everyone involved the commercial real estate industry worked for property owners, and no one represented businesses and protected their interests. Recognizing this void I decided to change career paths and become a commercial real estate advisor that specialized in helping businesses make fully-informed real estate decisions.

My “Apprenticeship”
In 1984 I received my real estate license and joined the Phoenix office of a large regional commercial real estate brokerage firm. In 1985 one of my developer clients hired me to oversee the marketing of a diverse portfolio of commercial and residential properties.

During this “apprenticeship” period (from 1984 to 1987) I learned how the commercial real estate industry operated. In 1987 I obtained my Broker license and soon after formulated a business plan that focused on representing tenant and buyers.

My Clients
I have personally advised and represented over 2700 businesses of every size and description. My clients range from Fortune 100 companies to local companies, including established businesses, doctors and dentists as well as start-up enterprises.

In addition to seeking office, medical, retail or industrial space, my clients share three common threads: First, they recognize that they are better off focusing on their core competencies and outsourcing their commercial real estate to an expert. Second: They realize that every dollar saved in excess rent is a dollar that can be used for employee salaries and benefits, equipment, growing the business, saving to buy commercial property or for their retirement. And third: They know that most real estate transactions contain a commission, so expert representation costs them nothing (and saves them time, money and aggravation).

Of note is that approx. 80% of my business is now referral-based and originates from my past and current clients as well as accountants, attorneys and others that have heard of my work, either by reading my published articles or attending one of my seminars.    

Professional Credentials
I have been a licensed real estate broker in Arizona since 1987 and hold the CCIM designation.

A CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) is a recognized expert in the commercial and investment real estate industry. The CCIM credential is earned after successfully completing a designation process that ensures CCIMs are proficient not only in theory, but also in practice. This elite corps of CCIMs includes brokers, leasing professionals, investment counselors, asset managers, appraisers, corporate real estate executives, property managers, developers, institutional investors, commercial lenders, attorneys, bankers, and other allied professionals.

CCIMs have completed a designation curriculum that covers essential CCIM skill sets including ethics, interest-based negotiation, financial analysis, market analysis, user decision analysis, and investment analysis for commercial investment real estate. CCIMs have completed a portfolio demonstrating the depth of their commercial real estate experience. Finally, they have demonstrated their proficiency in the CCIM skill sets by successfully completing a comprehensive examination. Only then is a designation candidate awarded the coveted CCIM pin, joining the ranks of highly skilled commercial and investment real estate experts.