Making it in commercial real estate

Making it in commercial real estate

What does it take to become a commercial real estate agent or broker?

Janet Marshall, recipient of the Property Council’s Women in Property Award in 2019, should know. She started as a broker in 2005 without any sales experience, after a year in brokerage support. She went on to become Colliers International’s Rookie of the Year in 2005, Marketer of the Year in 2013 and a Director of Colliers in 2016.

Marshall says passion and drive are vital to making it in the industry.

“Commercial real estate brokerage is an exciting and challenging career. Unlike residential property, which relies more on emotion, brokers need to provide a high level of expertise and build ongoing relationships with clients.

“It’s also more complex than residential property, with brokers needing to understand earthquake ratings, zoning, and be good with numbers.

“While there are 14,000 real estate agents in New Zealand, just over 2,000 work in commercial property. Many entered the industry with a property degree, a previous qualification as a lawyer, police officer or accountant, or previous sales experience.

“While a qualification is not necessary, an understanding of property will provide a good head start, whether from investing in commercial property or knowing others who work in the industry.”

Marshall says many have queried why there are not more women in the industry.

“I believe it is a lack of information and not knowing what to expect in commercial real estate. In reality, there is a core set of skills that will allow anyone to thrive in this career.

“What’s crucial is a determination to work hard. You’ll need good organisational skills, initiative and discipline. A competitive streak is also vital for a commission-driven role.

“Mental toughness is also key. Positivity, resilience and persistence all go a long way.

“Commercial property also requires a high level of integrity. You’ll need to really enjoy working with people and have good communication skills to become a trusted expert to your clients.

“And of course, you’ll also need to sit for your real estate salespersons licence. Many chose to do this while learning the ropes in a support role.”

Marshall’s role at Colliers is Director Commercial Investment Sales and Leasing in the Colliers office in Takapuna, which is headed by Director and General Manager Jimmy O’Brien. Marshall is now involved in brokerage recruiting for Colliers and is excited about this new role.

The diverse North Shore team includes younger brokers, such as Sam Sherning, Kerry Cook and Jack Tuson, through to experienced industry leaders, such as Directors Matt Prentice and Shoneet Chand.

Marshall says a commercial property career provides a high level of flexibility and remote work options.

“Brokerage offers good work-life balance, with weekday business hours rather than the weekend work common in the residential sector.

“The role also offers autonomy and independence, but also plenty of opportunities to socialise and collaborate.

“We don’t want people to fail in the industry, so candidates with potential are handpicked and offered good training and support. Colliers is renowned for its collaboration, teamwork, mentorship, and regular recognition and feedback.”

If you think you have what it takes, whether you are already a leader in the industry or keen to see what could be at Colliers, please contact Janet Marshall on 021 684 775 for a coffee and chat.

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Janet Marshall

Director | Commercial

Auckland North

Janet is a Director and Manager Commercial Colliers North Shore located in Takapuna.  Janet was recently awarded the Women in Property 2019 award from the Property Council.

She was awarded Rookie of the Year in 2005, awarded Marketer of the Year in 2013 and promoted to Director in 2016.  

Janet specialises in office and retail sales and leasing, and investment sales.  She is also an Executive on the Takapuna Beach Business Association (TBBA) and previously on the Board of the Business North Harbour business association.  Janet is a member of the North Harbour Club and previously President of the Pinnacle Ski Club.   Her connections are extensive, and with over 18 years at Colliers International Janet is well respected within the industry.  Janet is passionate about commercial property and is one of the leading brokers on Auckland's North Shore.

See LinkedIn Profile at

Janet's previous  transactions include:

Leasing includes:

The Warehouse Group
New Zealand Defence Force
The Skin Institute
Transaction Services Group
Kalmar Construction Ltd
Medical Assurance Society
The Crate
New Zealand Drug Detection Agency
Inland Revenue Department  
Property Partners  
Vision Accounting
Ministry of Education  
Advanced Management Systems (AMS)
McLaughlin Law
Automobile Association
Straker Translations 
Accordo Limited
Carter Holt Harvey 
Goodwin Turner Commercial Lawyers 
Smartpay NZ Ltd
New Zealand Institute of Education 
Waitemata District Health Board 
Invenco Group Limited
Leading Edge Telecom 
North Harbour Business Association
IMS Health  
Northern Health School 

Sales include:

  • 1/3 and 2/3 Cowley Place, Rosedale
  • 18 Cowley Place, Rosedale
  • 120 Wairau Road, Wairau Valley
  • Unit 6/39 Apollo Drive, Mairangi Bay
  • Unit B1, 34 Triton Drive, Mairangi Bay
  • Unit 1, 31 Northcroft Street, Takapuna
  • Unit 106F Bush Road, North Harbour
  • 8B, 331 Rosedale Road, North Harbour
  • 3 Milford Road, Milford
  • D4, 14-22 Triton Drive, Mairangi Bay

Previous Notable Sales:

  • 2-4 Fred Thomas Drive (60M)
  • ​Todd Park ($33M)
  • 38B William Pickering, North Harbour
  • B2, 34 Triton Drive, Mairangi Bay
  • The Hub, Whakatane ($24M)
  • 1A Nile Road, Milford
  • 14, 100 Don McKinnon Drive, Albany
  • Walton Plaza, Whangarei ($13M)
  • B3 and B4, 17 Corinthian Drive, Albany
  • Unit 9, 100 Don McKinnon Drive, Albany
  • Bunnings, Whakatane
  • A1, 75 Corinthian Drive, Albany
  • B3, 210 Dairy Flat Highway, Albany
  • 104 Rosedale Road, Mairangi Bay
  • B4, 210 Dairy Flat Highway, Albany
  • D3 and D4, 14-22 Triton Drive, Mairangi Bay
  • 11 Apollo Drive, Mairangi Bay
  • K, 39 Apollo Drive, Mairangi Bay
  • 40C Triton Drive, Mairangi Bay
  • 51 Hurstmere Road, Takapuna
  • 3A Tarndale Grove, North Harbour
  • G, 4 Antares Place, Mairangi Bay
  • 2A and 2B, 331 Rosedale Road, Mairangi Bay
  • B8, 210 Dairy Flat Highway, Albany
  • 27-31 Park Road, Grafton
  • 46A-D Constellation Drive. Mairangi Bay
  • B3 and B4, 72 Apollo Drive, Mairangi Bay
  • 4B Argus Place, Wairau
  • B3, 63 Apollo Drive, Mairabgi Bay
  • D2, 63 Apollo Drive, Mairangi Bay
  • 450 Glenfield Road, Glenfield
View expert

Jimmy O'Brien

General Manager | Director

Auckland North

Jimmy heads the Colliers North Shore team with a "lead from the front" approach. He specialises in both sales and leasing of commercial and Industrial Property, Now in his thirteenth year with  Colliers International he is constantly in the top 10 % of Colliers brokers.

A North Shore resident for over 40 years his local network and knowledge is extensive. Having come from a successful background of sales, marketing and manufacturing and a director of his own business for 20 years, Jimmy has built up a vast network of property developers, investors, architects, designers and corporate businesses both retail and commercial. With a broad knowledge as both a tenant and investor in the commercial property market his wide range of skills and extensive network will be an asset to any future clients.

Positions Held at Colliers:

March 2006: Industrial Broker

April 2008: Industrial Manager

July 2012: General Manager

February 2014: General Manager -Associate Director

June 2014: General Manager – Director

Through specialisation and a commitment to true team work, Jimmy and his team have sold property in excess of $1Billion and negotiated innumerable leases.

With a strong focus on finding property solutions for his clients, Jimmy has successfully represented AA Insurance, EasiYo Products, Sealegs, Johnson Controls, Electronic Navigation and Maxwell Marine to name a few.

Jimmy is consistently in the top 10% of Colliers brokers.

View expert

Emily Cumming

People & Performance Advisor | New Zealand

Auckland CBD

Emily advises and coordinates people services for team members across New Zealand, from recruitment through to offboarding.

Prior to Colliers, she gained experience in recruitment and marketing in the tech industry in Berlin and Wellington.

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Matt Prentice


Auckland North

Matt joined Colliers International in 2006 with a focus on mid to upper end industrial & investment transactions.  Specialising in tenanted investments, occupier representation through to vacant land / building sales on the North Shore, Matt was promoted to a North Shore Director in 2015.

In 2011 and 2012 Matt was awarded the "Golden Gavel" for Colliers New Zealand as the most successful auction sales broker across Colliers New Zealand. Matt has been the number one North Shore sales and leasing broker, 2011, 2012 and 2013.  In 2012, was a top 20 performer across Colliers New Zealand and has over $550 million of sales since joining colliers International.

In 2013, Matt was in the top 10 Highest Performing Brokers Nationwide and in 2014, he had a record year completing more than 50 transactions, and  finished in the top 10% of brokers in New Zealand.

In 2015, Matt completed over 60 transactions, more than any broker North of the Bridge, again finishing in the Top 20 brokers in New Zealand.

In 2016, Matt had a record year finishing top 10 in the country and was the top broker on the North Shore. 

View expert

Shoneet Chand


Auckland North

Shoneet is a Director at Colliers International and specialises in Investment & Development Sales over $2m across the wider Auckland region. Over the past 10 years he has been one of the most successful investment sales brokers in Auckland with a track record of significant sales second to none. He has had considerable experience in dealing with international purchasers and has completed a number of deals with investors out of the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

Shoneet was the top broker in his market for both 2014 and 2015 & once again placed in the top 10 brokers nationwide for Colliers in 2016.

In 2017, he transacted over $250 million of property, did 73 deals and was ranked 2nd in New Zealand.

In 2018, he was a finalist in the Commercial & Industrial Salesperson of the Year category which is judged nationwide across all agencies and again was the top broker in his market, being involved in over $300m of unconditional sales.

In 2019 he was again ranked in the top 5 brokers nationwide for Colliers and was involved in over $300 million of settled sales in the calendar year. 

Notable Transactions Include;

  • 2-4 Fred Thomas Drive, Takapuna - $60,850,000
  • 33 Corinthian Drive, Albany - $50,500,000
  • 279-301 Lincoln Rd, Henderson – $38,000,000
  • Todd Industrial Park, Wellington - $33,000,000
  • 229 Dairy Flat Highway, Albany - $33,000,000
  • ANZ Centre, Albany - $27,340,000
  • The Warehouse, Albany - $26,400,000
  • 11 Coliseum Drive, Albany - $26,700,000
  • Farro Fresh/ASB, Constellation Drive - $25,500,000
  • 5 The Warehouse Way, Northcote - $19,000,000
  • Noel Leeming, Wairau Park - $19,000,000
  • 16 Dinning Road, Riverhead - $16,500,000
  • 151 Lincoln Road, Henderson - $15,250,000
  • Westpac Albany - $15,150,000
  • 7-21 Kawana Street, Northcote - $14,998,000
  • PlaceMakers, Albany - $14,000,000
  • 550 Te Irirangi Drive, East Tamaki - $14,200,000
  • 44 Arrenway Drive, Mairangi Bay - $13,117,116
View expert

Sam Sherning


Auckland North

Sam holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Valuation and Property Management) from Lincoln University in Christchurch.

Sam joined Colliers International North Shore in July of 2015 with a focus on Sales and Leasing in the industrial market. Prior to this Sam worked for an international real estate company based in the South Auckland market.

Since commencing Brokerage with Colliers in July of 2015, Sam has transacted in excess of 130 Sales and Leases.

He has experience in the divestment of both tenanted and vacant industrial buildings, along with the sell-down of development projects for developers and has handled numerous occupier requirements.

View expert

Kerry Cook


Auckland North

Kerry is a Commercial Sales and Leasing broker, specialising in office and retail properties on the North Shore.

Having completed multiple sales and leasing transactions with a range of different organisations from Government, SME's to large international corporations, retail to food vendors, Kerry understands the importance of thoroughly understanding the needs of your business and being able to offer a superior level of market expertise and service.

Kerry is a dedicated and passionate professional, resolutely determined to deliver her clients results.  Continuously drawing from the success and dominance of the Colliers International North Shore office, Kerry assists her clients to deliver strategic commercial solutions while remaining personable throughout the process.

Kerry’s previous role with Colliers as Marketing Co-Ordinator and Office Manager for the Takapuna Branch gives her a strategic edge that works better for you by having prior knowledge and resources required to successfully execute a tactical marketing strategy using all platforms available including digital, print and social media.

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Jack Tuson


Auckland North

Jack specialises in the Auckland industrial market, servicing both the leasing and sales markets. Jack has a particular focus on the North Shore region where he has formed strong relationships with property owners, buyers and tenants.

He has experience in the divestment of both tenanted and vacant industrial buildings, and has handled numerous occupier requirements.


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