Missoula real estate broker breaking barriers by earning international certification

Claire Matten, an adviser for Sterling CRE in Missoula, recently received status as a Certified Commercial Investment Member, a unique achievement within the industry reserved for only a handful of brokers. (Courtesy photo)

As women break down barriers in a number of occupations, a Missoula broker is setting trends in the commercial real estate market, joining an exclusive club of certified members with very few women.

Claire Matten, an adviser for Sterling CRE in Missoula, recently received status as a Certified Commercial Investment Member, a unique achievement within the industry reserved for only a handful of brokers.

“There are fewer than 9,000 real estate brokers across the world that have the designation, and there are even fewer women,” said Matten. “From what I could tell, I’d be the seventh female in the state of Montana that has the designation.”

While the course takes five years on average to complete, the University of Montana graduate and former Griz volleyball player completed the course in two years.

The certification enhances a broker’s credibility across the industry, giving them access to the needs of larger corporate real estate firms and a wider market. When those firms need representation in Montana, they typically look for the designation, she said.

“It’s helpful in the referral process in bringing in corporate companies to the state, and that should hopefully result in job growth and things like that,” Matten said. “It can directly help impact the local economy by having someone here on the ground that’s familiar with the same terminology someone from a larger market is.”

Matten grew up in Southern California before landing in Missoula on a volleyball scholarship at the University of Montana. After graduating in 2004, she took a job at a large commercial real estate firm in Phoenix.

Her knowledge of the local market, aided by the CCIM software she now has access to, helps clients minimize risk and make informed decisions, removing the speculation with hard data.

“I know commercial real estate is one of the industries that can be intimidating for women, but there’s a real place for women in this industry,” she said. “A lot of clients want a full spectrum of diversity when they’re dealing with their assets.”

Rooted in Missoula, and with the CCIM certification under her belt, Matten has a close watch on the local economy and the trends that drive it. The needs of office and industrial space remain high and will likely remain high as Missoula’s population grows and the jobs that come with.

A building not yet constructed has already been fully leased, she noted.

“We’re going to see high absorption numbers and low vacancy rates for industrial and retail offices across the board,” she said. “Everyone’s on the fence about 2020 with the election coming up, but from everything we’re seeing on our end with occupancy trends, I think we’ll see a high level of activity well into 2020.”

Contact reporter Martin Kidston at martin@missoulacurrent.com