Purpose - The purpose of this study is to team broadly accepted general management concepts with the specific situation of corporate real estate, and suggest a holistic configurations framework for CREM that takes into account the highly diverse context parameters.Design/methodology/approach - Based on general management concepts and research on CREM issues a CRE management model – the 'CREM map' - is suggested that guides a study on which parameters drive CREM and how they are integrated. A qualitative approach is used that collects data from large European corporates. Analyses are performed through computer-assisted qualitative data analysis (QDA).Findings - Multiple parameters form heterogeneous context constellations that make it necessary to individually configure a CREM system. While some 'general principles' regarding CREM objectives, strategy, organization, and control systems can be identified as 'best practices', the key finding is that a holistic concept for CREM needs to be guided by 'best fit'-considerations, resulting in at least several, context-specific designs of CREM concepts.Practical implications - The CREM-map and CREM principles provide orientation in the process of design, implementation, and running of the CRE management system and its alignment to corporates' context and business needs. Connected line diagrams illustrate how 'best fit' concepts can look like.Originality/value - First study that takes a holistic view on the organization of the CREM function regarding its alignment with the business strategy and including why different designs are chosen. This can assist to improve the performance of CREM, and sets the stage for further research on CREM configurations.