Looking For a Commercial Real Estate Property? Here's How to Begin:

Post by 
Solomon Hanes

So, you’re looking for a place to host your business, huh? There’s a few different ways that you can approach the process of attaining a commercial real estate property.

BUYING a property for your company is usually a difficult option to come by. Leasing is naturally easier and more flexible; the terms are shorter, and you can relocate more quickly if need be. But, now that you’ve decided leasing is your best option, what’s next?

Your company’s needs are unique. A large parking space may be something you really care about, or parking might hardly matter to you. Maybe your budget is tight, or maybe that isn’t an
issue. Having a checklist is valuable when going on the web to property hunt.

Below are a few key components to consider when you start searching.

LOCATION IS KEY (or not-so-key?)

If you’re in a business that requires your customers to come to you (such as retail or restaurant industries), then the location of your business is likely a top priority. Is your restaurant serving food to upscale people, or are you serving fast food? Do you have a mom-and-pop style of retail store or a high-fashion, luxury boutique? Location is important in these areas of business, so choose wisely.

On the other end, you might just need an office space for yourself, or you may need a common workspace for a larger number of employees. You might want it close to your home or in a nice part of town. This is the part of the property search in which you’ll nail down your location desires and determine if a specific location is a “need” or just a “want” (we’ll dig deeper into this later).

Parking is also something vital to consider. Do you need a lot of parking spaces for customers? Make sure you take this into account.

FIGURE OUT YOUR BUDGET

Some people say that your monthly leasing budget shouldn’t exceed more than 8% of your expected annual gross income. By figuring out the average price per square foot in your area and multiplying it by the square footage you need, you can generally figure out what you should plan to budget for (before including extra costs, such as utilities). Then, you’re ready for the hunt. (For those struggling to determine their budget, we’ll plan on breaking this process down in a future blog post.)

WRITE A LIST OF YOUR PROPERTY NEEDS AND WANTS

Grab some writing tools and schedule a meeting with your decision-making team, or schedule time to work on this yourself. Draw two columns on a piece of paper, labeled “Needs” and “Wants.” Under “Needs,” you’ll put items like: the maximum payment you can afford per month, the minimum square footage you can work with, the maximum electrical power supply allotted, the Wifi situation or cellular signal, and whatever else you can’t get by without. Under “Wants,” you’ll put your dream setup with all of the features you would hope to have in a property.

When you’ve made your list and filled it out entirely, run through it three more times. Make sure your “Needs” list contains only the real needs; otherwise, you’ll walk away from every showing disappointed because you threw some of your wants into your “Needs” list!

DEFINE ZONING RULES FOR ALL PROPERTIES

You don’t want to get really excited about leasing a space for your retail business if the property you like only allows office spaces. Google the prospective area’s zoning regulations, or talk to your chamber of commerce to figure out if you can use the space you’re viewing for your specific purposes. The property may call this a “use clause.”

LAST BUT NOT LEASE-T: Find Someone Ethical to Help You Out

There’s lots of weird, complicated processes to understand when finding a property and signing a deal when you’re not experienced—assignability, negotiation of terms, finding the specific type of lease you need while budgeting, and the list goes on and on. Not that it can’t be done, but the most efficient way that will save you the most time is to find someone that will work alongside you for your benefit, not the benefit of the landlord (like most commercial brokers).

(this is Josh’s I’m-Ready-To-Help-You Face)

That’s what we’re here for.

We’re in it for you! To prove it, we’ll give you a freebie. If you’re clueless about what your next steps are, or you need help scouting out a place for your business in the Pittsburgh area, we’ve made it free to contact Josh Fischer with any questions you have for him.

He’s one of our most-trusted commercial agents, and he’s waiting to point you in the right direction. Text or call him here: 412-551-0508. He’s waiting!

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