When investing in commercial real estate for business, being prepared for the property search can prevent making any hasty decisions that may impede a positive return on the investment. The following are some helpful things to keep in mind when looking for commercial real estate:
Be Prepared When Visiting Potential Properties
When looking at different properties with a real estate agent, be armed with the tools needed to make an accurate decision. Bring a camera to take pictures of the space, a tape measure to double check square footage, a calculator, and a notebook. It's also beneficial to get a copy of the blueprints of the building to keep on file.
Make Sure the Property Is Zoned Properly
Before the search begins, let the agent know what type of business will be in the building. This is because some areas are not zoned for particular businesses. For example, the real estate agent may find a lovely building in an office park, but the venture is a retail store. The office park is not zoned for retail use, so there is no need to investigate that space since it cannot be used for the business.
Determine the Building's Impression
When approaching the property, determine the impression the building gives off through its appearance. Determine whether the appearance will alienate the desired customer base. Depending on the nature of the business, the appearance may not matter as much. If the building looks too shabby for an upscale clothing store, consider a different location.
Check the Interior for Defects
Once inside, check for obvious defects in the space such as missing flooring, broken or unattractive lighting fixtures, and damaged ceiling tiles. Also, look at the air and heating unit. Ask about the condition of the duct work and the outside unit. The renter will be responsible for making all repairs to the building, so decide how much of a maintenance budget is needed to fix anything that may be wrong with the space. However, if there is a structural issue with the building, that will likely be the responsibility of the owner or landlord.
Investing in a commercial real estate space is a big step in starting a new venture. Make sure to consult experts if there are questions about unfamiliar areas of expertise, especially regarding the building's structure. The advice of an attorney may also be helpful before signing a lease to ensure everyone involved in the process is protected in the event there is a zoning change or other events that could cause problems for the venture.