So how do you find commercial properties that fit into your investment criteria? It can be challenging and it may take a while but it is definitely worth it.
Before you start your commercial property search, you should know: what type of property, what rate of return (cap rate), and how much money you want to spend.
And before you start looking for properties all across the U.S., I would suggest that you concentrate in your local market until you have enough experience to venture out.
So you have all of those questions answered, so lets take a look at different sources for finding properties.
I would say that your best bet is to find a good commercial realtor to help you in your search. Not only can a good realtor locate the properties but they can also provide assistance with your due diligence (notice I didn’t say “do” your due diligence). Also, the seller of the property will usually have a realtor, so it is in your best interest to have someone representing you. By the way, it is usually the seller that pays the commission, so you won’t have any expenses with the realtor.
If you’ve done your homework and know exactly what you want, you shouldn’t have any problem finding a realtor to work with you. I would interview at least 3 agents to make sure that it is a good match between you. A good realtor will find commercial properties that you have outlined, as far as type and price. On the other hand, don’t waste their time either. They get paid at closing, so don’t have an agent spend a year finding properties for you and you can’t make a decision or if you’re scared to make that leap. Nobody likes to work for free, so be aware of that.
To find a commercial realtor, you can go online to the National Association of Realtors or you can also ask for recommendations from other investors or check out your local newspaper.
So for whatever reason, you’ve decided not to use the services of a realtor, what other ways can you find commercial properties?
The internet has exploded with different websites to help you find commercial properties. The most popular is loopnet.com. They offer free & paid viewing sources. If you are a serious investor, then pay the monthly fee to get the best properties. Also there is another website, costar.com. This site is geared towards commercial realtors but it offers excellent products.
Of course, there are other real estate forums and user groups where you can find commercial property for sale. The only down side to the internet search, is that it is very limited when you are searching for local properties. For local properties, try craigslist.com.
An often overlooked method for finding commercial properties is through networking. You can go to your local real estate investment group and post a flyer indicating that you are looking for commercial properties. You can try this also at Chamber of Commerce meetings. Also, join a local group of building owners, apartment owners, and shopping center owners associations.
The above methods will offer you the best opportunity to find commercial properties. However, you can also try the classifieds in your local newspaper or thrifty paper. You can also drive around and look for “For Sale” signs. They might not be the quickest way to find a commercial property but it can’t hurt.