How to Win the Commercial Real Estate Acquisitions Game

An investor called the other day and complained, “I’ve talked to a bunch of brokers, but can’t find the deal I want. Can you send me a list of what you have for sale?”

We sent our list and asked the investor what he wanted. He said, “You know, a good deal. Something that makes sense. All I’m seeing out there are opportunities that are either overpriced or gone before I had a shot at them.”

If you’re an investor, here’s some bad news. Investors call our office, make the same requests, get a list of what’s on the market and complain about the unavailability of deals. We offer to talk through the requirement, but most say they’re happy calling brokers because they’ll get access to more deals that way.

Maybe, but aren’t you just looking for off-market deals in on-market locations?

Remember, sellers hire brokers to represent them in the sale of their property. They want the advantage of exposure to the largest audience and to sell their property for more than they could on their own, which means when you’re calling brokers, you’re talking to the people that owners want you to.

Out of our own interest as an owner advisory firm, please keep calling brokers. We encourage it and we like the calls. It makes our owners happy because it proves that we’re giving them great exposure and will eventually sell their property for the best price.

There are some investors, however, who refuse to limit themselves to the brokerage world. For those who choose to go off-market, we won’t lie to you. It’s hard work and it costs money, time, and energy.

One client came to us and required an industrial building in the greater Boston 93/128 interchange market. Out of 50 potential properties in existence, we sourced 6 sites that could be purchased, and the client selected 3 to seriously consider. Of the original 6, 20% were listed for sale by the owner or with a broker, while the rest of the properties were off-market.

The trick to sourcing and winning the acquisitions game is to know what you want, identify where it exists, and then work through the market one commercial property at a time until you find the motivated seller willing to work with you in a transaction. It’s not difficult. It just takes time and energy to stick with program until you get the results you need.

How to Get Commercial Property at Discount Prices

Your choices for this type of real estate investments include apartment buildings, self storage facilities, mobile home parks, office & retail, shopping centers or warehouses. The most important consideration when buying commercial real estate is to make sure that you get a positive cash flow each month. This is actually becoming easier with the recent changes in the marketplace, again, with the big “IF” you are buying right.

Commercial Property can be Purchased at Bargain Prices Commercial real estate is now available at lower prices and with better rates of return than investors have seen in many years. There are 3 main reasons for this:

1) Bubble investors overpaid for commercial property – Just like single family homes, over-eager investors have paid too much in recent years for properties based on the hope that prices would continue to go up forever. Now that the market has adjusted, these investors are looking for a way to get out. Unfortunately for them, the only way out in many cases will be for the asset to go into foreclosure unless the lender is willing to entertain a workout with the property owner, or with a potential buyer.

2) Commercial property loans are more difficult to get – Now that conditions have changed, the lenders are of course, pulling back. Most lenders today are only interested in funding commercial properties that are “performing”. This means that the property is fully rented except for a small vacancy rate, and that the income from the property is covering all of the expenses leaving a positive cash flow for the seller as a cushion in case the market gets any softer. If a commercial property has been mismanaged, or if the vacancy rate has been too high, then most lenders want to see the property turned around and operated successfully for at least a year, and in some cases for a full two years before the lender will consider lending funds secured by the real estate.

3) Creative funding can be used, but most brokers don’t understand it – Sellers who have to sell in this market may need to be open to creative funding, but most commercial brokers only have experience structuring conventional transactions. This means that if the real estate has been mismanaged, or has a high vacancy rate, then no matter how hard the broker tries to sell the property, if they are relying solely on conventional financing, then the likelihood of getting to a successful closing is bleak.

These three factors are creating opportunities for investors who understand how to approach commercial brokers about creative financing for commercial assets, and who realize that in this market they can put together non-conventional transactions using methods such as a Master Lease Option, Owner Carry Financing, and Buying Using the Existing Financing. Once you understand these ideas you’ll be able to build your commercial property portfolio right now during the real estate downturn rather than waiting for lenders to start lending again.

This gives you the chance to get into owning commercial property at a time when prices are favorable, and because conventional lending is not readily available, sellers and brokers are much more open to buying with creative financing methods.

Top 5 Due Diligence Mistakes Made in Commercial Real Estate

It’s really a lengthy and complicated process to find an ideal commercial space for your business, and if it’s not pursued in a proper way, it can cost you lots of money and also end up in a contrary place. So, when it comes to leasing an office space or any other commercial space for your business, it’s very important for you to have a strategy and ensure that you are making a good decision based on the needs of your company. Below mentioned are a few most common due diligence mistakes that the tenants should be careful about.

  1. Incorrect Property Valuation: One most common mistake made by tenants while leasing a commercial space is that they don’t valuate the property correctly. This might lead to lots of misunderstandings which would finally end up with a wrong deal. So, just make sure that you really are conservative when it comes to underwriting a deal. Check for sales competitors and other properties available in the market by getting in touch with the most active commercial agents.
  2. Not Understanding Lender’s Underwriting Requirements: Before spending your valuable time, money and energy conducting due diligence, make sure that you have a prior discussion with the lenders about the loan amount they would put on your property. Because, these days the lenders have been very conservative and they consider lots of things like the physical condition, intended use, sale and lease comparable, environmental issues and so on. So just check with the lenders before taking it too far down the road.
  3. Not checking if the Property Complies: These days,it’s not at all uncommon that a buyer gets to know that the property doesn’t meet the compliance of building after purchasing it. The buyers usually get to know about it when the city inspector comes to check if there’s any infarction associated with the property. So, it’s always a good idea to have an architect, planner or the contractor to inspect the property and discuss the issues related to compliances during the due diligence period.
  4. Assuming There Are No issues: Usually the buyers or tenants who are in a hurry to get into a property make this mistake. They just want to get settled in a space which makes them assume that there are no issues. But sometimes the leases can have tripwires like contraction provisions, cancellation provision, fixed option rents, etc. As a tenant you must be aware of these provisions as it can put you in a bind making you devalue the property. So if you are not familiar with the commercial real estate leasing, it’s good to have an attorney who can help you in reading the lease.
  5. Not Spending Time at the Property: When you are about to buy a property or leasing it, it’s not just enough if you take a bland look at it as it’s something that impacts your business heavily. Make sure you do a thorough round up going there at different times in a day; this gives you a better idea of what goes on there at the property. Sometimes it may also change your mind and the decision of buying the property. You won’t just know what’s going to be hidden; may be the moulds or the fire issues in some units to name a few. Spend enough time at the property and make sure that it’s ideal for you.

Many commercial real estate investors are not aware of the things that they are unaware of! The above mentioned points surely give a brief idea and they’ll also get to know the things they need to follow while looking out for a commercial space to set up their business.

Commercial Real Estate Jargon Investors Should Know

Commercial real estate investment is a new territory for many real estate investors. The following is the alphabetical list of most commonly used terms in this area.

Anchored tenants: big brand-name national tenants, e.g. Albertsons, Longs Drug, Walmart that bring in lots of traffic to the shopping center.

CAM: Common Area Maintenance. Associated with CAM is CAM fees. For NNN leases, the term CAM fees refer to the money tenants pay landlord to cover property taxes, insurance and maintenance.

Cap rate: Return of investment in the first year of ownership. Capitalization rate is the ratio of 1st year Net Operating Income over the purchase price. The higher the cap rate, the higher the rental income. For people who invest in the stock market, cap rate is the inverse of P/E ratio.

Cash on cash: annual percentage return of your down payment not including appreciation. First year cash flow divided by your initial down payment.

Conduit loan: also called Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (CMBS) loan often with the lower rate than traditional commercial loan but either has high pre-payment penalty (called defeasance or Yield Maintenance Penalty) or does not have payoff flexibility.

CPD: Car Per Day or traffic volume on a road.

CPI: Consumer Price Index. It’s often used to calculate annual rental increase to compensate for inflation.

Due Diligence Period: the duration after acceptance normally 15-30 days to allow buyer to investigate about the property. Buyer can cancel the contract during this time for any reasons and get full refund of the deposit.

Estoppel Certificate: a letter provided and signed by tenant confirming the current rent and terms.

Full-service lease: lease in which tenant pays rent that covers everything including utilities.

Gross income: total annual income before any expenses.

Gross lease: lease in which tenants just pay rent. Landlord pays tax, insurance, & maintenance.

GLA: Gross Leaseable Area or total rentable area. This is the space that can be leased and receive rental income. It does not include spaces for utilities room, elevator, etc.

GRM: Gross Rent Multiplier for apartment. Ratio of purchase price over annual income.

LLC: Limited Liabilities Company. A legal entity many investors formed to own commercial properties.

LOI: Letter of Intent/Interest or the normally non-binding offer letter used to make an offer to buy a commercial property.

MAI appraiser: Member Appraisal Institute commercial appraiser.

Master lease: lease signed by the seller to rent the vacant space to provide rent guarantee.

Mixed Use: commercial properties with retail on 1st floor and apartment on upper floors.

Triple Net (NNN) lease: lease in which tenants pay base rent plus property tax, insurance & CAM fees. Absolute NNN lease is NNN lease that tenants also pay property management fee.

NOI: Net Operating Income. Annual income after all expenses (property taxes, ins., & maintenance) except mortgage payment.

Pad: stand alone building in a prime location of a big shopping center.

Pass Thru: see reimbursement.

Percentage lease: lease in which tenant pays base rent plus a percentage of tenant’s revenue.

Phase I Report: inspection report that provides an assessment for soil/environment contamination. It’s normally required by the lender as part of loan approval process for a commercial property.

Phase II Report: inspection report for soil & groundwater subsurface investigation. This inspection is more extensive which involves testing to see if there is any soil and water contamination.

Proforma income: potential, i.e. higher, income when the property is 100% leased.

Proforma Cap rate: potential cap rate assuming property is 100% leased at market rent.

Reimbursement: the share of property tax, insurance & CAM fees that a tenant has to pay the landlord besides the base rent.

Rent guarantee: rent paid by the seller to buyer for vacant spaces until they are leased.

SBA Loan: a government-guaranteed loan for owner-occupied properties.

SNDA: Subordination, Non-disturbance, and Attornment. it’s an agreement required by lender, signed by the tenants agreeing: the new lien in 1st position; lender as landlord in case of foreclosure; lease as valid as long as tenant is not in default.

TIC: Tenants In Common. A way for small/self-directed IRA investors to own a fraction of high-valued properties as tenants in common.

Sell Commercial Real Estate Notes

Selling commercial real estate notes allows you to convert small monthly payments into an immediate lump sum of cash. A commercial real estate note is simply a loan document signed when you financed the sale of your investment property. Commercial real estate notes are available for office, retail and industrial establishments.

Commercial real estate note selling is based on certain fixed standards. The outstanding balance amount and the period of time are important for most buyers. Second in importance is the value of the property. People generally sell part of their commercial real estate notes instead of selling them as a whole. Partial sales are more profitable in most cases.

When a business involving real estate is sold, two notes are generally created, one each for the business and the real estate. The business note is similar to private mortgages and trust deeds, but it is not secured by real estate. A business note is generated when a person sells a business and decides to carry on the financing and collect regular payments from the new business owner.

A potential seller can sell commercial real estate notes as a whole, or a part of them. The best way to sell commercial real estate notes is to browse websites that display real estate note listings. Visitors to these websites range from individual buyers to companies and financial institutions. The chances of getting a better deal are very high. Real estate brokers are the natural source for selling commercial real estate notes. They can assist you in finding an ideal buyer. Advertising in local newspapers and real estate magazines also helps you sell commercial real estate notes.

Protect Your Commercial Property And Control Bird Nuisance

When asked to name a few things which could be considered a nuisance, or indeed harmful to businesses and their premises, you may be forgiven for not including birds amongst your answers.

Most of us love birds and enjoy sharing our beautiful planet with them and we do not consider them to be a pest in the normal sense of the word and therefore would be reluctant include them on a list of potential business hazards.

The truth, regrettably, is a significantly different matter; birds can be not only a nuisance but an actual threat to health in some cases, a threat that sometimes has to be dealt with quite firmly.

Some species of bird, especially pigeons, are well-known for their nuisance-factor. They can be noisy and gather in large numbers in locations where the results of their defecation can result in extremely unhygienic conditions developing. An additional hazard resulting from excessive fouling of pavements and pedestrian areas is that they become slippery and pose a tripping or falling hazard.

In commercial properties the problem is even more significant and potentially hazardous. This is particularly true in those areas where food is prepared, stored or processed.

It is said that a single pigeon can produce an extraordinary amount of excrement in a single week. That sounds like a lot of pigeon poo but, the substance in question is corrosive and therefore can be harmful to buildings, as well as carrying diseases which can be passed on through the food chain and so the need for action is fairly well established.

The question is, how should it be done? No one likes to kill birds deliberately and the first piece of advice to be given is that wild birds should never be fed in public places. This is advice that largely goes unheeded unless backed up by some fairly stringent legislation and an effective system of enforcement.

It’s difficult of course to reprimand, let alone prosecute, children, and others giving crumbs from their cakes and sandwiches to the pigeons but you see this happening in many public places and this is probably the level at which the problem needs to be tackled in many cases.

When it comes to protecting commercial and public buildings from bird damage there are a number of humane options available that do not involve killing the birds but shifting them on.

These methods include the installation of netting, spikes, (gentle, flexible non-metallic ones), bird repellent gels and the use of decoys to act as a deterrent. The elimination of potential nesting sites is also useful. The most important factor is not to have anything present which will attract them to your property.

These measures, coupled with a strict policy of not allowing the feeding of the birds, will be sufficient in most cases to handle the problem. If this problem affects you or your business, it may be worth discussing it with a specialist control company who will have all the solutions to hand and rid you of your problem expeditiously.

Commercial and Residential Real Estate in NCR

Commercial Property

Commercial Property consists of any property which can be used for commercial purposes which generate income such as retail shops, office spaces, food courts, cineplex, parking structures, conference plazas, warehouses, factories, IT Data Centres, & other shops. They are different from property that may be used for residential or agricultural purposes that although may generate income, are primarily developed for personal, not industrial or commercial use.

From an investment point of view, there are several advantages of investing in a commercial property than a residential property in India. They include:

  • Commercial properties are generally developed after a lot of research. The developer takes into account things like cost of land acquisition, construction and other costs to derive their profit margins. The property is thus generally at a location that is easily accessible and well connected, amid a catchment area with few competing projects.
  • It is easier to lease commercial property for longer duration to corporates creating stable, assured rental income for life.
  • A large office space can be divided into smaller sections if need be, ensuring financial viability of the investment.
  • Property management in commercial properties can be managed by professionals and be paid by tenants ensuring reduced stress for the investor as compared to a commercial property.
  • The return on investment on a commercial property is generally between 9-21%, while for most residential property investments the returns are 1-3%.

Speaking specifically about the Real Estate Sector in the National Capital Region, the residential property rates are stuck at the 2013-2014 levels. There is massive inventory with the developers with some reports suggesting it might take over 4 years for the inventory to clear.

The commercial property sector meanwhile is faring much better with prices up nearly 45% from 2013 levels and vacancy rate below 5% in many micro pockets in Gurgaon. The demand of office space from corporates, ITeS, and retail are the key drivers of this phenomenon.

Residential Property

Residential property is should be the property one buys for their own personal needs. Various types of residential properties include Villas, Apartments, Luxury Condominiums, Bungalows, or plots of land which one plans to develop later. Generally, a person buys residential property only once or twice in their lifetime. Hence one should take their time researching about the property and do so with a clear picture of their current and future requirements in their minds.

Some requirements of residential property are:

  • It should be in a residential area. Buying a residential property in a commercial area makes little sense as one would be constantly disturbed by noises of vehicles coming and departing, of factory activity, and other commercial activities. From a security point of view too, a commercial area has a large floating population which is difficult to monitor.
  • It should be free from all claims and liens. Buying a property without doing due diligence is asking for trouble. At any point someone may stake a claim or raise objections which may take years to settle later and cost a fortune in legal fees.
  • It should be a quality construction. If buying built up property it is essential to check the builders previous projects and have an independent inspection of the property from professionals to assess quake resistance and take ample measures to prevent water seepage from cracks and joints.
  • It should be close to amenities. A recent research has found that most of the house buyers are young couples as their parents already have a house of their own. Independent nuclear families who plan to have children in the future and a big thing to plan for in India is the school where the children will go to. In fact people give more weightage to having a good school nearby than to markets, religious places, and even hospitals.
  • Other things to look for are the price of the property, law and order condition of the area, water and electricity supply to the property, & distance from work among others.

So we see that the two different types of properties cater to different people with their own needs. While the commercial property is bought with an aim to invest & perhaps either rent or sell later, a residential property is bought primarily for self. In both cases it is important to identify the needs or the reason for buying the property, doing due diligence, partnering with the right developer who is honest, has the expertise, and understanding of the local market to get you the best possible deal.

How to Make Many From Commercial Property

You’ve probably heard of people investing in real estate and flipping houses, but that part never really appealed to you. You were more interested in larger properties and all the exciting possibilities there are in that realm. But can you really earn an income off commercial properties? The answer is yes. Read on to discover how.

Commercial property includes places like office buildings, shopping malls, apartment buildings, hotels, warehouses, and industrial buildings. Earning money off of the ownership of commercial real estate takes research and patience. This is not an investment you can make with a quick turnaround.

One of the key things to keep in mind is you will need to surround yourself with some experts. There are Certified Commercial Investment Members who have taken the time to get the training they need to be able to understand the market. You should also have a commercial real estate agent who is only working with you and is not playing both sides of the transaction. Your agent should also be working with a broker who is part of the National Association of Realtors.

The CCIM will be able to get you a financial picture with what kinds of expenses you should expect as well as what kind of return on investment you might be able to realize. If he or she doesn’t provide it, you should ask for a schedule of annual expenses, including the cost of property management. Typically this amount is about 10% of rent from an apartment building and will vary for other properties.

Whether you rent the units to tenants or to residents, one of the main ways you can make money on commercial property is by collecting fees from those using the building in the form of rent or lease payments. You can also use your building to sell advertising, like putting a billboard up on the side or allowing a cellular company to lease space for an antenna.

Picking a property in an up and coming area means your property will appreciate in value. You won’t have to stay in commercial real estate for a long time if you are able to buy the property at the beginning of the area’s renaissance. Make a few improvements to the property or the surrounding area to make it more sellable, then sell it again. You’ll realize the profits right away, and you can get started investing in the next property. It’s akin to flipping a house.

There are adjunct things you can do with your property to earn some income as well. Let’s say you have bought a small hotel property with a parking lot. You might offer free parking to guests who stay overnight, but you might charge for parking for people who are coming to the restaurant only.

Doing some homework first is the most important thing. Investing in commercial real estate is not like buying a certificate of deposit at the bank. You need to do research and have some solid information before approaching an agent. It’s also nothing like day trading, in that profits will not come quickly.

How to Buy Commercial Real Estate Property

Every few years, the real estate industry suffers from a crash that leaves small and mid-sized business with a dilemma: is it better to own or to rent a commercial property. Buying commercial property is a complex business, which makes it difficult for experts to maximize their investment value. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy. The following guide takes a realistic approach to solving the dilemma of whether you should buy or rent a commercial property.

Deciding to Buy versus Lease

While weighing your option, you should understand the risk involved. Given below are some of the involved risks:

1. Location may backfire

You probably have heard the saying “today’s hot can become tomorrow’s not.” This common saying applies to commercial properties Trendy locations have a high chance of quickly becoming worthless. Even location that do not seem trendy upon first appearance have the chance of “going out of style” like a trend. There is a possibility that market may bust, thus making possibly any area you choose to become undesirable.

2. Loss of liquidity

It often is not easy to sell your property. A business that owns the piece of real estate needs their real estate to be worth some money to at least some thing that, if needed, can be converted to cash.

3. Tenuous cash flow

If you are business that owns property that is being rented out, you cash flow will be compromised if a tenant stops paying rent and your property requires unexpected, expensive repairs.

Assembling a Team of Experts

Not everyone is a commercial real estate expert. Therefore, it is important to get connected with team of experts who can help in determining the right locations, the right time for buying and selling, and the nuts and bolts of the deal. To create an expert team, you may require the following people:

1. Accountant: He or she can help you analyse the tax and operating benefits and figure out what you can afford.

2. Lawyer: He or she can negotiate with the lender and seller on your behalf and help you to complete the transaction.

3. Commercial Broker: He or she can help you identify the potential properties that you can afford.

4. Mortgage Broker: He or she will sort out all of the financing matters for the property.

Identify the Right Property

There are several factors that need to be considered when making any real estate purchase:

a. Location: Location matters a lot, as the location needs to be convenient for your vendors, suppliers, workers, and, of course, your customers as well. To determine the proper location, keep in mind what kind of business that you are running in addition to how accessible the location is to the highway, rail lines and shipping lanes.

b. Physical Condition: The selected location’s physical condition should also be taken into consideration. Be wary of any wear and tear, environmental issues or any other potential liabilities.

c. Allowable Uses: Get the appropriate building for your business type. For example, manufacturing businesses require industrial space. Accounting firms require office space.

How to Prospect For New Commercial Real Estate Listings


Commercial Retail and Industrial Listings

Any Real Estate Agent or Broker who wishes to have a successful career in commercial and industrial real estate must regularly obtain marketable listings. Listings are the agents “stock on the shelf” and your income now and in the future depends on the quality as well as the quantity of the listings that you obtain. The more listings that you have the more buyers and tenants you will attract. This makes the deals all that more easy for you. More listings mean that you dominate your market and lessen the impact of your competition.

In the commercial and industrial property, listings commonly may include:

  • Land that is suitable for commercial, industrial or retail development
  • Commercial, industrial and retail buildings that are for lease
  • Businesses that occupy premises from which they serve and supply their markets
  • Commercial, industrial and retail buildings that are for sale to owner occupiers or investors both large and small

Developing a Client Base

The secret of success in commercial and industrial real estate is to have your own client base. Those clients who work comfortably with you and who respond positively to your advice in relation to their real estate requirements are the clients you need to develop. As it is the clients who pay your fees, and not the tenants or buyers, they are very important people in your business life and it is essential that you represent yourself strongly to them at all times. As these people and organisations readjust their property portfolios to meet their emerging real estate requirements, they will continue to provide you with listings. In addition, if they are satisfied clients they will refer you to other business leaders, friends and family, and so provide you with more business.

Knowing the Real Estate Market

To provide effective advice to prospective clients it is essential that you know the market – commercial, industrial or retail – that you are involved in and that you have detailed knowledge of the geographical area in which you operate. To do this effectively you will need to:

  • Canvass your territory constantly according to a plan and become well known to businesses and people in the area
  • Know every property that is for sale or lease in your territory
  • Maintain a list of property transactions that occur and have occurred in the last 3 years
  • Keep an eye out for private transactions by property owners
  • Involve the management of your office and other team members with what you are doing
  • In addition, you should understand the factors that motivate companies in your area to move to other space, and you should be aware of the forces that encourage investors to buy and sell in your area or precinct.


So what makes a successful agent or broker from the client’s perspective, and someone that the client wants to do business with and through? It is an interesting question to ask from a clients perspective, but history shows that the factors which stand out as being of prime importance to clients are the agent’s knowledge of the market and the quality of the advice given. The negotiating skills of the agent and the ability to act quickly are also important and rank highly. Adherence to client instruction, property marketing skills and confidentiality were seen to be of slightly lesser importance.

It is clear from this analysis that the factors which are going to have a vital influence on the successful listing of a client’s property are knowledge of the market and the quality of advice. Owners are looking for agents and brokers who know the marketplace and have readily available records information about companies and investors that are looking to make immediate decisions on properties they require, own, or occupy. Your clients want an agent who will immediately bring a listed property to the attention of such people.

So, at the point of listing, being able to communicate effectively with the owner about the commercial and industrial market place and the prospects that are available on your database could certainly lead to a successful relationship and hopefully an ongoing one.


Where do you find new listings and how do you go about converting them? This list may help. As you get to know your clients and the geographical area of the market in which you operate, opportunities for obtaining listings will present themselves. For example:

  • Real Estate Transactions. The successful conclusion of any real estate transaction in your region implies that both buyer and seller may be looking for other options. Avail yourself of these opportunities.
  • Liquidation. A failed business is a prime target for agency activity.
  • Vacant Buildings. Be conscious of any buildings that become vacant or derelict as these represent business opportunities.
  • Intermediaries. Maintain close association with the intermediaries of the real estate business. Intermediaries include such people as financiers, bankers, insurers, builders, architects, engineers, lawyers and accountants. Their clients will at times require the services of real estate agents and a recommendation from these people is invaluable. You, in turn, can introduce your clients to such intermediaries and sound business relationships which benefit both parties are established and maintained in this way.
  • Newspaper Articles. Articles that are prepared by you or in which you are quoted, bring your name or your firm’s name to the attention of the public.
  • Direct Mailing. The regular mailing of letters that canvass for properties, when sent to a suitable group of possible investors or property owners, frequently result in listings.
  • Private Advertisements. These can indicate properties that are on the market and the owners may be encouraged to employ your services if initial advertisements have not been successful.
  • Developers/Builders
  • Neighbours in immediate area
  • Property Managements (Rent Roll)
  • Entrepreneurial Activity
  • Previous Vendors & Purchasers

Identifying Ownership

When you discover a property that you feel could provide a business or listing opportunity, it is necessary to identify the owner. The following avenues can often provide this information.

  • Your own office (In each agency there is substantial information from previous transactions and property ownership which can be consulted).
  • Local Government Records
  • Land Title Information
  • Electoral Rolls
  • The Telephone Directory (including the Yellow Pages in the case of businesses)

Further to this there are many other sources of information to be used when identifying owners. These are:

  • Property ownership lists
  • Historic Lands Sales Records
  • Use other agents signboards as a reason to talk to adjacent owners in the locale
  • Commercial property is transacted to a cycle of investment and history shows that it is about every 5 years. Look at the old sales records in your area for the next cycle of potential sales.
  • Tenants will usually tell you the property owner if you ask
  • Directory boards in buildings are a great source of leasing intelligence
  • Business Telephone Lists and CEO contact names
  • Stock Exchange Information and updates
  • Company Searches for large businesses in your area
  • Newspaper Stories & Articles
  • Be willing to dare and try something new

To undertake this process you must be diligent and thorough in your activities so that you do not leave any ‘stone unturned’. Nothing is more frustrating that another agent’s sale or lease signboard appearing in your territory that you just covered last week.

The above information may seem logical; however it is commonly overlooked or not acted upon in most cases, given that many salespeople do not have the personal and sustained discipline needed for the task. The best commercial real estate agents and brokers use this model as their source of listing opportunity.

In closing we should say that this prospecting process does require a good database program to record and channel your ongoing findings. The value of a good database program is high in list of tools of a professional agent or broker working on commercial real estate. Good hunting!

How to Market Your Commercial Real Estate Loan Business

All too often I see small business owners missing the mark with their marketing. Sure, it’s easy to do when you specialize in a specific industry niche and you spend your time engulfed in industry sector jargon. However, it’s best to put yourself in your potential customer’s shoes and think your marketing through from their perspective, addressing their most important questions. Your customers want to be able to trust you, to know you are looking out for their interests and that you don’t just see them with Dollar Signs in your sunglasses.

Below is a sample page, perhaps good for a website, brochure, email, or letter. Why not look this over and consider how you might form your own message. Use your own voice, your own style and remember you are talking to your customer across the table for the first time. You know what questions they will ask. Show that you care, that you are working for them, and will go out of your way to get them the best rates, and great service. Here is the sample:

Commercial Real Estate Loans

Are you looking to purchase an income property such as an apartment building, small office building, or retail center? Would you like to put several rental properties in your real estate portfolio into one commercial mortgage? Wish to find a suitable piece of land and develop that property? Do you need a loan for acquisition and construction?

Do you want to buy a business property with a business on it; a restaurant, carwash, service station, laundry mat, hotel, etc.? Are you looking for a commercially zoned property with a warehouse or industrial building on it? Are you expanding an existing business and/or want to own the property under your business rather than paying the monthly lease?

Are you in the agricultural sector, looking for specifically zoned farming property; land for a vineyard, orchard, or crop such as berries, vegetables, or flowers? We have significant experience to make this happen. Our area in Southern CA has one of the best climates in the world, and incredible top soil for growing almost anything.

We can assist with all types of commercial real estate loans including government-guaranteed loans such as FHA, USDA, and HUD. If you are looking for an SBA 7(a) loan or a CDC/SBA 504 loan for commercial real estate we can get it done.

We can assist you with traditional commercial mortgages, commercial bridge loans, or commercial hard money loans. We also have lines on non-traditional sources for hard money commercial real estate loans, which are custom tailored to you needs for complicated projects outside the normal scope of typical commercial real estate loans and mortgage offerings.

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Why not try something like this? Just because the Federal Reserve has raised rates doesn’t mean you have to let new deals and new clients move to your competitors. I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Major Benefits Of Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial property insurance is the considered as a major part of the whole risk management strategy that should be taken for the coverage. This does not imply that each property item you are interested in should be insured, but it is sensible to evaluate a checklist of the property to decide which property exposure can unfavorably have an effect on your business group and therefore, some risk management strategies should be used for this property. No doubt in the fact that kind of property insurance offers various benefits to safeguard the interest of the insurance claimer. As a result, it is advisable for the property owner to go ahead with the right commercial property insurance and take the required step.

Some of the special benefits that the property owner can avail from insuring their property comprise of the following:

• If the owner of property is also a landlord, then they can get their losses cover through insurance if in case the tenant leaves the place without giving any notice in advance before the ending of the tenancy period.

• The property owner can claim the insurance and save themselves in when the tenant is legally expelled prior to the ending of the tenancy period or discontinue paying rent.

• The losses suffered by the landlord because of structural damages to the property caused by the tenants will get covered under the insurance policy.

• If the tenant takes away something from the property, then that loss will get covered through the insurance plan.

• Such insurance plans will also cover the legal costs for healing of the lost items and similar eventual.

In order to avail these above mentioned benefits of taking insurance, it is necessary to approach an experienced insurance provider. They should offer some of the most important kinds of coverage that includes property rebuilding, loss of rent, cost of repairs, public liability, accidental damages to property and other exigencies.

How it works?

When claims made for such insurance, the landlord who has suffered the losses can get the replacement value or the actual cash value for the commercial property that got damaged. Every insurance plans and policies have their own exposure limitations. Thus, it is very important for the potential insured to first have knowledge about the various kinds of insurance plans and policies available for them and what are the respective benefits they can avail by undertaking such insurance coverage. However, the main objective of all the insurance policies is to cover the risk, loss and legal cost involved for the benefit of the person who have got their things insured. Further, these coverages also focus on the recovery of the subsidiary costs include in the procedure.

Going Green – Commercial Property Owners Can Cut Expenses With New Solar Film

Coupled with the economic climate and its recent effects on Commercial Real Estate, going green is just one of the choices available in an effort to cut costs in building and maintaining office buildings, retail stores, manufacturing facilities and malls. There can be significant savings in utility costs and there are many choices in the marketplace with regards to heating and cooling.

Now, new thin solar films are available that cover windows of office buildings all around the country. They reduce the temperature inside the buildings as well as cut cooling costs. Earlier versions of solar film reduced heat getting through but the tint created a darker environment, more noticeable in northern parts of the country.

This new thin solar film is placed over the buildings glass, is crystal clear but cuts ultraviolet and infrared light while allowing the visible spectrum through. The reflection reduces 55% of the suns heat and increases the comfort of indoor environments. It is so clear it promotes natural light and reduces the need for indoor lighting. Tenants notice a significant heat increase in areas that are not filmed as opposed to those that have been covered.

The clarity of the new film allows in maximum light and decreases energy use. Some tenants have reported that they did not need to put any lighting in perimeter offices.

New technology has also allowed some films to not only block light, but actually produce energy. These new films contain ultra-thin photovoltaics which generate electricity during daytime hours. Depending on the geographic location of the building, the payback on this investment can range from six months to three years.

Since the inception of the October 2008 Emergency Economic Stabilization Act residential owners who install energy efficient improvements in 2009 can qualify for special tax credits, helping to defray the cost of installation.

However, interest within the Commercial Real Estate community has heightened with the recent spikes in the price of oil and decreases in average rents. Commercial property owners face greater economic challenges because of property size, but can also potentially get significant State and Federal tax deductions. Go to for more information on tax incentives in your state.

Tips to Hire a Commercial Real Estate Agent

If you don’t want to handle your relocation project or commercial lease renewal yourself, you can go to a commercial real estate agent. All you have to do is choose the right professional for your needs. Given below are 6 things you may want to consider during your evaluation. Read on.


A relocation or lease renewal is similar to a construction project. The difference is that it takes a bit longer than expected. So, it’s a good idea to go with someone who you like. This way you will enjoy throughout your journey and the process of negotiation may also go well.


Make sure the professional agent that you are going to hire can be trusted. It may be difficult to find out who can be trusted but it can be done during the interview. By asking a few relevant questions during the interview, you can get a pretty good idea as if they are trustworthy or not.

Conflicts of Interest

What does a conflict occurs? Actually, the conflict may occur when you go with an agent who already is a representative of many property owners in the same area. Now, the agent wants to serve you despite that the fact that they have given their word to the property owners that they will find a way to earn them the highest rate of rent possible. So, you may want to get a clear idea of the conflict severity and its importance for you.


Experience of the agent is of utmost importance as far as choosing the best professional is concerned. Ideally, it’s a good idea to go with a commercial real estate agent who has over 10 years of experience in the field. Their grey hair may be a sign that they have been in this business for years. You can ask about their experience during the interview.


Age of the professional should not be taken as an evidence of their experience in the field. The million dollar question is how long have they been actively involved in the business. You need to keep in mind that commercial real estate is on the list of those businesses that people do part time. So, make sure you choose a professional who has been working full time as an agent. What matters is experience not the age of the agent. After all, age is just a number.


Typically agents specialize in two ways. They can do it by industry vertical or location. As far as importance is concerned, location specialization carries more weight. An agent with location specialization has a pretty good idea of what is happening in the market. They know about the best deals and best property owners. Aside from this, their negotiation style is pretty impressive.

Long story short, if you have been thinking of hiring the services of the best commercial real estate agent, we suggest that you take these factors into consideration. This will help you choose the best service provider.

How to Get Ahead Financially By Investing in Commercial Property

Think of all the investment commercials you have heard and seen that admonish/encourage you to start saving money early in your working life. Messages like, “Take advantage of your company’s 401k program,” and “Start an IRA program,” are like investment mantras and there is a great deal of wisdom in those messages. But what also can be important is expanding your mindset to additional investment opportunities like investing in property.

Risk and challenge

Property investing is often described as “high-risk, high-reward.” It may not be the ideal investment plan for the faint of heart. But it can be a good match for the investor who:

• Likes a challenge.

• Has an enormous amount of patience.

• Can commit to a hands-on approach to managing the investment.

• Is willing to learn the business of investing in commercial real estate.

Reducing risk

The first “risk” to reduce is a lack of knowledge in commercial property investment:

• Learn all you can about the subject.

• Find a mentor to further your education.

• Consider partnering with a successful commercial property investor.

• Start conservatively.

Next, don’t try to invest without help from a commercial estate specialist. The person you work with should be a fiduciary (one who will be working in your best interest). Industry writers recommend that your broker should be a member of the National Association of Realtors and adhere to its code of ethics. Most important of all, your broker/realtor should represent only you – not the seller, or not you and the seller.

Making money on your investment

Getting ahead in commercial property investing is accomplished in several basic ways. Your investment can grow through income and appreciation/selling.

• Income generally comes from rent. It also can be generated if your tenants are required to pay fees for contractual options (like right of first refusal on an adjacent space).

• Appreciation is another investment/money-making option. This is where the adage, “Buy low, sell high,” applies. Experienced property investors will buy the property at a low price, put a finite amount of rehab work into the property, possibly redefine the property to a more marketable purpose, and sell at a higher price. These investors make their money on flipping the commercial property, not on rental income.

Types of commercial estates and income potential

The type of commercial property in which you choose to invest can affect your earning potential. Consider the income opportunities in these properties:

• Motels/hotels located in tourist or major business travel areas.

• New commercial construction can be highly profitable but requires serious knowledge of the industry (and significant financial backing).

• Small commercial properties like strip malls and small office buildings often have long-term tenants.

• Industrial properties include manufacturing sites, distribution centers, and warehouses. A financial plus here is that these tenants are usually responsible for most repairs and maintenance.

• NNN leases are often found in larger businesses and with stable tenant companies that lease long-term (like 30 years at a time). These tenants are responsible for all expenses, including property taxes and insurance.

There is money to be made for the commercial property investor who is willing to start slowly, become knowledgeable, be focused, act conservatively, exercise patience, and work hard.

Rarely will commercial property investment be your get-rich-quick ticket. But over time, it can significantly augment your retirement fund or provide you with the financial resources to fulfill other dreams and plans.

Handover Procedures in Commercial Property Leasing

In commercial property the handover of premises is a critical time to take note of important issues and matters requiring attention. These notes can later support the tenant or the landlord in any matters of debate or dispute. There is a handover and the beginning of occupancy and again at the end of the occupancy.

In all respects the occupancy of the tenant and the premises handover should be in accordance with the lease. This says that you as a property or leasing manager must read the lease and understand it. Even in a single property with many different tenants, the leases can be different and usually are. The ‘make good’ clauses and the ‘handover provisions’ of the lease are unique and should be understood relative to each tenancy.

Taking photos also is part of the documentation of premises at handover time. It is recommended that the photographs taken are date and time stamped in the camera, and the photographs are later saved as ‘gif’ files and not ‘jpg’. This is because ‘gif’ files are a more stable and fixed format that cannot be manipulated by software editing tools such as ‘Photoshop’. If you want the photograph to be evidence of something important, then the ‘gif’ format is a reliable choice.

Whilst every tenancy is unique, let’s set some rules to give you some benchmarks to work with at handover time. You can then add some other matters that may be applicable to the location or property that you work on.

  1. Take ‘gif’ format photographs as evidence of important things and levels of presentation
  2. When taking photographs it pays to put a scale reference such as a ruler into the picture
  3. Take notes of any comments or agreements from any parties to the lease
  4. Check all walls and painted surfaces for damage and or current condition, taking photographs as appropriate to record the current condition
  5. Check ceiling tiles and t-bars for ceiling presentation and integrity
  6. Look above ceilings for the satisfactory removal of any unnecessary cabling that should have been removed
  7. Check all floor coverings for any damage or deterioration beyond normal ‘wear and tear’
  8. Look for any floor or wall penetrations that exist or need to be remedied noting that any penetrations must be fire rated to the standards of the local building codes.
  9. Check air conditioning function and note any need for air conditioning balance due to fitout or altered or installed partitions in the leased space
  10. Check lights and light switches for function and safety. It may be necessary to replace all tubes in the light fittings as part of the make good provisions of the lease
  11. Check all doors and locks for safety and security. Do not overlook the need for doors and locks to comply with all building codes. All keys to the doors should be provided or returned as appropriate. If a master key system is installed in the building then check that the keys all comply with the master system
  12. Check windows for function, security, and safety
  13. Check electricity supply to the tenancy and any metering of consumed energy
  14. Check the installation and compliance of any signage for the premises and that such is in accordance with architectural rules set for the building.
  15. Look for any matters of change to the structural integrity to the building and the premises
  16. As part of the checking process it sometimes pays for the landlords contractors to inspect the premises and provide a full report of any complex or sensitive issues. This will support any later legal dispute over make good terms and conditions.

When keys are exchanged between the tenant and the landlord, or the landlord and the tenant, a receipt should be obtained as a record of handover of the keys. The real estate agents actions in the handover to any tenant should also be supported by notes. It is surprising how many disputes arise later when you least expect it; in such case your notes are invaluable.

Never hand back any bond money or bank guarantees to tenants until you are absolutely certain that all make good requirements of the lease have been satisfied. It is also of note that all make good must have been done at and before the expiry of the lease; it is not something that is done after lease expiry.

Efficient make good and handover procedures are a critical skill for the real estate agent to develop and implement on every lease situation.

Reasons For Due Diligence and Buying Commercial Property

If you have decided to get into the commercial property business, you may have been advised to practice due diligence. Though it sounds logical, you have no doubt wondered just what does due diligence actually mean. There is a lot more detail involved in due diligence than you might think.

No matter what kind of commercial property you want to buy, you will need to do your due diligence. It might be a giant mall property, or a smaller commercial business – but the process is the same. You need to know what kind of condition your property is in.

Why do due diligence?

You will want to do this not only to make a sound business investment but also to ensure that you know what your property needs so your tenants will be able to set up shop in a safe building free of any liabilities. You will also be investing in your business for a long time, so you need to be sure that there won’t be any long-term issues that end up reducing your return on investment.

Getting started

To start the process, visit the site with your commercial real estate broker and potentially even the seller. This will give you a good overview of what it is you are getting into, and what you are getting. You can develop a list of questions that you need answers to and points to follow up on.

Part of due diligence also means reading all of the documents carefully so you understand all of the terms and you know what kind of warranty regarding building condition is granted. Looking over all of the documents might take some time, but it can save a lot of frustration and expense down the road. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller for any documents from when he or she purchased the property.

This request can include any inspections or land surveys done by the current owner during the time he or she owned the property. You can also ask for a list of current tenants and how the property is being used. Is it a commercial building in an area being zoned for redevelopment? This will enable you to convert the property if you so wish. In many urban areas, abandoned warehouses have been turned into ultramodern condos. Imagine the possibilities!

Government document searches

You may also want to do a records search at the county or city records office. This search can include any inspections conducted by that government agency, any tax liens or other pending action on the property, and any environmental inspection reports.

It wouldn’t even be out of reach to pull up the original plans and specs for the building so you can see what modifications have been done over the years. The current seller might not know all of this, particularly if he or she bought it as a foreclosure or just didn’t do his or her own due diligence.

There are so many other things to look at when doing due diligence. It is a solid investment to consult a real estate attorney to assist you in the process so nothing gets missed. Due diligence can be time consuming to be sure, and potentially carry some costs, but it is very worth it in the end.

The Advantages Of Getting Commercial Property Management Firms

People who own a commercial property can get more than enough cash flow from their commercial property and definitely have guaranteed financial security for your future. Of course, both of these benefits do come with a price. One of these is the property has to be in good condition to maintain or increase its value. Otherwise, you will have to spend more money on maintenance and taxes.

Considering commercial property management firms is an excellent solution. Instead of you, and a handful of people you know, running your commercial property, you get another company to do the managing so it will be less hassle and stress-free. Check out some advantages that you can get from getting these services from professional property management experts.

– You will be able to provide the very best service to tenants. A commercial property firm will have the systems and the people in place to address every kind of tenant concern, from the smallest utility issue to the more serious security problems. Even though you own a fairly small commercial building, servicing tenants and making sure they are satisfied (and safe) can be time consuming as well as energy draining. Unless you have nothing else to do with your days, then you could better serve your tenants by hiring a business management firm to do the job for you.

– You can get better tenants for your commercial property. One of the ways to maintain profits is to get the best tenants. This means tenants who pay on time and who also take care of their leased spaces as their own. Delinquent tenants not only dissolve profits, but they also create a lot of stress.

– Property professionals have the experience to manage your property. From collecting rent to implementing maintenance work, these business managers can handle every aspect of running any building. They do the job for you so you don’t have to be stressed out or be hassled.

– A well-managed property will never fail to yield revenue. With expertise and experience at the helm of your business venture, you are sure to turn over a good profit every time. Some of the best leasing companies even assess your terms and make appropriate recommendations so that you not only reduce problems but also boost revenue.

– You need to relax and enjoy your investment. Finally, what good is a property investment if you can’t even find the time to relax and enjoy the profits you have earned? With the right management firm, you can do that now. Click here to know more.

Will Commercial Zoning Increase Your Property Value?

If you have the correct combination of items and you have a large enough pocketbook, this may be your ticket to retirement. But sometimes, it’s your ticket to the poor house.

I looked at a home that is zoned mixed use. In this area, this means that you can either use the residence as a home or use the residence as a commercial site. These types of sites are usually limited to low impact items such as office buildings, apartments, etc.

What’s the catch? Well, you’ll have to own a large enough parcel of land to make a commercial deal work. This is why you see five homes along a busy street all for sale at once and the zoning is commercial. This is because in order to be approved for commercial development, there must be a large enough parcel to make the commercial development work.

Usually, for mixed residential zoning, these areas are close to town or close to other apartments or business in the area. I’ve appraised several of these types of property. Many times, advertising the zoning as mixed use is enough to sell the home for more just because it may appeal to that specific buyer that wants to live in the same home and run a business out of the home. One home that I appraised offered a living area on the main level and a daylight basement offered office buildings that were rented out.

My understanding is that some banks that specialize in residential zoning will not loan money on mixed use properties. This, of course, is a downfall, if you’re trying to get a residential loan. Some buyers will not want to use their residential home for office use. This will limit the number of buyers that may want to buy your home.

So, will commercial zoning increase your property value? If your home is a residential home with the best use as a residential use, commercial zoning may decrease your home value and make it difficult to get a loan and make it difficult to sell, because you’ll be located on a busy street. If your home is residential use and the highest and best use is to build a commercial structure, most often, your land used as commercial use will be more valuable than your home used as residential use.

So, the moral of the story is to keep an open mind on these types of properties. I looked at some homes the other day where the home is an older residential home with a larger lot. The zoning can be switched from residential to commercial for $1500. Residential homes with larger lots with similar zoning were selling for $350,000 to $400,000. Residential homes that have been switched to commercial zoning were selling for $500,000 to $700,000. So for $1500 and some time, this would be a good investment for your money.

Which Types of Commercial Property Should You Invest In?

When it comes to commercial real estate investment, investors often want to know which types of properties they should consider investing in. This article discusses about 5 groups of properties and reasons why you should or should not consider them.

1. Land: the people who invest in raw land often hope to buy agricultural land near commercially-zoned land at a few thousand dollars per acre. They dream their lot will be re-zoned to commercial in the near future which is worth hundreds of thousand dollars or more an acre. People who convince you to invest in raw land often try to sell you this dream. While this dream actually happens just like it’s possible to hit the jackpot in Las Vegas, the reality is most investors lose money or get little return in land investment. It is a very risky investment as land generates either no or very little income. From an income tax viewpoint, land does not depreciate in value so you cannot claim depreciation. On top of that the interest rate to land loan is also very steep compared to other types of commercial properties. So each month, you would need to come up with money to pay for the mortgage while collecting none. You should consider invest in land if you

– Know how to develop so you could convert raw land into a shopping center.

– Know exact what you do and have deep pocket.

– Own the land of a shopping center (you don’t own the buildings).

2. Apartments: this is a management intensive investment as the turn over rate is high. The leases are short-termed often at one year of month to month. As tenants move in and out, you would need to spend money to get the unit ready for occupancy. Apartment tenants tend to have higher late payments history than other tenants as they are more often have a tighter budget. If you don’t like the headaches dealing with lots of tenants, you probably want to stay away from apartments. The key to successful apartment investment is to

– Control or minimize the expenses. This may sound like a trivial task until you see the expense list provided by the property manager. These expenses include: advertising, accounting, bank fees (for insufficient funds), capital improvement, coin laundry subsidy, cleaning, collection fees, garbage disposal, insurance, landscaping, legal (eviction) fees, maintenance, offsite property management, onsite property management, pest control, painting, repairs, sweeping, security, property taxes, utilities and water.

– Invest only in properties in a good location with no deferred maintenance.

– Stay away from areas with rent control, e.g. Berkeley, Los Angeles.

Otherwise you may end up getting little cash flow or even having negative cash flow. If one of your investment objectives is to get high cash flow, you may want to stay away from apartments. In California, if you own a 16 or more units apartment you must have an onsite manager. This increases the expenses further. In general, apartments are easy to buy and harder to sell. There are always lots of them on any markets. The upside about apartments is they tend to have high occupancy rate as everyone needs a roof over their heads. Due to this fact the interest rate for apartments is often ¼- to ½ percent lower than other commercial properties.

3. Special Purpose Properties: These are properties designed for a specific business, e.g. restaurants, gas stations, and hotels/motels.

– Restaurants: some investors like to invest in brand name fast food restaurant like Burger King, Pizza Hut, Jack In The Box, KFC. These are single tenant properties with long term absolute triple-net lease which often require no management responsibilities from the landlord. However, the rental income or cap rate for these restaurants is often lower in the 5-7% range. Emerging regional brand name restaurants like Johnny Carino’s, Back Yard Burger, Zaxby’s or Tia’s TexMex tend to offer higher cap rate in the 7-8.5% range. However, when you look deeper in the financial statements they may not make a profit yet. The restaurant operators sell the real estate to investors higher cap rate and lease back the property for 20 years. They in turn use the sale proceeds to expand their business by building more restaurants. So if you are willing to take higher risks, you will be rewarded to high income with these emerging restaurants.

– Gas stations: when you buy a gas station, you buy both real estate and the gas station business. Most gas stations also have convenience stores and sometimes several car repair bays. The profit margin for gas is fixed at 10-20 cents per gallon [many customers wrongly blame the high gas prices on the innocent gas station operators] but is pretty high for convenience store. This is considered an owner-occupied property which qualifies you to a SBA loan with as little as 10% down payment is required. If you don’t plan to get involved in running the gas station, auto repair and convenience store business, you may want to stay away from gas stations as gasoline is a chemical that could contaminate the soil. Once a leakage occurs and contaminates the environment, it takes years and lots money to clean up the soil. You may even be liable to damages from owners of adjacent properties as contamination may spread out to their properties. It’s almost impossible to sell your property as no lenders want to loan the buyers the money to buy it.

– Hotels/Motels: once you buy a hotel/motel, you buy the real estate and a 24-hour-a-day 365-day-a-year business. This business requires hard work, and marketing skills to get the rooms filled. The rooms are worthless if they are vacant. The business tends to be seasonal and may be affected immediately by economic downturns and political events, e.g. 9-11. Many of these properties are owned by Indians with the last name Patel as they seem to work harder and know this business well.

4. Office Buildings: these properties are single or multi-story buildings. The older two-story office buildings without elevators tend to have trouble finding tenants on the upper floor as many service businesses may have physically-challenged customers who cannot walk up the stairs.

– Single-tenant buildings: the properties are used as corporate headquarters of big corporations like Cisco. These big buildings tend to be more sensitive to the economy. Once vacant, it’s hard to find a replacement tenant.

– Multi-tenant buildings: these properties are leased by small businesses, e.g. real estate, tax accountants. Investors who purchase these properties want to spread out the investment risks. When one tenant vacates a unit, you lose just a small percentage of rental income.

– High Quality Tenants: most of them have good credits, lot of assets and promptly pay the rent when due.

– Leases: The leases for office building vary from full service [landlords pay property tax, insurance, maintenance and utilities] to NNN [tenants pay property tax, insurance, maintenance and utilities]. The NNN lease is a litmus test on whether the office building is in high demand by tenants or not.

– Medical buildings: these properties are leased primarily by doctors and dentists. A good medical building should be in front of or across the street from a hospital. This makes it convenient for doctors to go back and forth between hospital and their offices. Some investors prefer medical buildings as medical tenants are very recession proof.

5. Shopping/Retail Centers: These centers are mostly single-story and can accommodate wide varieties of tenants: retail and service businesses, restaurant, medical, school, and even church. As a result, this is the most popular type of commercial properties that investors look for. They are always in high demand as there are more buyers and few sellers.

– Multi-tenant strip: the advantage of this investment is when a tenant moves out, you only lose a portion of the total income while you are looking for a new tenant. So you spread out the risks in this property.

– Single-tenant building: The advantage is you just have to work with one tenant. Some of the tenants, e.g. Costco, Home Deport, Walmart, CVS Pharmacy sign 10-20 year lease and guarantee with their corporate assets which could be worth billions of dollars. This makes your investment very safe.

– High Quality Tenants: most of them have good credits, lot of assets and promptly pay the rent when due. They often sign long term 5-30 year leases so you don’t have worry about finding new tenants every year. They keep your property in good condition and sometimes even spend their own money to make it look better in order to attract the customers to the stores.

– Triple Net (NNN) Leases: the leases for retail centers are often in favor of the landlord. The tenants pay a base rent and reimburse the landlord for property taxes, insurance, maintenance and sometimes even property management fees. This takes away a lot of risks from you as an investor. The NNN lease in a sense is a litmus test on whether the property is in high demand by tenants or not.

– Ground Lease: occasionally a retail center with ground lease is for sale. When you buy this center, you only own the improvement but not the land underneath. It could be a trophy property but you should think thrice about investing. Once the ground lease expires and the land owner refuses to extend the land lease, you own nothing! So it’s easy to buy this center but very hard to sell.