Don’t let the stunning property, the prestigious address or the trendy office space distract you. In commercial real estate, as in any business, it’s about return on investment. When you stay focused on what factors lead to a healthy ROI, success is sure to follow. Here are some tips to consider as your make your next commercial real estate investment:
- Make sure it’s an investment. Investment implies profit. Do your homework and research diligently before buying. Take all costs into account, crunch the numbers, and make a clear-headed decision as to whether this particular property will turn a profit. Keep in mind that if it can’t turn a profit then you have not made an investment; you just managed to acquire a property.
- Look at long-term costs. When will the building need a new roof or electrical system? Is there environmental legislation pending—or building regulations and codes that might cause you to incur big costs down the road? How much is it going to cost for maintenance and repairs over time? Pull in professionals. Consider how future costs can impact ROI.
- Develop a niche. Particularly if you are new at commercial real estate investing, devote the time and attention you need to learn the nuances of a particular kind of property—be it office space, strip mall, retail, land, etc. Each deal deserves your undivided attention. The deeper and broader the knowledge base you acquire around a given type of property will only serve your best interests over time. It’s the old adage “jack of all trades, master of none.” Be a master of a given niche and even location, and you’ll be savvy and well informed deal after deal.
- Look for hazards. Once you make a commercial real estate investment, you are solely responsible for any problems lurking that may not have been discovered during the inspection. This includes any hazardous waste problems— even if the previous owner originally caused them. Disposing of hazardous waste can be insanely expensive. Get a qualified professional to check the grounds for any signs of hazards before you close on the deal.
- Stay abreast of the industry. Join a commercial real estate investors group such as this one on LinkedIn. Develop connections, talk shop and subscribe to the top trade journals. Over time you’ll pick up on trends and make more informed decisions. You’ll also get inspired by the success of others, which will only add fuel to your fire.
- Protect your assets. Seek the counsel of a qualified legal professional. He or she can help you protect your assets should you ever be hit with a lawsuit– and also help you structure partnership agreements should you be investing with others. It’s always a smart idea to separate your investments so that if you do ever face a lawsuit, they can’t go after everything you own, including your personal property.