Beginning a commercial real estate property search can be a daunting task for an unintiated buyer.
There are many questions you might ask yourself as you begin your search: Should you start the search yourself? Should you work with a real estate broker? Where do you find real estate property listings?
There aren't one size fits all answers for everyone.
To find your perfect property, you may want to work with a real estate broker and do some online and in-person research.
Working with a Real Estate Broker
The first thing to know about working with a broker is that the seller is usually the party responsible for paying the commission to the broker. That means that as a buyer, you likely won't have to pay a dime until the transaction has been completed.
Although the commission is coming from the purchase price you are paying, a good broker will add value to the transaction. Brokers have market knowledge and access to resources that most buyers don’t have. They can draw on their own past experiences and those of their colleagues. Brokers also have access to online databases that have information on comparable sales.
No two pieces of real estate are exactly the same, and a knowledgeable broker will be able to help determine the correct price by adjusting the value based on the differences between previously sold properties and the one in which you are interested. However, comparable sales are not the only tools in a good broker’s arsenal. They can also help determine a value based on the net operating income (NOI) for a property. The quality of the tenants, the location, the amount of deferred maintenance and the asset class are all factors that can be considered in determining the appropriate multiple of the NOI to offer the seller.
Online and In-Person Searches
Whether you are using a broker or not, you can conduct your own real estate property search. You can drive around looking for buildings with for sale signs. This is a good practice if you already have an idea of what you want and which areas you are most interested in. If you are working with a broker, let them follow up with the seller or the seller’s agent so as to avoid confusion.
Online searches are also an extremely valuable resource for getting an idea of what is available. A Google search is a good place to start, but you should also consider brokers’ websites, real estate services with no paywall like QuantumListing, The Broker List, 42Floors, SpotCRE, CREXI, or even Craigslist. Loopnet and CoStar have the most comprehensive listings because they have been around the longest, but the former only lets you see paid premium listings and the latter is only available to subscribers. Some chambers of commerce and economic development agencies also have listings on their website, so be sure to check those as well.
Newspapers do have listings in their classified sections, but these are not as robust as they were in the pre-internet era. Many local papers have online listings that are served by third party providers, so you’ll want to check these out too..
There are tons of options for you take advantage of as you go about your real estate property search. The internet has provided more options than ever for you to search independently, but using a broker can help you navigate the market with their targeted industry expertise and make sense of the landscape.
Are you looking for a place to start searching for listings and brokers in your area?
Then, you can begin by looking through QuantumListing's national database of listings and brokers.