Before you hang your shingle, you'll need to find a space from which to run your business. If that space isn't your home, you may need to look for commercial real estate. Read on for tips on how to find commercial real estate near you.
What is commercial real estate?
Commercial real estate is property used only for business. The property could be a store, office building or office park. A business may choose to lease a single office or one or more floors in the building from the company that owns it. But larger businesses may choose to lease an entire building.
Whatever form commercial real estate takes, its purpose is to generate profit. This marks a clear contrast from residential real estate. The primary purpose of residential real estate is to serve as a home in which to live.
Who needs commercial real estate?
Anyone who doesn't plan to run a home-based business needs some form of commercial real estate. Operate a product or service-based business? You may need a store that customers can visit to make purchases or inquiries.
But even those who don't interact with customers still need a property for use as office space. Without it, you and your staff will have no dedicated hub from which to work on a daily basis.
When is it useful to find commercial real estate?
There are many stages in the life cycle of business when finding commercial real estate is useful. These include:
- Starting a new business. Property prices in many real estate markets get steeper with each passing year. If you know you will need a physical office, secure it at business conception.
- Starting a new branch of an existing business. A booming business provides opportunities for expansion in real estate. You may need to conduct a new real estate search to snag a store or office in another city or even state.
- Transitioning from a home-based to a brick-and-mortar business.
- Scaling up to larger office space from a smaller one. Productivity may suffer when your staff outgrows your office space.
How to find commercial real estate
Below are the top sources to check for commercial real estate.
- Real estate agents. By far the best place to look for how to find commercial real estate is a real estate agent. The agent should be well versed in commercial real estate. An agent can often help you navigate the acquisition of property better than you can on your own. He or she may have unique insights about the market and pitfalls of the property.
- Real estate listing platforms. Examples include Total Commercial, LoopNet and CityFeet. These websites offer a high volume of real estate listings around the country. The fact that they are searchable makes this a DIY effort. But you'll need to verify all listing data you encounter to ensure it is current.
- Business connections. Other entrepreneurs in your area can help point you to available space in a building they work in or near it.
- City scouting. Drive through town and look for "for lease" signs on commercial buildings in your city. This can be an effective way to find real estate close to where you live.