Here is a summary of our preliminary advice during a recent consultation with one of our investors. This investor wanted to move into commercial property and was specifically targeting a retail deal.
Go to the bank NOW – get qualified to purchase a commercial property. Give your banker the parameters of the deal(s) that you may be considering. Do this BEFORE you find the perfect deal. This way you know what you need to do to qualify and what loan programs you may be looking at. Commercial loans are very different.
Get Educated about realistic funds needed on the upstart of your retail deal. You will need funds to properly tenant your property in the form of tenant improvements, lease fees and retention in addition to normal loan acquisition costs. Be prepared.
Learn how to analyze existing lease structures – When you inherit mom and pop leases that were printed from the internet, you will have hidden pitfalls in the lease language that can break the deal. DIY internet leases will cost you the deal, beware. (see our blog, “All in the Clause” for a few more pointers here).
Get to know the physical property Inside andOut - Don’t think you are saving money by skipping thorough professional inspections. What inspections can tease out, you can take care of “in the deal” now.
Be ready with a management plan – Understand what costs you will incur. You truly get what you pay for in most cases. Negotiating a management fee right out of the gate when there is much work to be done is in your best interests. If you leave a short window in which to procure management then you have lost out on having a professional team behind you to help with all of the important decisions prior to purchase. Also, that team can make the difference in your negotiations and likely save you money on the front side.
Use a professional to assist you – in acquisition and management enough said!