7 Ways a Commercial Realtor Will Help You Find the Perfect Retail Space
By Ryan Guanlao
The company I work for provides design, engineering and architectural services for clients in the retail petroleum, convenience store, restaurant, automotive and retail sectors.
It’s our job to create the facility drawings and site plans that municipal development departments require to guide construction and meet public safety requirements.
There have been times we’ve seen businesses who’ve gone ahead and leased (or invested in) space without the assistance of a commercial realtor – only to discover they overpaid, have a space that isn’t suitable or requires significant (and costly) upgrades.
Retail space is a significant investment. It’s vital to your long-term success. Here are 7 ways having an experienced commercial realtor in your corner will help you get it right, including an additional oversight many businesses overlook.
1. In-depth market knowledge
The commercial real estate market is continuously evolving. Prices, incentives, terms and conditions can vary radically from one municipality to the next. A seasoned commercial realtor thoroughly understands local market conditions, property values, demographics, and upcoming developments. This insight goes a long way to ensuring you make an informed decision and find the location that best suits your needs.
2. Negotiation skills
Full disclosure: I have my commercial realty license. I can tell you for a fact that there is always room for negotiation… and it goes beyond just the bottom line price.
Among the things you can negotiate for are tenant improvements and upgrades and free rent for the first few months of your lease. The more competitive the market, the greater your bargaining power. An experienced commercial realtor with strong negotiation skills can save you considerable capital and lay the foundation for beneficial contract terms.
3. Access to listings
While some properties might be publicly listed, many are only shared through private networks. A commercial realtor can grant you access to both on-market and off-market listings, expanding your choices and opportunities.
4. Efficiency & precision
A commercial realtor can streamline the search by presenting only properties aligned with your detailed criteria. This can save you valuable time and prevent you from viewing properties that clearly aren’t suitable.
That being said, even experienced commercial realtors may need a second set of eyes regarding certain technical details… as we’ll soon discuss.
5. Navigating legal & logistical complexities
Commercial property acquisition involves intricate details. A commercial realtor will help you navigate matters such as zoning laws, lease terms, and commercial property taxes. They’ll make sure you understand the fine points that will be vital to your business’s success.
6. Fiduciary responsibility
As your representative, a commercial realtor is legally bound to act in your best interests. This guarantees their actions are aligned with your objectives.
But can’t you trust the listing realtor to provide the information you require? The commercial realtor representing the landlord or property owner will look after their best interests… not yours. Legally, they can’t represent both seller and buyer. To avoid any conflict of interest, it’s best to have your own realtor from the outset.
7. Professional network support & guidance
Commercial reality can be complex – especially when public health and safety is involved. Realtors often rely on a trusted network of seasoned professionals for specialized advice and technical knowledge.
Hiring an engineering consultant to evaluate site suitability before committing to a lease can save you from making the wrong choice. This is generally done through a Site Audit.
A Site Audit provides a top-to-bottom evaluation of the property, the buildings and all equipment. The goal is to mitigate risks, confirm the space will meet current and future needs, and offer clarity on any potential expenses based on current and future needs.
This can also help in negotiations. For example, if a site audit determines a new HVAC system is required for a restaurant, that could be something your realtor can demand as a condition of the lease or purchase.
If you plan to buy a lot for a gas station with six dispensers and a C-store, with the option of building a carwash in the future, an engineer can verify that your site is indeed big enough. They will account for factors such as parking requirements, traffic flow, site access (ingress and egress), utility requirements and more.
Your Realtor: Your Partner
Your commercial realtor is an invaluable partner, committed to ensuring every aspect of your property acquisition is handled professionally and that nothing is overlooked. Their expertise helps pave the way for a deal that is financially rewarding and functionally sound.