Investing in commercial real estate can be one of the most lucrative real estate investments you can make. Investors can realize extraordinary capital gains and huge cash flow wins. On the flip side, there can be quite a drastically different outcome when your CRE investment properties sustain long vacancies or big drops in market value.
For many reasons, investing in commercial real estate can be higher risk than other types of real estate investments. This is why it’s so important to be well versed with its nuances and trends – or to have a trusted advisor who is. To put yourself in the best position for a favorable return on your investment, there are certain things anyone thinking about investing in commercial real estate should know. Here is a brief overview of the things you should think about to determine if investing in commercial real estate is right for you.
Start with a Solid Plan
Before you embark on any big undertaking, you should always begin with a plan. The same is just as true for commercial real estate investments. Before investing your hard-earned cash or equity in a commercial property, you should first have a proper investment plan in place that fully equips you to identify the right property for your portfolio. Without a framework to guide your decisions, you may make the mistake of buying a property on impulse or out of pressure from others, even when it really doesn’t fit your goals for long-term strategy, risk mitigation, capital growth and, cash flow.
Understand the Time Required to See a Return
Next, do your research to gain an understanding of a realistic time frame to see a return. Many new investors dive into things thinking they’ll surely see a return in a fraction of the time it will really take to fully develop the investment and make it profitable. Pulling out too early can mean losing a substantial part of your investment, so be sure you plan for the appropriate amount of time that your money may be tied up in a particular commercial real estate investment.
Join with Other Professionals Who Share Your Goals
Successful commercial investors rarely go it alone. They build a team of other professionals who share their same goals. A successful team includes commercial buyer’s agent, appraisers, commercial property inspectors, engineers, lenders and closing attorneys. All of whom are all an essential part of achieving success in real estate investing and who work together to set a clear strategy, conduct detailed research, and source the correct property at a fair price, and with the right conditions that fit the team’s goals. When it comes to choosing your team, choose wisely. Others involved should complement your own shortfalls in knowledge, and in return you may be able to supplement theirs.
Compare and Contrast Your Investment Opportunities
It might seem obvious, but those new to commercial investing often overpay. One of the best ways to prevent yourself from making this mistake is to know where the value point is on the property, be fully aware of comparable prices for any similar properties, and not become focused on the cash flow and lease structure. Paying too much for commercial property locks up your funds in a more rigid way than it would with residential real estate. Banks are far more reluctant to provide equity releases or cash outs for commercial investing.
Do Your Due Diligence
It’s okay to start out cautious. One of the biggest mistakes new commercial real estate investors make is signing on the dotted line without doing their due diligence. If this feels like a daunting task to take on, consider working with an experienced buyer’s agent whose job it is to analyze the property cash flows, educate the buyer on market value and market lease rates, and recommend other professionals (mentioned above). It takes time, resources, and an understanding of market connections to fully vet a commercial investment opportunity.
Consider Additional Expenses Beyond Your Investment
Smart commercial real estate investors know they must carefully allocate their budgets so there is sufficient coverage for expenses such as the mortgage, taxes, insurance, and advertising. When you don’t have enough cash flow to fund these areas, your property can quickly become a liability when really it should be an asset.
Keep an Open Mind
Just because your former tenant was a medical office doesn’t mean your new tenant has to be. This is why buying versatile commercial properties that allow a number of options is a wise investment strategy. When the real estate market fluctuates, you’re better prepared to tackle unexpected situations and experience fewer losses when doing so.
Have Contingency Plans
Finally and most importantly, you need to have at least one, if not multiple contingency plans in place in case things should take an unexpected turn. Investing in commercial real estate always comes with risks, some more than others. You need to be prepared to lose it all; therefore, you should have a plan in place of how you will react – and rebound – if that happens.
What is your experience with commercial real estate investments? Whether you’re a seasoned expert in this field, or have just started to explore the options available to you, giving these topics close consideration with each and every investment will put you in the best potion for a favorable return.
Do you have something to add to this list? Share your input by leaving a comment below!