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How to begin a commercial real estate search

Starting your own business means lots of decisions, including prices, wages and products. Another critical factor that needs to be determined is the type of location for your storefront or office space. Whether you need a large warehouse for shipping or a corner ice cream shop, there are several things to consider.

Buy vs. lease

Depending on the current market, it may be better to lease or buy. This is a decision that is best discussed with a real estate attorney experienced in commercial properties. Your finances will also play a role. Figure out exactly how much you can afford each month without stressing your resources, and commit to not going over that limit. If you are worried about getting what you want within your price range, search for a motivated seller or complex manager who may be willing to negotiate on price. Once you make these decisions, you can narrow your search.

Property type

The next thing to determine is the type of property you will need. This may seem obvious, but you also need to plan for growth. If you can afford something with room to grow, it will save you the cost and stress of moving to a new location later.


One of the most important factors in the success of a company is often the location. If you are looking for a warehouse for an online store, this will not matter as much, but location can be critical for those using it as a storefront. Be careful not to assume that the success of another business in the area will mean success for yours. The type of clientele that passes through may be perfect for a '50s diner café but have no interest in modern European cuisine.

Your best resource for information will be local business owners. Investopedia refers to this as neighborhood "farming." Talk to them and find out what they think about the area, landlords, neighbors and potential for your company. The issues they have may not matter to you or may convince you to look elsewhere.

There are several aspects of commercial real estate that differ from residential, something that can cause a lot of confusion when it comes time to negotiate a deal. Whether you are looking for a property purchase or lease, enlisting the help of a commercial real estate attorney means you will have someone on your side who understands what all the foreign terms mean and what is a good deal and can guide you in making the best decision for your company.

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