This post originally appeared on tBL member Allen C. Buchanan's blog Location Advice and is republished with permission. Find out how to syndicate your content with theBrokerList.
Your business is expanding like a prairie fire. Relocation to a larger building is in your immediate future.
You have carefully scoured the on line world and realized that commercial properties are not as readily searchable as their residential counterparts.
Viewing a survey of commercial real estate, that meets your specific needs, requires another approach – reliance upon a commercial real estate professional – a tour guide.
Just what should expect of this commercial real estate tour guide.
In my experience, these five things:
He should meet with you, tour your location, and get an understanding of your needs. Beware of a tour guide that skips this step. Would a doctor prescribe surgery without an examination? Of course not! Viewing buildings without first meeting with you and understanding your move motivation is not life threatening but can waste an awful lot of time. Additionally, in Southern California, vacant buildings are rare. There might not be many for you to look at. Your best option might be to remain in your present building. A commercial real estate professional can counsel you on this.
A list of buildings, meeting your needs, should be provided soon after your meeting. Generally, this list will be tailored around your specific needs and will be a list of ALL available buildings – not simply buildings listed by your tour guide.
A request for you to pare the list to 6-10 buildings that you wish to see. You can best pare the list based upon the criteria, location, size range, exterior appearance, etc. There are so many variables in commercial real estate locations – amount of office space, warehouse clear height, loading doors, electrical service, outside storage, etc. Don’t be discouraged if the PERFECT building isn’t on the list.
A tour date will be scheduled. Now your tour guide must go to work and figure out which of the 6-10 are actually available and which ones have been leased or sold. This is the time when your tour guide will de-brief with his owner rep counterpart and determine if the availability is a match for you. The first time your tour guide sees the building should not be with you. In other words, he should preview the building and make sure all is as represented and that there are no lingering questions to answer such as – what is all of that inventory in the warehouse? or, the lockbox is not where it is supposed to be. The information should be bound into a tour book for you with brochures and a map.
The tour is conducted. From the list of 6-10, generally 3-6 will be viewed – because some will no longer be available, others are occupied and not vacant until after you need to move, still others may have the wrong deal structure. You should employ a rating system for all of the buildings that you tour and take careful notes on the plusses and minuses of each one. If you look at more than six buildings, you lose track of what you have seen and the tour becomes a blur. Frequently, the tour will raise some follow up questions. Your tour guide should busy himself and get your questions answered quickly so that you can make a decision.