Commercial Real Estate Projects are, in many respects, the same as residential real estate investments except for their size. A commercial develpoment may well be many times larger in scale and thus require much more money. In this article we examine three of the most significant non-financial issues that an investor should consider before investing in a commercial real estate deal.
1) Selection of tenants
Given that most real estate investors are buying property to generate cash flow and generate profit from asset appreciation some time looking at the tenant mix of a commercial building can determine the potential profitability of a project.
Seeking creditworthy tenants may well assist in gaining finance on good terms from potential lenders - many lenders will make an offer that is based upon the credit rating of the larget tenant. So, finding a project with creditworthy tenants - or, at least, the expectation of finding them is a priority. Analysis of the tenant mix with a view to optimising it is an important part of the buying process.
2) Property Zoning
Success in real estate investment has much to do with land zoning. If zoning should change during redevelopment of a property then there will be significant additional costs associated with changing the use of the property to meet the new regulations. Due diligence is the key here. Hire a real estate attorney to check on the property to find out if there is a likelihood of re-zoning and other legal issues. Use the attorney to check that, for example, all necessary accesses are available and that rights of way have been established and any development will not cause rights of way conflicts.
3) Check Utilities
A thorough inspection of all utilities and their condition is mandatory. Reinstalling electrical systems and piping can be very costly and any defect should be factored into the offer price. In the worst cases, where pipes and wires are emebedded in walls, ceilings and underfloors the cost of renovation may make a project non-viable without complete demolition.
So, spend some time with an appropriate legal advisor, check and optimise the tenant mix and ensure that utilities are in serviceable condition. Although these factors may not be an immediate part of the financial considerations they should be as shortcomings in due diligence can prove expensive and, of course, issues uncovered should be reflected in the purchase price of the property.