If you’re looking to invest in real estate, commercial properties present plenty of opportunities. However, you need to consider the risks and market drivers. This commercial property guide will help you.

You must think about more than the property investment basics when investing in commercial real estate. There are many complex market issues at work, which means you take on more risk.

Commercial properties vary enormously from one to the next. You must understand the risk you take on, and the factors that affect the commercial property market. Use this guide to navigate your way through the murky depths of commercial property investment.

The Market Drivers

Several drivers affect the state of the commercial real estate market. You must understand what these drivers are before you can invest successfully. They include the following:

  • The strength of the economy. The weaker the economy, the fewer available businesses to rent your commercial property from you. Keep an eye on the transport sector, in particular. Growth in that area usually signals growth in others.
  • Infrastructural improvements influence businesses’ decisions. For example, the building of new roads usually results in an influx of companies to an area. Buy your commercial property with future developments in mind.
  • The Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) interest rates have an effect. If interest rates are on the rise, you’ll find less success with your commercial property. The cost of money increases. This places your potential tenants under greater financial strain. Conversely, low interest rates lead to more demand.
  • Population growth in certain regions will affect your decisions in real estate. Commercial properties do well in areas with large populations. This is because the demand for services increases, which leads to an influx of businesses into the area.
  • Population spread also influences your decisions. For example, if the location contains a higher proportion of elderly people, you can assume that local businesses provide medical services. Conversely, areas with lots of young families need services related to that niche. Use population spread to figure out which types of company will show an interest in your property.

The Risks

There are also several risk factors to consider when you invest in commercial property. Here are some of the most important:

Commercial properties tend to stand vacant for longer than residential properties. You will have to handle the costs of the property during such periods. As a result, it’s usually best to tie commercial tenants to long-term leases.

New property development can also raise the risk you face. Tenants explore their options regularly, and it’s possible that the new development offers them something that your property doesn’t. This results in vacancies. You may have to lower your rents to compete, or update your property to keep pace with newer buildings.

Size is an issue. Large commercial plots cost a lot more to maintain, and are only suitable for certain types of business. Smaller plots may be cheaper, but they also have their limits. You must consider the local demand for services before deciding on the size of your commercial investment.

Infrastructural improvements in other areas represent risks for your established commercial properties. Your tenants may make the move to the new area, which means you lose out. As a general rule, try to invest in properties that are close to central business districts (CBDs).

The Lease

A poorly-constructed lease could lead to the failure of your commercial investment. These are the factors to consider when creating your leases:

Commercial leases can extend from three years up to 10. The longer the lease, the less risk of vacancy. However, a bad tenant on a long-term lease could cost you. Offer the option to renew if you’re confident in the tenant’s ability to make on-time payments.

Link your rent increases to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

You may require council approval for some types of business. For example, chemical treatment plants need to have the correct documentation.

Insert a condition that compels the tenants to revert the property to its original condition upon leaving. This will make it easier for you to rent the property out again when you current tenant departs.

What Else Should You Consider?

Further to this, you need to arrange proper financing for your purchase. Many residential lenders can’t help you with commercial properties. As a result, you may have to locate a specialty lender. Furthermore, you may not be able to borrow more than 70% of the property’s value.

You’ll also deal with a commercial agent, rather than a real estate agent. These professionals specialise in attracting the right businesses to your property. They’ll also help you to create attractive deals for potential tenants.

The Final Word

As you can see, commercial investment is a complex subject. This commercial property guide will equip you with the tools you need to succeed.

The team at Washington Brown can also help you to claim depreciation on your commercial property. Contact us today to speak to a Quantity Surveyor.

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