When it comes to buying and selling commercial real estate, plain and simply, the more “baggage” there is attached to that property, the harder it will be to transact.
Current tenants, for example, are one of the most singular and forceful pieces of information on a property.
Tenants can turn a good investment into a great investment. They can also turn a seemingly good investment into a terrible investment, though.
In this article, we’re going to look at the pros and pitfalls of buying and selling commercial property with tenants, then discuss how you can use Reonomy to search and find the right buyers and sellers of properties with tenants.
Buying and Selling Commercial Property with Tenants
When transacting a commercial property, there are many layers of information that come into play.
Geographic and Asset Type Information
The physical makeup of a property, of course, is essentially what opens the door for any transaction.
If a property is not in the desired location or of the desired classification for a buyer, then a conversation between them and the seller will likely never—or at least shouldn’t—take place.
There is also the financial and transactional history attached to a property that will signal whether a property is worth pursuing from a value-standpoint.
Is the property’s value and price in a range that suits both the buyer and seller?
Ownership and Tenants
The third bucket of helpful information is knowing who the people are behind the property—the owners and tenants presently maintaining the asset and its value.
Ownership and tenant information, however, often brings forth the biggest unknowns associated with a commercial property. In some cases, the full effect that a tenant has on a property might not be known by an owner until they actually own and operate the property.
That said, let’s run through the gamut of buying and selling commercial property with tenants—pros, pitfalls, and prospecting tips.
Buying Commercial Property with Tenants
When it comes to certain commercial asset classes, the tenants can be as much of an investment as the property itself. So, for brokers and investors, reviewing tenants is a crucial part of the due diligence process.
And just like any other investment factor, the effect of tenants can be either positive or negative.
Pros and Pitfalls of Buying Commercial Property with Tenants
Buying a commercial property that already has tenants can be advantageous in a few ways.
For one, having tenants already in place assures immediate rental income. And if those tenants are long-time blue chippers, you can also assure whether or not they’ll abide by timelines and consistently pay their rent on time.
Blue chip tenants can also assure the future value of the property.
Having tenants in place will also save you the time and hassle of finding new tenants to fill those spaces—not to mention the costs you may take on in that time, from the operating cost of the building, to the potential cost of a broker.
Lastly, buying commercial property with tenants can allow you to take a more hands-off approach to ownership.
By relying on business tenants to maintain the property and even take on some or all operating costs (in the case of a net-lease), you can avoid the hassle of managing a property while still generating a steady revenue.
For starters, depending on how specific a property, market, and tenant you are searching within/for, your buying options may be few and far between. You may be able to search for tenants by their lease types, but at the least, that adds more work to your prospecting efforts.
Another pitfall of buying a commercial property with tenants is that they already have existing leases in place, strapping you down a bit in terms of filling space.
Perhaps you look primarily for triple-net (NNN) properties. In this case, you obviously won’t have the choice in whether or not that it case.
It’s mostly a matter of having less flexibility—you may have to accept lease terms that you’d normally avoid to own a desirable property.
With Reonomy, your options are nearly boundless, however, because you can search and find commercial properties in any market nationwide, of any commercial asset type, with any business tenant.
Finding Sellers with Reonomy
Reonomy’s platform allows you to search for properties off-market, find motivated sellers, then get owner and tenant contact information to reach out to property decision-makers directly.
Let’s say you’re an investor looking for industrial properties in or between Tampa and Orlando, Florida.
To put things into perspective, with a Reonomy property search, we see that there are more than 18,000 industrial properties in total in the aggregate of Tampa, Orlando, and the surrounding areas.
With Reonomy, you can run this location search, and then add a filter for tenant name or tenant type.
So, perhaps you’re only looking for industrial properties that have medical manufacturing tenants.
With a NAICS or SIC code search in Reonomy, you can find exactly those properties. An example of a NAICS code for this could be, “Surgical and Medical Instrument Manufacturing.”
After adding that filter along with our geographic specifications, now you see that there are only 26 remaining properties.
Once you apply all of your filters, those 26 properties will be shown to you in a list, where you can click into each property individually and further analyze building and lot, sales, debt, ownership, and tenant information.
That includes the ability to see the individuals behind property owning-LLCs, as well as tenant and owner contact information.
Keep in mind that these properties are off-market. So, while every may not be actively selling, they still may be willing to sell.
When searching off-market, your options are almost endless.
Finding Sellers with Commercial Real Estate Listings
Another option is to search commercial real estate listings online for your desired properties.
On these sites, you’ll have to turn to property descriptions or property images to decipher who the tenants are in any given property. And even then, when looking at warehouses or something similar, there may be no way of knowing without getting into contact with the listing agent.
Hiring an Agent
The third option for buying a commercial property with tenants is to hire an agent to do the searching for you and find properties through already-established relationships and listings.
If you’re willing to pay the required fees, an agent can help you take a more hands-off approach to searching and finding ideal properties to invest in.
Selling Commercial Property with Tenants
Now we move on to selling commercial property with tenants. In this case, while the cons are a bit more abundant, there are still some positive and negative aspects to finding buyers of such assets.
Pros and Pitfalls of Selling Commercial Property with Tenants
The pros are contingent on who the tenants actually are.
If a tenant in your property is a long-time or up-and-coming blue chip tenant, then your property may end up being worth more than its raw market value.
The pitfalls of selling commercial property with tenants is much like buying—there are simply less options.
You’ll have to find a buyer who is willing to take on the leases that are already in place. In the case that a buyer is reluctant to take on an existing lease, you might find yourself a bit more restricted in sale negotiations.
Finding Buyers with Reonomy
You can also use Reonomy to find buyers for commercial property with tenants. Again, with the ability to search the entire supply of commercial properties, you have a ton of options.
Because you are able to search for properties based on who the tenants are, you can search for properties that have a very similar makeup to your own.
You can find properties and owners based on tenants, then analyze the full portfolio of that owner to see if they’re likely to add another property to their portfolio.
Above, we showed how you can search within a geographic area for specific tenant types and access the owner details on an individual asset.
Assuming you’ve done all that, you can simply click on the name of a property owner (LLC or individual), and you’ll be taken to a new list of properties that consists of all of the assets associated with that person or entity as an owner.
From there, you can dive into individual properties and continue adding filters to narrow down your list of results.
For example, you can see the sales history of each property. Perhaps you find that an owner has recently purchased a property that has similar tenants to yours. This could be a signal of cash on-hand, and a willingness to add another property to their portfolio.
Finding Buyers with Commercial Real Estate Listings
Commercial real estate listings can also be used to sell commercial properties with tenants.
LoopNet, CREXi, Craigslist, and other similar platforms make it very easy to add listings to their platform for office buildings, warehouses, retail properties and much more.
If you prefer, you can include information about the properties existing tenants to assure that you’re getting nibbles from serious buyers.
Hiring an Agent
Whether you’re buying or selling a commercial property with tenants, hiring an agent is always an option if you’re willing to take on the costs of commission.
Just like when buying a property, you can use a brokerage to list your property and find and interact with prospective buyers.
While this may always be the easiest approach, it’ll also be the most expensive.
Finding the Right Buyers and Sellers
In any case, tenants or not, finding the right buyers and sellers for commercial real estate can be a pain-staking process.
With the right prospecting and analysis tools, however, the process can become consistently efficient, allowing you to interact directly with owners and find preferable transactions.