“Property Search” is a pretty broad term.
In commercial real estate, searching for property can mean a lot of things to a lot of different professionals.
You have brokers looking for properties they can help sell.
Roofers looking for properties of a specific size and age.
Loan officers looking for properties with specific debt history.
The list goes on…
That hardly even scratches the surface when you consider the number of different property types and markets in the US.
Your Commercial Property Search
The most important part of a commercial property search is your ability to truly make it yours.
To do that, however, you need to have the right search platforms at your disposal, and need to know how to successfully navigate those platforms to get to a specific list of results.
We’ll use this page to look at how you can get the most out of your commercial property search—whether you’re using a listings website, public records website, or a property intelligence platform like Reonomy.
Commercial Property Search Engines
Commercial property listings can be a great source for discovering new business opportunities not only for real estate investors but also service professionals in many industries.
General contractors, roofers, interior designers, HVAC companies, and landscapers all can identify properties that may be in need of repairs or maintenance by reviewing property photos and descriptions.
Mortgage brokers and marketing companies can offer their services to property owners and representing real estate brokers.
These are just a couple of examples, however with a little creativity new business opportunities can be discovered by many additional industries.
In order to take advantage of the invaluable data provided by commercial property listing platforms however, you need to master your property search abilities.
This skill will allow you to easily identify the properties that best fit your potential customer profile. The information in this guide will teach you the basics of commercial property searching.
Commercial MLS Search Engines
There is an abundance of commercial property listing services available in the marketplace today.
Some of the more popular platforms including LoopNet, Ten-X Commercial, CREXi, and Showcase specialize in commercial properties and feature listings for real estate categories such as office, industrial, retail, restaurants, healthcare, hospitality, self storage, assisted living, student housing, and more.
Nevertheless, they also have listings for multi family and residential income properties.
Most of these platforms have very similar user interfaces, so applying your search skills from one website to the next will be very easy.
The Basics of Property Search Engines
For starters, the main search tool is usually located front and center on the home page.
Here’s CREXi’s homepage, for example:
Pretty straightforward, off the bat. Choose a property type, enter a location, mark whether you’d like to buy or lease, and you’re off.
Once you’re within the actual search portals of these sites, however, your search can get much more in-depth.
The advanced search portions of these websites usually include filters that allow you to narrow down results to an exact property type or sub-type, with very specific size and layout characteristics.
For example, LoopNet’s advanced search has filters for:
- Building size
- Lot size
- Number of units or bedrooms
- Cap rate
- Property age
Additionally, you can search by “listing Id,” “listing date,” or by entering specific keywords.
For example, you could search “fully occupied” or even just “occupied” to identify rental income properties fully occupied with tenants.
Alternatively, you can expand your search results by selecting multiple property types or locations.
**It is worth noting that if your criteria is too specific you may get very few or no results.
You can keep tweaking the filter options in the advanced search menu until you are satisfied with the number and quality of the results you get.
The results of your search are typically presented in a map and list format. The maps are interactive and allow you to zoom, pan, or even switch to aerial view.
Additionally, you can hover over property markers on the map in order to see some basic details about the listings.
The side-aligned list consists of individual tiles usually displaying a photo of the property and such details as the property address, size, price, age, or any marketing highlights.
Each listing has its own page where you can find a wealth of additional information including photos, financial information, area demographics, amenities, broker contact details, printable marketing materials, and more.
Most platforms also allow you to save your search, which can be a great timesaver in the future.
This option however requires that you create an account and log in.
Once you have an account, you can access many additional features such as setting up notifications, creating reports, and marking properties as favorites, though the options will typically vary from one platform to the next.
Off-Market Commercial Search Engines
Reonomy’s property intelligence platform includes the ability to search off-market for any commercial asset type in any market in the United States.
In this case, you’re not restricted only to what’s actively being listed for sale.
So, for those looking to search generally or simply learn about properties, owners, and markets, searching off-market is likely a better option.
Searching off-market also helps investors and brokers discover deals preemptively, before the competition does.
Whether you are looking to buy a certain property or just offer your professional services to the owner, you are more likely to close a deal with fewer competitive bids on the table.
Searching commercial properties on Reonomy is as simple as:
1. Adding a location.
2. Adding an asset type or many asset types.
3. Adding building and lot measurements.
4. Adding any combination of debt, sales, tax, tenant, and ownership search filters.
You can search properties simply by address or owner name, or you can discover new properties that have been sold in a certain time period, that have mortgages of a certain amount and length, and so on.
The platform offers a lot more property information than the typical listing services.
Reonomy’s property search capabilities are as if an in-depth listings platform were merged with public property records in every county nationwide.
Types of Commercial Property Searches
As we mentioned, all of the search engines above include information on a wide variety of commercial and residential properties.
In most cases, investors, buyers, and other service professionals work specifically within a single asset class.
Below, we’ll review specific search examples for several different types of real estate in order to help you further hone your search skills.
Office Building Search
Office is one of the more popular categories of real estate listings on many of the platforms we mentioned earlier.
For example, a search on LoopNet for office space in Los Angeles, CA produced over 320 properties for sale and around 500 properties for lease.
A good approach for a list of that size would be to continue adding filters to further narrow down your results according to your specific needs.
In addition to setting ranges for price and square footage, you can use the keyword search option to refine the list by any imaginable criteria.
Some example search terms could be:
- “multi tenant”
- “class A”
Mixed-Use Building Search
The process of searching for mixed-use properties is not very different from executing a search for office buildings or any other category of real estate, except that you need to select “Mixed Use” as the property type.
Because mixed use is a little more specific type of real estate however, the category may not be listed in the main menu of property types in the search tool—and sometimes not at all.
In those instances, you can utilize the keyword search field, which is usually available in the advanced search options of any property search engine.
This should bring up all listings that contain the words “mixed use” anywhere in the title, or property description and details.
Reonomy includes a selection for mixed-use properties, as well as six sub-mixed-use classes in total:
Hospitality Building Search
While hospitality is also a pretty specialized type of commercial real estate, most commercial property search engines will have it listed as a major type of property in their search tool menus.
The problem here however is that there is a wide variety of properties that would fall under the hospitality category, and most buyers and investors tend to focus on one specific asset type, whether it is hotels, motels, casinos, or bed and breakfast properties.
Once again, the keyword search is your best option to filter only the results that may be of interest to you.
It is worth noting that hospitality listings won’t be as abundant as office or retail ones for example, so browsing through all results is also an option.
Multi Family / Apartment Buildings Search
While apartment buildings are technically residential properties, they are considered commercial real estate from the buyer’s perspective, hence why they show up in platforms like LoopNet, CREXi, and Reonomy.
Apartment buildings and other residential investment properties such as duplexes, triplexes, and mobile home parks fall under the umbrella category of “multi family,” which is typically available as a main property type in the search tools of commercial property listing platforms.
When searching for a specific type of multi family properties, you can take advantage of some of the preset advanced filters such as number of units or bedrooms, in addition to the keyword field.
Warehouse / Industrial Property Search
Warehouses, along with distribution centers, manufacturing facilities, cold storage, flex properties, and service centers are all considered industrial real estate.
All the tips and techniques we mentioned in the earlier property search topics are applicable to running a warehouse search as well.
To pinpoint certain industrial property listings you can use keywords such as:
- “interstate access”
- “fenced lot”
- “fluorescent lighting”
Sold Commercial Property Search
Identifying recently sold properties may be very useful to the marketing and outreach efforts of certain professional services such as interior designers, cleaning services, and IT companies.
Some of the commercial property platforms we mentioned earlier include listing status filters such as “under contract” and “closed” properties, however they typically focus on promoting listings that are still actively offered for sale or lease.
When using Reonomy, you can search properties by “most recent sale date.”
Plain and simply, doing this will give you a list of assets of any kind, in any market, that have been sold within a timeframe of your choice.
Business Property Search
Business property is any type of real estate that is used for commercial operations, such as office buildings, shopping centers, restaurants, warehouses, self storage facilities, medical offices, hotels, etc.
If you are interested in identifying any commercial real estate that fits certain criteria, you can select the “All” option under property type or just leave the field blank when conducting a search with LoopNet.
When searching off-market with Reonomy, you can filter by specific business tenants on top of an asset class to identify certain business properties.
That includes the ability to search for a tenant by name, or by type, in case you were looking generally for restaurants or any other business type.
This can be done with or without adding an asset type filter beforehand.
No matter what your commercial property search is going to look like, or what your intended result is, there are a number of options that you can rely on to scour your market