Despite the so-called retail “apocalypse,” the asset class is still a viable and lucrative option for many commercial real estate professionals—the real problem is how to find them.

From fast-food joints to sit-down restaurants, to boutiques to bookstores, to supermarkets and convenience stores, storefronts can vary.

Considering the breadth of the asset class, it can be difficult to find the right retail properties without the right tools. The number of sub-classes that make up retail can be daunting to decipher. When combined with certain building specs and location details, it can be challenging to locate your next retail investment.

Below, we explore the two main techniques for finding retail properties (for sale and off-market), as well as how to find retail assets using Reonomy.

Retail Properties For Sale vs. Off-Market 
  1. Retail Properties For Sale
  2. Off-Market Retail Properties
How to Find Retail Properties with Reonomy
  1. Build Your Search
  2. Dig Deeper into Property Details
  3. Build Your Leads List

Retail Properties For Sale vs. Off-Market

Before you start, it’s important to understand the two sourcing methods you can use when looking for retail property, as well as any other assets.

The first is by looking for those actively being promoted as “for sale” on the market. These properties have active sellers and brokers eagerly looking for new buyers.

Contrarily, you can search through listed properties or search for retail properties off-market, or those not actively being listed “for sale.” Off-market consists of listed and unlisted properties and has major benefits for those who turn to that search methodology. 

Retail Properties for Sale

To find retail properties “for sale,” it’s common to head to a listings platform to search for properties listed and to compare pricing of types of retail space in the area.

There are plenty of real estate listing platforms out there, but not all of them list every retail building on the market.

It can be hard to find the appropriate listing platform for your needs. Deciding which platforms to search and post on can end up taking a lot of time, and cost more money than you likely planned for.

For more information on relevant listings platforms, read our guide.

Off-Market Retail Properties

While you may be used to searching for new properties on listings platforms, there are major benefits to sourcing a property off-market.  If off-market deal making sounds complicated and time-consuming, there are now tools like Reonomy that can help you find retail properties to invest in.

You no longer have to spend valuable time taking trips to your local county recorder, clerk or assessor’s office to perform a property search. With Reonomy, you can now search any commercial property record nationwide with speed and ease.

One benefit of off-market deal-making is that you are likely the first person to reach out to the property owner. If the owner has not listed the retail property, they are likely not actively looking to sell.

However, this does not mean that the owner wouldn’t be open to the idea of a sale, and there are certain transactional cues, like debt history and sales transactions, to help determine this.

Another benefit to searching for off-market retail space is skipping the broker and middlemen fees. This kind of direct purchasing allows you to offer more money directly to the owner of the property or to skip fees that are usually incurred when listing a property.

Off-market searching also grants more flexibility. You have the option to look at every retail property in the area of interest, rather than limiting your search to specific retail properties that are currently listed for sale.

This flexibility can be a big benefit, based on the kind of deal you are looking to create. By using a tool like Reonomy to source your deal, you have the opportunity to contact a retail building owner directly. Don’t look through multiple platforms and flip through listings to find one that fits your target criteria. Instead, you can filter your target criteria, select an area of search and export contact information for owners of retail space to contact.

This allows flexibility to approach any owner and a higher likelihood of success in isolating a property that is desirable.

How to Find Retail Properties with Reonomy 

With Reonomy, you can easily navigate a database of over 50 million properties to find the properties and corresponding information that you need most. Let’s see how… 

Build Your Search

When looking for retail property, it is important to narrow down your search as much as possible to find the property that’s right for you.  Luckily, Reonomy makes it easy to do so. 

The platform offers a variety of search filters to help streamline your search experience and tailor it exactly to your liking.

Interested in mixed-use space in St. Louis with over 50,000 square feet of room? You can search for that.

Want to purchase a smaller convenience store in rural Missouri? You can search for that, too.

No matter your interests, Reonomy allows you to isolate property searches to very specific criteria,  allowing you to find the retail assets that match your exact requirements.  

Search by Location

Oftentimes, it helps to narrow down your retail property by location. Whether you’re looking via city, state or zip code, Reonomy allows you to conduct a search by geography.

To do so, click on the Location tab. Then, select the filters you want to apply. Your search can be as big as a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) or as targeted as a street address.

Reonomy Mixed Use Property Search by Location

Additionally, you can search via the map tool. Using the Radius and Draw tools, you can customize the geography you want to explore properties directly on the Reonomy map.

Reonomy Map Radius Search San Diego

Search by Sub-Class 

Since retail is such a sprawling asset class, Reonomy makes it easy to hyper-target and search exactly for the asset you’re interested in. Under Asset Typeyou can either select All Retail, or choose from the various sub-classes the platform offers, like Car Wash, Department Store or Nightclub. 

Additionally, you can also search for mixed-use options, which often have retail space built into the property.

Search by Sales and Debt Information

With Reonomy, you can also search for retail properties by filtering for specific sales and debt criteria. In off-market deal-making, especially, this information can be critical in determining if an asset is likely to sell or not.

Searching by aspects like most recent sales data or pre-foreclosure information can help uncover the financial status of a property and, in turn, give you a better idea if an owner might be interested in striking a deal.

For example, you can search for properties that have not sold in the past ten years. This serves up retail properties that have been held for a long time and may point to owners more willing to sell, compared to those who just purchased a property. 

Reonomy Mixed Use Property Search by Sales History

Search by Tenant 

When searching for retail properties, it can be helpful to search by the occupant. This can help serve up properties in the exact, or similar, retail spaces you’re interested in.

WIth Reonomy,  searching by tenant name or identification code is easy. Simply select the Tenant tab and either type in the name of your tenant, or search by NAICS or SIC identifier. Combined with other search filters, this will automatically populate with the tenant-related properties you’re looking for.

For example, say you’re interested in opening a Subway franchise in Pennsylvania — you can conduct this exact search and explore the local Subway locations in your area.

Search by Building Details

Reonomy also makes it easy to search using the physical building and lot information, giving you an easier way to “see” a retail property before ever even stepping foot inside.

Using the Building & Lot tab, you can search for specific physical building attributes, such as Year renovated, Zoning and Lot Size. Additionally, you can search for retail properties in Opportunity Zones by using the related filter in this tab.

Reonomy Property search by Building Area

Search by Owner 

Finally, you can search using specific ownership information. If you know who owns a retail property you’re interested in, you can find their entire portfolio on the Reonomy platform.

To do so, click the Ownership tab. Here, you can search via owner-specific criteria, like name and mailing address. This will automatically pull up every property the owner or LLC has been associated with.

So, if you know the particular owner of the Subway in the aforementioned example, you can enter their name in the search bar. This will pull up that Subway, as well as any other property they own.

Dig Deeper into Property Details

After you’ve executed your search, Reonomy allows you to explore each property individually to uncover property details and, eventually, ownership contact information for outreach.

By clicking on the retail property that you want to learn more about, you’ll find an associated property card complete with physical, transactional and ownership intel.

Arguably, ownership information is the most important thing you can uncover at this point in prospecting, as making contact with the owner can help you to complete the deal in less time. 

To find ownership information, click on the Ownership tab in the property card. This will pull up the reported owner, and direct you to a button entitled Get Contact Information. 

If you click on this button, Reonomy TrueOwner will pull up any and all contact information associated with the owner, including mailing address, email address and phone number. 

Additionally,  you’ll be able to explore an owner’s entire portfolio to see how many, and what other types of property they own. This allows you to dig deeper into the history and details of other property they own and better understand how to approach an owner with a deal opportunity.

Ultimately, ownership records help to understand the current owner’s motivation and intent for their retail property. An ownership search will also reveal contact information that allows you to get in touch with them to wield your off-market deal. 

Build Your Leads List 

After you have identified any number of retail buildings that fit your search criteria, you can label and sort them based on location or owner – anything that works for you. Export and create lead lists that are relevant and specific to you.

One of the benefits of creating your own lead list limited to your specific area of interest, property type, size and price requirements is not only to reach out to fewer owners to find your next deal, but also because you can provide personalization in your messaging. Based on the owner portfolio, you know you are directly calling, emailing or mailing the decision maker of the retail building you are interested in.


Ready to elevate your search for retail property? Start searching with your free trial of Reonomy today!

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