Retail is one of the broadest categories of commercial real estate.
In addition to traditional supermarkets and department stores, it encompasses bars and restaurants, car washes, laundromats, automotive repair shops, gas stations, bowling alleys, convenience stores, and more.
While the category as a whole has not been performing extraordinarily well in recent years due to the evergrowing popularity of ecommerce, there are still various specialty retail assets worth investing in.
In this article we will review some of the best tools for researching properties on or off market, in order to help you identify the right investment opportunities in some of the more lucrative retail sub-categories.
How to Find Retail Properties
Below is a list of the best commercial real estate platforms that you can use to pinpoint your next retail investment.
First, we’ll take a look at a number of listing services specializing in particular retail property types.
Then, we’ll review some of the more popular all-in-one commercial property platforms that can help you find virtually any type of retail property for sale.
Lastly, we’ll discuss Reonomy, one of the leading commercial real estate data platforms that you can utilize to research any retail asset across the United States, whether currently offered for sale or not.
Specialized Retail Property Platforms:
- Gas Station for Sale
- Laundromat for Sale
- Restaurants for Sale
- Bar for Sale
- Car Wash for Sale
- Liquor Store for Sale
- Convenience Store for Sale
- Bowling Alley for Sale
General Commercial Property Listings:
- Commercial Cafe
- Commercial Exchange
- Leavitt Digital
Off-Market Commercial Real Estate Data Platforms:
Specialized Retail Property Platforms
The following listings services are the best websites to visit when searching for a particular type of retail buildings for sale.
Most of these platforms are for business listings, but often include ways to search for real estate as well.
Business or franchise listings platforms can be very useful when searching for commercial property for sale, as they may offer different pieces of information than what’s available on traditional real estate listings services.
Gas Station for Sale
NRC is most useful when looking for a gas station for sale. Though the site also includes industrial properties, offices, vacant land, residential, and hotels for sale, these listings are just few and far between.
Upon visiting the site, you’ll see a list of gas stations for sale right on the homepage – a testament to the company’s field of expertise. In addition to these featured properties, you can sift through over 700 gas station listings nationwide by running a custom search.
Gas Stations USA
Gas Stations USA is one of the most specialized sites on our list. It is a listings platform featuring exclusively gas stations for sale in the state of Florida.
When searching through listings, you can sort properties by region, such as North, Central, or South Florida. Unfortunately, there aren’t many additional search filters.
Nevertheless, the site offers a large number of available listings to browse through.
Laundromat for Sale
BusinessesForSale.com is one of the world’s largest marketplaces featuring over 60,000 businesses for sale.
The site’s unique search tool lets visitors use more natural language in their queries, at least when compared to other listings platforms. You can simply enter a specific retail property type or business, along with the location of your choice.
For example, if you are looking for a laundromat for sale in Central Florida, you can simply type in “laundromat in Orlando.”
Additionally, BusinessesForSale.com offers extensive search options for other types of retail and commercial property for sale.
Restaurants for Sale
Tower Brokerage is a real estate firm offering residential and commercial properties for sale and lease in New York City. Their commercial division focuses primarily on bars, restaurants, lounges, and storefront retail.
While Tower Brokerage is a great local example of a retail listings platform, business listings sites like BizBuySell, BizQuest, and BusinessesForSale.com can also be very useful for locating restaurants for sale all over the country.
As a matter of fact, there are more sites featuring available restaurants for sale than any other type of retail.
Bar for Sale
BusinessBroker.net is another popular platform listing various businesses for sale, and it is one of the best options for individuals looking to purchase a bar.
The site also features restaurants for sale, hotels for sale, car wash facilities for sale, and many other business and property types.
The search tool offers many retail-specific filters, as well as a number of filters for general commercial real estate searches.
Car Wash for Sale
As the name implies, CarWashKing.com is a listings platform dedicated exclusively to offering car wash facilities for sale in the U.S. In fact, their website homepage states, “We sell car washes only!”
The site serves buyers and sellers of car wash facilities and equipment, as well as job seekers in the industry.
CarWashKing.com lets users view available car wash businesses for sale by state.
Liquor Store for Sale
BizQuest is also a business-for-sale platform, featuring a multitude of commercial properties for sale in various categories.
Instead of choosing a “property type” on this site however, you select an industry. In essence, a number of the available industries in the search filter can be used to locate retail properties for sale.
This site is a great source for property investors looking for liquor stores and other food and beverage establishments for sale. Under the Food and Beverage industry option, you’ll find a number of specific search filters including one for liquor stores.
Convenience Store for Sale
BizBuySell is a business listings platform for users looking to purchase businesses, franchises, or real estate.
What makes BizBuySell unique is the option to search separately for retail businesses and real estate.
Under the Retail tab, you can search for convenience stores for sale, as well as many other store types, such as bike shops, flower shops, dollar stores, pharmacies, jewelry stores, and more.
Then, there is an entirely separate filter for real estate. Here, you can search for properties that are either offered for lease or for sale.
You can combine these filters to search for convenience store real estate for sale in any location nationwide.
Bowling Alley for Sale
GlobalBX is a listings platform that makes searching for entertainment-based retail for sale extremely easy. So, if you’re looking for a bowling alley for sale, for example, GlobalBX is certainly a website you should utilize in your search.
Additional entertainment and leisure business categories featured on the site include casinos, amusement parks, art galleries, movie theaters, and more.
General Commercial Property Listings
The following platforms can be used to search for any type of commercial real estate for lease or sale, including various categories of retail property in any market across the United States.
One of the most popular platforms in the industry, LoopNet has roughly 500,000 commercial listings available, including thousands of retail properties.
To run a search for retail property, simply choose Retail from the “Enter a property type” drop-down menu on the homepage, add a location, and click “Search.”
You can also use the advanced search options to further filter your results for specific types of retail property, such as banks, daycare centers, drug stores, convenience stores, restaurants and bars, gas stations, storefronts, and more.
Once focused exclusively on the New York market, CityFeet now offers commercial property listings in locations nationwide.
You can use the site to look for land, office, industrial, and flex properties, as well as retail and restaurant space. You can search listings for sale, lease, or short-term use.
Similar to its parent site LoopNet, CityFeet also lets you further narrow down your search by adding retail sub-type filters for convenience stores, restaurants and bars, automobile retail, storefront, and more.
CREXi also offers commercial listings across virtually all asset classes. To search for retail properties, simply select Retail from the “All Types” menu on the homepage and enter the market you are interested in.
While CREXi does not offer retail property sub-type filters like other platforms, you can use the Keywords search to look for a specific type of retail building.
Commercial Cafe‘s search interface is pretty similar to the other platforms we’ve reviewed so far – it requires users to enter a location and select the type of space they would like to search for.
You can search for general asset classes including retail, office, industrial, land, flex space, and more. The platform however does not offer sub-type filters or a keywords search, so your best option would be to scroll through the results in order to find any properties that fit your needs.
Commercial Exchange is yet another commercial real estate database featuring retail, office, industrial, land, hospitality, multi family, and other property types across markets in the United States.
The platform offers over 20 retail sub-type property filters, which can help you easily find specific assets such as strip centers, regional malls, banks, showrooms, gas stations, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.
Unlike other platforms, Brevitas lets you search both private and on-market for sale listings for a number of commercial property types, including retail.
The platform also offers multiple retail sub-type filters such as car dealerships, grocery-anchored shopping centers, post offices, regional malls, and more.
The site also allows you to search by certain building-level measurements and price ranges, or use custom keywords.
Rofo is a commercial real estate listings platform that lets you search for retail, warehouses, office space, investment properties, and more across any U.S. market.
You can begin your search by entering the zip code of your choice, or by choosing one of Rofo’s most popular markets. In the next step, you can choose Retail from the “Space Type” menu and enter a specific size requirement in square feet to further narrow down your query.
Showcase is a commercial search engine owned by the CoStar Group.
You can begin your search by entering the location of your choice, and selecting one of the preset property categories, including office, warehouse, retail, apartments, land, or specialty.
Alternatively, you can select one of the options from Showcase’s lists of most popular property types, markets, or searches.
CIMLS features over 600,000 commercial properties for sale in popular categories such as retail, office, and industrial, as well as specialty assets like shopping centers, storage facilities, marinas, mobile home parks, farms, and forests.
While the platform is somewhat clunky and outdated, it can still come in handy in your search for the right retail opportunity.
You can begin your search by entering the location of your choice, and narrowing down your property type preference and other specific criteria in the next step. Another way to get started is to select the asset category you are interested in, then add price range and location filters.
Leavitt Digital is a free distribution platform that syndicates commercial real estate listings to over 500 news websites around the world. It helps brokers and owners improve the reach of their for sale listings.
You can also do a direct search on the platform for retail and several other property types, while adding additional filters for lot size and square footage.
Ten-X is a commercial listings platform that includes retail properties across the entire United States. The search interface offers a handful of filters that can help you narrow down your results by location, square footage, occupancy rate, and loan and sales status.
In addition to searching and listing properties on Ten-X, you can complete entire sales transactions through the platform.
Off-Market Commercial Real Estate Data Platforms
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, the most encompassing way to search for good retail investment opportunities is through platforms featuring data on both on and off-market properties.
The Reonomy Platform allows you to search off market for laundromats, automotive shops, car washes, retail stores, restaurants, shopping centers, supermarkets, bars, fast food chains, department stores, and much more.
You can filter properties by their square footage (both building and lot), number of units, and whether they’re in an Opportunity Zone.
You can also search Reonomy for commercial properties with specific tenants. You can use NAICS and SIC code tenant types, or simply enter the name of the tenant you are interested in.
You can harness a number of benefits by searching off market. For example, you can avoid brokers (and therefore broker fees). If you are a broker, off-market research can help you find potential deals before your competitors.
There are essentially no limits to an off-market property search, and you can use the data you discover to make better on-market decisions.
While unique in their own ways, all of the aforementioned listings platforms are great for finding retail properties for sale. Which ones you choose to utilize is simply a matter of your personal preferences and needs.