Any type of property, whether it’s commercial or residential, can be a good investment opportunity. For your money, commercial properties typically offer more financial reward than residential properties, such as rental apartments or single-family homes, but there also can be more risks. Understand the full pros and cons of investing in commercial properties is important so that you make the investment decision that’s right for you.
Commercial properties may refer to:
- retail buildings
- office buildings
- industrial buildings
- apartment buildings
- “mixed use” buildings, where the property may have a mix, such as retail, office and apartments.
There are nuances to managing each of these types of properties. To paint a general picture of what it’s like investing in commercial property, let’s examine the pros and cons of investing in a single-
Positive Reasons to Invest in Commercial Property
Here are some of the pros of buying commercial real estate over residential property.
Income potential. The best reason to invest in commercial over residential rentals is the earning potential. Commercial properties generally have an annual return off the purchase price between 6% and 12%, depending on the area, which is a much higher range than typically exists for single family home properties (1% to 4% at best).
Professional relationships. Small business owners generally take pride in their businesses and want to protect their livelihood. Owners of commercial properties are usually not individuals, but LLCs, and operate the property as a business. As such, the landlord and tenant have more of a business-to-business customer relationship, which helps keep interactions professional and courteous.
Public eye. Retail tenants have a vested interest in maintaining their store and storefront, because if they don’t, it will affect their business. As a result, commercial tenants and property owner interests are aligned, which helps the owner maintain and improve the quality of the property, and ultimately, the value of their investment.
Limited hours of operation. Businesses usually go home at night. In other words, you work when they work. Barring emergency calls at night for break-ins or fire alarms, you should be able to rest at night without having to worry about receiving a midnight call because a tenant wants repairs or has lost a key. For commercial properties it is also more likely you will have an alarm monitoring service so that if anything does happen at night, your alarm company will notify the proper authorities.
More objective price evaluations. It's often easier to evaluate the property prices of commercial property because you can request the current owner’s income statement and determine what the price should be based on that. If the seller is using a knowledgeable broker, the asking price should be set at a price where an investor can earn the area’s prevailing cap rate for the commercial property type they are looking at (retail, office, industrial, etc.). Residential properties are often subject to more emotional pricing.
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