There are close to 6 billion commercial buildings scattered across the United States. If you are thinking about buying a commercial building as a business property, get ready for a rewarding challenge.

Buying any new property is a big investment full of opportunities and fraught with difficulties. Buying a commercial property, in particular, can be even more complicated. Commercial properties often have special zoning laws.

They also have been subject to use in the past that may compromise them environmentally more than residential properties. You need all the info you can get to come out ahead. Here are the 7 things you should consider first.

1. A Commercial Building’s History

One of the first questions you should ask a realtor when buying a property is its history. The last thing you want to buy is the site of an old textile mill or chemical factory.

Prior owners could have left the building in disrepair or a hazardous condition. This could have been part of the reason they sold it. Always ask a selling party for the historical uses of the property in question.

2. Environmental Condition

Many commercial businesses produce toxic byproducts that can devastate soil and groundwater. If the previous owners didn’t clean up their environmental messes you are now responsible for remedying them.

It doesn’t matter if you had no idea about the true condition of the property, you will have to pay the restoration costs. These can total millions of dollars in some cases. Always get a proper environmental site assessment to avoid this.

3. Structural Integrity

You should get a full building inspection to ensure that your new facilities are structurally sound. To learn more about getting a building inspection and other important steps of buying a commercial property check out

Remodeling or renovating commercial buildings can be expensive particularly if structural issues are present. Sometimes it may be cheaper to knock down existing structures and rebuild them if they are too far gone. 

4. Location 

Is your commercial building in an appropriate place for your business? Is it close to highways for logistics? Is it far enough away from residential areas to avoid angering residents with loud noises? What about crime in the area?

These are the questions you need to ask when determining if a commercial building’s location is best for your business. Location can also influence the price of your property and its potential resale value.

5. Zoning and Local Ordinances

One of the most important factors that you need to analyze when looking at commercial properties is what the land is zoned as. Keep this in mind in particular if your business has any industrial operations.

Many local laws prohibit any sort of industrial activities on lands zoned as commercial. Make sure to contact local authorities to ensure that your business can operate within the current zoning laws of your potential property.

6. Price

Sometimes you can find a great deal on a commercial property and the low price makes buying it an easy decision. Other times scarcities develop in the real estate market and prices get inflated. Timing your purchase is everything.

The real estate market fluctuates up and down. If you want a good deal you may need to wait until the market changes in your favor. Here are some general tips for getting a good deal.

Check for Foreclosed Properties

You can often contact banks or other lending entities to find out what businesses have foreclosed on their commercial properties in the past year. These properties are often sold for a heavy discount.

Contact County Land Offices

Sometimes commercial properties will end up in the possession of the county or state. These are some of the cheapest properties that you can find. Make sure to get adequate environmental testing and building inspections done.

A lot of the time commercial properties end up in state possession because previous owners violated environmental regulations. The land office should disclose this information but you should do your homework as well.

Make a Cash Offer

Sometimes you can make a cash offer to a business owner and get a lower price for their property. Lines of credit can complicate a real estate sale so cash is your most important asset.

Assume a Mortgage

Sometimes a landowner may not be able to keep up with their mortgage payments. You could offer to buy out their mortgage for a deduction of their asking price. Pay off their mortgage all at once for the best results.

7. Adjacent Properties

You should analyze the properties adjacent to your chosen commercial building. Having the right neighbors can benefit your business. Here are some things to consider.

Growth Goals

If your business starts to take off and you want to expand you may need to buy out your neighbors. How close are their properties and how keen are they on selling them to you if the situation should arise? 

Proximity to Residences

If you plan on using your commercial business for something that causes loud noises or creates vile smells, you may run into problems if there are residences nearby.

On the other hand, if you run a business that people want close by such as a barber or grocer, being close to a residential area can be profitable. Make sure to weigh in the proximity to residences when buying your building.

Proximity to Competition

A little bit of healthy competition in the business world is a good thing. However, if you are a small mom-and-pop store setting up next to a big box corporate leviathan you may get outcompeted.

Make sure to choose a location where you stand a chance to etch out a bit of territory. Having too much competition in your general vicinity is generally a bad business strategy.

Make a Sound Business Decision

The commercial building that houses your operations can make or break your business. Don’t choose a run-down building fraught with problems. Make a sound business choice by buying a structurally sound commercial building.

When you make your big purchase factor in the 7 tips in this guide. Only then will you end up with a commercial building that is worthy of housing your business. To keep up with other current happenings check out our page.