5 Things to Expect from Your Commercial Real Estate Professional

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Your business is expanding. Perhaps, you are contracting. Relocation to a larger or smaller space is in your immediate future. You have carefully scoured the online world and realized that commercial properties are not as readily searchable as their residential counterparts. Viewing a survey of commercial real estate meeting your specific needs requires another approach — reliance upon a commercial real estate professional.

Finding the right space in the right place requires much more time, energy and knowledge than surfing the internet, which rarely contains up-to-date information. Real estate is typically a healthcare provider’s second highest expense behind payroll, which makes it especially important for physicians to work closely with a commercial real estate professional and carefully analyze all options in the market.

So, just what should you expect from a commercial real estate professional in your search for another location? In our experience, there are five things one should expect from a commercial real estate professional before the negotiation process.

First, they should meet with you, tour your current location and get an understanding of your needs. Would a doctor prescribe surgery without an examination? Of course not! Viewing buildings without first meeting with you and understanding your move can waste a lot of time.

Second, a list of buildings meeting your needs should be provided soon after your meeting. Generally, this list will be tailored around your specific needs and will be a list of ALL available medical buildings — not simply buildings listed by your commercial real estate professional.

Third, a request should be provided for you to pare the list to three to seven buildings that you wish to see. You can best pare the list based upon the criteria, location, size range, exterior appearance, etc. There are so many variables in commercial real estate locations — amount of exam rooms, lab space, doctors’ offices, nurses’ stations, flow for patients, efficient parking, etc. Don’t be discouraged if the PERFECT building isn’t on the list. The space can be changed to meet your needs.

Fourth, a tour date will be scheduled. Now your professional must go to work and figure out which of the three to seven buildings are still available and which ones have been leased or sold. This is the time when your commercial real estate professional will debrief with his owner rep counterpart and determine if the availability is a match for you. The information should be bound into a tour book for you with brochures and a map.

Fifth, the tour is conducted. From the list of three to seven, generally three or four will be viewed because some will no longer be available, others are occupied and not vacant until after you need to move, or others may have the wrong deal structure. You should employ a rating system for all of the buildings that you tour and take careful notes on the plusses and minuses of each one. Frequently, the tour will raise some follow up questions. Your commercial real estate professional should get your questions answered quickly, so that you can make a decision.

As you see, there is much more involved than just scanning the internet to find availability in a medical office building. The process to secure a new location can be lengthy, especially if the right space is not available or your availability to tour facilities is limited due to the demanding schedule of treating your patient base. Having six months or more allows your commercial real estate professional to manage certain timelines within your current lease. Once you’ve gone through the five steps of finding the location to suit your needs, your commercial real estate professional can begin negotiating on your behalf to secure the best deal for your practice.

REATA Real Estate Services LP is a full-service commercial real estate company based in San Antonio. David Ballard, CCIM, Partner, and Parker LaBarge, Associate, specialize in medical office transactions and provide comprehensive real estate services to the healthcare industry. Contact Ballard at 210-841-3239 or dballard@reatares.com or LaBarge at 210-841-3207 or plabarge@reatares.com.