How to find Commercial Real Estate referrals in your market
The hard part about getting residential listings is getting a hold of the seller and then competing with the vast majority of real estate agents who sell residential real estate. Commercial real estate is very different and not nearly as competitive. By driving around your local area, you can visually see which commercial properties have sat vacant for a while or are in disrepair. Getting a hold of these owners is much easier and can usually be done by a simple online search vs trying to hunt down an individual residential owner. Also, the owner of a commercial property understands business and is more open to talking about numbers whereas a residential owner has an emotional attachment. See below on how to contact commercial real estate owners, refer them out, and have a top commercial agent do all the work for you.
Step 1. Knowing your area
Find commercial buildings in your local area that have sat vacant for some time. If you drive past one that looks in distress, write down the address. Commercial could mean anything from an old restaurant, to a warehouse or car dealership. The main thing you are looking for is vacancy for more than a few months.
Step 2. Find out who the owner is
Go to the website of the county property appraiser to where the property is located. Type in the address or search the unit through their map view if they have one. Once you pull up the property, see who the owner is. If the property is listed under a LLC or corporation (which they usually are) that is great news. If the owner is an actual person, it will be harder to make contact. At minimum you will have the mailing address to reach the owner in both scenarios.
Also, get all of the data on the property within the county property appraiser’s website. See when the last sale date was and for how much. Find out what the current county assessment is (properties are typically valued at 5-10% above the county assessment).
Step 3. Get more details about the owner & property
The state in which the property is located, go to the website of the division of corporations or the secretary of state. It varies from state to state on which agency tracks this information. Plug in the name of the company to who owns the property into their search bar and see if the company is registered in that state. If so, get an idea of who the owner of the company is. If not, it could mean they are a company located in another state. Then, go to google.com and plug in the company name. Hopefully the name of the company pulls up in a google search and you can find a phone number or email to reach the company. Make notes of all the important data on who the owner is and how to contact them. Email and phone is best.
Type the full address of the property into a google.com and see what pulls up online about the property. See if you can find the most recent activity on this property. Did they try and sell it in the last few years? Were they looking for a tenant to lease it out? Who was the brokerage representing them? All of this data can give you an idea on what their interests might be.
The best commercial website is www.loopnet.com, it's the MLS for commercial real estate.
Step 4. Contact the owner
Once you have gathered as much information on the property and the owner as you can, this will give you enough knowledge about this deal to reach out to the owner and talk business. Below is an email you can use to send them an email if you were able to track one down. If you call them, let them know that you are a real estate agent, you know about their property and you wanted to see if they were interested in selling the property or leasing it out and that you might have a potential buyer or lessee for them (even if you don’t, but have a good rebuttal if they ask). Let them know that you are not the agent who would handle the transaction but would be referring it over to a top commercial agent in their market to handle the sale if they were interested in selling or leasing. Or, you are just wanting someone to buy or lease the property so it’s not a vacant property in your community.
Email example that has worked many times before:
*** CURRENCY CIR LAKE MARY, FL 32746
I'm an agent here in Lake Mary, Florida and saw that the above property has you down as the current owner in the county property appraiser’s website. This property has been sitting vacant for several years and our market here in Lake Mary has been getting very hot lately. I have a few possible restaurants that might have an interest. I'm not sure if you are the owner or not on this property. If so or you might know, are they interested in leasing it out or selling? Please let me know as I might have a potential buyer/leasee for you.
You can reach me at this email or my cell *******. Please let me know.
Step 5. Conclusion
This process has worked many times before for us. The good part about contacting the owner to a commercial property that has sat vacant for a while, the owner is reminded that they can make money on their property. Most of these owners don’t even live in the town that the property is located and are not thinking about their property. These owners are typically happy that you gave them a reminder that they have a property sitting there that can generate income or that they can cash out and invest in something else.
If they do want to move forward with an agent, you can fill out the referral form on our website and we will make sure they are in the right hands with a top commercial real estate agent.