Seattle Realtor's Guide on Buying Commercial Property For Beginners: How To Start

Seattle Mary Pong,

Investing in commercial real estate can be a lucrative endeavor, offering a path to financial growth and stability. However, for beginners, entering the commercial property market may seem daunting. That's where Mary Pong, an experienced, highly respected real estate broker can benefit you as your advisor. In this comprehensive guide, Mary will walk you through the essential steps to start your journey into commercial real estate investment.

Understanding Commercial Real Estate

Before diving into the process, it's crucial to understand what commercial real estate entails. Commercial properties include a wide range of assets, such as office buildings, retail spaces, industrial facilities, and multifamily properties with five or more units. Unlike residential real estate, commercial properties are primarily used for business purposes.

Benefits of Commercial Real Estate

Stable Income: Commercial leases typically have longer terms, providing a steady income stream. Commercial tenants often sign leases ranging from three to ten years or more, offering financial stability to property owners.

Diversification: Investing in commercial real estate diversifies your investment portfolio beyond stocks and bonds. This diversification can help spread risk and enhance overall portfolio stability.

Appreciation: Commercial properties can appreciate over time, increasing your wealth. Appreciation occurs as the property's value naturally increases due to factors like location, demand, and market trends.

Tax Benefits: You may be eligible for tax deductions and benefits as a commercial property owner. These tax advantages can include depreciation deductions, interest deductions, and the ability to defer capital gains through 1031 exchanges.

Define Your Investment Goals

The first step in buying commercial property is to determine your investment goals. What do you hope to achieve with this investment? Your objectives will shape your investment strategy and guide property selection.

Investment Goals Examples

Income Generation: Are you looking for a steady income stream from rent? If you rely on this income, focus on properties with stable, long-term tenants and favorable lease terms.

Long-Term Wealth: Do you plan to hold the property for appreciation over time? In this case, consider properties in growing areas with strong potential for value increase.

Diversification: Is your goal to diversify your investment portfolio? Allocate a portion of your investment portfolio to commercial real estate to spread risk.

Development: Are you interested in property development and renovation for profit? Explore opportunities in emerging markets where redevelopment can lead to substantial returns.

Financial Preparation

Once you've defined your goals, it's time to assess your financial readiness. Commercial real estate requires a significant upfront investment, so it's essential to evaluate your financial capacity.

Financial Considerations

Budget: Determine your budget, including the down payment, financing, and operational costs. Consider seeking pre-approval for a commercial loan to establish your budget's limits.

Financing Options: Explore financing options, such as commercial loans or partnerships. Commercial property financing often requires a larger down payment than residential properties, typically ranging from 15% to 35% of the property's purchase price.

Credit Score: Ensure your credit score is in good shape to secure favorable financing terms. A strong credit score can help you access better interest rates and loan terms.

Cash Flow Analysis: Perform a cash flow analysis to assess the property's income potential. Consider factors like potential rental income, operating expenses, and property management costs.

Finding the Right Property

Selecting the right commercial property is a critical decision. Consider factors such as location, property type, and potential for growth.

Property Research

Location: Choose a location that aligns with your investment goals and has growth potential. Proximity to amenities, transportation hubs, and a stable local economy are essential considerations.

Property Type: Determine the type of commercial property that suits your strategy, whether it's retail, office, industrial, or multifamily. Each property type comes with unique considerations and market dynamics.

Market Analysis: Conduct a thorough market analysis to understand the demand and competition in the area. Evaluate current and future trends that may impact the property's performance.

Due Diligence

Before making an offer, conduct due diligence to thoroughly evaluate the property's condition, financial performance, and legal aspects.

Due Diligence Checklist

Property Inspection: Hire a professional inspector to assess the property's condition. The inspection should cover structural integrity, mechanical systems, roof condition and much more in an effort to discover any potential issues.

Financial Records: Review financial statements, leases, and rental history. Analyze the property's income and expenses to ensure they align with your investment goals.

Legal Review: Ensure all contracts, titles, and permits are in order. Consult with legal professionals to address any potential legal issues or disputes.

Environmental Assessment: Consider environmental factors that may affect the property. Assess potential environmental hazards or contamination issues that could impact the property's value or future use.

Making the Purchase

Once you've completed due diligence and secured financing, it's time to make an offer and close the deal.


Offer: Submit a formal offer with the advice and assistance of your broker. Your offer should specify the purchase price, contingencies, and any special terms or conditions.

Negotiation: Negotiating skills can vary widely, so your choice representation matters. Be prepared for counteroffers and ensure that both parties are clear on the final terms before proceeding.

Contract: Sign a purchase agreement that outlines the terms and conditions. This legally binding document will include deadlines for inspections, financing, and other contingencies.


Financing: Finalize your financing arrangements. Work closely with your lender to complete the loan process, providing any necessary documentation and funds.

Title Transfer: Transfer the property title and complete legal requirements. Ensure that all legal documents are properly executed to secure your ownership rights.

Closing Costs: Pay closing costs, including fees, taxes, and insurance. Be prepared for these additional expenses, which typically range from 2% to 5% of the property's purchase price.

Ownership: Congratulations, you're now the owner of a commercial property! Keep records of all documents and agreements for future reference.

Property Management

After acquiring the property, effective, experienced management is essential for your future success.

Property Management Tips

Maintenance: Regularly maintain the property to keep it in good condition. Address any repairs promptly to maintain tenant satisfaction.

Tenant Relations: Foster positive relationships with tenants for tenant retention. Good communication and responsiveness are key to tenant satisfaction.

Lease Management: Manage leases, rent collection, and lease renewals. Ensure that lease agreements are adhered to and renewed in a timely manner.

Financial Oversight: Keep a close eye on income, expenses, and financial performance. Regularly review your property's financial statements and make adjustments as needed.

Start Your Commercial Real Estate Journey

Investing in commercial real estate is a significant step towards financial growth and stability. Mary Pong, your experienced commercial and residential realtor, is here to support you, from defining your investment goals to closing the deal. With Mary's expertise and guidance, you can embark on your commercial real estate journey with confidence and a clear strategy for success.

To get started, contact Mary Pong for a personalized consultation. With Mary by your side, you can make informed decisions, maximize your investment, avoid costly mistakes and realize the potential of commercial property ownership.

Work With Mary

She is a reputable real estate professional who knows your neighborhood, understands the changing market, and utilizes a variety of tools and strategies to price your home at top dollar. Contact her today to find out how we can be of assistance to you!