21 CRE Experts Share Advice for Buying (or Leasing) Commercial Property or Land

If you're looking for advice on buying (or leasing) commercial buildings or land, it makes sense to start with the experts.

We started the Outer Banks Commercial Real Estate Newsletter as a way to showcase some of the talented CRE professionals in the area. In case you didn't subscribe to the newsletter, read on for almost two dozens nuggets of commercial real estate wisdom.

We asked "Can you share one great piece of advice for someone looking to buy/lease commercial property or land?"

And they answered...

“Make sure you underwrite a deal very carefully and take all necessary precautions during a due diligence process.”
- Craig Cope, Harvey Lindsay

“Do your homework and use conservative projections. Markets change and owners/lessees need to manage through economic cycles. It is usually a long term commitment.”
- Deb Stearns, JLL

“Don’t wait! As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, ‘Real estate cannot be lost or stolen, nor can it be carried away. Purchased with common sense, paid for in full, and managed with reasonable care, it is about the safest investment in the world.’” 
- Chris Zarpas, SL Nusbaum

“Do the necessary research to anticipate future growth. Seek out the most knowledgeable professionals in the marketplace, and listen to their advice.”
- Bobby Harrell, Harrell and Associates

“As long as the numbers work for you personally, don't wait. The opportunity is not going to wait for you.”
- Cindy Mayberry, Rose & Womble

“Fully understand market value and plan for the worst case scenario.”
- Geoff Poston, Thalhimer

“Due diligence! Commercial development is a sophisticated game, and it's riddled with potential pitfalls and risks.”
- Eric Keplinger, MEB Group

“Be very conservative in running your numbers.”
- Frank Thomas, Sam Segar

“Treat all parties with respect, and rely on local professionals whose expertise and knowledge can make your project successful.”
- Lang Williams, Colliers

“I would suggest using a commercial real estate broker who specializes in the type of real estate you are interested in. Industrial agents have a different 'tool box' than office brokers. Likewise, land agents can provide you with specialized knowledge that will help you find that perfect property.”
- Bill Throne, Thalhimer

“Get the right real estate and engineering consultant to help you do the proper due diligence. There are lots of things to consider when looking at potential projects.”
- Randy Royal, Kimley-Horn

“The old adage that time kills deals! When it comes to real estate decisions, you should always take your time making good decisions - but don't let too much time slip away from you because you never know what the next days hold!”
- Gresh Wall Commonwealth Commercial

“Understand what you are looking for today, but plan for what you need tomorrow. I know it isn't easy to see into the future, but preparing to be in the right place tomorrow will separate you from your competition.”
- Chris Todd, CBRE

“Don't get emotionally attached until it is yours. Commercial real estate is full of surprises so you must prepare yourself for anything. Also surround yourself with the correct knowledge to help guide you through the process and work your way through any challenges.”
- Bobby Beasley, Harvey Lindsay

“Location, location, location was the rule of thumb. Today’s advice is to be sure that clients/customers will still see you as a convenience five or ten years from now.”
- Brian Innes

“Seek guidance from a commercial real estate professional. It doesn't cost the buyer or tenant anything to enlist the support of a knowledgeable broker who may save them a great deal of time and money. Also, always hire an attorney to review your leases and contracts.”
- Jeff Parker, Colliers

“Engage with experienced professionals who can advise on market conditions, the public and governmental approval requirements, funding, and an exit strategy.”
- Ned Williams, Harvey Lindsay

“When considering all of the factors in leasing or buying a property, make sure you also consider your exit strategy. Consider if the property will fulfill your needs as you grow and if you will also be able to quickly lease or sell the property if needed.”
- Stephanie Sanker, SL Nusbaum

“Find an experienced broker who knows your product type very well, whether it's land for development or 5,000 SF of office and engage them exclusively. The landlord/seller generally pays the fee so it's not an add-on cost. Once the broker knows and understands all of the variables involved,  they should be able to give the prospect all of the options in the market. That can be a difficult, frustrating and time consuming task for the uninitiated.”
- Cheyney Cole, SL Nusbaum

“There are a lot of people who do not understand that there are typically no additional costs for a buyer or tenant to be represented by a broker. I would highly recommend they utilize an experienced broker who will be looking out for their best interest.”
- Ben Leon, SL Nusbaum

“You don't know what you don't know. Don't try to be your own attorney to save a couple of bucks. Hire the right agent for the job, one with a lot of experience in the product you are buying or leasing. Pay a little more for the right construction team (if needed). There is not much room to cut corners in commercial real estate.”
- Erica Rorrer, Seven Hills

“As my father always said... ‘Go for need, not greed.’ Don't always be looking for a bargain but for the right fit physically. That's as important in commercial real estate as price.”
- Andy Stein, Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate

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