Commercial Real Estate as an Investment Vehicle

The commercial real estate sector presents a compelling investment opportunity for individuals and entities seeking to diversify their portfolios and generate substantial returns. However, the process of purchasing and selling commercial real estate can be complex, requiring a keen understanding of various components such as negotiating deal terms, financing, due diligence, and closing procedures.

Negotiating the Purchase and Sale Agreement

At the heart of any successful commercial real estate transaction is the art of negotiating. Negotiations often revolve around price, financing terms, and the allocation of property-related risks. A skilled broker and experienced commercial real estate attorney can be instrumental in this process, leveraging their market knowledge and negotiation skills to secure the best possible deal for their client. 

The outcome of the negotiation process is formalized in a purchase and sale agreement. This legally binding document outlines the terms and conditions agreed upon by both parties. It covers key details such as the purchase price, closing date, contingencies, and the responsibilities of each party. An experienced real estate attorney for commercial properties is typically engaged to draft and review the purchase and sale agreement ensuring that it accurately reflects the negotiated terms and protects the client’s interests.

Due Diligence Period

The purchase and sale agreement also outlines the due diligence period. This is a critical phase in which the buyer verifies the property’s condition, value, and suitability for buyer’s intended use before finalizing the purchase. A crucial aspect of due diligence is the title and survey review, where an experienced real estate attorney for investment properties investigates the property’s ownership history to ensure there are no liens, encumbrances, easements, or title defects that could affect the transaction and buyer’s intended use of the property. During the due diligence phase an experienced real estate attorney for investment properties will also review any leases on the property.

Environmental Study

Another essential component of due diligence is the environmental study often referred to as the Phase I Environmental Report. This involves assessing the property for potential environmental hazards such as soil contamination, water quality issues, and the presence of hazardous materials. Failure to conduct a thorough environmental study can expose the buyer to significant risks, including costly remediation efforts and legal liabilities.

Earnest Money Deposit

Investing in commercial real estate often requires a significant financial commitment. To demonstrate their seriousness and secure the property during the due diligence period, buyers typically deposit earnest money. This is a deposit held in an escrow account that can be forfeited if the buyer fails to complete the purchase under the terms of the purchase and sale agreement. Most purchase and sale agreements will provide that the earnest money deposit is returned to the buyer if the buyer terminates the agreement prior to the expiration of the due diligence period.

Seller Financing

A component of structuring the financing of a purchase or sale of commercial real estate can involve seller financing. In a transaction where a portion of the purchase price is financed by the seller, the parties will negotiate the payment terms such as the interest rate and repayment schedule. An experienced real estate attorney for investment properties will prepare the necessary documents such as a secured promissory note and deed of trust in order to secure the seller’s repayment of the note.

Closing

Once the due diligence process is complete, and all contingencies have been met, the transaction moves to the closing stage. This involves finalizing the financial aspects of the deal, executing the deed transfer, and recording the transaction in the county where the commercial real property is located. A real estate closing attorney plays a pivotal role in the closing process, ensuring that all legal requirements are met, and the transaction is closed properly.

However, despite the potential rewards, investing in commercial real estate is not without risks. Market volatility, property mismanagement, and unexpected maintenance costs are just a few of the challenges that investors may face. Therefore, it is imperative for potential investors to conduct a thorough risk assessment and engage the services of experienced professionals, such as brokers, accountants and an experienced commercial real estate attorney to navigate the complexities of the commercial real estate market successfully.

The purchase and sale of commercial real estate are multifaceted processes that require careful negotiation, comprehensive due diligence, and meticulous closing procedures. By understanding these elements and leveraging the expertise of seasoned professionals, investors can mitigate risks and maximize their returns in the lucrative commercial real estate market.

Contact an experienced real estate attorney for investment purposes at Lotus Law.

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