To follow up on the last post, I thought I would give some sources for finding sites before you head out on the streets. As always, it is not enough to just look at a site from a distance, you need to get in your car and reach out and touch the real estate/site/property. Here are some ways to gather sites before heading out:

  1. Newspaper: newspaper is not what it used to be, but it still does have some good stuff    occasionally.
  2. Brokerage Websites: if you do a little driving, you will see for lease signs on properties in your area. Most of the time, the company on the leasing sign has a website. Write down the name and log on to the site. The firm’s website is likely to have several sites in your area.
  3. Hire a Broker: brokers/agents are working in the business all the time. Most commercial agents work on a full time basis, so your broker is likely to be in touch with people who have sites that will work for you. Ask the broker to show you the market via a few specific sites.
  4. Loopnet/CoStar: I am not a huge fan of exclusively using Loopnet and/or CoStar to find sites because usually the sites listed have been “picked over” by many people before you see it. Some people say that a property goes on Loopnet if the owner cannot move it quickly. Use these two valuable sites, but they should not be your only source.
  5. Multiple Listing Services (MLS): these databases contain residential, commercial, land, and multifamily properties. Occasionally, you can find something good on the MLS and often, not too many commercial brokers are on the MLS.
  6. Local Networks: some cities have a local network that comes in the form of a newsletter or magazine containing a long list of Available Space. Your broker should know about this valuable list.
  7. Friends: talk to friends that are in business. Referrals are powerful and it is to your advantage to use  your friends to get what you are looking for.

Hopefully, these tips will help you find a winning site and save a bunch of time in your search. Don’t forget to put in the window time even if you get something from online. Just a quick note- I am a fan of Craigslist, but I have never found a property to lease on Craigslist. Maybe that will change in the future, but for now there are better sources.