Investing in Commercial Real Estate: A New Outlook in an Unpredictable Market

By: J.Mariah Brown

Contrary to popular belief, the real estate industry has begun to recover in several markets. In the wake of increased government funding from the Stimulus Package, there are prime opportunities available for those in all sectors of real estate"from sales to development to small-scale investments. Now is the time to seize the moment, and be on the front end of the wave of innovation.
Prior to the recession, many viewed real estate as a sound investment, regardless of minor downturns or upturns in the market. One could always trust that he or she could count on a strong return on investment"if not immediately, at least within a few years. Due to the current mortgage crisis, investors of all statures have begun to hold on to their money for fear of an unstable market and less than favorable returns, if any were to be received at all. This fear is not only unwarranted as a direct result of misguidance, it actually means that more people are missing out on making some of the most sound investments available in years.
As with any business, there will always be a segment that is up while another is down; and visa versa. While investing in residential properties can still prove to be profitable, as the market has shifted, commercial real estate is on the stronger side of investments. There is a notion that investing in commercial real estate is simply not a viable solution unless one is a seasoned investor"again, another misguided myth. Investing in commercial real estate can be a rewarding experience for anyone who is committed to being knowledgeable about the investment, and is willing to gain a better understanding of how the market works.
Depending on your level of expertise, you may want to consider consulting with a real estate attorney or an accountant prior to taking the plunge into commercial real estate to determine if this is a viable option for you. While attorneys and accountants can be somewhat expensive, this will all be calculated in your return on investment, so you should not skimp on any areas of the deal, as you might later regret it. If you are convinced that this is the approach you wish to take, you can easily consult with your brokers professional team after you have located a property of interest.
When making the decision to invest in commercial real estate, you must first be aware of two critical factors: the need for flexibility, and the ability to alter ones plan of action to suit sudden downturns and upturns in various sectors. Never fall in love with a property, or the idea of obtaining the property. If the numbers just are not adding up like you had planned, do not be afraid to walk away from the deal, as your wallet will thank you later. If you are diligent in your search, amazing deals are available every day.
Another added benefit of investing in commercial property in the current market is the availability of funds. The government wants all the help it can get to stimulate the economy back to health. Grant funding is available for small business owners, large business owners, investors, municipalities and just about anyone who can help bring life back to deteriorating neighborhoods, vacant office buildings, and so on. All you have to do is look. Dont be shy about applying, as the more grants you apply for, the greater your chances are of actually obtaining funding for your ideal project.
Remember, every market is different"each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Your willingness to adjust your game plan accordingly to fit that of each market (and sector within that market) will be the ultimate determiner of your level of success.

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