How it's done
Once you have decided you need new premises for your business and you’ve narrowed down the potential locations, you need to lease or buy a property that works for you. Here are the questions this page will help you answer.
What commercial properties are currently available?
This property search tool will help you to identify local commercial listings that are best suited to your specific needs. Whether you are looking to lease, or buy, the listings are mapped and updated daily by commercial real estate firms across the country. Use the filters to narrow your search and find the perfect property that will position your business for success!
What are the fundamentals of commercial real estate?
In this section we provide five essential commercial real estate fundamentals to keep in mind when searching for the right space for your business.
Always have options
Don’t stop looking until you find at least two or three places that work. The extra effort will pay negotiating dividends later.
Understand the costs
Don’t sign any lease until you know the entire picture, including all expenses and maintenance.
Ask for a pro forma copy of the lease or purchase agreement as soon as possible and read it in detail. Commercial property deals are like belly buttons – each one is different.
Compare, compare, compare
Create a comparables analysis in an electronic spreadsheet that allows you to compare the relevant details of prospective properties. If you're leasing a property the basics include: leased square footage, unit lease price, incremental expenses (including maintenance), lease term required (how many years), plus pros-and-cons notes about each property. The notes will come in handy later if you need a tie-breaker when you’re making the final decision.
How do I use this information?
There are many things to consider when buying or leasing a commercial property for your business. However, the most important considerations can be divided into three categories. The first is the physical property itself, including its location as well as the building and any improvements. The second consideration is the legal component and the third is costs. Here’s some key questions you should seek to answer when assessing your options.
- Is the space ideally located with respect to your customers, competitors, vendors and suppliers?
- Does the space meet your business requirements (e.g. size, facilities, growth potential, access, street visibility, signage, parking, security, broadband, utilities etc.)?
- Is the physical condition of the building suitable? Is there any visible or structural damage? What internal and external repairs are required, how much will they cost and who is responsible for paying them?
The legal stuff
- Do the municipal planning controls allow you to do what you need to do on the property? Are there zoning laws or building codes or covenants, that limit the changes or alterations you can make to the property? Have you checked with the municipal planning department to make sure?
- Have you determined if there’s an opportunity for expansion or subletting if your business needs change in the future? What is the penalty for terminating your lease early?
- Have you engaged a real estate lawyer to do a title search, review the mortgage agreement and finalize all paperwork?
- What insurance coverage is required for the premises? Do you know what is covered by your landlord’s insurance and what your business is liable for?
- What provincial and municipal taxes apply to the property?
- Have you identified all the possible operational and capital costs associated with the property over time, even the unlikely ones?
- Can you afford to lease or buy the property you are interested in, even if there are tough times?
What else do I need to know?
While we are providing you with a range of valuable information about local opportunities, the fact is that there are many other valuable sources of information to help you do this. In this section we provide you with links to other websites that will supplement our information and help your business find new opportunities.