How do I pick the right commercial real estate location? It’s a question that we get all the time.

Choosing the right commercial real estate location for your business or service is a time-consuming process that eventually comes down to preference. However, there are some tips to consider that help make the search process as efficient as possible and will leave you feeling confident in your decision.

Name your priorities. Know your budget, space requirements and location preference before you start searching for commercial properties. That way you won’t waste time looking at properties that are overpriced, the wrong size, or in poor locations. Make sure you also know your credit score. Landlords will always check and the better your score is and the more prepared you are for a negotiation, the more likely you will be able to lease the space at a fair price.

First impressions matter. The outward appearance of a commercial property is important and will make an impact on your current and prospective customers. Evaluate the look and feel of a property when visiting the site. If you think a building looks old and dirty, others will most likely feel the same way. It’s unlikely they’ll see the “vintage, has potential” outlook you were hoping for.

Find out about security. Learn more about the crime rate/history of the neighborhood that the commercial property is located in and visit the site during the day and night. Is there adequate street lighting at night? Are there other businesses in the area? Does your business rely on daytime population? Are there jobs in the area? Find out the answers to these kinds of questions. Don’t forget to check the locks and doors of the property itself to see if they’re sturdy and in good shape.

Evaluate the defects and areas of improvement. Mark down the bigger, more expensive foundation problems and exclude the smaller cosmetic ones (for now). A poorly built roof is a larger problem and bill than painting the walls your ideal color.

If the space seems like a good fit for your business, consider all the improvements—both big and small—and determine the level of difficulty and what it would cost. The smallest amount of renovation is generally the most ideal situation, but you may have more improvements than you hoped for which may be negotiable with the landlord. In either case, you should make a list of what would need to get done and have a rough estimate of how much it would cost. Be sure to also ask yourself, “Does this fit into my business plan?”

Access and accessibility contribute to an A grade. Check out the front lobby area, elevators, stairways, and parking situation for the commercial property as well as its surrounding area. Is the building disability-friendly? Is there an onsite parking lot or public street parking? You want to make sure current clients and potential customers can get to your building with little or no hassle.

Determining your priorities, examining the finer details and asking the right questions will help you find the right commercial real estate property for you. If you need more information about a space or think the property of your choosing may need substantial renovations, consider hiring a commercial real estate broker, like Matanky, to give you expert advice and valuable information in the commercial real estate industry. We specialize in buying, selling and leasing all kinds of commercial real estate properties. Contact us for more information.