– What If You Want to Sell an Occupied Commercial Real Estate Building? -?
Many commercial real estate agents have been faced with the unique challenge of showing potential purchasers an operating business in a commercial real estate complex without raising the suspicions of the customers or employees. If everyone involved knows their role ahead of time, the showing and subsequent transaction can run very smoothly.
The role of the listing agent is to communicate with the seller on a regular basis to determine the best times to show the property. Buyers will want a sample of how the business operates on a day-to-day basis, and sellers will want to ensure that there are no interruptions. By educating potential buyers or their agents on the predetermined showing arrangements, showings can be conducted as discreetly as possible while still showcasing the property and the business in the best light.
The role of the buyer agent is to communicate with the listing agent and schedule a showing that works for all parties involved. Communicating the proper qualifications of the potential purchaser in advance can save time.
If everyone involved knows their role ahead of time, the showing can run very smoothly.
The buyer agent should also educate the buyer on the predetermined arrangements for showings. Oftentimes this involves discreet visits to the property to purchase a tank of fuel, a newspaper or a meal, depending on the type of business. The role of the seller is to work with the listing agent to allow reasonable access to the property for showings.
In many cases, the seller schedules himself or herself to work a few shifts per week, and showings will be conducted during those times. This minimizes the risk of inciting panic among employees due to fear of losing their jobs. Managing the employees is an integral part of the seller’s showing strategy. If the goal is to retain the staff, more discretion may be required.
For relocation, staff can be informed of the sale of the property and the relocation plan. When selling a business, the seller may want to insulate staff from the sale to limit staff turnover. By discussing showing restrictions, pitfalls and issues with a commercial real estate agent, sellers can strike a balance between access and discretion that will work for both the seller, the business and potential buyers.
The role of the buyer is to understand and appreciate the need to be discreet during showings. He or she must avoid going back to the property unannounced and asking questions or requesting information from employees. While it is understandable for buyers to want unfettered access to a property, the business owner requires more discretion.
There will always be a fine balance between having reasonable access to a serious buyer and protecting the integrity of the business. Too much access for buyers can lead to anxious staff that may leave for more secure employment pastures. It can also turn away potential customers who may question the future of the business. This places the seller in a difficult position, jeopardizes the negotiation process and could be detrimental to the business.