Be an intuitive business owner, don’t let commercial real estate companies dupe you! In order to be a successful business, it starts at the foundation …literally! Make sure you are getting what you are actually looking for when dealing with your commercial real estate opportunities. You don’t want to end up buying something that isn’t worth it.

When buying commercial real estate, you need to buy the type of property that matches your needs and interests. If you know that you are not into doing repairs then your best bet would be to buy a property that is in better condition, You can buy a fixer-upper if you are one of those people that can appreciate a good project.

A ‘high traffic’ location is desirable for a business. How many people will pass by and see your store each day is important. But you should look more closely. Is there adequate parking? handicapped accessibility? can a left turn be made safely into your parking lot? These are all questions you will want to ask.

If you plan on investing in commercial real estate, you must be sure you understand the risks involved. Even though the sponsor should disclose “risk factors” to you, you need to review them and understand the risks of different options before selecting one. There is a different risk involved when investing in real estate with a few tenants, as opposed to, one with ten or more.

The most successful commercial real estate investors are the ones who can find a good deal and know when to walk away from it. Develop an exit strategy and know how to calculate your minimum acceptable levels for payoff, returns, and projected cash flows. No matter how appealing the property may seem, do not hesitate to drop it if it will not perform to your expectations.

It is wrong to assume that commercial properties are the same as residential properties. Income on a commercial property is related to its usable square footage. This is not the case with a residential property. You need to know the difference, because you don’t want to make any costly mistakes.

What goes up, must come down has a corollary in the real estate market. What goes down, must come up. If the markets are severely depressed, you can get property for a song. If you have the means to hold on to a property until the market recovers, go ahead and buy, buy, buy because you will find yourself holding some high value properties compared to your investment when all is said and done

Make business cards. Pass these out to everyone you meet. You never know when someone may call you with advice, a tip on a house for sale, or even to ask you to represent them as their investor. Business cards are a simple way to get your name into the real estate world.

When you are looking for a broker, one of the things that you will have to focus on is whether they are a generalist or a specialist. A specialist will have more skills in the field that you are looking at, which will allow you to get the best possible deal.

If one likes skiing or wants to own some real estate that will have an attractive feature for renters they should consider buying a property that is close to popular skiing areas. By buying real estate close to these areas one can attract renters and have a place for themselves to use.

Be sure to request and examine financial statements and tax return information for at least the past two years of any commercial property you wish to purchase. Investigate expenses such as operating costs as well. Make sure you understand all of the information presented to you and if you do not understand it, have your real estate attorney go over the papers with you so you have a solid, working knowledge of the expense and return of the property.

Take the time to review your commercial real estate policy or pay for it in the big picture. It is important to inspect every aspect of the policy so that you know you are getting what you want. If you don’t, it is a possibility you will end up with a property you regret buying.

It’s a dangerous game out there and it’s incredibly easy to lose everything you put into it. Commercial real estate is unforgiving in every conceivable aspect, so information is your best weapon to make sure you succeed. Before you attempt to deal in commercial property, use the tips we provided above.

Herb Lorio owns a column regarding Dial an Exchange