2024 Business Guide to Commercial Real Estate: Buying vs. Leasing

Business Guide to Commercial Real Estate Buying vs Leasing

In the world of commercial real estate, one pivotal decision that business owners face is whether to buy or lease their business premises. This guide aims to make clear the intricacies of both options, providing a detailed breakdown to assist in making an informed decision. For personalized advice or assistance in navigating the Southern California commercial real estate market, please reach out to Robert Stratton at 661-212-5699.

Understanding the Fundamentals

Buying Commercial Property

Purchasing commercial real estate involves acquiring real property, which includes the land and any structures on it, through cash payment or financing. This option is a significant financial commitment but offers several advantages:

  • Equity Accumulation: Payments made towards the mortgage increase your ownership stake over time.
  • Capital Appreciation: Properties typically appreciate in value, offering potential long-term gains.
  • Tax Benefits: Owners can deduct expenses such as interest and depreciation, though not the principal mortgage payments.
  • Rental Income: Owning a property allows for the potential to generate income through leasing out part of the space.
  • Control and Stability: Ownership provides full control over the property and fixed overhead costs.

However, there are also drawbacks to consider:

  • Initial Investment: Purchasing requires a substantial down payment and additional fees. Loans offered through the Small Business Administration (SBA) could allow you to purchase property with significantly less down payment.
  • Liabilities: Owners are responsible for all aspects of the property, including taxes, insurance, and maintenance.
  • Market Risks: Affordability and flexibility can be challenging in tight markets.
  • Management Responsibilities: Being a landlord requires time and effort that could be allocated to other business activities.

Leasing Commercial Property

Leasing involves entering into an agreement to use a property or portion of a property for a specified period. This option offers its own set of advantages:

  • Lower Upfront Costs: Leases typically require a security deposit rather than a large down payment.
  • Flexibility: Leasing allows businesses to adapt to growth or changes more easily than owning.
  • Tax Deductions: Lease payments and related costs are generally tax-deductible.
  • Focus on Business: Generally major aspects of the premises are the responsibility of the landlord. Leasing frees up time and resources, allowing business owners to concentrate on their core activities.

On the downside:

  • No Equity: Leasing does not allow for equity accumulation or benefit from property appreciation.
  • Cost Uncertainty: Lease payments can increase, and terms may change upon renewal. Triple Net (NNN) leases shift varying expenses onto tenants.
  • Lack of Control: Tenants have limited control over the property and may face restrictions.

Making the Right Decision

Deciding between buying and leasing commercial real estate is a complex process that depends on various factors, including financial stability, long-term business goals, and market conditions. It’s crucial to conduct a thorough analysis or consult with an experienced professional to determine the best course of action for your business.

Here are some pertinent questions a business should consider:

  1. What are our long-term business goals?
    • Understanding whether the business plans to grow, downsize, or maintain its current size can influence whether buying or leasing is more suitable.
  2. How much capital do we have available for upfront costs?
    • Buying typically requires a significant initial investment for down payment and related costs, whereas leasing requires less capital upfront.
  3. What is our financial forecast for the next 5 to 10 years?
    • Analyzing financial projections can help determine whether the business can sustain the ongoing costs associated with owning or leasing.
  4. How important is location flexibility to our business operations?
    • Businesses that anticipate needing to move or expand may benefit from the flexibility that leasing offers.
  5. Are we prepared to manage commercial property?
    • Owning property comes with the responsibilities of maintenance, repairs, and potentially managing tenants, requiring time and resources. Contact Stratton CRE to learn how we simplify property investing through full-service management.
  6. How does real estate ownership fit into our investment strategy?
    • Buying property can be a significant investment opportunity that may appreciate over time, offering potential long-term benefits. Contact us to see how property in your target area is changing in value.
  7. What are the market conditions in our desired location?
    • The state of the local real estate market can affect both the availability and cost of buying versus leasing. Contact us to receive a complimentary market overview for your target area.
  8. How will owning versus leasing impact our balance sheet and taxes?
    • Owning real estate impacts a business’s financial statements differently than leasing, with potential tax deductions and implications for both options.
  9. Do we have the expertise or resources to navigate the commercial real estate market?
    • Whether buying or leasing, it’s important to assess if the business has the knowledge or needs to consult with a real estate professional.
  10. What are the terms and conditions of potential leases or loans?
    • Understanding the specifics of lease agreements or loan terms is crucial to making an informed decision.
  11. How will this decision affect our operational flexibility?
    • Consider how each option impacts the ability to adapt to changes in the business environment or operational needs.

We hope this guide has helped you on your way to finding the right property for you.

For further assistance or to explore your options in commercial real estate, contact Robert Stratton at 661-212-5699. Our team at Stratton CRE is dedicated to guiding you through every step of the process, ensuring that you find the right property that aligns with your business objectives and financial goals.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.  Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.  This website contains links to other third-party websites.  Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; 

The information in this website and present on all materials provided have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. We have not verified it and make no guarantee, warranty or representation about it. Any projections, opinions, assumptions or estimates used are for example only and do not represent the current or future performance of the property. You and your advisors should conduct a careful, independent investigation of the property to determine to your satisfaction the suitability of the property for your needs.

Stratton Commercial Real Estate, Inc. – CA DRE #01182000 – 28005 Smyth Drive, Valencia, CA 91355 – StrattonCRE.com

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