There are a number of great places to find information about commercial real estate in any area in which you might invest. Before I get into the specific ways you can obtain this valuable information, it is important to first be committed to obtaining it. Real estate is a numbers game and there is no excuse for not having the information you need to invest successfully in any kind of real estate.
First, it's worth mentioning what kinds of information you'll be looking for. Classic examples of the information that will be useful to you as an investor include the following:
· Commercial property prices
· Regional/market rents
· Days on market for commercial property sales
· Rental rate trends
· Property appreciation statistics
· Population trends for the target market
· Local employers for the target market
The first way to find out information about commercial real estate is also the most 'old school'.Basically, what you do is hop in your car, drive around, gather property information, and talk as many people you can about properties that may be available. This technique, however well it may help you network and learn some things about your target market, is also the least efficient way to gather information.
Another way to gather much of the information listed above is to research it online. The Internet has become a technological marvel and there is an absolute wealth of information out there, both free and for a small fee. Not only are there listing services that are specific to commercial real estate (e.g. www.loopnet.com) but just about every kind of demographic information you could possibly seek can be found on the web somewhere.
The only real drawback to online research is the reliability of what you find.My experience has been that market research that has to do with demographics and population trends is pretty reliable online. Property searches are more of a dice roll, given that many sites are often outdated. Property research may require taking things to another level.
That next level means using other people to help you get the job done. One such type of individual is a bird dog, someone who is either familiar with or who actually lives in the market of interest. Such a person is often another investor and they can be instrumental in helping uncover some of the hidden gems that are out there.
The other pretty clear choice for helping you gather key information is a commercial realtor. Any market that has commercial property (which is about all of them) will have commercial realtors, or at least realtors who work with commercial properties. Realtors have access to market trends, prices, rental rates, and of course the deals themselves through contact with sellers. When you are committed to information gathering and your pursuit of commercial real estate will be more fruitful.