09/20/15: In Search of Yield – Creating Cash Flow from Commercial Real Estate

If you’ve ever wondered how to invest in commercial real estate, this is a great episode to get started with.Commercial real estate is a way for residential real estate investors to expand their horizons and find alternatives to houses and apartment buildings to create passive income from real estate

That’s because there are MANY ways to make money from commercial real estate.

And as we’ve been discussing for the last few episodes, with cash flows on residential real estate tightening, alert investors have already begun to widen their horizons.

In The Real Estate Guys™ radio show studio helping you widen your real estate investing horizons through a look at how to invest in commercial real estate investing:

  • Your wide open host, Robert Helms
  • His horizontal co-host, Russell Gray

Commercial real estate is both a deep and wide topic.

Flitting across the surface of the topic, there are three major categories of commercial:  Office, Retail and Industrial.

But that’s far from exhaustive.

And then going deep into each of the big three, there are all kinds of sub-categories.  And it’s WAY too much to cover in one episode.

So the purpose of this edition of The Real Estate Guys™ radio show is to give you an overview of some of the many options available when you enter the wide, wonderful world of commercial real estate.

How to Invest in Commercial Real Estate – OFFICE

How to invest in commercial real estate - Office buildings are an alternative to residential real estate for creating passive income through real estate investingWhen it comes to office real estate, the first thing most people imagine are office buildings holding white collar workers all sitting at desks starting at computer screens and shuffling papers.

But there’s more to office than just that.  And it’s a good thing.  Because as technology has empowered a virtual workforce, the need for mainstream office space has been affected.

Today, many people telecommute.  That means less desks…or some cases, shared space.

And with more people free lancing, executive suites and collaboration stations are growing in popularity.

Also, with so many records digitized, it’s less important to keep physical records in close proximity of workers.  This reduces the need for high priced office space, while adding to the demand for off-site record storage.

Yes, there are still businesses that retain hard copy documents for many years…often for compliance reasons.

How to Invest in Commercial Real Estate – MIXED-USE

Also growing in popularity are mixed-use buildings where people live above offices or retail space.  Part of this shift can be attributed to younger people waiting longer to start families and move to to the suburbs.

Another factor in the popularity of Mixed-Use is traffic congestion and people’s desire to reduce the amount of time they spend in cars to go to work, shop and socialize.

How to Invest in Commercial Real Estate – RETAIL

From strip centers, to shopping malls, to single-purpose structures like car washes or that coffee kiosk in the parking lot, retail real estate comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.

How to invest in commerical real estate - Retail real estate investing is an alternative to investing in rental houses to generate passive incomeAnd while office has certainly been affected by technology induced societal changes, retail much more so.

So as a retail real estate investor, it’s important to understand how the internet is affecting your tenants, the retailers.

One only needs to consider that Amazon, a company with not a single retail location, has surpassed Wal-Mart in terms of stock market capitalization.

People order MANY things on-line (one of the reasons we love markets like Memphis, Dallas and Atlanta that are distribution hubs).  This means they aren’t necessarily going to the corner store to buy them.

Therefore, a smart retail landlord manages his tenant mix carefully…preferring businesses whose products or services require customers to visit them.  You can’t order a sandwich, a mani-pedi, or a haircut online.

But it’s more than simply making sure your tenants have local customers and aren’t losing business to websites.

A good tenant mix will promote cross-selling.  So when a customer comes to the center to drop off their dry-cleaning, they can get get a haircut, or a teeth cleaning, or massage.

In other words, you are helping your tenants leverage each other’s traffic, by offering a complimentary mix of products and services and getting more of that customer’s spending to happen in your retail center.

How to Invest in Commercial Real Estate – INDUSTRIAL

Although it isn’t glamorous, industrial space can be a stable way to generate long term cash flows.

How to invest in commercial real estate - Industrial tenants often sign long term leases because it's expensive and difficult to move all their equipment to a new locationWhen a business rents a building and loads it up with equipment, whether it’s light manufacturing, auto repair or something else…it takes a lot of time and hassle to move.  So they don’t.

And they’re happy to rent because they don’t want to tie up their money in real estate.  They need it for equipment and inventory.

As you can see the list of commercial opportunities is long and diverse.  And we only scratched the surface.

But as people pile into pile into the the ever more crowded residential space because it’s easy to understand, if you’ll take some time to learn a commercial niche, you may find less competition and more profits are waiting for you.

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