Mixed use+residential property for sale - how to approach?

5 Replies

I have an opportunity on buying off-market property which is divided into several residential lots and several industrial. The property manager said the industrial zoning had been changed to mixes use. The owners want to sell the entire property and not each lot in separate.

The strategy here is to wholesale it.

What kind of information should I ask for? 

How to estimate such a thing?

You estimate value to its highest and best use, with comparables to residential and as to income as well as comparables for similar commercial use.

I can probably save you a lot of time, keep looking for another deal or get with someone who has experience to partner with. I say that because asking how to approach value is a clear indication as to the lack of experience and knowledge and industrial/mixed use/special use permitted is not a good property to wholesale. It can take years to find a buyer! Financing will be difficult as well, the residence will need to be shown as being common for the area in the appraisal.

Not knowing what the commercial use is limits the answer as to what you might collect specific to the industry. Industrial properties usually have environmental issues and there are different levels of due diligence required. Leased properties are much the same as to due diligence, but in commercial you need to underwrite the tenant and the business as to ability to pay.

Your questions are too vague and books can be written to all the aspects involved with mixed use properties. I simply suggest you get local assistance  and more over, chalk it up to a missed opportunity due to lack of knowledge, it should then be an incentive to learn RE and that is not going to be accomplished in a forum or a book. :)

@Assaf Furman  

I encourage you to heed the advice of @Bill Gulley  , particularly the prior industrial use and environmental considerations.  From an investment standpoint, Mixed Use is an asset class with way too many variables for an inexperienced developer or investor to address.  If you think the deal has enough financial merit, put it under contract with a due diligence contingency period and refundable binder, and find an experienced partner.

Thanks for the [email protected] G. and @William Byers  . I'm most definitely going to partner up with a more experienced investor on this and find a commercial broker to handle the transaction. My question is really about the information I should be requesting from the seller so that I can find the appropriate partner and share the details with them.

As I mentioned, it depends on the nature of the businesses subject of the transaction, are we talking about an oil refinery or a steel fabrication shop or a food warehouse or what???

That will indicate the degree of environmental issues, you also need to find the history of tenants or owners, 8 years ago, was there a diesel storage facility there or an agricultural supply company??

Can't begin to answer these aspects in a forum. Ask the broker what s/he needs, the property is unique and its uses are unique and the tenants are unique and each potential buyer will be unique. In reality, you can't collect all the needed information on the first appointment, due diligence grows as the deal matures. :)

@Assaf Furman  

This may get you started.  This article is from CCIM/Commercial Investment Real Estate Magazine - May/June 09 Edition

Do It Right: The ABCs of Due Diligence for Distressed Properties 

by John F. Dougherty Jr.

Clients new to the world of commercial investment real estate may be salivating at the thought of a market filled with undervalued properties that can be had for a song. Do them a favor and inject a little reality into their dreams of market domination. Remind them that distressed properties are called distressed for a reason: Although the term may fit the seller’s frame of mind and circumstance, buyers should realize that such properties often have tenancy and deferred maintenance problems. Fully occupied, class A assets rarely come on the market -- even if the owner has financial problems. And if they do, well, take a number and join the other buyers who are probably willing to offer the asking price, if not more.

While today’s market offers plenty of opportunities in distressed properties, buyers must conduct in-depth due diligence to determine what a property is worth. Before clients agree to a purchase price they think reflects a property’s distressed condition, offer them this checklist of items to consider along with an appreciation of what can happen once the acquisition has closed.

Due Diligence Checklist

Tenants. Review and confirm the terms of all leases, paying particular attention to co-tenancy clauses, which are common in retail properties. These allow retailers to reduce the base rent, eliminate base rent and pay percentage rent based on sales, or terminate a lease when an anchor tenant or another identified tenant exits the property. Other items to take note of include “early outs,” which permit tenants to terminate leases in advance of normal termination dates, downsizing rights that allow tenants to reduce the size of the leased premises, tenant bankruptcies, and claims by a tenant against the landlord.

Require estoppel certificates from each tenant. This item usually is subject to negotiation between the seller and buyer as to the number of estoppel certificates required and, if less than all, from which tenants (anchors, occupants of more than a certain number of square feet). It also will indicate whether the seller is in default.

Existing Indebtedness.  Buyers may be able to assume an existing mortgage or other debt, but they should expect lenders to re-underwrite the terms, which may result in higher debt service, a shortened maturity, and increases in the real estate taxes, insurance, or tenant improvements impound or escrow accounts. In addition buyers must pay an assumption fee and the debt holder’s counsel fees and costs. As a condition to assumption, lenders may insist on a guarantee of all or a portion of the indebtedness.

At the same time, buyers can negotiate deferring interest payments, principal or both; reduction in the principal amount of the debt based upon the value of the property; a change in the interest rate; and reductions in the real estate tax, insurance and/or tenant improvement impound or escrow accounts.
Appraisal. A current property appraisal should be obtained. The appraiser will value the property using comparable recent sales, replacement costs, and capitalization of income methods. In the current economy, the first and last of the three methods may not be completely reliable as to value. With few recent sales of commercial properties other than foreclosures, relying on comparable sales is questionable, while the lack of activity has resulted in uncertainty as to the interest rate to be used in the capitalization of income method. 

Physical Condition. A licensed engineer’s inspection should confirm the property’s repair and maintenance needs, both long term and near term, as well as estimates of these costs. There may be a difference between what the seller thinks is necessary and the associated costs and what the engineer thinks is necessary. 

Violations of Laws. To obtain proper assurances that the property is fully compliant with applicable laws, codes, and regulations, including zoning and subdivision ordinances, contact the local governing bodies with jurisdiction over the property. If the property is not compliant, find out from local officials if the violation must be fixed in advance of closing and ask the engineer what it will cost.

Environmental. A current phase 1 environmental site assessment is a requisite to a commercial real estate acquisition. If the inspection reveals environmental problems, a phase 2 assessment may be required. Existing and prospective environmental remediation plans must be taken into account, in terms of time frame and costs. An environmental expert can assist on both of these items. 

Title and Survey. Does the seller have the financial ability to satisfy all of the liens and judgments that the buyer does not intend to assume? In addition, covenants and operating agreements with third parties regarding access and maintenance of common areas must be carefully reviewed and the terms confirmed, particularly regarding who bears the cost of maintenance and repairs. Also, obtain estoppel certificates from third parties indicating that there is no default on the seller’s part.

Litigation. Does the seller have the ability to settle existing litigation that could delay the closing or result in a new judgment lien filed prior to closing?

Service Contracts. Is the seller current in payment and is each contractor willing to continue providing the agreed to services on the same terms and conditions following closing?

Management. Will the buyer manage the property or hire a third-party management company? Consider engaging the management company currently handling the property to continue, even if the company is owned by the seller. Determine general management and lease-up fees, owner termination rights, and controls over rent receipts and the use thereof by the manager. 

Once the due diligence is completed, the buyer should re-examine the financial model used in deciding on the purchase price. Make sure clients have a due diligence or other out in the purchase agreement that allows them to re-negotiate the purchase price in light of the findings. 

- See more at: http://www.ccim.com/cire-magazine/articles/do-it-r...