Selling an industrial property for a premium price

A specialist industrial real estate agent can add value to your industrial asset to achieve a higher sales price. 

Selling an industrial property requires a specific skill set which should be handled by a real estate agent who specialises in this sector – not doing so could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in lost value. 

Industrial real estate is the strongest of the commercial sectors which also include commercial office, retail and development sites.


Here at Agent Finder NZ, we specialise in vetting and shortlisting competent commercial real estate strategists so you can compare them objectively. Call 0800 789 532 for more information.


 

VACANT OR TENANTED, OWNER OCCUPIER OR LANDLORD?

Key issues in selling an industrial property are whether it is vacant or tenanted. Are you an owner occupier or are you a landlord?

TENANTED INDUSTRIAL PROPERTIES

If a property is tenanted the agent is technically also selling a business because prospective buyers need to have confidence in taking on the tenant that has legal rights to stay on in the property.

Prospective owners will want assurance that the tenant is a sound proposition, in which case the property agent’s job is to justify their business. For example, strength of industry, operating experience, payment history and how embedded they are within the property and so on.

A specialist industrial property agent will also spend time with the vendor to look around the building, look at the lease, look at the pluses and minuses and make recommendations on what you need to do to dress up the property and in some cases the lease, to achieve the optimal sale price.

In many cases, a real estate agent who specialises in industrial sales can guide the vendor to present the property to market in a way that can add tens of thousands of dollars to the outcome of the sale.

OWNER/OCCUPIER PROPERTIES

An example of the different scenarios real estate agents would need experience in is an owner-occupier company that might be manufacturing kitchens from its own premises for instance.

The owner might want to sell the warehouse to inject money into business or for other reasons such as divorce, extending the family home or expanding the businesses into multiple locations and other premises, but still wanting to continue to use the existing building for the medium to long term future.

In this situation the property would be sold with a lease being put in place to protect the existing business while being made attractive not only to incoming investors but also to their bankers/funders. The specialist agent can prepare this document for the owners at no cost to ensure they extract the highest possible price for the property.

Incoming investors will be considering aspects of the lease such as net rent versus market rent, length of initial lease term, rights of renewals, type of guarantee, rent review mechanisms and so on. All these factors will be taken into consideration when pricing the property.

  • The real estate agent would need expertise to set the rent at the right level. Setting rent over market prices would only result in investors discounting the yield and therefore only paying market price for the property but leaving the owner/occupier (now the tenant) to be paying rent that is too high and may impact negatively on their business. Setting the rent too low will result in loss of sale price as investors will still only pay the same yield for the property.
  • This process is very different to what is required of a residential real estate agent.
  • It is legally complex work requiring a real estate agent and commercial property agency who are closely in touch with the industrial property market, with a market research team that supports the agent’s work.

Request a vetted industrial property specialist for advice first. Send enquiry.


 

ADDING VALUE TO THE PROPERTY FIRST

A specialist industrial real estate agent will advise on how to add value to the property before it goes to market, a process that requires insider knowledge of the needs of industrial property buyers and banker/funder requirements.

Although not always the case, the time before going to market can be much longer than with a residential property. There might be a week or two of preparation before the property is launched onto the open market. This short time period can add substantial value to your assets. 

The real estate agent will also look at things like whether the building is generic, or purpose built. For instance:

  • with a property fitted out with chillers if it’s unlikely, based on the agency’s research, that anyone will want this, the vendor would be advised to strip out the chillers back to bare shell before going to market to improve the site’s appeal. The agent can give advice as to whether this should be considered as part of the tenants ‘make good’ in the lease or how this should be handled to benefit the vendor.
  • Stud height and general usability of the property, storage racking, whether there is room to drive fork lifts or hand jacks around, roller door exits that facilitate driving in and driving out – all are features that will determine how the site is marketed and something owners may not have given any thought to.

 

LOGISTICS OF SELLING INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY

An industrial property agent will look at all the logistics such as:

  • Motorway access, B-train friendliness, parking, container storage and de-canting stock, whether a high-profile property or one tucked away, all of which can determine what type of buyer it is marketed to.
  • Earthquake ratings that can affect whether the purchaser gets funding, another scenario a specialist industrial real estate agent can help manage.
  • Industrial properties that often have additions such as mezzanine floors or spray booths. Agents will advise on whether to remove unconsented work to smooth the sale process.

Marketing of an industrial property demands technical knowledge of district plans, zoning and what activities are permitted on this site. This is key to making sure the incoming business or owner can operate legally from this site.


 

SELLING UNIT TITLE INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS

Unit titles are another complex situation with body corporate rules on usage, while zonings, especially in Auckland, are important to understand before going to market. What are the permitted activities within that building? It all impacts on how the property is marketed to find the best possible buyer.

 

PROPERTIES RIPE FOR DEVELOPMENT

If the property is an industrial development site, specialist industrial property agencies have the expertise and partnership connections with planners, engineers and architects to help package the property for sale.

A planner can identify the permitted uses but a specialist agent can advise what types of units and sizes are in demand in this area either by tenants or owner/occupiers to assist the developers to create the most sellable product.

Industrial real estate agents will help ensure any prospective developer crunches the numbers and has an exit strategy to sell the units in an optimal time frame and highest possible value.

 

Request Agent Finder NZ to vet and shortlist suitable industrial real estate agents. We have been vetting property agents for over 10 years.


Send inquiry or call our director Trish Willis now on 0800 789 532 for more information – we’re here to help and it's a genuine free service.


 

Article published September 4, 2020 | Trish Willis

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