A Guide To Buying Commercial Property

By Georgia Galloway | Tuesday 25th July 2023 | 7 minute read

When buying commercial property, having a clear understanding of the process is crucial for a successful investment. Our guide can provide comprehensive support for your commercial property purchase, from market research and identifying the right properties to securing financing.

We'll help you identify suitable properties based on market research and your unique needs. Financing options are also part of our expertise, whether traditional methods or specialist finance like bridging loans.

In addition to guiding you through the purchasing process, discussion of both the advantages & disadvantages of investing in commercial property so that you have a well-rounded understanding before making any decisions.

Evening shot of a lit up pedestrianised high street full of commercial properties..

1. Identifying the Right Property

The commercial property marketplace is diverse, offering everything from office buildings to industrial sites for potential investors and business owners. Buying commercial property involves identifying an investment that aligns with your specific needs or financial goals. For example, if you're a growing business seeking office space, factors such as location proximity to talent pools and infrastructure compatibility should be high on your checklist.

Understanding Your Needs
Suppose greater capital appreciation potential is what you're looking for. In that case, focusing on areas where high-profile businesses move into, or regions marked by local authorities for significant development is imperative. This approach allows investors to command reasonable sale prices when the time comes to offload these assets.

Identifying Potential Properties
Diligent, comprehensive market research and thorough due diligence are critical components of evaluating potential commercial properties effectively. This includes researching trends within the UK property sector and assessing their likely impact on returns over time.

In addition, examining restrictions associated with the legal title listed in Land Registry, like easements or covenants, can also influence usage rights, thereby affecting ROI potentials significantly.

Opportunities through Professional Networks
A well-connected network can provide valuable insights into opportunities within the UK commercial property scene even before they become widely known. Engaging experienced professionals like estate agents who specialise in commercial premises and consulting an experienced commercial lawyer early during the research phase could also prove beneficial, helping avoid common pitfalls often encountered during transactions. 

2. Financial Considerations

Once you've identified the right property, it's essential to consider the financial aspects of the purchase. This includes assessing the purchase price, negotiating the deal, and understanding the various costs and taxes associated with buying commercial property in the UK.

Purchase Price Considerations
Negotiating the purchase price is pivotal in determining how much finance will be required to procure commercial premises.

Skilled negotiators leverage market trends and potential value growth prospects due to their location characteristics (e.g., proximity to high-profile businesses) and tenant demand patterns (e.g., technical firms seeking office space), amongst other factors impacting valuation dynamics within the property sector across different regions within the UK.

Legal Financial Requirements
Purchasing Commercial Property involves navigating myriad legal and financial regulations ranging from stamp duty land tax transfer deed processes to the seller's solicitor handling the transaction on behalf of the vendor.

Consequently, it's sensible to enlist the services of an experienced conveyancer.

Navigating Legalities With Expert Help Early On
To navigate the legal complexities surrounding land registry procedures, including transfer deed execution handled by the seller's solicitor, insight law advises investors regarding tax implications, etc.

Hiring experienced professionals early during the transactional phase is prudent to help mitigate associated risks.

An experienced lawyer specialising in commerce provides invaluable guidance, ensuring a smooth transition of the legal title without any hiccups after closing the deal, thus safeguarding the buyer's interests effectively. The associated costs with this legal advice should be considered when purchasing a commercial property. 

3. Financing Your Purchase

Securing finance is a necessary step in the intricate process of buying commercial property. Various options are available for investors, property developers, and business owners aiming to make their mark in the UK commercial property marketplace.

Bridging Loan
An increasingly popular alternative among property developers is a bridging loan, a short-term funding solution designed to bridge the gap between acquiring new assets while selling existing ones or awaiting long-term financing approval.

This type of financing makes buying commercial property accessible even if immediate access to significant capital isn't available but expected shortly, like proceeds from another investment sale or pending approval on longer-term finances such as development loans.

Traditional Mortgage Options
A traditional mortgage often serves as an initial consideration when purchasing properties, be it residential or commercial. This involves obtaining a loan from your bank or building society with regular repayments over an agreed period against your chosen asset.

The catch? These loans require comprehensive credit checks that can take considerable time to arrange and usually demand substantial deposits, which may not always align with buyers' financial capacities.

4. Negotiating a Deal

Negotiating when obtaining commercial property necessitates a discerning eye and mindful evaluation of multiple elements to guarantee you secure the finest attainable agreement.

Techniques and Tactics 
Effective negotiation techniques are vital in securing favourable terms during a property purchase. One approach includes presenting evidence-based arguments about valuation discrepancies based on market data; this may persuade sellers to reconsider their pricing strategy.

A significant aspect here would involve engaging early on with an experienced commercial lawyer who understands how legal title transfers work within land registry processes. This will help safeguard against potential pitfalls at transfer deed execution stages while ensuring all mortgage repayments are accurately accounted for within sale contract agreements.

Funding Options and Terms
Different funding options like bridging finance or Property Development Finance have additional associated terms, typically focusing on exit strategy and the value of their current assets.

Your choice between these two largely depends upon individual circumstances, including project timelines, financial capacity, plus overall risk appetite levels, among other considerations.

Understanding Purchase Price
In the UK commercial property marketplace, it's critical to comprehend the purchase price thoroughly. It involves conducting comprehensive research on similar properties in your chosen area to determine if a seller's asking price matches market trends or appears inflated.

Tax Implications & Costs Associated With Commercial Property
Purchasing property invariably incurs additional expenses beyond basic acquisition fees, such as stamp duty land tax charges applicable across various regions within the UK, depending on the specific property type involved.

Specific regulatory changes have negatively impacted residential buy-to-let landlords recently, leading many investors towards exploring more lucrative avenues found within the commercial premises sector instead due to its perceived resilience amidst economic uncertainties coupled alongside attractive rental yields offered typically by office spaces popular amongst technical firms seeking office space locally.

The Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) simulates direct property investment. It allows investors to avoid additional taxes compared to purchasing commercial property through the corporate structure, providing an alternative for those looking to invest in property.

Key Takeaway: 

Mastering the art of negotiation is key when buying commercial property in the UK. Understanding purchase prices, utilising effective tactics, considering various funding options, and comprehending tax implications is vital. Engaging with professionals can provide invaluable insights and safeguard against potential pitfalls.

5. Closing the Transaction

The conclusion of a commercial property transaction is not for the faint-hearted, especially if you're navigating the UK real estate sector for the first time. It's vital to comprehend every step in this phase to ensure that legal title transfers without hitches.

Understanding Closing Costs
Closing costs are unavoidable in buying commercial property and can significantly impact your purchase price budgeting process. These expenses often include tax, solicitor fees, surveyor charges, and Land Registry fees.

An experienced commercial lawyer should be consulted early on during this journey; they'll provide clarity around these additional costs while guiding you through them effectively to avoid any potential pitfalls down the line.

Navigating Legal Documents
Many legal documents, such as a sale contract and transfer deed prepared by the seller's solicitor, come into play when purchasing a new business premises. The sale contract spells out terms agreed upon between the buyer and seller, whereas the transfer deed ensures ownership from the seller moves to the buyer post-completion.

You must review all documents thoroughly before signing anything - even minor errors or omissions could lead to significant issues later, like higher mortgage repayments or loss of property rights if overlooked at this stage.

Mortgage Repayments & Property Transfer Deed
If financing options such as bridging loans have been used towards funding your acquisition, then planning ahead regarding mortgage repayments becomes essential once the asset has been secured successfully. Failure to meet repayment schedules might negatively affect both credit rating and possession status associated with the acquired property type...

Besides finalising payment according to the agreement outlined within the sales contract, there also exists a 'transfer deed' step that confirms the change in ownership from the previous owner (seller) towards the new one (buyer).

This document will get lodged at the Land Registry office by the chosen solicitor, thereby ensuring official recognition of said transition henceforth, ensuring no future disputes arise regarding rightful proprietorship over the purchased premise(s).

Key Takeaway: 
Closing a commercial property deal in the UK is no walk in the park. Investors should understand every step, from closing costs like tax and solicitor fees to navigating complex legal documents. Don't overlook even minor details, as they can lead to significant headaches later, such as higher mortgage repayments or loss of property rights. 


Acquiring commercial property is a dynamic journey that involves exploration and strategic decision-making. It emphasises the significance of identifying the perfect property, conducting thorough research on local markets, and carefully evaluating various potential options.

Various financing routes highlight the role specialist finance, like bridging loans, can play in securing your commercial asset. This type of fund makes commercial property accessible, where in some cases purchasing commercial property wouldn't be a viable option.

Finally, we delved into the pros and cons of investing in commercial properties - an essential understanding for any investor considering this path. Commercial property investment calls for careful planning as each step has its complexities which need careful consideration before taking action.

We're experienced financial experts who arrange short-term bridging loans for property owners, securing you the best deal from over 200 bridging loan providers, including private investors and family offices.

Get expert assistance today; we're on hand to answer any questions about bridging loans.

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Buying Commercial Property FAQs

Is it worth investing in commercial property?

Yes, commercial properties often offer higher returns and longer leases compared to residential investments. However, profitability depends on factors like location, tenant quality, and market conditions.

What costs are involved in buying a commercial property?

The primary costs include the purchase price, stamp duty land tax (SDLT), legal fees, surveyor's fee, and ongoing maintenance expenses. There may also be VAT on the purchase price.

What is the tax relief for commercial property?

Tax reliefs available for UK commercial properties include capital allowances for fixtures within buildings and deductions for interest paid on loans used to buy or improve these assets.

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