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Commercial Property Buyer Guide

How to Buy Property?

When searching for a commercial property to buy, you should aim to meet your current and foreseeable business needs. Searching for the ideal property can be undertaken by us through our acquisition service.  There will be a fee should you appoint us to assist in the acquisition but this could be money well spent if you are not experienced in acquiring commercial property.
Choosing a suitable location for your business is critical, whether you need to be in an out–of-town retail park / industrial estate or the middle of the city. The location is important as it can affect the suitability of a property for the business, its clients, customers or employees.
The best time to purchase a commercial property would be during the recession phase when the property prices are the lowest and financing availability becomes unaffordable for many. This often results in the consequential loss of tenants and commercial property owners struggle to find occupiers. This, however, may be a great opportunity for buyers to secure prime locations.

The worst time to buy a commercial property would be during the expansion stage, when financing becomes affordable. This allows the property owners to increase their prices. During this phase, it may be more difficult to secure a property that you really want. This is due to higher competition, with other commercial property investors pursing the same properties.
Commercial properties are covered by The Town and Country Planning (Uses Classes) Order 1987, which divides the uses of business properties and land into different categories.

Class Guide
Use Classes Use Classes Description General Development
Order 1987 Order 1972 Order 1988

A1 Shops Class I Shops, retail warehouses, hairdressers, undertakers, travel and ticket agencies, post offices, dry cleaners, etc Pet shops, cats-meat shops, tripe shops, sandwich bars Showrooms, domestic hire shops, funeral directors No permitted change
– – – –
A2 Financial and Professional Services Class II Banks, building societies, estate and employment agencies Professional and financial services, betting offices Permitted change to A1 where a ground floor display window exists
– – – –
A3 Food and Drink Restaurants, pubs, snack bars, cafés, wine bars, shops for sale of hot food Permitted change to A1 or A2
– – – –
Sui Generis Shops selling and/or displaying motor vehicles Permitted change to A1
– – – –
Launderettes, taxi or vehicle hire businesses, amusement centres, petrol filling stations No permitted change
– – – –
B1 Business Class II and Class III Offices, not within A2, Research and development studios, laboratories, high tech Light industry Permitted change to B8 where no more than 235sqm
– – – –
B2 General Industrial Class IV-IX General industrial Permitted change to B1 or B8 B8 limited to no more than 235 sqm
– – – –
B8 Storage and distribution Class X Wholesale warehouse, distribution centres, repositories Permitted change to B1 where no more than 235 sqm
– – – –
Sui Generis N/A Any work registrable under the Alkali, etc. Works Regulation Act, 1906 No permitted change
– – – –
C1 Hotels Class XI Hotels, boarding and guest houses No permitted change
– – – –
C2 Residential Institutions Class XII and Class XIV Residential schools and colleges Hospitals and convalescent/nursing homes No permitted change
– – – –
C3 Dwelling Houses N/A Dwellings, small businesses at home, communal housing of elderly and handicapped (Six or less residents unless living together as a family.) No permitted change
– – – –
Sui Generis N/A Hostel No permitted change
– – – –
D1 Non-residential Institutions Class XIII, Class XV, and Class XVI Places of worship, church halls Clinics, health centres, crèches, day nurseries, consulting rooms Museums, public halls, libraries, art galleries, exhibition halls Non-residential education and training centres No permitted change
– – – –
D2 Assembly and Leisure Class XVII and Class XVIII Cinemas, music and concert halls Dance, sports halls, swimming baths, skating rinks, gymnasiums Other indoor and outdoor sports and leisure uses, bingo halls, casinos No permitted change
– – – –
Sui Generis Class XVII Theatres No permitted change 
When you purchase a commercial property, there are several costs that need to be taken into account:
Fees for Any Professional Advisers and Commercial Mortgages

An acquisition surveyor will charge a fee of between 0.5 % to 3 % of the total cost of purchase. Solicitor’s fees are generally between 0.5% to 1.25% of the value of the transaction. You also may need a commercial mortgage to finance your property purchase.

Business Rates
Business rates are based on the rateable value. These valuations are carried out by The Valuation Office Agency (VOA). These are revised on a periodic basis.

Others costs involved
Insurance, repairs, maintenance, running costs or Service charge (lighting, heating, any cleaning services etc), Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), deposit…

It may be necessary to obtain a commercial mortgage in order to finance your property purchase.

The first step that you need to take is to find a lender who can offer you the best deal, whether it’s from a major bank or a building society.

It may be worth seeking professional help from a commercial mortgage broker to meet your business needs. Many commercial brokers specialise in specific sectors and therefore the obvious choice would be to choose the one who has specialist market knowledge in the sector of your business. A commercial broker is constantly monitoring the market to ensure you are benefiting from the best deal.

Contact us where we can put you in touch with our preferred mortgage brokers.

You may want to investigate whether there are any capital allowances available for you to reclaim. You can reclaim expenditure on your commercial property against your overall tax liability.

Please contact us for more advice.

When you have found the commercial property that meets your business needs, it is highly recommended that you compare the price within your chosen locations. If you are satisfied with the sale price, then proceed to make a written offer to the seller. This will usually be submitted through our Commercial Estate Agents.
Until contracts have been exchanged, the vendor can opt to sell to another interested party, unless a lockout agreement has been entered into.

Completion typically follows a month later but can be varied prior to exchange of contracts and will be clearly set out in the HOTS. This is when you pay the remaining balance and the contract is complete.