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Commercial Real Estate Developers Go Condo

by Joe Hanoa


If you drive down the street of many suburbs or pristine residential neighborhoods, it's likely you will see people holding signs and waving. Whether they are dressed as clowns or just wearing shades, the human directional advertisers are trying to lead people to the many commercial real estate properties on the market today.

Converting apartment buildings

A growing number of commercial real estate developers are investing in old and new apartment complexes. They are converting the buildings into condominiums. Condo conversion became hot in the past two years as interest rates were low and so many people wanted the live the dream of becoming a homeowner. As the price of homes throughout the United States began to skyrocket, commercial real estate developers saw a need. People could not afford expensive single-family homes, but they could scrap up the money needed for a more affordable and smaller condominium. Taking advantage of low interest rates, a number of people purchased condos. But now, it's a buyer's market and a number of condos remain unoccupied. Some commercial real estate investors have decided to try to rent out some of the units until more buyers come onto the scene. If you are interested in investing in commercial real estate for the purpose of turning apartments into condominiums, do your research first. Find out whether the community already has plenty of condominiums or if it's flooded with other investors. Find out how much people are spending on rent. If they can rent for less money than it costs to buy a unit, many people would rather rent, especially if it's a college town or transient area.

Buying versus renting

If you are thinking about buying a condominium, make sure you find out what kind of fees you will be paying in addition to the mortgage, home owner's association fees and taxes. Some communities have community development district fees, maintenance fees and fees for using the swimming pools.

Some of the hottest areas to invest in terms of commercial real estate include North Texas, Naples, Fla. and Tucson, Ariz. A growing number of commercial real estate investors are not just purchasing office complexes to rent out to tenants. Many tenants would rather own their own office suite rather than rent it out.

Finally, it's a wise idea to invest in commercial real estate in areas where professionals can live close to their office. Many new subdivisions or master-planned communities are being built right next door to commercial real estate properties geared for the professional who wants an extremely short commute.

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