What to Watch Out For When Using LoopNet and CoStar
The Internet contains an over abundance of information which is readily available at your fingertips. Say you are a Doctor, Dentist, Optometrist or Veterinarian and want to find a new office space to either lease or purchase, or you are doing your own market research on an existing practice to see what kind of rent you should be paying. You google “dental space for lease in ___” and the first links that appear are to LoopNet and CoStar. Both of these platforms are good tools if used in the hands of the right person. They are commercial listing services that identify some of the spaces that are available in your market, and also provide some comparables nearby. This may appear valuable, but allow me to explain why these tools should be used in the hands of the “right” person.
As a healthcare professional, more often than not you won’t know what the rent should be. Generally you have an idea of what you want it to be, or what some of your colleagues are paying. However, LoopNet and CoStar don’t address many key elements that will affect the practicality of a property. Take zoning for example, which can be a key issue to the location of your practice. If a property is not zoned to either be specifically for a medical use or to at least include medical users, you may sign a lease at a property where you will not be able to obtain a use and occupancy permit. Wasting thousands of dollars and countless days to the process that got you there. These platforms also don’t show all of the available spaces that may be in the building, only a portion of them. And most importantly, these listings are controlled by the very people which you pay rent to.
Landlords and listing brokers dictate what you see, and this is by design to keep you from knowing what the deal is you should be getting. You need a real estate advisor on your side to protect yourself from the owner and to make sure you aren’t leaving any money on the table. Only a licensed/healthcare/commercial broker in your market can adequately assist you in this process. They have spent the time and effort needed to be able to call themselves “healthcare” real estate advisors by forging relationships with the best healthcare vendors available, and by creating long lasting relationships with established doctors and dentists. This is not a job a residential agent is capable of accomplishing, and one that if not handled properly, can take multiple years to come to fruition.