What is the best way to start investing in commercial real estate? I think the best way is by buying an apartment building. I would recommend a building with at least 100 units in it. It takes the same amount of time and effort to buy a building with 100 units as it does to buy one with 10 units. The cashf low and appreciation are also much greater with a 100 unit as opposed to a 10 unit.
Now that we know apartments are the best way to start in commercial, how do we go about finding these investments? The easiest and free way to start is buy contacting commercial brokers. I would recommend starting on a website like Loopnet. Search a specific area you like and make sure you to put in at least 100 units in the search box. Once you find a building that meets your criteria, email that broker to get some basic information on the property.
When I email the broker, I ask for the marketing package for the property and anything else they have on the property so you can start to analyze the property. What you should be looking for are buildings with high vacancy, bad management, owner that is going through a divorce, foreclosure, etc. You can also put these words into the search criteria to get more specific results. You are looking for the most motivated sellers that you can find, the same as in residential. When you are buying an apartment building you are really buying a business; it is an apartment business.
This should help newbies get off and running when looking for commercial leads online. In other articles, I will go further into other methods of finding and analyzing deals.