5 Things to Consider Before Buying Commercial Property

Getting commercial property that's right for your business is essential. But what should you look out for before you buy?

Purchasing a commercial property is a significant decision that can greatly impact the success of your business. Whether you aim to attract customers, streamline distribution, or build a team, the choice of property and its location are crucial. Below are essential factors to consider before making this pivotal investment.

Understanding Property Types and Planning Use Classes

Before investing in a commercial property, it's vital to understand its designated 'planning use class'. This classification determines the types of businesses that can legally operate from the property. Common planning use classes include:

  • A1: Shops and retail outlets
  • A3: Food and drink establishments
  • A4: Bars and pubs
  • B1: Business offices
  • B2: Industrial sites
  • C1: Hotels
  • C3: Residential houses

Ensure the property aligns with the planning use class suitable for your business. If not, investigate the feasibility and legal requirements for reclassification.

Renovations, Building Regulations, and Planning Permissions

When changing a property's use, whether within the same class or to a different one, understanding planning permissions is crucial. Some changes may fall under 'permitted development' rights, requiring no prior planning permission. However, significant alterations often need approval.

Before purchasing, assess the property's compliance with health and safety standards and the extent of necessary renovations. Consulting with a commercial property solicitor is advisable to navigate these complexities and evaluate the investment's potential.

Location: The Make-or-Break Factor

The location of your commercial property can significantly influence its success. Consider these aspects based on your business type:

Food and Drink Establishments

  • High foot traffic areas
  • Accessibility by road and public transport
  • Adequate parking facilities
  • Proximity to complementary businesses like nightclubs, cinemas, and stadiums
  • Avoid oversaturated markets with similar establishments

Office Spaces

  • Accessible urban or suburban locations
  • Proximity to public transport and major roads
  • Nearby amenities like restaurants and entertainment venues

Industrial and Storage

  • Easy access for heavy vehicles
  • Proximity to major motorways or 'A' roads
  • Potential for entrance and exit modifications for large vehicles

Assessing Return on Investment in a Post-Pandemic Market

The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced volatility into the commercial property market, presenting both risks and opportunities. Consider the following:

  • Office Spaces: With the shift towards remote work, the future of office spaces is uncertain. This could be an opportunity to acquire prime property at a lower cost, with potential for long-term gains or redevelopment into residential units.
  • Adapting to Market Changes: Stay informed about market trends and legislative changes, such as Permitted Development Rights, which may influence your investment strategy.

Legal Guidance: A Necessity

Engaging a solicitor experienced in commercial property is essential. They can provide invaluable advice on regulations, planning permissions, and the overall viability of your investment.


Purchasing commercial property requires careful consideration of various factors, including property type, renovations, location, and market trends. Professional legal advice is crucial in navigating these complexities to make a sound investment.

Seeking Legal Advice? Find a solicitor to help you with buying commercial property on The Law Superstore.