Getting Started With Net Lease Investments
If you’re new to commercial investing, getting started can seem overwhelming. At Avison Young, our goal is to help our clients understand what they’re getting into and how to make profitable business decisions. You can learn more in depth from our section, Net Lease 101, but to keep moving, here are a few things to look for when evaluating an STNL property:
1| Location 2| Property 3| Tenant 4| Lease
As with all real estate investments, location matters. Is the property in a big city or a tertiary market? Is it on the corner of main and main in a highly trafficked area and do the demographics looks good? Is the area on the decline, is it stable, or starting to experience growth and development? You don’t have to find the property in the biggest or best location, but you do want to ensure there is demand for that location and that there is replaceability if needed. A strong national investment grade tenant can offset a weaker location, however, as a new investor, it’s wise to start off with a solid location and tenant. As you gain more experience and understand the nuances of net lease, you can later leverage this investment into ones that may have more risk.
The condition of the property is a big part of the picture. Is it a well-maintained building with a solid structure and good roof in place? Or, is it in need of work and likely to be difficult to re-tenant without a major capital improvement expense? Obviously, the cost will need to reflect the condition of the property.
Further, is the property built-out specific to one tenant or sector? For example, a property with a drive-thru that’s been used for fast food may be easier to re-tenant with another quick service provider versus a building with garage doors that was once a car repair company. Do note however, that often when these buildings are specific, the tenant has invested a lot into the branding/fixtures/equipment and may be likely to stay and renew for the long haul. All these characteristics play into cost when evaluating the condition of the property.
Choosing the right tenant can often be one of the most important factors in your net lease investment process. Is this a national brand chain with a corporate guarantee? Long standing business with a solid reputation and year after year earnings? Or is it a national brand that has a franchisee guaranteed lease? Is it an operator with an excellent reputation? Make sure to do a full evaluation of the tenant and look at their credit rating. It’s an important piece of the puzzle.
The market place is made up of a variety of tenants, all of which fall into various sectors – quick service restaurants (QSR), pharmacies and convenience stores to name a few.
The lease structure is the last major component of evaluating your investment. Although we won’t go into detail here, you can find more information …
First, you’ll need to understand if it is a ground lease versus a fee simple lease. And is it an absolute triple net lease (NNN) or are their responsibilities dictated for the landlord to handle making it a double net (NN) lease? How much effort you as the owner has to put into the maintenance and care of the property will dictate how much return you desire on your investment. The more effort, the greater the return.
Additionally, how long is the lease and are there options for the tenant to renew? Are their built-in rent increases (rent bumps) to keep inline with the market? There are endless versions to leases and each clause will require consideration. Avison Young’s Net Lease Group specializes in assisting its clients in finding and evaluating leases that match their investment criteria, protecting your equity and building value in the long run. Once
you’ve narrowed down your options, it is highly recommended that you work with an experienced real estate lawyer to review the lease. It may cost a few dollars up front, but in the end, can save you thousands down the road.