What to know before you buy a business

There are important elements to consider when reviewing a business with the intent to purchase.

Taking the time complete a thorough investigation is critical to discover the hidden facts.

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Sage advice for the entrepreneur

As I looked into the eyes of a classroom of entrepreneurs last week I wondered what wisdom I could impart.

My first thought was, good on you. You’ve found a passion and you want to share it with the world!

My secondary thought was, awesome, here comes a commercial real estate agent ready to deflate all your hopes and dreams.

I jest.

But I have heard this comment before, so let’s get it out in the open and have a chat about it.

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Disruption to retail, not death

It’s easy to see the bad news stories about brick and mortar stores shuttering from the overwhelming move of consumers to e-commerce.

But I don’t think retail will ever die completely.

Rather, there is a disruption to the way we’ve known it to be and commercial real estate landlords will have to navigate their way through this new landscape.

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Long term stability for Saskatoon & Regina’s CRE retail sector

While both the industrial and office sectors have displayed somewhat volatile vacancy rates over the past five years, the retail sector has consistently performed well.

Aside from Regina straying slightly over 4 per cent in 2017, both cities have otherwise achieved a number below 4 per cent since 2013.

Let’s take a closer look at each city.

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When not to buy commercial real estate

There are times when it is not wise to invest in commercial real estate.

Alternatively, many potential investors don’t take the plunge out of fear of the unknown and years later regret it.

Let’s look at some examples of when you’d be advised not to purchase.

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Budgeting for success in Saskatchewan

Last week, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Finance Donna Harpauer released her second budget, which projects a $34.4-million surplus for 2019.

Thinking selfishly, I wondered: how does this budget impact commercial real estate sale investment in our province?

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High density spot zoning creates hardship

I purchased my second single family home in 1979. It was located at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in a good neighborhood.

The downside was it backed onto a retail strip mall. That wasn’t a concern for me however because everything within that retail corridor was one storey.

Within a year of owning the home, it was announced that a five-storey office building would be constructed overlooking my rear yard.

I immediately sold the property.

Even though the project was public knowledge, I believed it would be easier to sell before it could be seen that the windows in that towering structure would have a full view of my yard.

From that early, first hand experience I can relate to homeowners that are suddenly faced with a project that significantly impacts the value of their home.

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Wasn’t there a Chili’s here yesterday?

The Regina Leader-Post published an article in 2008 with Stu Rathwell, a franchise partner in the new Regina’s Chili’s Grill and & Bar.

Stu shared that his Saskatoon location would be open by that year’s end.

His optimism about the Chili’s brand was hopeful; if things took off as he was hoping, he predicted people could expect to see several more open across the province.

Fast forward to 2019.

If you happened upon Saskatoon’s Preston Crossing the last week of February, you may have caught sight of Stu’s dream deflating right before your eyes.

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Another retail bricks & mortar obituary

Entrepreneurs Louis and Shaol Pozez could not anticipate 63 years ago that the demise of their discount shoe business would be taken down by a network of computers

This isn’t a story from the rejected piles of Terminator franchise spinoffs; this is a reality.

The Pozez’ conception that grew into Payless ShoeSource brick and mortar stores across the U.S. and Canada are officially shuttering.

Their disregard for advancing online sales, in addition to highly leveraged assets, proved fatal.

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Saskatchewan commercial property taxes below average

I thought twice about writing this post!

Does it risk raising the question with the city administrators: are our Saskatoon and Regina commercial property taxes too low?

Or… does it showcase just one more of the many benefits of setting up shop in one of our two major Saskatchewan cities?

In an earlier post I referenced the 2018 Canadian Property Tax Rate Benchmark Report released by Altus Group, and supporting partner REALPAC with a focus on the commercial to residential tax ratio.

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