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Regardless of Property Needs, Location is Still Key

Many things in real estate – commercial and residential – have changed in recent years, but the importance of location still remains a key.  However, Joseph Leone, Coldwell Banker Preferred Commercial real estate agent in Blue Bell, would like to add an asterisk to the familiar “location, location, location.”

“Main Street may be great, but not if the zoning isn’t correct for your business and what you want to do with it,” Leone says.  So one lesson about location is often ignored: Are you sure the location you have in mind is really the right location?

Peter Rothberg is a Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT agent in Old City Philadelphia dealing primarily with medical, technology, educational (charter schools) and restaurant clients, and he gives a great example of determining what is the right location.  “Old City had a lot of vacant buildings that could easily be reinvented,” he said, and the area courted the technology business big and small.  “They worked hand-in-glove in trying to meet tech’s needs,” Rothberg says, and to match the needs of a young, dynamic workforce, including an urban work location but with affordable housing nearby, good public transportation and bicycle accessibility.

“Prime location for retail may be Main Street,” Leone points out, “but many businesses just need visibility near Main Street, while warehouses need to be near the off-ramp for I-95.”  If a business can literally be located almost anywhere, then the right location may be where the leasing and land are the least-expensive and where there are tax advantages.  But, both men warn, employee commuting can become an issue if not taken into account early in the planning.

Rothberg says that a business’ lifecycle should be considered in finding the right location.  “Many landlords will want a three-to-five-year lease,” he point out, and asks the question of whether the space being considered will fit the needs of a fast-growing business for that time period?  Similarly, an overly aggressive business plan may saddle a company with unused, but paid for, space.

Finally with commercial real estate, Leone gives a final recommendation in marrying location with zoning:  “If someone promises that the zoning can be changed, be sure that provision is written into your lease or contract,” he advises.

But is location equally important for residential property? “Yes,” responded Coldwell Banker Preferred residential real estate agents interviewed.  The residential checklist of location, location, location includes such important considerations as:

  • Does the neighborhood fit the social needs of you and your children?
  • Will public school needs be met as well?
  • What is the tax situation?
  • Is the location a reasonable commute from your jobs?
  • Will finding on-street or off-street parking be a hassle?
  • Does it meet your walkability requirements of having amenities in the neighborhood or outdoor exercise needs?
  • Is it the right ambience – noise, lighting, traffic – for where you want to live?
  • Is the neighborhood gaining real estate value or losing real estate value, should you decide to re-sell in the near future?

For more advice on your commercial questions about location, contact your local representative at cbcworldwide.com.   And to find answers about the importance of location for residential real estate, find a Coldwell Banker Preferred agent in your neighborhood to assist you at cbpref.com.