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Five tips to purchasing commercial property in Ottawa

Commercial buildings
Commercial buildings

If buying, selling, or leasing a commercial property was as simple as just signing on the dotted line, anyone could do it. But it can be a complicated, risky process, and requires the assistance of a professional.

When it’s time to expand your business or make an investment there are many decisions to be made. A commercial member of the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) Commercial Services Network (CSN) can help combat the uncertainty in any commercial transaction.

Here are five tips in navigating your next purchase of commercial real estate.

1. Define what you’re looking for

What is your dream commercial property? Where is it located and how many square feet do you think you might need? OREB’s Commercial Realtors can help identify and assess the needs of your organization.

“CSN Members are experts in identifying and assessing the needs of entrepreneurs,” says past CSN chair Geoff Godding. “Commercial Realtors can also assist a client in assessing whether it would be more advantageous to lease or purchase a commercial property. This requires thorough analysis and planning.”

2. Assemble a team

Once you’ve made the decision to move forward with a purchase, or lease of commercial property, CSN members can help you find the right space and ultimately to negotiate and close the deal.

“CSN members can assemble a team of experts to guide clients through things like environmental assessments, and ever-changing mortgage rules, in order to protect our clients’ interests,” says CSN chair Mitch Gauzas.

3. Get a good look at available properties

Give yourself ample time to gather information on available properties. Keep in mind that your business may expand in the future. A member of the CSN will be able to assist you to find the perfect space.  

“Don’t be afraid be ask your Commercial Realtor about current market conditions and be sensitive to the time of year,” says Tim Lee, broker and CSN member. “Both sellers and buyers will have different motivations based on these factors. OREB’s Commercial Realtors have the data and experience to provide timely suggestions that can make a big difference in your budget.”

Fun Fact

OREB’s MLS® System is a cooperative selling system and the data is shared amongst more than 3,000 Realtor Members.

4. Calculate your return on investment

If your organization decides to purchase property as an investment, the key is to determine your return on investment. You don’t want to move too far into the process before realizing that maintenance, repairs and financing costs will erode an unacceptable portion of a property’s income. Realtors can assist in the process and perhaps identify other properties that could yield a higher return.

“Through our membership in the Canadian Real Estate Association, we have access to quarterly commercial snapshots of key economic indicators for commercial real estate, as well as financial models, and calculator tools,” says CSN chair Mitch Gauzas.

5. Set your goals, enter into negotiation, and close the deal

Going solo without representation can leave parties in a vulnerable position when entering into negotiations. Realtors are required, through a strict Realtor Code of Ethics, to protect their clients’ negotiating position and have the expertise to do so. Before going through the negotiation process, make sure your Realtor understands your goals and your budget.

“Many Realtors are highly trained negotiators and have taken certification and designation courses through OREB’s continuing education program,” says Mike Lewicki, broker and CSN member. “CSN Members also have access to a variety of resources offered through our exclusive memberships in both the Ontario and Canadian Real Estate Associations, such as WEBForms which offers the most up-to-date legal real estate forms and clauses to Realtors,” says Lewicki. 

What is a Commercial Realtor?


“Realtor” is not a job description. It is a trademark of the Canadian Real Estate Association and stands for service, competence and high ethical practice. Ottawa’s Commercial Realtors are members of a local Commercial Services Network. They advise, recommend, caution and counsel their clients with a level of expertise that brings value to any transaction. They offer services in providing appraisals, sales and acquisitions, representing tenants and landlords, investment purchases and property management.

Commercial listings are also uploaded to where they reach a global audience. is a marketing site operated by the Canadian Real Estate Association. It can be accessed by anyone. boasts 264 million visitors in 2018 and 5.3 billion page views. Only Realtors have access to the MLS System, and only Realtors can post listings on the MLS System.