Top 5 Reasons Commercial Properties Don’t Sell

September 25, 2022

There are countless problems that can prevent a commercial property from being sold. However, among those myriad issues, there are five which are, by far, the most common that prevent the successful sale of commercial property.

If your commercial property didn't get sold, or if you're considering the sale of your commercial property, this article is worth reading.

By the way, the information in this article applies equally to leasing commercial property.

5. Poor Advertising

Unless prospective buyers know that your commercial property is for sale, your property won't be sold. The only way prospective buyers are going to learn about the availability of your property is through advertising.

Failure to properly advertise a property in the type of media that's most relevant for the type of property being offered is one of the most important reasons why a commercial property fails to sell.

4. Difficulty Showing the Property

Difficulty in being able to show the property is another of the top reasons why a commercial property doesn't get sold. And, while you might think the cause of this problem is due to an uncooperative owner or listing agent (which is sometimes true), there are other reasons why it's sometimes difficult to show a property.

For example, there are times when dangerous activities are taking place on the property that would be hazardous to visitors, such as in certain manufacturing or chemical processing procedures.


Another example is when there is an uncooperative tenant who may be using this tactic to extort a concession from the landlord-property owner, or is simply seeking retribution for some unknown reason.

Then we have the seller who is intentionally uncooperative. A seller's lack of cooperation in allowing their property to be shown can have several different causes ranging from having a disagreement with their listing agent to being less than fully committed to selling the property.

Regardless of the reason, the fact remains that difficulty in showing a commercial property typically results in few, if any showings, and generally results in the property not being sold.

3. Agent Negotiating Skills

One of the most common, yet one of the least recognized reasons why a commercial property doesn't get sold is because of the poor negotiating skills of either one or both of the real estate agents.

A skilled negotiator has an arsenal of strategies and techniques to reach a successful result. But, there are a few basic rules that are common to every successful negotiation.


While isn't going to be a dissertation on how to conduct a successful negotiation, I will say that negotiating to reach a conclusion that satisfies both parties in a commercial real estate transaction requires:

1) Complete understanding of the intricacies of each of the many types of commercial real estate and the issues related to the sale of each.

2)  Experience in successfully interacting with many different types of personalities.

3) Being able to quickly identify the personality type of the person with whom you're negotiating, and

4) Having extensive experience with successfully negotiating with many different types of personalities in many different situations.

When both real estate agents are skilled negotiators, neither will get everything their respective client wants. However, both agents will satisfy their client's most important requirements in a successful agreement.

However, when one or both agents lack negotiating experience, result frequently ends with a poor outcome for one or both parties.

2. Agent Cooperation

An important ingredient in the creation of a successful sale of a commercial property is the listing agent's willingness to reasonably cooperate with other commercial real estate agents.

Reasonable cooperation with other commercial agents includes:

1) Making appointments for cooperating agents to show the seller's property to buyers.


2) Answering questions about the availability status of the property.

3) Providing property income and expense information (subject to the approval of the property owner).

4) Provide information about the seller's willingness to holding part of the purchase price as either a first or second mortgage, the seller's preferences concerning a closing date, and other things that can help eliminate wasting time dealing with stress-point issues during formal negotiations.

Consequently, the lack of cooperation by the listing agent toward other agents is one of the top reasons that significantly reduces the probability of selling a property.

1. Pricing

Among all the reasons why a commercial property doesn't sell is the direct result of its offering price. An asking price is too high serious prospective buyers won't consider it because they have the opinion the seller isn't serious about selling.

However, the cause of over-pricing isn't always the fault of the property owner. Frequently, the seller's inexperienced real estate agent may have incorrectly induced the seller to over-price the offering.

In today's commercial real estate business, there is a large and growing number of inexperienced new agents and "cross-over" agents (a cross-over agent is a residential real estate agent who's trying to break into the commercial real estate business sector with no professional education or experience).

Neither of these inexperienced agents has the requisite education, knowledge, and market experience to form a reasonable, well-supported opinion of commercial property's value.


Another contributing factor to this problem is that very few new agents and cross-over agents work under the guidance and direction of an experienced commercial broker or agent to help them properly and ethically serve the best interests of their prospective seller clients.

And, because there are so many new agents and cross-over agents trying to "fake it 'til they make it," many unwitting property owners are at a disadvantage because they don't know how to determine an experienced commercial agent from an inexperienced "newbie."

Bonus Information

How to Quickly Separate the Newbie from the Professional

By now, you likely realize the importance of hiring an experienced commercial real estate agent to sell or buy a commercial property.

And, while there's a long list of ways to determine whether the agent you're talking with has the experience you need and expect, here is a quick and simple way to find out.

Ask the agent to provide you with a copy of their curriculum vitae (CV) which is a summary resume used by every real estate professional.

An agent's CV will give you an overview of their work history, how long they've been in the commercial real estate industry, what type(s) of property they typically deal with, their professional education (not to be confused with academic/college education), their professional designations, awards they may have received, and other information relevant to their commercial real estate experience.

Finally, if an agent's CV doesn't indicate an extensive history dealing with commercial real estate or doesn't immediately produce a CV, this strongly suggests that the agent is not an experienced commercial real estate agent.


Contact me for a complimentary and confidential conversation to learn how I can help you get your commercial property sold for the best price and terms.

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