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Buying and Selling Commercial Real Estate

Whether you are interested in buying or selling an office, shop, industrial unit, licensed premises, care home, surgery or any other type of commercial property, you need the right support to turn a proposal or an agreement in principle into a concluded deal for you.

Buying or selling commercial property is significantly different from domestic conveyancing and our specialist Commercial Real Estate team can help you navigate any complexities and issues that can arise.

Purchase and sale issues

Each commercial property transaction brings its own specific concerns, but here we look at some of the common issues involved.  

Whether you are selling land for development, residential property for rental portfolios or business units for commercial use, it can be a stressful process. You will need to make sure you cover key issues such as compiling the necessary selling documentation, reaching your target buyer audience effectively and concluding a contract that meets your requirements.

Our Commercial Real Estate team is highly experienced and will advise you from the outset on exactly what a prospective buyer will require from you to ensure that the sale proceeds as smoothly and as quickly as possible, and support you through the whole process.

Every sale transaction is different and we are able pick out what documentation is really necessary and negotiate on the terms of the contract for sale on a case-by-case basis. We also work closely with our extensive estate agency operation to help you reach a wide buyer market. And, if you are selling at auction, we can help prepare the auction contract and legal pack, and handle the completion of the sale.

If you are looking to buy a commercial property, you need to carry out due diligence to properly evaluate the risks and commercial potential of the land or building.  Our expert team can help you decide the extent of the diligence you need to be undertaken, fully investigate the information shown and provide you with a clear, easy-to-understand report with informed, pragmatic advice to help you decide on the purchase.

With a commercial property purchase, you should have your funding in place in good time to enable the purchase to proceed smoothly. We can liaise with banks or building societies or their appointed agents from the outset for you to make sure that this happens.  

We will work with your other professional advisers, including your accountants, surveyors and architects, to facilitate a smooth transaction. We also collaborate with our Corporate team colleagues where a purchase involves business elements to ensure that these, including any applicable premises licences, are transferred to you along with the property.  With pragmatic and clear advice on all areas concerning your purchase, we can help you be fully informed on your purchase before you enter into any agreement that is legally binding.

Whether you are investing in a property as a buy-to-let for income or to diversify a portfolio to limit risk, it makes sense to take expert advice on your commercial property investment.  This can help you find the right property for your plans and put the right finance structure in place for the deal.

Our Commercial Real Estate team have experience of acting for all types of property investor, ranging from individuals to large investment funds, and dealing with both commercial and residential investments. If you require a new company or other vehicle to facilitate the investment, we can advise you on the structure that best suits your circumstances and help put it in place.

If you are an individual interested in investing in property for rent, you may be able to do this through a self-invested pension plan (SIPP).  At Thorntons, we have particular expertise in this area, advising on the purchase of commercial property through SIPPs, acting for the trustees of the SIPP in the acquisition and then in letting of the property to tenants.

The majority of commercial property transactions in Scotland are subject to Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT). LBTT is a progressive tax applied to residential and commercial land and buildings transactions (including commercial purchases) where a chargeable interest is acquired. We can complete the LBTT return on your behalf and apply the available reliefs and exceptions. With our experience, we can also structure transactions to ensure that you do not pay more LBTT than necessary.

There are also other potential tax implications to be aware of in commercial property dealings, such as VAT, Capital Gains Tax, Capital Allowances and Inheritance Tax.  We can advise you of any such issues, and can work with your accountants to help keep your tax liabilities to a minimum.

How can Thorntons help?

Our Commercial Real Estate team is highly experienced in the sale and purchase of every type of property, from shopping centres to portfolios of flats and from contaminated waste ground to purpose-built industrial units. Each transaction brings its own specific concerns and issues, and we will work closely with you to make sure that these are dealt with quickly and appropriately.

When acting for buyers, we often also liaise with banks or building societies or their appointed agents to ensure that funding is in place for any loans or charges in good time to enable the purchase to proceed smoothly. We will carry out a full investigation of the title deeds and report to you on the title conditions, highlighting those that may affect your intended use or redevelopment.

We can also advise you on land and buildings transaction tax liabilities or any VAT, Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax implications of the transaction.

If you are selling, our commercial property solicitors will advise on what a prospective buyer will require from you and make every effort to ensure that the sale proceeds as smoothly and as quickly as possible.

Call the Thorntons Commercial Real Estate team on 03330 430350 to find out more about how our commercial property lawyers can help you with the purchase or sale of commercial real estate, or complete an online enquiry form and we will contact you.