CRE Strategies

Wholesale Commercial Real Estate: The Comprehensive Guide

John Ledger

8 min read

What is Wholesaling and How Can it be Used in Commercial Real Estate?

Wholesale commercial real estate is a strategic approach to investing that has gained prominence in the commercial real estate sector. While it might not sound as glamorous as flipping mansions on reality TV, wholesaling is a valuable strategy that can be a stepping stone into the world of commercial real estate investment.

In essence, real estate wholesaling is a process of identifying promising investment opportunities, securing them under contract, and then transferring the rights to purchase the property to another investor. The wholesaler doesn’t typically take ownership of the property; instead, they earn a fee for facilitating the deal.

Wholesalers are essentially deal-makers and intermediaries, connecting motivated sellers with buyers who see potential in a property. This practice can be lucrative for those who can effectively source opportunities, negotiate favorable contracts, and secure reputable buyers. However, it’s not without its challenges, including market competition, legal complexities, and the need for a reliable network of industry professionals.

This concept is particularly attractive in the CRE world, where properties are often more substantial and the financial stakes higher. Wholesaling can be applied to various commercial property types, including office buildings, retail centers, industrial warehouses, and more.

Pros and Cons of Wholesaling


Commercial real estate wholesaling offers several advantages to those interested in this investment strategy. Firstly, one of the most attractive aspects is the relatively low capital requirements. Unlike traditional real estate investments that often demand a significant upfront investment, wholesalers don’t need to purchase the property. This can be especially appealing to individuals looking to enter the commercial real estate market without a massive financial commitment. Another enticing feature is the quick profit potential, often accompanied by substantial profit margins. Wholesalers can identify and secure valuable deals and then pass them on to eager buyers, pocketing the difference. This speed and profitability are appealing for those seeking a rapid return on investment.

Additionally, commercial real estate wholesaling doesn’t entail property ownership responsibilities. Wholesale commercial real estate investors don’t have to manage the property, handle maintenance, or deal with tenant-related issues. This relieves them of the day-to-day management burdens that come with owning commercial real estate.

Finally, the commercial real estate wholesaling market is generally less saturated compared to other single family residential wholesaling strategies. This means that there are still ample opportunities for those who can identify valuable properties and secure them under contract, making it a less competitive niche within the industry.


While there are numerous advantages to commercial real estate wholesaling, it’s not without its challenges. One of the primary barriers to entry is the requirement for extensive contacts and a deep understanding of the market. Building a robust network within the industry can take time and effort, and newcomers may find it challenging to establish these essential connections.

The success of commercial real estate wholesaling is heavily reliant on the presence of both motivated buyers and favorable market conditions. If there’s a shortage of buyers or the market isn’t conducive to quick transactions, it can hinder a wholesaler’s ability to close deals. Additionally, the timeline for closing deals can be quite tight, particularly for substantial properties, adding pressure to the process.

Another significant drawback is the feast-or-famine income pattern. Wholesale commercial real estate investors often experience periods of high earnings followed by dry spells. This unpredictability can make financial planning more challenging compared to other investment strategies that offer consistent rental income.

Furthermore, unlike those who invest in commercial properties with the intent of leasing them for rental income, wholesalers don’t benefit from passive income opportunities. They earn profits through one-time transactions, so there’s no long-term rental income to rely on. Additionally, they don’t enjoy the tax benefits that come along with owning real estate.

Lastly, wholesalers are dependent on property sellers agreeing to let them wholesale the property through purchase options agreements and due diligence extensions. Not all property owners are open to this approach, which can limit the number of potential deals a wholesaler can secure.

Costs and Considerations:

In addition to the pros and cons, there are several costs and considerations that aspiring commercial real estate wholesalers should bear in mind. 

  1. Due diligence is a critical component of the process. Thoroughly evaluating the property’s condition and potential profitability is essential to avoid overcommitting and to ensure that the deal is worth pursuing.
  1. Building a robust network of industry contacts also comes with its own costs. This may involve attending real estate events, joining associations, and maintaining relationships, all of which require both time and financial investment.
  1. Effective marketing and establishing a reputable name within the industry are vital components of a wholesaler’s success. This may necessitate expenditures on advertising, website development, and branding to attract both sellers and buyers and to establish credibility in the field.

The Wholesale Commercial Real Estate Process

Step 1: Build a Network and Find Leads

In the world of commercial real estate wholesaling, success starts with building a robust network. This network encompasses potential buyers, sellers, real estate agents, brokers, and fellow investors. A strong network is your ticket to uncovering valuable leads and opportunities. The more connections you establish, the greater your chances of finding the right deals. Market research is the compass that guides your efforts. It’s essential to identify distressed or motivated property sellers who are in a hurry to divest themselves of their assets. These individuals are more inclined to consider a wholesale commercial real estate deal, making them the prime targets of your efforts.

Step 2: Due Diligence and Property Inspection

Before you secure a property under contract, conducting real estate due diligence is paramount. It involves inspecting the property, assessing its condition, and understanding its potential. You can either carry out this inspection personally or enlist the expertise of a professional. Not only does due diligence help you confirm the property’s condition, but it also lends credibility to your presentation when you approach potential buyers.

A comparative analysis of the property’s market value and its potential profitability can be helpful when comparing due diligence and properties. This analysis not only aids in negotiations with both sellers and buyers but also allows you to determine the property’s market standing and potential for appreciation.

Step 3: Negotiate Seller Contract

With the due diligence completed, the next step is to negotiate the purchase agreement with the seller. The terms of the contract are of utmost importance. Ensure that the contract includes the right to assign the deal to another buyer: this is the cornerstone of wholesaling. Financing is a pivotal part of this negotiation: this financing covers the contract deposit and any due diligence expenses. You might utilize your own capital, seek out private investors, or turn to hard money lenders to fund this phase.

Finally, flexibility in the timeline is integral to a seller contract negotiation. Extend the due diligence timeline as much as possible within the bounds of your contract terms. This can be done in a number of ways, but often takes the form of incentivizing the seller by offering additional deposits for each extension if the wholesaler backs out of the contract. This extra time provides the breathing space needed to locate a buyer and conduct additional due diligence on their side.

Step 4: Market to and Find Buyers

Concurrently, you must initiate marketing efforts to promote the property contract to potential buyers. Your list of potential buyers is a dynamic asset that you need to nurture throughout your journey. Employ various marketing strategies to attract and engage interested parties.

Step 5: Negotiate with Buyers

When a potential buyer expresses interest, it’s time to negotiate the terms of the assignment contract. This contract allows you to transfer your property rights to the new buyer while specifying fees and other pertinent terms. Negotiation is a critical skill in this phase.

Maintaining control over the deal is a strategic necessity. Achieve this by utilizing purchase option agreements with the seller, allowing you to assign the contract to another buyer. This level of control is essential in the fluid landscape of commercial real estate wholesaling.

Step 6: Close the Deal

The ultimate objective is to close the deal. Ensure that all parties involved are aligned, and the transaction proceeds smoothly. Your fee typically represents the difference between the purchase price in the original contract and the sale price in the assignment contract. Oftentimes, this fee is only awarded after the closure of the deal, so it is in everyone’s best interest to see the deal through to the end.

Once the deal is successfully closed between the buyer and seller, it’s time to collect your fee. You have the flexibility to receive this fee in cash or choose to roll it into equity in the property, offering you the potential to participate in any upside the property may offer. This decision often depends on your specific financial objectives and strategies. 

In conclusion, wholesale commercial real estate can be a lucrative income opportunity, but has high barriers to entry. With the right combination of networking, marketing, and sales expertise, wholesaling commercial real estate can become a steady and profitable business.

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