Can a Real Estate Agent Sell a Business?

Real estate agents are often asked if they can sell a business without any real estate involved. This occurs when a business owner has built a viable business that they would like to sell but they rent the space that their business occupies. These are known in the real estate community as Business Only Listings.

The quick answer is that yes you can sell a business. You do not need a real estate license or any other special license to sell a business.

The more important question though is whether should you sell a business. Selling a business is not the same as selling property in Mentor or in Painesville. There is a lot involved in pricing as well as how to handle all the other potential aspects of the transaction. You should ask yourself if you would be able to handle the transaction to the capacity that is needed. Do you have the skills and knowledge to market the property? You should be careful in accepting the listing if you are not sure you are competent to handle the listing. There are many things that may be involved in the sale that you should be aware of. The current lease must be read fully and understood as far as selling the business to a new owner and if the same lease would be honored or how a sale would affect the new buyer. What equipment may go with the property and how do you determine the value of it? Are there accounts receivable and payable and how do these affect the value? These are just some of the things to consider with the sale of a business. If you are unable to meet these minimum standards then you will not be able to fulfill your fiduciary duty to the client.

If you have the experience required to sell a business and feel you can represent your client’s best interest, then by all means feel free to take a Business Only Listing. When doing so, it is always a good idea to advise your client to have an attorney draw up the contract. We are real estate agents and not attorneys so unless you understand everything in the offer, the attorney should advise on the terms of the contract and give legal advice. This will protect yourself as well as your client when selling a Business Only Listing.

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Joseph A. Zingales is a Broker in the State of Ohio, a Broker in the State of Florida, the Principal of The Zingales Team and has been a licensed Real Estate Agent since January 1998.

Licensed/Certified: Broker, Realtor®, Appraiser, and Home Stager.

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