6 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Agent When Buying a Restaurant

Scott Lavelle
Published on May 15, 2024

6 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Agent When Buying a Restaurant

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways


6 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Agent When Buying a Restaurant

Qualities to Look for When Buying a Restaurant

Frequently Asked Questions

Key Takeaways 
A real estate agent provides access to extensive listings, including those not publicly available, which broadens your options when buying a restaurant.
Real estate agents possess negotiation expertise that can help secure favorable purchase terms and pricing.
Insight into local market conditions and the valuation of restaurants from a real estate agent is crucial for making informed decisions.
Real estate agents can navigate complex legal and regulatory compliance, ensuring the property meets all necessary requirements.
Utilizing a real estate agent’s network can provide valuable connections within the restaurant industry, enhancing post-purchase operations.
Location is paramount; a real estate agent can identify prime locations that match your target audience and business goals.
Operational efficiency and existing systems within the restaurant are essential qualities to look for, as they indicate a well-run establishment.

When venturing into the restaurant business, purchasing the right property is pivotal to success. A real estate agent stands as the primary facilitator in the efficient transfer of property, operating within a highly regulated statutory environment. With their deep knowledge of legislation, the property market, and marketing processes, real estate agents are indispensable in navigating the complex landscape of buying a restaurant.

6 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Agent When Buying a Restaurant

Buying a restaurant is a significant investment that requires careful planning and expertise. While it might be tempting to navigate the process alone, a real estate agent can offer valuable guidance to help you find the perfect establishment. 

Here are six compelling reasons why hiring a real estate agent can make your restaurant purchase smoother and more successful:

1. Access to Industry-Specific Listings

When looking to purchase a restaurant, one of the primary benefits of working with a real estate agent is their access to industry-specific listings. Real estate agents specialize in scouring the market for available properties, including those that are not publicly listed. 

Here’s how a real estate agent can open the door to a wider range of potential restaurant locations:

Comprehensive Market Access

A real estate agent has access to multiple listing services (MLS) that the general public does not. Having a real estate agent means gaining insider access to a broader spectrum of potential properties. This access is crucial in the competitive restaurant industry, where finding the right location can make or break the business. These listings include:

  • Public Listings: Restaurants that are openly available on the market.
  • Off-Market Opportunities: These are properties that are for sale but not publicly listed, often shared within real estate networks.

Importance of Options

Working with a real estate agent provides a significant advantage in finding the perfect restaurant location and setup. The reasons include:

  • Variety of Choices: More options allow for better decision-making, ensuring that you find a property that meets all your criteria in terms of size, location, and price.
  • Tailored Searches: Real estate agents can filter listings based on your specific needs, such as kitchen size, dining area layout, parking availability, and other key features crucial for a restaurant.

2. Negotiation Expertise

When you’re buying a restaurant, the negotiation stage can significantly influence the outcome of your investment. This is where the expertise of a real estate agent becomes invaluable.

Mastering the Art of the Deal

Real estate agents are skilled negotiators trained to handle complex transactions typical in the commercial property market. Their expertise not only allows them to effectively advocate for your interests but also gives you a strategic advantage in negotiations. 

According to a new report by LendingTree, nearly a third (31%) of homebuyers and sellers negotiated with their agents, with a majority of those (64%) successfully reducing their fees. This demonstrates that real estate agents can indeed secure the best possible terms for their clients.

Benefits of Agent Negotiations

By leveraging the skills and experience of an agent, both clients and businesses can navigate the negotiation process more effectively. Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Professional Representation: Real estate agents represent your interests with professionalism and diligence, making sure every negotiation point is addressed.
  • Conflict Resolution: They manage conflicts and smooth out any issues during negotiations, keeping the process moving forward.

Securing Better Terms and Prices

A key aspect of a real estate agent’s role is to help you secure a deal that meets both your budget and your needs for the future restaurant. Here’s how real estate agents optimize your investment: 

  • Price Negotiation: They analyze the market to determine a fair offering price and work to get you the lowest possible price.
  • Terms of Sale: Real estate agents negotiate favorable terms, such as closing times, included furnishings or equipment, and repair allowances.

3. Market Knowledge and Validation Insight

If you’re planning to buy a restaurant, understanding the local market conditions is crucial, and a real estate agent with specialized knowledge can be an invaluable asset. Here’s how a real estate agent can guide you through the nuances of market trends and property valuation.

Understanding Local Market Conditions

A real estate agent’s deep understanding of local market conditions is vital for several reasons:

  • Demand and Supply Dynamics: They can provide insights into the current demand for restaurants in the area and the availability of suitable properties.
  • Economic Factors: Agents are aware of local economic trends that can affect the restaurant business, such as changes in employment rates or upcoming infrastructure projects.
  • Competition Analysis: Real estate agents can assess the level of competition, which can influence where you might want to buy a restaurant and how to position it.

Insights into Fair Market Value and Property Potential

Real estate agents are also instrumental in providing valuation insights. This knowledge helps in making an informed decision about where to establish your restaurant to maximize its potential success. 

  • Appropriate Pricing: They help determine the fair market value of the restaurant properties you are considering, ensuring you pay a fair price.
  • Future Growth Potential: Agents can analyze long-term value trends and development patterns, which can affect your investment’s future worth.
  • Customized Reports: Many agents provide customized reports and analyses that include detailed demographics, traffic patterns, and local consumer behavior.
Assistance with Legal and Regulatory Compliance

4. Assistance with Legal and Regulatory Compliance

The legal and regulatory landscape can be quite daunting when purchasing a restaurant. A knowledgeable real estate agent can be invaluable in navigating this complex terrain and ensuring that all legal issues are addressed properly and efficiently.

Understanding Regulatory Requirements

Restaurants are subject to a wide array of local, state, and federal regulations. These may include health and safety codes, food service regulations, and environmental laws, among others. Here’s a breakdown of common regulatory categories:

  • Health and Safety Regulations: Ensuring the restaurant meets health department standards for food safety.
  • Liquor Licenses: Necessary if the restaurant serves alcohol; involves a separate and sometimes challenging application process.
  • Building and Fire Codes: Compliance with local building codes and fire safety standards, especially in older structures.

Navigating Zoning Laws, Licenses, and Permits

A real estate agent specializing in commercial properties, particularly restaurants, will guide you through the maze of required permits and licenses. Here’s how they can assist:

  • Zoning and Land Use: Real estate agents help verify that the property’s zoning allows for restaurant use. This is crucial before proceeding with any purchase.
  • Procuring Necessary Permits: From building permits for renovations to occupational licenses, real estate agents can help identify what is needed and assist in the application process.
  • Licensing Assistance: Whether it’s a new license application or transferring an existing one, real estate agents can facilitate communication with the necessary governmental bodies.

5. Recommendations and Connections

When it comes to purchasing a restaurant, the role of a real estate agent extends beyond the transaction itself; their network in the restaurant and commercial property sectors provides valuable resources for buyers. 

Trusted Contractors

By working with a real estate agent, you gain access to a curated network of trusted contractors. Here’s how they can help:

  • Quality Referrals: Real estate agents can connect you with trusted contractors who specialize in restaurant setups and renovations. These contractors are often vetted through years of partnerships and previous client feedback.
  • Negotiation of Terms: Agents can assist in negotiating terms that benefit you, leveraging their relationships to get preferential pricing or faster service.

Design Firms

A real estate agent helps you find specialists who can create the perfect ambiance and functionality for your restaurant. Here’s how:

  • Tailored Recommendations: Based on your restaurant’s theme and target audience, real estate agents can recommend design firms that specialize in creating the right ambiance and functional design.
  • Portfolio Insight: Agents often have access to portfolios and can show you previous work done by these firms, helping you make an informed decision.

Reliable Suppliers

Partnering with a real estate agent connects you with a network of reliable suppliers for all your operational needs. Here’s how:

  • Vendor Recommendations: Real estate agents can recommend suppliers for everything from kitchen equipment to food and beverage providers. These suppliers are known for their reliability and quality, essential for maintaining the operations of your restaurant.
  • Volume Discounts: Through their network, agents can often help you secure discounts or beneficial terms with suppliers due to established relationships or bulk buying agreements.

6. Time-Saving and Stress Reduction

When purchasing a restaurant, one of the significant advantages of hiring a real estate agent is the substantial amount of time and stress you can save. Dealing with the intricacies of property transactions can be overwhelming, especially in the hospitality sector. 

Here’s how a real estate agent can facilitate a smoother and more efficient purchasing process:

Efficient Management of Property Visits

A real estate agent efficiently manages property visits. Here’s how they can ensure you see all potential options without the stress of back-and-forth communication:

  • Scheduling: Real estate agents coordinate all property showings, aligning them with your availability and ensuring you see all potential options without the hassle of back-and-forth communication.
  • Transportation and Planning: Agents often help in planning the logistics of site visits, including the routes and timings, to optimize your schedule.

Streamlined Negotiations

A skilled real estate agent can secure favorable terms. Here’s how they can contribute in smoother negotiations:

  • Expert Representation: They represent your interests vigorously, using their market knowledge and negotiation skills to argue for better terms and prices.
  • Mediation: Real estate agents act as mediators who can diffuse tensions and provide objective perspectives during negotiations, preventing emotional decision-making.

Simplified Paperwork and Transactions

A real estate agent can help you ensure that every legal detail is covered for a seamless ownership transfer. Here’s how they handle things to avoid unexpected hurdles:

  • Documentation: Real estate agents handle all the necessary paperwork, from initial offers to final contracts, ensuring everything is in order for a legal transfer of ownership.
  • Compliance Checks: They perform due diligence, verify licenses, and ensure that all regulatory requirements are met, which can be particularly complex in the restaurant business.

Qualities to Look for When Buying a Restaurant

When purchasing a restaurant, it’s essential to consider various factors that contribute to its potential success. A real estate agent with experience in commercial properties can provide invaluable insights into what makes a restaurant a worthwhile investment. Here are some key qualities to look out for, as advised by real estate agents.

Prime Location

A real estate agent will often emphasize the importance of location. The ideal restaurant should be easily accessible to potential customers and highly visible. This could mean being located in a busy city center, near other popular businesses, or areas with high foot traffic. Real estate agents can also analyze demographics to ensure the restaurant’s location aligns with the target audience’s profile, such as: age group, income levels, and dining preferences.

Strong Market Demand

A real estate agent can help assess the market demand by reviewing the existing customer base and the restaurant’s reputation in the community. This involves customer reviews and ratings and return customer rates. They can also evaluate the potential for market growth in the area, considering factors such as upcoming local developments and economic trends affecting dining out frequency.

Adequate Facilities and Equipment

The condition and layout of the kitchen and dining area are crucial. Your real estate agent can help you check if the kitchen is fully equipped and operational and if the dining area is well-maintained and appropriately sized.

Reasonable Financial Performance

A real estate agent will guide you through the financial aspects, including profit and loss statements and tax returns, to judge the restaurant’s financial health. The asking price of the restaurant should reflect its earnings and market position. A real estate agent will perform a comparative market analysis to ensure the price is justified.


Differentiation is a critical quality to look for when buying a restaurant because it allows the establishment to stand out in a crowded market. Restaurants that possess unique selling points (USPs) are more likely to capture customer attention and retain their interest, especially if these USPs align with current consumer preferences or unmet needs. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifications are required to become a real estate agent?

To become a real estate agent, an individual must fulfill several specific requirements, which can vary depending on the location. Generally, this involves completing a predetermined number of hours in real estate courses accredited by a recognized institution or governing body. Next, it requires passing a licensing exam that tests knowledge of real estate laws and practices, followed by obtaining a state-specific license. 

How do real estate agents get paid?

Real estate agents typically earn their income through commissions, which are calculated as a percentage of the property’s sale price. This commission is usually around 5% to 6%, though it can vary. The total commission is often split between the buyer’s and seller’s agents according to the agreement at the listing’s outset. The commission is paid by the seller at the time of transaction closing, effectively reducing the net proceeds of the sale.

Can I buy or sell a home without a real estate agent?

Buying or selling a home without a real estate agent, commonly referred to as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) transaction, is certainly possible but comes with its challenges. Sellers and buyers must handle all aspects of the transaction themselves, including setting the price, marketing the property, negotiating, handling paperwork, and complying with legal requirements. This approach can save on commission costs but demands a significant amount of time, effort, and knowledge of the real estate process.

What is the most expensive part of owning a restaurant?

Labor costs typically constitute the most expensive aspect of running a restaurant. When considering overall operating expenses, labor represents the largest portion. These costs include not only hourly wages and salaries but also related expenses like payroll taxes, overtime, bonuses, vacation and sick pay, as well as employee benefits.

How can I verify a real estate agent’s credentials?

Verifying a real estate agent’s credentials is an important step in ensuring they are qualified and legally authorized to practice. This can be done by checking with the state’s real estate licensing board, which maintains a database of active and licensed agents. This database typically includes information about the agent’s license status and any disciplinary actions taken against them. 

Secure Your Ideal Restaurant Space in Danbury, CT, with Lavelle Remax!

Looking to purchase the perfect restaurant venue in Danbury, CT? Don’t navigate the complex real estate market alone! Partner with Lavelle Remax, your trusted local expert, to find and secure the best properties tailored to your needs. Benefit from professional guidance and insider insights to make your restaurant dream a reality. Contact Lavelle Remax in Danbury, CT, today and take the first step towards your successful purchase!


Contact Us!

Get A FREE Home Valuation!