Most business owners don’t know what real estate options are available to them when it comes time to sell the company.
Understanding the value of the real estate and the tax liabilities associated with it is important, according to a December 2018 article in Divestopedia describing options for business real estate when selling a company. Understanding one’s business real estate options will ultimately help in achieving “the goals desired in a transaction.”
There are two main options:
- Sell everything including the real estate.
- Hold onto the real estate for the rental income.
If you, as the business owner, personally own the real estate in a separate entity, then you are good to go, according to Divestopedia. You should have a “clear path to valuation.”
However, if your company owns the real estate, then things get a little more complicated. In this situation, you should have a third-party appraisal of the real estate so that its value is clear. If your business is a C-Corp and your business also owns the real estate, then it’s a good idea to talk to your accountant as there will be differences in taxation.
Every situation is different. Many buyers will prefer to acquire the real estate along with the business. On the other hand, many buyers may prefer a lease, as they don’t want everything that comes along with owning real estate. Communicating with the buyer regarding his or her preference is a savvy move.
If you do plan to retain the building, then you’ll want to be certain that a strong lease is in place. Ask any business broker about the importance of having a strong lease, and you’ll get some pretty clear-cut feedback. Namely, you always want to have a strong lease.
Issues such as who repairs what and why should all be spelled out in the lease. It should leave nothing to chance. One of the best points made by the Divestopedia article is that you will want a strong lease for another key reason. When the time comes to sell the property, you want to show you have a lease that is generating good income.
Real estate and the sale of your business are not one-dimensional topics. There are many variables that go into selling when real estate is involved. It is important to consider all of the variables and work with a business broker who can help guide you through this potentially complex topic.
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