From the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Your Massage Practice Location: Should You Rent, Lease or Buy?” by Margo F. Bowman, in the December 2008 issue. Article summary: As part of the process to finding “the” spot to practice, you will need to make a decision as to how you will acquire it. There are basically three choices: rent; lease; or purchase. In addition to their financial ramifications, these options represent time periods you might occupy that particular space—short term, mid-term and long term, respectively.

Real estate normally appreciates in value, although in today’s market you need to perform due diligence to determine what your location has experienced in terms of holding or losing value. When you do decide to sell the building, it will take longer than residential property. Days on the market were increased in recent months due to the financial woes the country has been experiencing.

There is a report compiled quarterly by MIT Center for Real Estate on the trend for commercial property sales. It is called the transaction-based index (TBI). Results for the second quarter of 2008 showed a 2.7-percent decline in properties sold. This could be beneficial at a point where you are the buyer, but would be a determent if you are a seller.

One way to find specific information on property in your desired area is to go into After putting in the city name or zip code for the area of the property you are interested in, available commercial properties will be listed. When you select one and hit enter, they offer a free membership.

Once your data is entered, you get specifics on the property you are interested in including all the demographics: male/female, age breakdown, population change, housing units, household income averages, retail sales volume by various categories, one of which is other health/personal care services. All of this data is shown in three columns representing a one-, three- or five-mile radius around the location you are pursuing.

You would also want to have as part of your offer to purchase, a provision to see the paperwork on the rental income and expense history and an independent inspection of the property.

Margo F. Bowman