On the surface, buying residential real estate is not much different from buying commercial real estate. In both aspects, location is key. Fortunately, business-minded individuals who are aiming to put their well-earned money to good use through commercial real estate investment have an array of options for business-friendly locations, including Birmingham, AL. AL.com writer Joseph D. Bryant reports the city has recently been ranked as one of the emerging cities by an international trade publication.

The annual ranking will appear in the Nov. 10 edition of the business trade magazine.

“We chose our cities not based on any single metric such as GDP or export totals, but rather based on a city-by-city analysis of what each is doing to excel in our categories of interest,” Global Trade senior editor Steve Lowery said in a statement. “We find this to be a more personalized approach that highlights tangible economic development.”

The distinguished honor will likely help budding commercial real estate investors recognize the potential of this thriving city, the largest one in the state of Alabama. Still, there are far more things to consider in commercial property investment than in residential property investment. As such, entrepreneurs will do themselves well to have a Birmingham, AL real estate attorney by their side to help them lock in a good deal. Here are ways for this professional to help:

Verify real estate title

Buying commercial property can be extremely problematic if there is a defective title. This means that the property being sold is not marketable to begin with. Plenty of reasons can render a real estate title defective, such as the seller not being the owner or sole owner of the property. A real estate lawyer can conduct an investigation to confirm if a title is valid or not.

Check adherence to zoning laws

Cities have their own set of zoning laws to ensure that properties are used according to their purpose. Unfortunately, in the hope of making more profit from their properties, some owners expand property uses. For instance, a commercial property being used as living quarters for some employees. Esteemed Birmingham law firms like Cloud Willis & Ellis, LLC can investigate whether a certain property is in violation of zoning laws or not. Zoning violations are subject to civil penalties like imprisonment and fines.

Choosing a prime location for commercial real estate investment is an important factor when assessing its business potential. Unfortunately, a transaction between a commercial real estate buyer and seller can turn into a sour deal unless real estate lawyers are not around to oversee the process.

(Source: Making the list: Birmingham named an “Emerging City” by global trade magazine, al.com, November 4, 2014)