Allen Buchanan | The Orange County Register

Commercial real-estate brokers are marketing images like this one, of Tribeca. PHOTO: LEONARD STEINBERGCommercial real estate comes in many varieties.

There are warehouses and manufacturing buildings, commonly known as industrial buildings. There are office buildings, which can be two-story walk-ups, high-rises, mid-rises or – if you add a bit of warehouse or manufacturing capacity – flex spaces.

Retail spaces are located in neighborhood shopping centers, malls, power centers or strips.

Institutional campuses such as colleges, hospitals and government buildings are also classified as commercial real estate. And don’t overlook hotels, resorts, and motels.

Whatever type of commercial property you occupy, a crucial question is whether to own or lease it.

Some classes of commercial real estate lend themselves more toward leasing. Few if any regional mall occupants own their space, for example, because the spaces are difficult to divide into smaller ownership interests.

In order to own commercial real estate, the property must have a separate, definable, transferable parcel. Here’s an easy rule: If the space has its own tax bill, it can generally be owned by the occupant. Read more