Location, location, location
Instead of asking what buyers are looking for, the question might be, where are they looking? "The No. 1 driver for a buyer
today is where the practice is located," McCormick says. "Historically, future owners would go anywhere for a practice. Now
they're already settled, and that's where they want to practice. Or they want to buy a practice in a specific location."
In these cases, he says, location isn't about the good vs. bad side of the tracks, or a rural vs. urban locale. It's more
based on whether someone wants to go there. This can make the difference between a practice that sells in a few months and
a practice that sells in a few years. McCormick says it's as simple—and as complicated—as finding the person who wants to
live where the practice is located.
"For folks planning their exit, if they're not in the place where future owners statistically want to be, they may need to
plan their exit as if it will take two or three years to find the next owners," McCormick says.
The key point to remember, McCormick says, is that unlike residential real estate, time on the market doesn't decrease practice
value. The value is driven by the return on ownership. "So as long as you keep the practice healthy, the value doesn't drop,"
he says. "In the market right now there are fewer choices. More practice owners are keeping their practices a little longer
because their retirement or the practice took a beating. So they're not selling."
But now is a good time for sellers, McCormick says, because there are a lot of buyers, depending on where a practice is located.
"Practice owners need to first make sure they've got enough energy once their practice goes on the market to keep it going
and keep it healthy," he says.