There are many aspects of running a business that can be daunting to navigate – finding and leasing a commercial space that fits both your needs and your budget is absolutely one of them.
Unless your expertise is in real estate, you can’t be expected to know the market or understand how to negotiate the terms like a professional. The good news is a tenant representative, can help you! Even if you’re not planning to change locations right now, educating yourself on the basic process is always a smart idea.
There’s a lot of information floating around out there that can be quite confusing, so to make the task of finding and leasing a commercial space for your business just a little less challenging, we prepared this “ultimate guide” that will give you a crash course on the most important information. Let’s take a look!
Determine how much space you need and where you need it
It sounds pretty obvious that you’ll need to have an idea of your desired square footage before you begin to qualify properties. What’s not so obvious are all of the different factors that can contribute to how much space you need and where you really need it. Location is just one of these variables. Sure, you want an office that is convenient for your employees, but you may also want a space that is convenient for your customers and brings visibility to your business. For a retail business with a storefront, this is particularly important.
Additionally, you need to consider the space you need right now, but also the space you will reasonably need in the future as you grow. With the popularity of collaborative workspaces, you may also want to prioritize an open floor plan that allows you to create an open and flexible work environment. Don’t forget to include any special needs like extra storage space, multiple conference rooms, co-working areas, etc. Carefully think about all of these details when designing your “ideal space.”
Survey the market
Now that you have an idea of how much space you need and where you need it, you are ready to get to know the current market. This is an important step because it provides you with the knowledge to negotiate and to know the market rate for what you’re looking to rent. Compare multiple properties and make notes of the pros and cons of each. A tenant representative, like Omni Realty Group, can help you pull information on these comparable properties like when a tenant’s current lease ends, how much they’re paying per square foot and if they received any other special deals (like the first year rent-free) that could be used in your favor.
Create a short list
With a good understanding the market, you can begin to narrow down your ideal locations to a short list of qualified properties. If you’re a visual person, make a chart or spreadsheet that lets you see just how they stack up against each other. At the very least, you’ll want to closely compare the pros and cons of their location, amenities and services as well as the history of the current landlord.
Visit them first-hand
The next important piece of comparing those qualified properties from your short list is to tour them in person to really see how the space looks and how it feels walking through it. It’s amazing how one property may appear to be in the lead on paper, but after visiting each in person, another will rise to the top. Since this is a space you’ll be spending quite a few hours in, it’s worth doing your due diligence and touring each one that you are seriously considering. To get the most out of these tours, you should have your tenant representative with you. He or she will offer a second set of (expert) eyes and ask questions or make note of details you might otherwise overlook.
Put together an RFP
After your site visits, your tenant representative will prepare a Request for Proposal (RFP) and distribute it to the qualified candidate buildings that have “passed the test” thus far. Once you receive the responses from the landlords, you can compare all of the offers side by side. A tenant representative can help you create a quality comparative lease analysis that will allow you to compare all proposals as close to apples-to-apples as possible.
Now the “fun” begins! Negotiations can be one of the most stressful steps of the leasing process, but they are a necessary part of formulating a lease both parties are comfortable with signing. It’s highly recommended to seek counsel to review all legal documents and protect your best interests. This is also where a tenant representative is an invaluable resource and can guide you throughout the process.
Customize the space to your needs
With a successful negotiation process, you are ready for one of the final steps which is planning your new space and customizing it with construction, if necessary. Your business is unique, so you can’t expect someone else’s former office space to fit your exact needs. Construction, whether that’s putting up a few cubicles or completely knocking down walls, is a delicate process for a renter. You need to make sure you have explicit approval from your landlord to protect yourself and any investment you’re putting into customizing your space. A tenant representative can expertly navigate the terms of construction and can sometimes negotiate the cost to be covered by the landlord, either in part or in full. This is yet one more very important scenario where you’ll want a TR on your side!
There you have our “Ultimate Guide for Finding and Leasing a Commercial Space for Your Business” with a lot of valuable information to get you started in the right direction. Most importantly, keep in mind that there is even more information you’ll want to consider throughout your hunt for office space and seeking the help from a professional tenant representative can save you time, money and headaches along the way – so don’t be afraid to start a conversation with one today!
Do you have a question about finding and leasing a space for your business? Ask Omni by commenting below!
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