Whether you own a startup or represent a large company that's moving to a new location, you want to make sure you get a fair lease for your new office space. Landlords naturally have their own interests in mind, so it's important that you remain vigilant and come armed to negotiations with the right information. Following these tips will help you get the best possible deal from your new lease agreement:
Have a Clear Vision
Save yourself time and headaches by beginning the search process knowing what you need. Consider your financial constraints, your size needs and what location will best suit your carefully. Solicit input from your leadership team, so you know what different sectors of your company need from their office space to succeed.
Start as Early as You Can
Commercial leases are far more complicated than residential rent agreements. Finding the right space and finalizing your lease can take months. Ideally, you should begin searching for office space 12 to 18 months before you intend to move in. If the future is uncertain, you could wait until as soon as 6 months before. Waiting any longer will put you at a disadvantage and leave you faced with having to settle for a less-than-ideal agreement.
Know the Market
Due some due diligence before you begin negotiations. Find out what the current trends are in the area. If you're considering space in a building, stop in and get to know the neighbors. See what their opinions are of the building. Also, make sure to double check where your competitors are located in relation to the office spaces you are considering. Many companies prefer not to be in the same building as others that specialize in the same products or services. Another simple but important task is doing a general search online for the building, landlord and property management company. Check out the first page of results to gain insights into their reputations.
Consider all the Costs
Your cost to occupy an office space goes beyond rent. You will also be responsible for common area maintenance. Check the lease carefully for other fees that may be assessed. Also, be sure to find out whether the building has separate utility meters or if you are assessed a portion of the overall utility costs for the building. If it's the latter, find out exactly how your portion is tabulated. Make sure to have any unclear language revised regarding fees as to how and when they are assessed. You don't want to find yourself in a battle over costs in the future, or end up having to pay more every month than you anticipated.
Enlist the Help of Experts
Having a tenant broker on your side can make a huge difference in the outcome of a lease negotiation. Brokers know the market. They understand what's fair and what's not and can help you evaluate your lease in respect to the current trends. Tenant brokers are paid by the landlord, so their expert advice won't cost you a thing. You'll also want an attorney to go over the lease agreement carefully.
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