Guest blog by Holly Welles. Holly is a real estate blogger interested in the ever-shifting landscape of the market. You can read more of her work on her own blog, The Estate Update, and follow her on Twitter @HollyAWelles.
Are you in the market for new office space? The changing face of the commercial real estate market may throw you for a loop if you don't take the time to figure out the best ways to navigate that very specific real estate niche.
Commercial real estate has been in a growth trend, with real estate agents in this category growing at about four percent per year. And anytime there's growth, there are also changes to the marketplace.
Here are four of the best ways to navigate the changing marketplace trends:
1. Utilizing a Tenant Broker
Before you jump in, don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals for the best advice. If you have very specific needs and don’t fully understand the commercial real estate market, a tenant broker can help you navigate the muddy waters of leasing space. Not only does a tenant broker fully understand the local market, but they can also negotiate lease terms and look for pitfalls you might not think to watch out for.
2. Understanding Co-Working Spaces
In the last five years, co-working spaces have grown 200 percent. In larger cities such as New York, the annual growth rate is about 20 percent. The increased popularity of co-working spaces means you have more options in this area than ever before.
This is a trend that coincides with some of the data surrounding shifts in entrepreneurship. One study shows that 75% of women-run businesses are one-person operations, which may make the availability of flexible working spaces that much more attractive for renters who need less square footage than ever.
This isn’t to say that larger operations are left out of the trend. Larger companies have begun to see the convenience factor in the ability to share space, particularly as more workers "go remote" and space is increasingly only necessary for meetings or a handful of management staff.
To get the best deal on co-working space, shop around. Consider a monthly contract, which tends to run less than renting day-by-day. The desire for flexible spaces in on the rise, so you should easily find one that works for your business needs.
3. Finding the Technology You Need
The type of business you run is going to steer the type of technology you need in your new office space. One of the top features new tenants look for is high-speed connectivity. Some 28 percent of digital tech businesses believe it's a challenge to find the level of digital infrastructure needed to operate effectively.
However, don’t overlook older buildings that might simply need to be retrofit. The landlord may work with you to upgrade the wiring inside the building, for example — especially if you plan to lease for a number of years. While modern buildings are a good option, there's also a trend toward green living and modernizing something old rather than creating something from all-new materials.
4. Creating Flexible Workspace
Flexibility is key to the modern workspace, in part because the needs of companies change so rapidly. The cubicle concept that worked yesterday is seen as unproductive by many today.
Once you find the perfect space for your needs, choose the interior design in a way that allows for future growth. This might include office pods that can be reconfigured at a later time and panels that move around even over the course of a day.
Navigating Commercial Real Estate
Take the time to study the commercial real estate in your area. If you live in a small town, the changes may be slower than if you live in a metropolitan hub. Talk to a tenant broker and network with other business owners to find out what the typical lease is like and what you can and cannot realistically ask for from a landlord.
With a little effort, you’ll find the space that perfectly suits your business’ needs, both now and into the near future.
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