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Tips on How to Look for Office Rental

When it’s time to find office space for rent for your small business, there are many decisions to make. Knowing the answers to some specific questions will help to ensure that you select the right place for your company, and will help your leasing company direct you to ideal office space. Therefore, it’s going to be up to you to ensure you receive the best terms for you and your business.

Before signing a contract
The first thing you’ll want to do is check with zoning officials to make sure there are no restrictions on your type of business in that area. Once you do this, you can turn to the lease itself. But don’t go it alone. Make an appointment with your lawyer to go over the document and prepare a negotiation strategy. The fact that there aren’t as many restrictions on commercial leases as there are on home properties can actually work in your favor, because you have more room to discuss the terms of the lease. Remember that the person you’re entering into the lease agreement with is a businessperson, too—while he will start the bidding with terms most favorable to himself, he’ll likely be willing to meet you somewhere in the middle to make the sale work.

Unlike rent-controlled apartments, commercial property owners can charge whatever they like, so it’s up to you to do some footwork and find out if your rate is comparable to what neighboring businesses pay. Also, get a stipulation in writing about how often your landlord is able to raise the rent, on what terms and by how much. The lease should also state which party pays utilities. The popularity of the area and whether or not other parties are interested in the space will likely determine how many concessions the leaser will make, but you should attempt to negotiate on all of these terms, even if you think the answer will be no.

While the building owner will have insurance to cover her property, this might not do you any good. Find out if existing coverage will include any of your business equipment and merchandise. While you should probably plan on purchasing coverage yourself, you may be able to negotiate for the leaser to handle some of the burden.

The lease should state who is responsible for making repairs to the property. Hopefully you will be able to get the property owner to cover it, but if not, negotiate reimbursement for necessary repairs. If you simply decide to spruce up the place with new paint after you’ve been there a few months, that will probably be your responsibility. However, you may be able to persuade the property owner to agree to beautification before you move in as part of your signing negotiations.

Options to renew lease and purchase the building
How many years are you tied into your lease and does this amount of time seem reasonable? Do you have an automatic option to renew the lease once it runs out?  In some cases, you might want the option to purchase the building down the road. Putting this in writing up front will likely help you get a better deal if and when the time comes to buy the property.

Special considerations
Non-compete clauses, termination and dispute resolving conditions, expansion and subleasing options are other lease considerations that you and your lawyers should look at carefully before signing.

Don’t think of your lease as eternally bonding; you might decide to move your business, and you will certainly have a chance to renegotiate the lease down the road. For example, if changes in the neighborhood adversely affect the volume of people coming in the door, that’s a reason to try to have your rent lowered or to receive some other sort of compensation. However, taking the time to discuss all of the terms of the agreement before your signature goes on the dotted line will ensure that you have the leverage you want throughout the life of the lease.

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