By James A. Schnur, CCIM
President and Designated Managing Broker
Integrated Real Estate Solutions
During the buying, leasing, or relocation process, touring the prospective locations is one of the most thrilling times. Actually being within the space, walking around, taking in the possibility and potential, is both exciting and overwhelming. It’s one of those times when it makes the entire process feel real, and gives it actual weight, which is why it can also be easy to be so caught up in the tour that one forgets or overlooks several key opportunities. Taking some time, and knowing what to look for, before setting out on the tour can help minimize distractions and keep the focus on securing the best space possible for future business growth. Before setting foot inside a potential space, keep these tips in mind to prepare and to take full advantage of the office space tour.
Know What You’re Looking At
Before walking on-site, do a bit of background homework on the location. Determine what the property is currently being used for, and what it is zoned to potentially be used for, should needs change in the future. Look at the neighboring area surrounding the location, and determine if it will fit your business and employee’s needs because a “perfect fit” location should balance both sets of needs. If the office is within a larger complex, or a building with multiple offices, find out who else is occupying the space.
Depending on who they are, or what industry they’re in, can determine who else will have access to the spaces around your space, and affect variables like foot-traffic density. If you’re looking for a good way to judge what kind of traffic you’ll get around the space, make sure to visit the space after the tour at the beginning and end of a typical business day. These peak times will offer insight into how easy it will navigate into and outside of the space on a typical day.
Look Beyond The Office Walls
When looking at a space, look beyond just the working areas. Dig deep, looking into bathrooms, kitchen spaces, entryways, conference rooms, and lobbies. Consider the space from the perspective of an outsider visiting your office for the first time. What areas will draw their eyes, and which areas will need immediate improvements? How the elevators, stairs, walkways, and escalators? What is the parking situation — on-site, off-site, paid, day-to-day, billed monthly? These considerations will have an impact on day-to-day operations, in addition to the build-out and repair budgets.
Speaking of build-out costs, it’s important to inquire about the space’s build-out and installation processes. If the space doesn’t exactly suit your needs upfront, or if you’re looking to expand space and capabilities within the next five to ten years, these processes and policies will be critical in determining how that will possible. Beyond building up actual walls and floors, inquire about what it would take to expand necessities like telecommunications upgrades, which will have completely different requirements than simple physical add-ons.
Many times, landlords will prefer a tenant to undertake all the work themselves, which can open up negotiations to offset these costs with a Tenant Improvement Allowance built into the lease.
With the importance of the relocation process, now is the time to be selfish with your interests. If a property doesn’t feel like the right fit for what you’re looking for, then it’s perfectly okay to walk away. Take the time to view and weigh multiple locations and different types of spaces to get a feel for each unique offering. Additionally, visit the spaces you’re interested in multiple times, to make sure every detail is accounted for and measured.
It’s a Team Effort
Include other professionals in your search. Everyone has their various strengths, and few are masters of multiple realms. Rather than risking it, consult with professionals like architects and engineers while looking through spaces, as they will be looking at different areas than the average layperson, and know the right questions to ask.
Additionally, use the expertise of a commercial property tenant representative broker to help secure the right locations and the best lease terms. Knowing the terminology, landscape, and your business needs, the tenant rep broker is an invaluable team player to negotiate the lease with your best interests in mind. Furthermore, a commercial tenant representative broker is able to help out with landlord disputes once the lease is finalized, with the knowledge to ensure you are protected based on what you negotiated.
No matter where you are in your relocation process, consider consulting with the professionals at Integrated Real Estate Solutions. The commercial tenant representative brokers of IRES proactively look at commercial real estate opportunities and solutions that make sense on all levels for our user clients. Leverage our experience and expertise by talking to us about your plans and vision.
Integrated Real Estate Solutions, Inc. provides clients with the in-depth knowledge and experience that is critical to determine the right path to your next move, lease renewal, or strategic re-positioning of your real estate portfolio. Contact us or call 847.550.0160 today about your needs, and put our success to work for you.