Survey Says “Yes” — 5 Tips to Use When Scouting a New Office Space

By James A. Schnur, CCIM
President and Designated Managing Broker
Integrated Real Estate Solutions

There is a tremendous amount of pressure on business owners and operators going into the office relocation process. For many, the hunt for that ideal building or office, the itch to be out of the space they are in, and they want to move through the relocation process quickly leads to overlooking or ignoring critical considerations while rushing into a space that ultimately isn’t the right fit for their business. And in committing to a less-than-perfect fit, the business and its future potential suffer. It is understandable why business owners just entering the relocation process would be hesitant or overwhelmed while vetting locations and scouting new office spaces.

Unwinding the potential anxiety, doubt, and stress while scouting out a new office space is difficult, but necessary because business owners will need to be objective and focused before and during their in-person evaluation of prospective office space. Rather than trying to rush through the process or jumping at the first office space that is available, it’s better to take the time to be methodical, measured, and precise to find the best relocation option to align with the real priority: the business’ needs and potential for future growth and success. Use these 5 tips to ensure the focus is set on critical business priorities from the beginning while scouting new office spaces and to help streamline the vetting process without rushing into a less-than-satisfactory office space.

Location is More Than an Address

The location of an office fundamentally affects the ability of a business to function and thrive. Evaluating the location of a potential new office effectively requires considering the needs of the business’s employees, clients, customers, partners, and competitors. Determine if the location is easily accessible via public transportation if ample parking is available for commuters, how close the office is to major roadways, and how difficult it is to locate the office. If a new business is dependent on foot traffic, evaluate how easily the office will be identified at street level and if the surrounding neighborhood and community align with the business’s ability to build business. What amenities are offered onsite or nearby to make employees’ and clients’ lives easier and more inviting to visit the space? An office can be large enough to support a business’s staff and production, but if it is difficult to access, devoid of additional services, or surrounded by competitors in a similar industry, it can easily undercut any advantages.

Prepare Questions in Advance

Being proactive and preparing questions about a potential suitable relocation space in advance serves several purposes. The most obvious is that it allows business owners to be prepared and have a basic framework to follow once they are actually touring the office. It is easy to become sidetracked after stepping foot into what could be the new home of a business, imagining where and how everything will be set up. But a pre-prepared list of questions will keep the focus on the task at hand and ensure expectations for the space align with the reality of what is available.

Working through a list of questions also helps direct the office space search from the start. While preparing questions, business owners may realize there are aspects about a space that they had not yet considered but that would be massive oversights or impediments if not included in the space, such as specific technology requirements or delivery concerns. Alternately, it will show which considerations are more “wants” for a new space versus “needs” to keep the business running.

Plan for Now and Later

Business owners should evaluate a new office space on its ability to support business operations now and in the future. Can the space keep up with growth and expansion? Are there additional spaces around the office or additional floors that could become available to accommodate additional staff? Do the common spaces serve the needs of the current staff and have the potential for an influx of new employees?

Alternatively, are there any concerns should the business need to pivot into a different direction or business model? How can the space be updated or repurposed to integrate new technology solutions and equipment? Investing in a space that is too large can be as costly as investing in one that is too small, as is investing in a space that requires significant build-out to meet a business’s expanding service and product offerings, so it’s imperative that expectations be realistic as well as scalable.

Visit More than Once and Document the Space

One of the most powerful tools from the mass adoption of smartphones is the ability to capture and document information at a moment’s notice. Take photos and videos from every angle while scouting a new office space. Record notes to go along with each area, highlighting positives, negatives, opportunities, and concerns. Documenting thorough digital notes along with pictures makes it easier to disseminate and evaluate these materials with a wider team before passing final judgment on whether a space is a good fit.

It is also essential to return to the space more than once. Visit the area during both the day and night, and document any significant changes. Note anything that differs from what was shared during the initial viewing and tour of the space with the landlord and their representative.

Accept Help and Team with Experts

Everyone has their specialties. Teaming with a commercial property tenant representative broker to help evaluate and scout new office space locations at the beginning of the search will yield results more in line with the ideals of the business and industry than trying to conduct the search alone. The expertise of a commercial tenant representative broker will aid business owners throughout the relocation process, from cutting through confusion from industry-specific terminology to negotiating with landlords directly on behalf of the business owner’s interests and needs. A quality commercial property tenant representative broker such as a member of the team at Integrated Real Estate Solutions will be on hand to provide a curated list of potential properties, attend in-person tours, and walk through the lease terms step-by-step to ensure the business’s best interests are championed and positioned front and center from beginning to end.

The commercial tenant representative brokers at Integrated Real Estate Solutions proactively look at commercial real estate opportunities and solutions that make sense on all levels for our clients. Leverage the experience and expertise of our team of professionals by scheduling time to talk with IRES about your plans and vision. The team at IRES is available to consult and guide your business to the next relocation opportunity that makes the most sense for your continued success.

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.

Author: Jim Schnur

Jim Schnur is the President and Designated Managing Broker of Integrated Real Estate Solutions, Inc. Jim started the firm in 2003 after almost 20 years negotiating and overseeing real estate transactions at Hewlett Packard Co. and Agilent Technologies, Inc.