5 Considerations When Leasing Commercial Real Estate

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I recently authored a post entitled Gotcha Clauses in a Commercial Lease. Wherein, I discussed those nasty sentences in that twelve page tome you were asked to sign - watch out! Today, I'll take a step back and discuss the factors you should consider BEFORE you are ready to ink that commercial real estate lease.

The location. Raise your hand if you have never heard the three most important factors in real estate - location, location, location! Right? But why? Here is why - in no particular order. Your customers may need to find you. May, because some business have zero walk-in or destination customers - others rely upon foot traffic. Access to qualified employees is important for the health of your business. Trucks must deliver your raw materials and transport your finished goods. Employee retention is critical - if you locate out of state, how many will follow? Proximity to your suppliers can save you money. Where do you live? After all, you are the boss. So, location does matter!

The term of the lease. Two common errors I see occupants make are committing to a long term lease when times are frothy or a short term lease when the market is crippled. Business activity fuels a business owner's sense of well being - business is great so I will commit to a ten year lease. Little thought is given to where we are in the cycle, that lease rates are at their all time high, and you would be better served with a five year lease with a five year option. The opposite is true when business bosses are uncertain. Even though landlords are handing out goodies - many opt for a shorter term commitment - three years or fewer.

The leasing entity. Any owner of commercial real estate will require tax returns and financial statements from the corporation, individuals, LLC, or partnership signing the lease. Great! Got those. However, I suggest being preemptive by having your formation documents, information on your previous landlord, bank statements, and history of your company at the ready. Also, give some thought to the reason for the move and why you chose this location. I've witnessed this "story" as the determinant for a tenancy.

The type of owner. A pension fund advisor from New York will view your tenancy differently than a private investor who owns two buildings in Anaheim - and not always more discerning. Speaking "owner" will cause the lease negotiation to proceed swimmingly.

The vibe. How quickly did you receive a response to your lease offer? What additional information were you required to provide from your initial offering package? What do other tenants in the building have to say about the owner - yes! you should talk to a few of them. The answers to these questions will provide a glimpse of your future as a tenant.

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