You know you’ve really grown up when you are negotiating an office space lease with a broker. Getting your first office for your business can be an exciting time, but it can also be a challenging and nerve-wracking time as well. Leasing commercial property is not at all like leasing a home or an apartment – it is a whole other ball game. There is a lot more to think about when it comes to office space. If you are signing a 10-year lease on a home with two bedrooms, it is a lot easier when you know you will only have one child and that is all the space you need. With a business, however, what happens if it balloons in size and you are stuck with a long-term lease? Here are the top five office space lease negotiating tips.
- Know the terms first. Before you start negotiating it is important to know where the landlord stands on the length of the lease and whether you have the option to renew at the end of the lease. You might be getting a really great deal, but if you are legally obligated to the lease for ten years you might be putting yourself in a really bad situation. If you need to, speak with a lawyer before you start negotiating.
- Know all the hidden fees and expenses. It is important to know what you will be paying for – besides the lease. There are some common expenses, like maintenance and electricity, but what about city trash disposal? Landlords are always trying to get away with not having to pay for utilities that they are obligated to pay for, and too many naive business owners fall for it. So, be sure to know what all the necessary fees are.
- How much will maintenance cost? When you lease a home or an apartment, the landlord is responsible for paying for all the repairs and maintenance of the property. However, in commercial real estate, the renter or lessee is responsible for all those costs – up until a certain point. Be sure that you are very clear with your landlord as to what the monetary limit is when it comes to repairs and maintenance. You don’t want the air conditioning system to completely fail and then be held responsible for installing a new unit.
- Know what you are getting. If you are paying for a lease on a virtual office in New York City, make sure you aren’t over paying or held responsible for obligations that are typically required for traditional office spaces – not virtual ones. As virtual office space is becoming more and more popular, landlords are taking advantage of people who aren’t savvy enough to know the differences when it comes to the monetary obligations of the lessee.
- Make sure to read the lease backwards and forwards. If you don’t read the lease – and all its fine print – you won’t have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to negotiating the terms of your lease with a landlord. The more knowledgeable you are, the better your negotiating skills will be.