Looking for a new office space is exciting because you get to spend a little time looking at commercial real estate and touring professional offices to find what you want for you and your team. The process can also be a little stressful.
It can be challenging to know the right questions to ask while touring a new office space that you are considering leasing. You can look at the common areas and the conference rooms to see if they might fit your company’s needs, but you know you need a list of questions to ensure that you lease the best office space available.
Here are a few questions that need to top your list:
1. What Is the Build-Out Policy?
Not every property you see meets your business’ needs, and it’s up to the business owners to build out the space to make it functional. That includes setting up cubicles, offices, and other workspaces, as well as nooks for electronics like printers or water coolers. The landlord might spearhead the build-out in some cases, while others might prefer to have the tenant handle it.
Your commercial lease must also address who covers the costs of the build-out. You might even get a tenant improvement allowance to make the most of your square feet. You want all work to be completed before your move-in date so your commercial office space is functional for your business’ needs.
2. Is There On-Site Maintenance?
When you’re touring an office space, the property managers are showing all the best aspects of the premises. You might not think about things going wrong, but onsite maintenance is an asset.
From restroom issues to problems in the parking garage, you need to know that any hiccups are handled quickly. You don’t want to spend your lease term calling maintenance and waiting a day or two for a response. If the issue is bad enough, you may need to close your office while waiting for repairs. This is key information that you need to ask the landlord’s leasing agent.
3. What Are the After-Hours Procedures?
Does your staff need to stay late from time to time? Or perhaps, your company does business overseas, and your staff needs access to your commercial space at odd times of the night. Before signing the paperwork with a commercial real estate broker, you need to know that you can access the office space you will be leasing during after hours.
In some cases, you may need to let a security guard know when you have people in the office. It’s possible that you need a code to enter the building after hours. You need to put on your poker face and find out the details before signing an office lease.
4. What Is the Policy for the HVAC System?
When the weather gets extreme, you start thinking a lot about heating and air conditioning. With COVID-19, ventilation has also become a pressing concern. Before agreeing to a commercial lease, you need to ask your tenant rep broker if the cost of the HVAC is included in the office lease.
If it isn’t, do you share the cost of the HVAC with other offices? You need to know if there’s a charge for upkeep and learn from your tenant representative if there’s an extra charge for running the HVAC system after hours. The expense of running the heating system and air conditioner can turn the right office space into one that’s too expensive, so it’s essential to find the answers before signing a lease.
5. Can the Landlord’s Leasing Agent Provide References for the Landlord?
Yes, when you’re touring an office space, you expect that you’ll need to provide references as key information in the leasing process. However, you can ask your prospective landlord for references.
You want to know that they maintain the parking area and repair the HVAC system when it goes out in a timely manner. It’s a good idea to ask about the frequency of visits and inspections. While you want a landlord to stop by and welcome you during move-in, you don’t want one who stops by often enough to need a desk. You should also make sure that your potential landlord returns calls promptly.
6. Is the Building Already Wired for Telecommunications, or What Is the Process for Installation?
You can’t run your business in the modern world without phone lines and access to the internet. If at all possible, you want to find an office space that’s already wired for these business essentials. You may need to look at a floor plan to see how an office space is wired for telecommunications. Is there signage pointing out the plug-ins?
If the potential office space isn’t already wired to meet your telecommunication needs, you must get your tenant representative to find out what the process is for installing these lines. In many cases, there need to be physical changes made to a space to run these lines, and you need to know if you’re going to be charged a damage fee before signing the office lease.
7. How Many Other Tenants Are in the Building? Who Are They?
Before moving into a new office, you need to know how many other tenants are in the building. This is increasingly important if you share some of the costs with them, such as the HVAC. While touring a new office space it’s smart to ask about estimates of these costs to ensure you are getting the best deal possible.
It’s also important to know what other businesses are in the office building. You don’t want to be down the hall from a direct competitor. Additionally, there might be companies in the building that complement your own, and working together could be a catalyst to grow both businesses.
8. Is There a Freight Elevator?
While you may not need a freight elevator all the time, you’ll definitely need one on move-in day. If there isn’t a freight elevator, and your new office space is on an upper floor, you’ll need a plan to get the bulky items upstairs. Also, a freight elevator is essential if you routinely receive bulky, oversized packages or products that you sell to your customers.
Considering Leasing? Touring a New Office Space? Contact the Experts
Planning on touring an office space soon? At the Genau Group, we have more than 100 years of combined experience representing our clients. No one knows the DC area better than we do. When you’re touring potential office spaces, we’re ready to represent your best interests. Contact us today for an appointment.