I am often asked how things are going in commercial real estate and this from people not in the real estate business. Many of them are looking for indicators that the economy is starting the long climb out of the free fall of the last two years. I tell those that ask that now is the perfect time to expand or start a business, which I did not say over the last two years. Now is when you can lock the price for one of your biggest expenses, RENT. You will not find cheaper rents out in the market than now and in six months they will be starting to climb, some areas have already done so. I see many taking advantage of this in both startup businesses and expansions. We have seen several companies from outside the Coachella Valley starting satellite offices here as well.
When you make the decision to get a business location it is always important to know what questions to ask.
What does the monthly rent cover?
Is the rent all-inclusive, or will you have to pay utilities? Who are your service providers? These are important questions to ask so you know how to budget for your recurring expenses.
Who is responsible for what expenses and upkeep?
What are the guidelines for space customization? What will the landlord be paying for and what are you expected to take care of? You need to be clear about your expectations at the beginning, before you sign anything, so you aren’t surprised by anything once you are committed to a space.
Who do I call for maintenance issues and can I trust it will be taken care of?
It is important to have an established contact with your landlord and confidence that they will follow through on their promises. Many times you can get cues from the negotiation process about how your working relationship will go. If anything doesn’t seem right, don’t be afraid to pursue other options.
How stable is the ownership (a big question in these times)?
Is the building going through a refinance, change of ownership or even foreclosure? Can you trust that your business will be uninterrupted during a transition? Would a potential change in ownership effect your lease?
You have a business to run and these are not things that should occupy time you can spend on growing that business.