7 Considerations When Negotiating an Office Lease Renewal

Negotiating an office lease

Hovering over your office real estate lease is always one thing: the lease renewal. Unlike residential leases, landlords will approach commercial leasees with proposals months in advance of the renewal date. Like residential leases, the terms for the renewed lease include a common element: higher rates.

What most businesses don’t understand, however, is that their fate is entirely in their own hands. Companies don’t have to simply bite the bullet and accept the higher rent conditions; instead, with savvy negotiating tactics and a few tips, you can often find middle ground with your existing landlords – or hunt for new space until the lease expires. Here’s what you and your team should keep in mind when it comes time to negotiate a commercial real estate lease renewal with your current landlord:

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The Most Viable West Coast Cities for Startups

The idea that Silicon Valley is the proverbial bread basket of business innovation and disruption is finally, thankfully, squarely in the rear view mirror.

According to the 2017 Kauffman Index of Growth Entrepreneurship, startup growth is exploding nationwide – and well away from the Bay Area. That’s good news for business owners seeking affordable commercial real estate without sacrificing a chance at a potent and experienced talent pool.

However, the west coast continues to dominate the startup scene, with cities like Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, and even San Diego (yes, San Diego) coming online and competing with Silicon Valley for the latest and greatest business ideas and innovations. There are plenty of reasons to consider each of the following cities when considering an expansion or setting up shop for your latest business endeavor, but it’s ultimately up to you to make it a reality no matter where you end up.

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Life in Austin: How Commercial Real Estate Influences this Texas Powerhouse

Despite the ever-advancing wave of globalization in this connected world, no two cities are the same. While many share similar economic and development trends to cater to new and burgeoning industries, their location, culture, and specializations tend to affect the shape of a city’s future more than any other factor – save one.

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Don’t Forget These Five Must-Haves When Signing an Office Lease

You have found the perfect office space for your company and now it’s time to sign on the dotted line and make it official – but what things should you ensure that you have in that office lease? After the ink has dried on the lease, there is no turning back, so make sure you don’t forget these five must-haves when signing an office lease.

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Rail Yard Telecom Concierge® Now Available on OfficeSpace.com  

Access to fast, reliable internet is essential for any business looking for their next space. That’s why we’ve partnered with Rail Yard to provide prospective tenants with internet connectivity information. With Rail Yard’s Telecom Concierge®, OfficeSpace.com users can now access telecom services and quotes for properties across 40 cities!

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What’s The Most Important Service a Broker Can Provide a Tenant?

In order to better understand how closely brokers’ and tenants’ expectations aligned, we decided to ask the following question: What is the most important service a broker can provide a tenant?

Check out the responses below to see the top answers provided by both sides. You might be surprised to see the differences in the feedback we got.

What is the most important service a broker can provide a tenant? 

Top broker responses:

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Breakdown:

  • Market knowledge: 21% of responses
  • Locating a space that meets their needs: 15% of responses
  • Good communication/Timeliness: 13% of responses
  • Accuracy: 12% of responses
  • Lease negotiations: 10% of responses
  • Honesty: 7% of responses
  • CRE knowledge/ advice: 6% of responses

Top tenant responses:

Tenant Replies.png

Breakdown:

  • Good communication/Timeliness: 37% of responses
  • Locating a space that meets their needs: 15% of responses
  • Helping them get a good deal: 12% of responses
  • Honesty: 8% of responses
  • Market knowledge: 6% of responses
  • Negotiation skills: 5% of responses
  • Access to hard-to-find listings: 4% of responses

So what conclusions can we draw from this?

Market knowledge may not be the most important attribute for a broker from the tenant’s perspective. While this was the number one response from brokers, less than 2% of tenant responses had market knowledge listed as most important broker service.

The second most popular response from brokers was locating a space that meets the tenant’s needs.  Tenants too felt that this was important, and it was a match for second place.  There’s really no surprise here, this is a universal expectation.  

Good and timely communication from brokers is essential for tenants, making this attribute the number one ranked response from tenants with 37% of the responses. Only 13% of brokers marked this as the most important attribute, ranking it the third most popular attribute among broker responses.

Tenants want to get a good deal, and they expect their brokers to help. This answer seems like a no-brainer, so we were surprised that there was a bit of a mismatch between the two groups. For tenants, this was listed in their top three responses. For brokers, this came in as the 12th most popular response with only a small percentage falling this category. We could dive into the differences of responses between landlord representative brokers and tenant representative brokers, and hopefully we would see a difference. However, if we take this at face value, brokers who leverage this attribute could have a big opportunity to attract new clients. 

Tell us what you think! Is this feedback different from what you had expected?

How Are Tenants Searching for Office Space?

Finding your first office space can be one of the most exciting, yet nerve-wracking experiences. The team here at OfficeSpace.com has interacted with millions of tenants who have been in the same position.

This is why in an effort to shed some light on the process, we recently surveyed tenants about their search experience. Part of what we found out was what we expected, while some responses took us by surprise. Here’s a look at what tenants shared with us about their CRE search experience.

How much time did you spend researching commercial real estate leasing online prior to connecting with a broker?

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When asked how much time they spent researching CRE leasing online prior to connecting with a broker, almost have of our respondents (45%) selected “within days”.

How many brokers did you reach out to before selecting one to work with?

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Over half of our participants (54%) also revealed that they had not yet selected a broker to work with yet. Of those who did, 32% said they reached out to 2 to 5 different brokers before selecting one.

If you have not yet selected a broker, where are you now with your space search?

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For those who had not yet selected a broker, 33% had told us that they decided to look for space on their own when asked where they currently were with their space search. 11% of the 33% who decided to look on their own also reported that brokers had not responded to their initial inquiries, so there wasn’t much choice.

How many spaces did you see, or plan on seeing, during your search?

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In regards to space searches, we also asked how many spaces they’ve seen or planned on seeing during their search. More than half (54%) said between 2 to 5.

Do you have a preference for working with a tenant representative’s broker or a landlord’s representative’s broker to help you find a space?

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 2.32.01 PM.pngWhen asked if they had a preference to work with the landlord’s broker or a tenant representative’s broker, 37% of our respondents did not know the difference between the two.  The majority of tenants did not have a preference (44%) while 14% preferred to work specifically with a tenant representative’s broker and 6% preferred to work with the landlord’s broker.

Did you end up signing a lease with the broker you decided to work with?

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Finally, over 66% of tenants said that they did not sign a lease with the broker they initially selected to work with. When we asked for their reasons, 50% had to do with a negative experience with their broker, 26% of the tenants had a change in circumstances in their situation and 18% were still looking for the right space.

We would love to hear from tenants and brokers on our research. Does this information surprise you or is it what you would have expected?  

Eco-friendly office space: Modern Ways to Make Your Office Greener

Contemporary office culture has come a long way since people first started talking about green solutions. Here are a few things to consider when you’re taking steps toward creating more sustainable office practices.

Don’t Forget Your Tech

In today’s office world, suggestions like “recycle your paper” are swiftly becoming much less relevant than energy saving tips involving technology. Although, of course, it’s still important to recycle waste paper, or choose recycled paper in the first place, in increasingly paperless offices it pays to consider the energy use of your electronics. If every person in your office is using a computer, imagine the impact of a company-wide policy governing their energy usage.

Program all computers to enter sleep mode after ten minutes of inactivity, and shut down your computer completely at the end of each day rather than allowing it to enter sleep mode. And if you’re still using screen savers, skip it—screen savers are a vestige of the early days of computers, when the image of your desktop would eventually be burned into your screen if left on too long. A static image—or better yet, black—requires much less energy to run than a moving screen saver. Or better yet, if you’re walking away for a few minutes, just turn your monitor off completely. It won’t affect your computer’s memory, performance, or state in any way, but saves energy just like turning off a light switch.

Choose Energy-Saving Appliances

There are many upgrades you can make in your appliances that will go a long way toward saving power, many of which are already becoming the new standard. Just as energy efficient light bulbs are the new norm, LCD monitors have been swiftly replacing the CRT monitors of the past, and if you haven’t made the change yet you should as soon as possible—not only are they three times as efficient, but the upgrade is inevitable. It’s also worth it in both the long and short run to invest in efficient hardware—when buying your computer processors and accessories, look at Energy Star 4.0 ratings or high EPEAT marks.

There are many things offices don’t even think about that can be made more efficient with upgrades—for example, using virtualization technology to consolidate your servers, reducing your need for multiple physical servers (which are huge energy suckers).

Consider Green or Alternative Buildings

The amount of resources used for brick-and-mortar buildings and traditional methods of construction are often overlooked. The Construction Materials Recycling Association estimates that the construction and demolition industries account for 250 million tons of waste each year (which doesn’t include roads or bridges), and these C&D materials make up approximately 35 percent of all waste generated annually. Luckily, there are greener modes of construction for office space. LEED-certified buildings are increasingly becoming a popular trend in CRE. Through LEED, developers and owners are provided with measurable solutions for creating more sustainable buildings. There are also alternative options, especially if you’re feeling a bit more creative, such as such as PVC fabric buildings, which require a fraction of the construction materials or transport, allow greater amounts of natural light to enter, and are made of entirely recyclable materials.

Incorporate Telecommuting

Telecommuting is more feasible in the workplace now than ever before. With dozens of ways of instantly communicating through video, audio, and computer screen shares, the necessity of in-person meetings has been largely reduced. If your employees or partners can work from home, they save a bundle in terms of the energy that would otherwise be spent on commuting. If you have meetings with clients or partners that would usually require someone driving for miles, consider having digital meetings whenever possible. You might want to allow employees to work from home a day or two out of the week. You’ll save money on your office resources while also saving some gas. 44 million Americans currently telecommute full-time, and that number is growing daily because it offers so many practical and environmental advantages.

In this constantly evolving modern workplace, the ways we think about going green need to keep evolving as well. What are some other things you implement to make your office greener? Let us know in the comments below!

Why Brokers Won’t Return Entrepreneurs’ Calls

It’s a common complaint among entrepreneurs looking for office space. Why don’t brokers call them back? The truth is that the majority of brokers do return inquiries.

At OfficeSpace.com, we’ve found that how you phrase your initial request about space has a huge impact on whether or not you get a response. After analyzing 10,000 email requests in the last six months, here’s what we’ve determined to be the top three types of requests that do not get responded to quickly.

The wishy-washy entrepreneur  

When inquiring on a space, you have a wide range of what will work for you. You may have a huge range of space that you might need, and you don’t say when you need the space. You might need it right away or you might need it in six months. It can be fully built-out space or a wide-open bullpen.

While you might get lucky with a broker who is willing to spend the time extra time talking to you and helping you figure out what you truly need, most brokers won’t know how to prioritize their response for you as they fear you are not serious or that you will require a lot of work.

The short-term entrepreneur  

You request a month-to-month lease or something short term (less than one year). If you’re requesting a short-lease term you might as well be saying please do not call me back as far as a broker is concerned. This is fine to request if you are looking at a sublease or executive suite, but it’s not realistic for most landlords, so brokers will not want to waste their time with you.

The secretive entrepreneur

You don’t include enough personal information like your full name, company and any further details or descriptions of what the business use is for the space you’re inquiring about. The only thing you tell the broker is that details on the company are “under wraps.”

Brokers tend to de-prioritize these kinds of inquiries, because it gives them the impression that your business could be dangerous or illegal, which is obviously something the landlord would not allow in their building.

While it’s normal for entrepreneurs to want to keep details of their companies private for competitive reasons, there needs to be a balance with providing the necessary details for landlords. They will want to see financials and even a business plan if you are a startup with no track record.

Best practices

Based on our analysis, providing your full name, company name and specific details are ideal. For example, you might say that you are currently in a 5,000 square-foot space and are looking for bigger space, need a kitchen, two conference rooms and access to storage.

You can also count on a faster call back by including details that show that you’re an established company or what your timing is. You don’t need to divulge all your information, just enough to make the broker know that you are serious.  It’s not imperative that you sound like you know everything, just that you are serious.

So, the next time you spend the time to make the calls or emails to a broker, remember to give enough details and be thoughtful to get the fastest response back.

To get more answers to common tenant-related questions, visit our FAQ page.

This article was written by Susie Algard and  originally featured on Entrepreneur.com. See original source here: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235894