Startups, Get Your Finances in Order Before Leasing Office Space

This post was authored by Nathan Smith, a commercial real estate consultant and owner of Austin Tenant Advisors


As a startup or new business owner it’s important to be financially prepared before starting the process of looking for and leasing office space. Gathering your financial information and making your startup look financially strong in the eyes of a Landlord takes longer than you think so you want to do this well in advance. By preparing in advance you better your chances of gaining the Landlord’s confidence in your tenancy and increase your chances of negotiating better office lease concessions such as tenant improvements, rental abatements, etc.

Similar to how banks preapprove you for a loan, Landlords want to make sure you are financially qualified before they lease you office space, especially in hot markets like Austin, TX.   They will be investing time, resources, tenant improvements and other lease concessions in your tenancy so it’s imperative that you prove your financial ability & stability to pay any upfront costs and rent for the duration of the lease term.

Proving that your startup company is financially qualified takes more than a great business idea, having a large 401k, or a big expensive house.

  • If you are a startup company that has been around for a few years Landlords want to see current profit & loss statements, cash flows, balance sheets, and/or other sources of financing and funding. Depending on the landlord’s perception of your financials you may need to securitize the lease with a security deposit, letter of credit (LOC), personal guaranty or a combination of the latter. Your financial strength, lease term length, total lease amount, tenant improvement costs, & lease commissions will determine the amount needed to securitize the lease.
  • If you are a brand new startup with no track record or you’re an existing one with weak financials Landlord’s will probably want the person signing the lease to provide 2-3 years of personal tax returns and/or a personal financial statement. Depending on the Landlord’s perception of those personal financial statements they may require that the lease be personally guaranteed, need a larger security deposit, or need a letter of credit (LOC) that will cover the landlords up front costs to do the deal (e.g. tenant improvements, lease commissions, etc.).

Before you begin the search for office space, make sure you have your financials in order and have them ready to show Landlords. You might also consider having your business plan and pro-forma available to show your current and future financial projections.

Do all that you can to put your best foot forward, however because you are a startup Landlord’s still may require you to sign a personal guarantee, pay a larger security deposit, or have a letter of credit (LOC). You only get one shot at making a good impression! The more prepared you are and the better your finances look the better chance you have at proving to the Landlord that you can pay rent AND in receiving office lease concessions.



Nathan Smith specializes in helping startups companies find, lease and/or purchase office space in Austin, TX. He has advised over 300 companies in finding the best office locations, negotiate new leases and lease renewals, facilitate relocations and expansions. Outside the office Nathan enjoys hanging out with his wife and two children in Bee Cave, TX and is an avid runner and cyclist that participates in many local triathlons and running events.

2013 Didn’t Bring An NBA Team to Seattle, But It Did Bring…

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What does Seattle have?  A thriving start-up community and established technology hub, world renowned coffee, an infamous independent music scene, a top ranked NFL team, the lush green of the Pacific NorthWest and so much more.

Sadly, 2013 did not bring back an NBA team, but there is a game changer in town.’s long awaited new platform is about to change the way players in the commercial real estate arena engage with clients.

In fact, businesses and commercial real estate pros now have a new online stadium with’s improved site and service for the Seattle market.

Since launching its new service 18 months ago, has served thousands of tenants looking to lease office, retail and industrial spaces. allows tenants unrestricted searches of its comprehensive database with over 27,000 properties, at no charge, something typically not done in the traditional commercial real estate world.

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Today, we are proud to launch our free service in our home market of Seattle.  “We felt this was a great time to launch as the business community is thriving and there are a lot of eyes on Seattle right now.” says Susie Algard, CEO. 

Businesses can now search from over 7,000 available listings in the Greater Seattle area. We expect the number of tenants coming to access these listings will grow quickly, as we are the city’s only commercial real estate site offering this type of platform.

The new site has a clean design aesthetic with an intuitive, user-friendly map based search, photo rich listings, and advanced search filters, all of which were created to make the tenant search experience much more engaging and efficient.

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“With today’s launch, we are excited to be bringing more qualified tenants to the broker community.” says Algard.’s new site was designed with these relationships in mind. The commercial real estate audience can benefit from several complimentary marketing tools, including nationwide tenant rosters, a no-software flyer creator, comprehensive market surveys, and upgraded property listings.

So, while the city sits waiting patiently for another opportunity to bring back the NBA, we’ll continue to up our game to better serve the Seattle market. We’re no substitute for a basketball team but we’re practicing our virtual jump shots none the less in hopes of a CRE MVP title. is now serving Seattle, Denver, Portland and San Diego with upcoming markets on the horizon.

Brokers, Are You Still Walking Through Buildings?

Gone are the days of walking from building to building…

Search online, anytime with the latest from as we introduce the prospecting must-have for the commercial real estate industry; The OfficeSpace Tenant Roster. Here’s to finally accessing up to date, reliable and affordable information on buildings and tenants through out the country!

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Interested in Earning a Free Membership?

Refer Tenant Concierge services.

We’ve built out a trusted network of vendors, featuring reliable service providers to help businesses manage everything related to setting up their new office, retail or industrial spaces. We built this service to help tenants who come directly to us asking for help. If you have a client interested in saving time and money by connecting with our Concierge, please send them our way.

By the way, our Tenant Concierge service has no hidden fees or costs – it’s a complimentary service aimed at making tenants lives easier!

Contact us for more information on how to earn your free Tenant Roster membership.

John Heimbigner | | (800) 560-3544

Commercial Real Estate Start-Up Reinvents the Way Business Owners Search for Space


Ninette Cheng

Marketing Coordinator,

office: 206.686.4545 |

June 13, 2012 knows a change in commercial real estate technology is coming— in fact, they’ve known and are readying to launch their free broker and landlord-to-tenant service in its second market.

After its successful beta launch reaching 24,000 tenants, connecting 350 tenants to brokers and landlords and covering 186 million square feet of space in Portland, Ore. officially launches its new service, starting with Denver, Colo. on June 13.

“As an entrepreneur, finding the right space was always more difficult that I anticipated,” CEO and Founder Susie Algard said.  “The system of waiting for someone to call you back just to give you the space details or rate information is highly inefficient.  All of the tools were focused on people who were familiar with commercial real estate, not for people who only need to find space once every few years.”

In Denver, currently covers over 172 million square feet of space and over 3,000 buildings available for tenants to search.

The days of expensive broker-to-broker subscription services are behind.

“By providing open access to details on an office space, we are helping all business owners during their research phase,” Algard said. “In particular, we are serving an audience whose needs are currently not sufficiently met – small business owners.  It’s difficult for brokers to make small requirements profitable, but we have created tools to help them directly with that.  We connect qualified tenants to brokers for free.”’s website offers free viewings and listings and social media tools for sharing. The company most recently launched a free Broker Tools suite for brokers to create flyers, surveys and communicate with tenants.  It also features photo-friendly interface and information on the confusing aspects of a lease for tenants.

About is a start up with the goal of creating an efficient marketplace connecting tenants with landlords and brokers.  The company, purchased by Internet entrepreneurs Susie and Alex Algard, launched it’s new beta service launched in Portland in January 2012 and to date, has serviced over 350 tenants looking for space. also operates one of the leading commercial real estate marketing and analytics services in Seattle, Spokane, Denver, Minneapolis, Cincinnati and Columbus and can be found at


Don’t Negotiate Your Lease Before Reading This

Isn’t it cheaper to use the listing broker?  The one whose name is on the sign?

Even for savvy business people, this is a myth that we hear over and over.  In order to answer this question, you really need to understand how commercial real estate brokers make money.  The landlord pays commission for both the listing broker as well as the tenant rep broker.  However, the big caveat here is that you, the tenant, ultimately are paying for the commissions through the lease that you sign as landlords have already taken into account the cost of commissions when they determine their rates.

The listing broker is responsible for representing the landlord’s best interests.  Their job is to find a tenant to lease space at the best terms to the landlord.  Even if the broker agrees to represent you as a client, your needs come second to the landlord’s needs – and this is something that is in writing between the listing broker and the landlord.    This is a practice called dual agency.  Think of it from another angle.  If the landlord thought that the listing broker was giving you an advantage by working for you, do you think that the landlord would allow it?  The answer would be a resounding no.

A tenant rep broker’s only job in the transaction is to represent you and your best interests.  If you decide to walk away because they aren’t finding you spaces that work for you, they haven’t made a dime on you.  In addition, when they negotiate for you, they are only concerned about what will work for you, whereas the listing broker may be worried about irritating the boss and may not negotiate so hard for you.

Now, going back to what I wrote earlier, that you, the tenant ultimately pay commissions through your rent.  The landlord has already taken into consideration that the commissions will be paid, regardless of who represents you in the transaction.

So, the landlord isn’t going to agree to lower the rent or give you more rent concessions because he’s going to have a lower cost of sales because the listing broker is representing you.  Listing brokers love representing the tenants for their own listings because generally, there’s very little negotiation and the deal gets done with less friction but potentially costing you, the tenant, more.  Whatever commission was budgeted for the tenant’s representative, some portion, or all of it, will be paid to the listing broker.  The bottom line is this, if the listing broker represents the tenant, they make more money on the deal.

It just makes good business sense to have someone represent you who has your best interests in mind, not someone who would like to represent you because they earn more commission but is actually legally bound to hold someone else’s best interest first.  Knowing this, why wouldn’t you want to have your own representation?

‘Little Showcase of Horrors’ – More Historic Portland

A few weeks ago we posted a blog post with a few of our favorite buildings in Portland. We thought it was fun so here are some more beautiful buildings that our photographers have taken shots of.

New Market Theater Block


Built in 1872, this Old Town building’s name comes from the fact that it originally housed a market on the first floor and Portland’s first theater on the second floor.


The first floor arcade was highlighted by a total of 28 marble produce stalls.  For much of the 20th century the building was used to store car parts until 1980 when it was renovated into a retail and office building.

Also of note, The Portland Symphony Orchestra was officially founded in 1882 and started in the New Market Theater block.

The Brewery Blocks

I’m sure The Brewery Blocks need little introduction to any Portlanders. To those reading from elsewhere, The Brewery Blocks were the location of the City Brewery and later the (and more famously) Blitz-Weinhard Brewery from the mid 1800’s to 1999. The oldest buildings remaining were built in 1908, including the Brewhouse Tower.

In 1999 the Weinhard brand was sold to Miller Brewing Co. and brewing was subsequently sent to the Olympia brewery in Tumwater, WA. The Brewery Blocks, which by this point had increased to 5 blocks, were put up for sale and in 2000 were redeveloped into a mixed-use project with office, retail residential spaces.

The Brewery Blocks’ most famous tenant is Henry’s 12th Street Tavern, which features 100 beers on tap, almost entirely from Oregon. Powell’s Books, while not in the Brewery Blocks, borders block number 2.

Smith’s Block

Originally built in 1872, Smith’s block was just one of nine Portland buildings featuring one of the more popular Portland cast iron patterns. Now, it is the only survivor amongst those buildings.

During the 1950’s, the quarter of the building on 1st and Ash was torn down and turned into a parking lot. Despite this loss, the rest of the block remains and has been restored as recently as 2008.

Stay tuned! More to come and as always, send us your suggestions PDX!

Our First Portland OfficeSpace Showcase…Distinctly Portland!

Over the past few months, with the help of some wonderful photographers, we have been hard at work capturing the architecture and beauty of downtown Portland, the Pearl, the Central Eastside and many of the other Portland neighborhoods. Some of this could only be done with the cooperation of our friends in the Portland brokerage community, the rest we did by simply walking the streets and shooting buildings.

Most of the pictures can be found on the site, but here are a few of our favorites.

The Blagen Block:

The Blagen Building, located in Old Town, was built in 1889 and is a gorgeous example of Italianate architecture, which was at the height of its popularity in the second half of the 19th century.

Its location on NW 1st is absolutely picturesque. Pure Portland.

Blagen Block

The Spalding Building:

These pieces are located in the Spalding Building’s lobby. Made out of old vaults, their contrast to the clean and beautiful lobby is quite striking.

Spalding Building

A closer view.

Spalding Building

The Spalding Building was built in 1911 and was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1982, one of over 500 in Portland.

The Postal Building:

Pardon the photography on this one; this was before we realized it was best to take the camera out of my hands.  The Postal Building, built in 1901, was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1978. I found the highlight of this building to be the beautiful atrium. (Wish my picture did it justice)

Postal Building

The Barber Block:

Most people familiar with Portland will recognize the historic Barber Block. Built in 1890, this building is another example of Italianate architecture but with a unique flair of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture as well.  Known as an east Portland landmark, it was added to the Registry of Historic Places in 1977.

Barber Block

Barber Block

Barber Block

That’s all for now but there are countless incredibly beautiful buildings in Portland, we’ll be back with more soon. Let us know if you have some buildings that you would like to see in our showcase!

PDX Small Space Success!

Shared Photo Studio

With our recent Beta Launch of, we would like to share a successful lease story.


  • Jan 31, 2012, space was fully leased.
  • Feb 1, 2012, received a 30 day notice from her existing tenant.
  • Feb 1, 2012, posted  her listing with
  • Feb 2 to 13, 2012, received her leads & tour requests from
  • Feb 14, 2012, found new tenant, signed a lease, move-in date 3/1/2012 and no lost revenue days!

Client’s comments:

“I got significantly more inquiries through your site than I did via Craigslist or posting flyers, so I’m definitely happy with the experience!” – SLG Launches New Service in Portland, Oregon Launches New Free Service That Provides Businesses in Portland, Oregon With a Better Way to Find and Lease Office Space

Also offers landlords and brokers free listing capabilities, real-time tour booking and social media integration


SEATTLE, Washington – January 24, 2012 – today unveiled a new service designed to arm tenants with the information needed to help them make better real estate decisions for their businesses. Launching first in the Portland, Oregon metro area, the new site provides businesses with a free and powerful search functionality to help them find available office space that meets their search criteria. also helps tenants-to-be, obtain in-depth information about properties, book tours and ultimately provides the ability to close their lease transaction online.

In addition to providing time-saving tools and resources to tenants, also offers landlords and brokers the ability to post their listings for free on the site, and the ability to set their availability for tours using a real-time calendar where they can even provide tours to multiple tenants simultaneously. will be providing a valuable service, connecting tenants to landlords and brokers. also makes Social media integration with Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ easy for both landlords and tenants. For example, tenants can read reviews of other tenants in the building and share comments with each other on the spaces that they have toured in order to help keep organized. Landlords can leverage social media integration by sending out new properties to their networks from with one click of their mouse.

“We understand that entrepreneurs and business owners are busy people and they want to start their research online, in their limited spare time, before committing to taking the next step, ” said Susie Algard,’s CEO. “With, tenants can access more information instantly and for free.”

While all size businesses can benefit from leveraging, tenants of smaller spaces can benefit disproportionately as most commercial real estate brokers avoid working with these folks altogether. is focused on disrupting the current business model in commercial real estate so that tenants of all sizes do not need to depend on brokers for all of their office space needs. The new service launches today in the Portland Oregon metro area and plans on serving several additional cities within the coming year.


Experienced Internet entrepreneurs Susie Algard and Alex Algard purchased in late 2010.  Frustrated by some of the trials and tribulations of their own experiences trying to find office space for companies that they were involved in, they decided that it was time to make a change in the commercial real estate space. Susie, CEO of, was previously a senior executive and founding member at, a top 30 Internet property.  Alex is the founder and chairman of CarDomain Network as well as founder and CEO of also operates one of the leading commercial real estate marketing and analytics services in Seattle, Spokane, Denver, Minneapolis, Cincinnati and Columbus.

Check out the site at

Is re-founder even a word?

is Re-founder even a word?I’m not a stickler for grammar, but I want to know if this at least makes sense.  A quick search for re-founder brought me to’s definition – “one who refounds” but “refound” has no definition.  Okay, not so helpful but then I stumbled upon linkedin and bingo, someone who has the title refounder, and that’s what I’m talking about.  I may find myself explaining this to people more often than I want, but basically what this means for me is that even though is a 15 year old company, we’re back in start-up mode.  That’s really the most concise way I can think to explain what we’re doing with this “new” company.

We’re taking a good look at our business and our opportunities for growth.  Evaluating the office space market, there are great resources for brokers, landlords and property managers but limited options if you’re an actual tenant looking for space, even fewer options if you are a tenant looking for smaller spaces.   Our goal is to change that and create an effective marketplace for both tenants and landlords/brokers.  We’ve been busy at work over the past year, our small team of 7.  Stay tuned, we’ve got some exciting new stuff that should launch in the early part of 2012.

Susie Algard, re-founder.