Touring Office Space For Rent In Atlanta? Ask These 5 Questions.
Author: Jeff Pollock
So, you’re in the market for a new office space for rent in Atlanta? By now, you’ve probably narrowed down your list to a handful of corporate locations you plan to tour. If you haven’t yet narrowed down that list, see our previous article on the five steps you should take when looking for a new office space in Atlanta or anywhere. But, back to the tour, how do you prepare and what questions should you be asking? Following is a list of the top questions every business owner should be asking during a tour of a new commercial space.
#1. The Total Rental Cost – How much, Really?
You have your budget, so it’s highly likely all the properties you’re touring all office space for rent in Atlanta that fall within that range. But, what are the specifics of the rent amount and other charges? To truly compare apples to apples among the office options, you’ll need to additionally look at your operating expenses and management fees for the building to get a better idea of the final price tag.
Other cost considerations should include how the rent may increase over time. Ask about the details of any escalation clause. This could be a recurring increase in rent over the lease term; passing on direct costs such as taxes, HVAC and/or maintenance; and/or, automatic increases based on inflation and the Consumer Price Index. At any rate, there is always room for negotiation; and, having a Tenant Representative at your side can really help.
#2. Property Condition & Location – How is it? Do Some Checking.
Perhaps the most obvious question you’ll be able to answer on your quest to find office space for rent in Atlanta is how you like the look/feel of the property. But, beyond the aesthetics of the space, observe the details of the office, building and location. Are there any “cracks in the foundation?” (both literally and figuratively). Of course, you’ll need to watch out for any signs of issues with the structural integrity of the building or cracks in the flooring/walls of the office itself. But, you should also consider any drawbacks to the location of the property. How is the neighborhood? Are there nearby restaurants and public transportation? What are the local safety/crime rates? You’ll need to be mindful of these intangible features as well since they’re likely to have a significant impact on your staff and day-to-day operations. And, remember to tour the parking lot/deck as well so you have a realistic picture of the spaces you and your employees will utilize.
See the property today; but, also think about what you may want to do with it upon move-in or in the future. Does the landlord have a policy for the build-out; or, will he/she offer you an improvement allowance instead. Know the terms and be sure that any agreements about renovations are always put in writing.
#3. Amenities & Features – What does it offer over other commercial properties on the market?
It’s important to clearly define exactly what services and facilities you may be entitled to receive as part of your lease. These could include electricity, HVAC, maintenance, building management, security, cleaning services and/or parking. What is included and what might you be responsible for? It’s helpful to talk with existing tenants or your broker about how responsive the landlord may be with your routine and non-routine requests.
#4. Commercial Lease Agreement – What about the fine print or lack of details in print?
For specifics on what you should know before you sign an office lease, see Step #5 in our previous article on looking for a new office space. Also, think about how long you’d like the lease to run and know what the terms are for you or your landlord canceling the lease early. Typical commercial leases run between 3 and 10 years. The term is usually negotiable with the landlord. Review the details for subleasing the office should your business grow quickly as well as renewing at the end of your lease term. Lastly, do not overlook the topic of insurance. What coverage does the landlord provide and what are you responsible for?
#5. Neighbors – Are you a good fit?
You’ve walked the property; checked out the office space, parking situation, and the neighborhood. But, as you wrap up your search for the perfect office space for rent in Atlanta have you considered your actual neighbors? Don’t overlook this important detail. As a business owner, you’ll want to first think about whether or not you’d like to be in the company of similar/complementary businesses to your own. Think Silicon Valley or Atlanta’s local Tech Square. Additionally, you should ask the landlord about their policy for who can move in. You wouldn’t want your biggest competitor to settle down in the office next door, would you?
When preparing to tour a new office space for your business, bring along your list of needs (and wants), reflect on these five questions and remember to take note of the pros and cons with each office. It could mean the difference of finding the best or worst space for your business!