Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What Should I Look for When I Tour an Office Space for Rent?

What Should I Look for When I Tour an Office Space for Rent?




When you tour an office space, don’t expect a landlord or landlord representative to point out the office space’s faults/shortcomings.  After all, they are trying to lease you that space and would sooner convince you that the cracks in the walls give the space character than tell you how many thousands of dollars it might cost to repair.

Sure, if you are using a broker who has been given keys to tour an office space, the broker will show you items of concern (after all, they work for you and want you to be pleased with your decision).  However, you can use this post as a guide for some “behind the scenes” items to look for that some people overlook.

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Ceiling Tiles/Ceiling


When you walk into any office space, immediately look up.  Do you see any stained ceiling tiles?  Stained ceiling tiles are evidence of a roof leak, pipe leak or HVAC leak.  This is an immediate red flag for the following reasons:

  1. It shows the landlord does not routinely inspect their spaces, or
  2. If the landlord does inspect the spaces, it shows they either:
    • Missed it and don’t do a good job inspecting, or (even worse possibly)
    • Know about the leak and have chosen to do nothing about it, hoping you won’t catch it (this potentially leads to an unhappy phone call between you and your landlord arguing over who should fix the leak – but hopefully you cover that in your lease).

Walls


Take a look at all of the walls in the office space.  Was the space repainted after the last tenant moved out?  You should be able to tell if someone just took some Spackle and applied a single coat of paint or whether a professional painter was used.  If you look closely, you will be able to tell where nail holes were in the wall if a single coat of paint was used.  A hired professional will make a space look brand new, as if nobody has ever leased the space before.  That is what you want.

Flooring


If your office space has carpet, are any of the edges frayed?  Take a look at high traffic areas like the office space’s entrance or where people have their desk chairs; does the carpet look extra worn in these areas and look like it will need replacement?  This is something you may want to address with your landlord at the start.  If the carpet is already 7 years old and will need replacement in 3 years and you just signed a 5 year lease, you don’t want to be the one responsible for changing the carpet since you will have only gotten 3 years of use out of it.

The same logic should apply for tiled flooring.  Make sure it’s not cracked, worn or stained.

Small Items That Tell You A Lot


This is kind of a catch-all category (as if you couldn't tell from the subtitle).  Look at interior door frames.  If they are freshly painted, your landlord goes the extra mile (often, only the walls will be repainted).  Look at ceiling tiles for small holes in the corners.  The previous tenant might have run wires through here for their IT equipment.  A good landlord will change out any ceiling tile with a hole.  Look at the light bulbs in overhead fixtures.  We’ve visited countless office spaces that have different colored light bulbs – the bulbs are all some variation of white but might be a mixture of different shades.  These items show you that your landlord doesn’t mind spending a few extra bucks to make the space look as good as possible.

Exterior of the Building (masonry/siding, roof, windows, doors)


Make sure the exterior components of the building itself look clean  we are talking about the windows, doors, siding, roof, etc.  Visit a well-kept office park and notice that the windows aren’t dirty, the roof isn't missing shingles or rusting if it's metal, the masonry or siding doesn’t have dust and dirt all over and the entrance doors are actually welcoming.  Then visit an office space that has been vacant for some time and isn’t routinely inspected.  You will see lots of dirt, dust, pollen, mold (ugh), etc.  Is this the message that you want to send to your customers?

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Conclusion


Your office space is a reflection of your business.  You want your customers thinking about your product or service when they come to your office.  You do not want your customers thinking about how gross your office space looks. 

No doubt, some of these items can and will be addressed in your lease agreement.  And some landlords may be hesitant to make an office space tenant ready in case there are tenant improvements to be made.  Nobody wants to put a fresh coat of blue paint on the walls only for the next tenant to request beige walls.

However, these items should be addressed from the very first visit.  Point out the items discussed above and see if the landlord intends to fix them before you move in (and who is responsible for them after).  More than anything, a vacant space gives you a taste of what type of landlord you will have

We hope that this short list of items aids you in your search for an office space to rent.  There are dozens of components that you should be mindful of when looking for office space.  And, if you do spot something that needs attention, always ask and never assume you know who will pay for the repair.

Please feel free to leave comments.  We promise to read them all.  You can also email us with any questions/comments at leasing@seawaybusinesspark.com.  As a reminder, we provide office space for rent and office/warehouse space for rent in Gulfport, Mississippi.  For more information, visit our website at www.seawaybusinesspark.com or call us at (228) 575-7731.