Original article posted in Inside Tucson Business here.
When tenants look for new Tucson office space, they’re often impressed by a building’s appearance, location and rent. But many other factors, often hidden at first glance, can turn a good deal into a bad one.
Here are six other factors I suggest you investigate to make sure your decision is best for your company.
Determine whether you can count on the landlord to honor the terms of a lease and be a good lease partner. Ask existing tenants some questions.
1. Does the landlord respond promptly and deliver fair value?
2. Does the landlord seem to see every request as an opportunity for revenue?
3. Is the service adequate?
4. Does it take repeated requests to correct a simple problem or achieve agreement on how to proceed with a desired alteration?
If a building has serious financial problems, working conditions could be compromised by poor air quality, unacceptable temperature swings and inadequate security. Examine the financial health of a building you’re interested in.
1. How much debt is it carrying?
2. How does the operating expenses and management fees at the building compare to similar buildings?
3. Has critical maintenance been performed or has it been deferred, which would mean much higher operating expenses in the future?
You may not find out about hidden issues until you’ve moved in.
For example, some floors might have HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) capacity suitable only for an open floor plan. Virtually any use of closed offices would require supplemental HVAC at your company’s cost.
Here’s another example. Seemingly modern buildings could have elevators with unacceptable wait times. Elevator delays and lapses in elevator service mean tangible dollar losses for tenants when staff wastes time with elevator issues.
Structural integrity is another issue. In one example, high winds caused excessive sway on the top floors of a building. Eventually, the landlord provided an adequate engineering solution at substantial expense to existing and incoming tenants.
Many deals appear similar when a lease is signed, but over time total costs tend to vary dramatically. Determine what your company will likely face in costs other than the lease. These can include
• Operating expenses
• Management fees
• Real estate taxes
• Overtime HVAC charges
• Supplemental HVAC charges
• Repair and maintenance
Crucial drawbacks are often overlooked as tenants focus on obvious criteria like amenities or proximity to transportation.
For instance, if you need space for employees to work after normal business hours, a location that looks good in the daytime may have serious security issues at night.
Expensive additional security could be necessary to adequately protect employees.
Here are just two scenarios of why it’s important to know about other tenants.
If you’re moving into a building with one or more tenants that occupy multiple floors, elevator usage and wait times will be very much affected by inter-floor traffic.
The size of other tenants in a building and their possible need for expansion space could affect your own future expansion plans or lease renewal.
The types of businesses that other tenants conduct can also have an impact on your own business’s parking and loading needs. Make sure the facilities can accommodate everyone.
A tenant representative such as Commercial Real Estate Group of Tucson can assess these issues for you. For more information, call CREG of Tucson at 299-3400.