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How to Rent an Office Space That's Been Vacated for Some Time

Posted by Pekin Insurance on May 25, 2016

When you're moving your business, figure out how to rent an office without spending a fortune. 


One way to find a deal on a new office space is to locate a property that has been empty for a while. A vacant building is not just a lack of income for the landlord; it's also a big expense. Even an unoccupied space needs electricity, insurance, and general upkeep. Don't sign that lease just yet, though; it's a good idea to make sure you know how to rent an office space without making a big mistake. While vacant buildings may seem ideal, do your research first.

How to rent an office space: handling the vacancy

If you are renting a space that has been vacant for a long period of time, there are additional considerations beyond the basic ones we'll talk about later. Take your time and examine the property closely. 

1. Repairs and updates

Repairs and updates are a tremendous consideration for a commercial space that has been vacant for a long period of time. Check the space carefully before you sign the lease. You don't want to be on the hook for major updates. Even if your landlord handles it, construction work interrupts your ability to focus on your job. 

2. A clean bill of HVAC 

By now you've heard about sick buildings and the dangers of mold in the heating and air conditioning system. Mold and dust can build up quickly in an idle heating and cooling system. Take the time to thoroughly clean your HVAC system before you move into a new office. 

3. Water damage

Water damage is the bane of existence for homeowners. It is equally problematic in an office. If you're considering a location that has been uninhabited for several months or more, there could be significant hidden damage to water pipes. Find out what you can expect your landlord to take care of if a problem turns up. 

4. Make sure it meets your needs

An office has to meet your current business needs. Older buildings and vacant spaces likely won't have the technological accessibility that current businesses require. You need the electrical outlets and the wiring for computers and hi-speed Internet. Cell reception is vital in every part of your new space. For that matter, you need to ensure there is a capability for landline phones, as well. 

How to rent an office space: the basics

Any new office space, whether it was vacant or not, requires some preparation on your part. Even before you enlist the help of a commercial Realtor or buyer's agent, there is a lot you can do to make sure a new space is the right space.

1. Get your paperwork in order

Be ready to commit as soon as you find that perfect office space. Gather your deposit, financial documents, and any references you need ahead of time. In a competitive market, a good office space can go quickly. 

2. Make sure it meets your needs

Renting a new office is exciting. Try to keep the emotional brain in check, though. If you have clients visiting, would the location be easy to reach? Is there parking? Are there enough electrical outlets? Is it large enough to accommodate your staff? 

These are all factors that can substantially impact your bottom line. Make sure the investment meets your physical and financial needs.

3. Don't rent more than you will use

That new space has to meet your needs, but don't lock yourself into more than you will use. Each square foot costs money. This is tricky, however, since you'll want room to grow. You may be able to sublease a portion of the space or negotiate for the first right of refusal on additional space in the building. 

4. Prepare to negotiate

In the original Ghostbusters movie, there's a scene where Peter and Egon are negotiating the price on an old firehouse. Just as they are about to talk the Realtor down, Ray slides down the pole and asks how soon they can move in. 

That is not the way to negotiate a good deal. Remember, a commercial rental agreement has to work for both parties. This is your place to discuss improvements, build-outs, and even general maintenance. 

How to rent an office space: the details

An office space is what you make it. Almost any of the details are negotiable in the lease. That's the best how-to-rent-an-office-space advice out there. Updates, build-outs, repairs, and maintenance are part of the overall lease agreement. 

You may choose to take on more work in order to reduce your rent, or you might find it less of a headache to request that the landlord take care of everything. Whatever you choose to do, protect your investment with quality insurance coverage.

If you're seeking general liability or commercial property insurance, we can help. Check out the Pekin PAK program, which includes Lessor's Risk insurance. We offer competitive rates and combined policy packages for our customers, plus preferred rates for qualified commercial property owners. Are you prepared for accidents? Give us a call or request a quote for more information.

What do you look for when you rent an office space? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments! 



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