Negotiating the terms of your office lease is not something you practice very often. And yet it is very important to pay attention to the details because you will be dealing with the ramifications for years to come.
If you don’t take the time to negotiate a better deal than the listed price, you could miss out on a discount or opportunity for your business. But if you are too competitive, you could kill the deal altogether.
Consider all the available lease options
Is there a space adjacent to your office that you would be interested in occupying in the future? If so, you can ask for a right of first refusal on that space. That would allow you the option to enter into a lease for that space as well should it come available and before a third party would have the option to move in.
Perhaps you need an early termination clause should your business outgrow the space available in the Landlord’s complex. Often a Landlord will allow a tenant to terminate early if they agree to pay unamortized tenant improvement allowances and lease commissions as a penalty. Depending on the terms of your lease, this could be expensive but it is often cheaper than paying rent for a space that is no longer working for your business.
Will you need the option to renew when your lease expires? Make sure to include option terms that will work for your business at the future date of lease expiration.
Plan ahead for what your needs will be and make sure to include options for these expected events in your initial lease negotiations.
Determine which lease concessions are best for you
There are many concessions to choose from:
Reduced rental rate, free rent period, tenant improvement allowance, landlord buildout, early termination option …
Take the time to determine which concession is most beneficial for your business. If you ask for too many, you could offend the Landlord and risk losing the negotiation altogether. At the same time, you don’t want to leave something on the table that could help offset the moving costs and downtime of relocating your business.
Find someone with office lease negotiation experience to help you
How often in your career have you had the opportunity to practice negotiating an office lease? How long has it been since your last lease negotiation? Do you have as much experience in lease negotiation as the landlord you are negotiating against?
Unless office lease negotiation is one of your primary skills, there is no reason not to enlist the free help of a commercial real estate advisor. They will be able to provide you with advice that is local and up-to-date, like the currently popular lease concessions with landlords in your area.
Have an honest conversation with your commercial agent about the current and future needs of your business. They may know of a lease negotiation maneuver that could be beneficial for your business.
It may be tempting to negotiate your office lease on your own because you know your business better than anyone. However, you don’t know lease negotiations better than the landlord you are negotiating against. A commercial real estate agent can help you consider all the lease options and understand the lease concessions that could be best for you. Plus, a tenant representative doesn’t cost you a thing.