Here’s When You Should Walk Away From a Deal


Here's When You Should Walk Away From a Deal-min

Negotiating a deal for an office space, home or retail space is a delicate art that takes thoughtfulness, precision and a clear idea of what you want. Walking away from a deal is not only the best leverage to get everything on your list of asks, but can also be necessary if the deal is headed in a direction that’s not in your best interest. Here’s how you can determine when it’s time to walk away.

When You Lose Focus of Your Original Goal

When looking for a new office space, it’s not uncommon to get caught up in a particular space or location and get lost in the idea of it. For instance, perhaps you’re on the hunt for a new office space in an attempt to shorten the commute for your employees. In the process, you happen upon an office space you love at a reasonable price, but it’s nowhere near where most of your employee base is located. If the original goal was to alleviate the commute for your team, and you end up looking at a potential office space that isn’t in alignment with that, no matter how nice it is or how many amenities it may boast, it’s best to take a step back and reevaluate why you decided to search for a new space in the first place. This is also the type of thing that can happen when you are looking to save money by reducing your square footage, but then start looking at nicer and higher class properties than you were in before. If the per square foot price becomes higher than you were paying before, you may end up taking a smaller space without any real cost savings.

When the Risk Far Exceeds the Potential Gain

Searching for the perfect location can be exhausting, especially when you have a large list of necessities. After a few less than impressive viewings you might be tempted to start to lower your standards. If you find yourself in a position where there are a laundry list of maintenance issues or you’re not 100% comfortable with the lease term the landlord is insisting on, it’s better to err on the side of caution rather than taking a risk that may negatively impact you in the end.

When It’s No Longer a Win-Win Scenario

If a potential landlord is using your interest in the property as a bargaining chip in their favor, rethinking the deal and even walking away from it could be in your best interest. For example, if the person on the other side of the negotiation gets emotional, is making threats, or is lying to you, this should tell you that you do not want to get further involved with these people even if the property you found hits all of your wants and needs. Remember, this will potentially be your landlord for years to come. In this situation it’s also beneficial to work with an experienced broker to ensure that you aren’t being taken advantage of in the negotiation process or setting yourself up for a frustrating leasing situation.

At the end of the negotiation process, you should feel good about the deal you signed, and by utilizing your ability to walk away, you can ensure that your lease and space are both tailored to your exact needs.

How to be a Better Negotiator


How to be a Better Negotiator

The negotiation process can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be if you go in with the right attitude and information. Whether you’re looking to increase your salary, restructure part of your lease or save money on that new car, follow the tips below to get what you want and feel good doing it.

Know the market. When negotiating, specificity is key. Hone in on exactly what you want, and then provide reasons why you should receive it. For instance, when negotiating a higher salary, look up standard industry salaries for your position and take note of how your salary reflects that. Hard statistics strengthen why you deserve additional compensation. From there, put together a comprehensive list of your accomplishments, any projects you’ve managed and any initiatives you’ve been part of within your company, as well as any relevant outside qualifications you have. Use your hard work as leverage. A negotiation is never a time to sell yourself short.

Don’t be afraid of no. Ideally in your negotiating process you’ll get exactly what you walked in for, but the best negotiators also already have alternatives in mind. It’s essential for you to go into your meeting under the impression that you will receive your requests, but also find a few alternatives to your original offer that you would be happy with. For example, if you’re buying a home, but the realtor is not willing to budge on price, try asking for some repairs or upgrades to be covered instead. No matter what you’re negotiating, having a counter offer prepared will help ensure a successful negotiation.

If your boss doesn’t want to raise your salary and the conversation is stagnating because neither party will budge, you can offer up other ways in which you can be compensated. Try requesting benefits such as extra PTO, a gym membership or an end of year bonus. When you look at your total benefits and re-frame your requests from that perspective, your odds of a successful negotiation are much higher.

Listen. When the person you’re negotiating with is speaking, listen carefully. By asking open-ended questions and utilizing active listening, you’re setting the stage for an actual discussion instead of just a bargaining match. The more time you take to listen rather than just waiting to reply, you can get a better understanding of where the other party is coming from, and you can adjust your negotiating tactics accordingly.

The best way to successfully negotiate is to be mindful throughout the entire process – from the time you take to properly research before the meeting to the meeting itself. With the proper information and a good attitude, you’ll be able to take on any negotiation confidently and successfully.

Understanding Costs Associated With Moving to a New Space


When you’re looking for a new space, having a budget is essential. As you check out potential locations it’s important to understand the not-so-obvious costs that may pop up as you transition to your new place.

Parking

Just as we mentioned in our location blog, understanding parking is an essential part of running a business. Depending on the area you’re looking to move to, parking can be a lot more expensive than you initially thought. If a significant percentage of your employees are driving to work and parking, you may be able to make a deal with a nearby garage so your team has the resources to get to work easily.

The Lease

Before signing the dotted line on your new lease, you should understand every associated cost. You’ll be locked into this lease for an extended period of time, so it’s of the highest importance to know exactly what that means for you and your business. There will be a security deposit required which is typically 30% of your landlord’s out of pocket expenses, and additional fees for utilities not included, after-hours HVAC use, and possibly janitorial services. There may also be termination penalties if for any reason you were to break your lease earlier than expected.

New Furniture

Different spaces call for different furniture, and what you have on hand may not always work in your new office. If you’re adding collaborative spaces or just expanding from your old office, it’s necessary to budget for any additional furniture you may need. Furniture can range anywhere from $15 to $25 per square foot, so It’s a good idea to take note of what furniture would translate to the new location and what pieces you would need to purchase.

Mover’s Insurance

If you decide to use a moving company to get everything from Point A to Point B, you’ll want your items to be protected. Buying an insurance policy to cover the cost of all the items you’re bringing to your next space can save you a lot of hassle if anything were to get damaged or lost. While purchasing insurance may be a little more costly upfront, ensuring the protection of your assets will give you peace of mind during your move.

Phone and Data

There’s an expense associated with wiring your space, getting your data hooked up, and potentially getting a new phone system. Often times even when a landlord commits to turnkey a space, the cost to setting up the wiring may not be included.

Phone and data wiring and set up fees start at around $2 per square foot and depending on factors like how many workstations you have, the types of ceilings you have, etc, it can go up to about $5 per square foot. Also, there can be a lag time from when you call to set up your internet service and when it actually commences. So be sure to start this process as early as possible.

A discrepancy with your budget can push back your move and set you behind. Take the time to look into any extra costs that could come up, and budget for the unpredictable. This strategy will ensure that money will not inhibit your big move.

5 Things to Consider When Searching For A New Office


Relocating and choosing a new office space is a lot of work, no matter the size of your company. However, it also provides an exciting opportunity to start fresh in a new space. Carefully consider the following points to ensure you get the most out of your move.

Location

Select a location that works for both clients and employees. You want a space which clients can find easily and employees can comfortably commute to – perhaps close to public transportation or with a parking lot if many clients and employees will drive to reach you. Consider where your key employees live and whether the space is convenient for them.

Cost

Find a space that doesn’t stretch your finances too thin. Make sure to calculate the full cost of the space and consider any hidden costs carefully to make sure nothing sneaks up on you (parking, utilities, any necessary construction, taxes, phone & data set up, janitorial, new furniture, etc).

Physical Space

Look for a space that will allow room for growth. Opt for a space that could potentially accommodate a growing team or evolve with your business. Also, check that any new space has sufficient area to allow for breaks and group or client meetings.

Infrastructure

As you evaluate your options, look for a space with easy-to-use and secure IT systems, particularly if you need a reliable internet connection for your business to function properly. Understand and test the current technological infrastructure of each space you consider to ensure it can accommodate your business needs or if a potentially expensive build-out may be required.

Employee Needs  

Think about what amenities you’d like your new space to offer employees. Sunshine can be a great easy perk as access to natural light can affect mood, energy levels and alertness. See if your new location has space for a stocked beverage center or coffee bar. Also, consider investing in employees’ health with an on-site fitness center or dedicated wellness room.

Where you work matters. That’s why we’ve partnered with an online software platform to make it easy to search for spaces that are specific to your needs. All you need to do is enter your information here, and you will be given access to a database of office space listings complete with virtual tours, floor plans and all-in monthly prices. Finding the space of your dreams is only aclick away.

The Best Negotiations Come from a Complete Commercial Real Estate Team


Negotiating the terms of a commercial real estate lease is difficult, as it is fraught with jargon, clauses and paperwork, and even the slightest misstep can have dire consequences for a business’s bottom line. Hiring the right real estate broker and attorney team to handle this delicate process is the best way to guarantee the most favorable terms while saving you time and money.

They Understand the Industry

Too often, a business owner will request help in negotiating lease terms from an attorney friend or a neighborhood real estate agent. However, these professionals may not be familiar with the industry-specific ins and outs of a commercial real estate lease. A dedicated real estate attorney/commercial broker team will review the terms of the lease with expert eyes, navigating the provisions and clauses to establish the final document.

They Can Ask for More

Real estate is a hyper-local specialty, meaning an experienced commercial real estate attorney/broker team is going to have market knowledge regarding tenant improvement allowance and rent abatement. The team will understand where to push back and what is fair for the market. This will result in a far less contentious negotiation, establishing a good rapport with the landlord from the beginning.

They Can Strategize

There are many ways to “get more” out of your lease, and only professionals working in the industry would even know to ask. For example, the lease renewal clause is a point of concession that can greatly benefit your lease terms down the line. A commercial real estate attorney/broker team will work together to create a plan that will include more than simply lower rental costs.

When working with Tenant Advisory Group, we have access to a deep bench of quality connections, including top-tier real estate attorneys to help achieve the best results possible.

How to Spot a Desirable Landlord


The landlord is an integral part of the commercial real estate leasing experience, which is why this person or entity needs to factor into any final decisions. A lot can be revealed about a landlord by the way they handle the negotiation process, as this is a window into how they treat existing tenants. For example, someone who tries to use bait-and-switch tactics isn’t going to change once you become a legally-bound renter! An easy way to tell a good landlord from a bad one is to identify if they value quality tenants over maximized profits.

Communication is Key

Good landlords are transparent and responsive, especially when they want you as a tenant. Ideally, a future landlord will stay in communication regardless of the situation, providing explanations for any lapses in response. Remember, there are most likely other deals in process that may prevent you from winning the space. However, a worthwhile leasing professional will work with a prospective renter to find a different available space.

Well-Capitalized is Ideal

When a landlord has a large amount of money to negotiate with, they are referred to as “well-capitalized.” There are a variety of reasons why a landlord is flush with capital, such as a recently refinanced building, or having a REIT or sovereign wealth fund as owners. Regardless of the source of funding, this means they are able to offer larger concessions in the form of free rent or tenant improvement allowances. In addition to incentive packages, well-capitalized landlords are able to invest more money back into improving the building. Independently-owned operators typically don’t have access to the large amount of funds needed to pay for a tenant’s buildout or even fix ongoing problems properly or in a timely manner.

Professionals are Best

Tenant Representatives are generally well liked by successful landlords as they work with all parties involved to ensure terms are met, stipulations are understood and proper channels are followed. The quality of business a tenant representative brings to the table – high-quality ancillary professionals – often encourages landlords to make more concessions on a deal with either a current or new tenant.

However, short-sighted landlords can become concerned about paying a broker to renew a tenant or acquire new business. These owners don’t take into account the long-term benefits, rather than the short-term costs. It demonstrates a potential unwillingness to pay to keep the building in good shape, repair the elevator or HVAC or clean the windows and building. If a landlord pinches pennies now, they will surely react poorly down the road when something doesn’t go their way.

The lowest price option is not always the best choice, as it commonly comes with a lack of amenities, service, upkeep and concessions. While lower rent is attractive, there is much more value derived from concession packages. Additionally, if a business uses its own money for a buildout then they won’t have that capital available to invest in the business, making it a very costly way to use available funds.

Landlords gain a lot of value when they sign new tenants or retain existing ones, especially if the building is up for sale, and good landlords know a broker can help them do exactly that to increase the value of their building.

Money Saving Lease Language


who can help with my lease

Reviewing each section of a commercial lease is a long process, but it’s essential to identifying ways a tenant can save money. One often overlooked area of these documents is the array of options that can be used to securitize a lease, as well as the Surrender Clause upon lease expiration. Here are a few different options a tenant should consider when negotiating their lease.

Types of Securitization

There are multiple options and opportunities when it comes to security deposits. Review your options thoroughly to decide which makes the most financial sense for your business.

  • Cash Security Deposit: A landlord will hold this in an escrow account, and it is returned if the space is in good condition at the end of the lease.
  • Letter of Credit: The bank holds the money while it earns interest. However, there is a fee of one-half to one percent each year.
  • Checking Account: The money is held in a checking account, and it can’t dip below the amount of the deposit. This can allow tenants to keep the money in their own account, which is beneficial if the business wishes to acquire equipment, property or another large purchase, as it shows stronger financials.
  • Surety Bond: This acts as an insurance policy if things go poorly, and it doesn’t impact credit. Surety bonds are available for larger companies. If the landlord draws upon the security deposit, then the insurance company will cover it.

Expensive Lease Language

Carefully read the language of the lease as it pertains to the Surrender Clause (the condition the tenant is supposed to leave their space in upon lease expiration), as different terms carry their own meanings and some can require a lot more work and money. For example, retail landlords often want the space returned in a “white box” condition. This can be quite expensive, as it means moving furniture, deep cleaning and removing wires. If the Landlord requires the premises to be left “in the condition that existed when the premises were turned over” this could include reversal of any improvements or alterations done to the space. Tenants often underestimate the cost of these requests versus the value it will have for the business. However, you can avoid these expensive requirements by negotiating the space be returned to “broom clean” condition. Working with the language of the lease to favor the tenant can save a significant amount of money and time for a business.

With every lease, there will be an opportunity to negotiate both Securitization and the Surrender of Premises. It is best to use a qualified commercial real estate broker on the Tenant’s behalf in order to achieve optimal savings and negotiate the most favorable lease terms.

Mastering the Lease Negotiation


The lease negotiation has the potential to provide several, lucrative concessions and rights for the tenant, as long as they are requested and properly defined. What most tenants don’t realize is that most landlord’s are sitting on a pile of money that is available to be allocated towards the incoming tenant in the form of lower rent, free rent, tenant improvement dollars or a combination of the aforementioned concessions. How that money is distributed is determined by the terms stipulated in the lease.

Many believe stronger financials will equate to a more expensive deal. However, the lease revolves around the landlord’s risk of the tenant. A company with a strong financial history represents less risk, which means the landlord will offer better terms to entice the potential tenant. The lease negotiation process is similar to how a bank assigns a loan- the terms are based on the amount of risk. Since the landlord is investing in the tenant, the landlord will often spend money upfront to secure a tenant with the highest probability that they’ll pay rent throughout the entirety of the lease. (If a business goes bankrupt mid-lease, the landlord has the potential to lose a significant amount of money.)

Where many inexperienced commercial real estate negotiators miss opportunities in the lease is by not building in provisions for flexibility. This becomes a critical factor for rapidly growing businesses that often take on far more space than necessary to account for projected growth. While it is smart to plan ahead, at Tenant Advisory Group, we recommend you take on the space you need today with a moderate amount of excess room for planned growth. The reason being is that the office is often the second largest expense of a company. Paying for space that is not being used will unnecessarily burden the financial statements and inhibit a business’ ability to grow. Building in flexibility through rights of first refusal or rights of first offer is a far more effective and economical way to foster a company’s growth. Rights of first refusal and rights of first offer create the opportunity for a business to expand at a future time, if and when necessary.

An extremely valuable piece of negotiation leverage is the right to terminate. This assures a growing business can leave a small space, and move into a larger one when the timing is right. How it works is it provides an opportunity to renegotiate the lease while setting a cap on the rental rate. It can extend the terms of the lease to keep the rent lower than the market rates, and if the market prices drop, you can leverage it to lower rent. Another great piece of leverage is the right to renew, though to be most effective it must stipulates cap on how high the rental rate will be at renewal. Similar to the right to terminate, it allows the company to renegotiate the rent down and prohibits the landlord from renegotiating the terms back in their favor.

In order to obtain the largest concession package, demonstrate strong financial security; request a right of first refusal and/or right of first offer, a right to renew and the right to terminate. When combined, these facets of the lease will significantly improve the quality of life for a business while reducing the strain on the company’s financials.

What You Need to Know About the FASB Updates


Recently, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) updated their standards effectively changing the way companies must list their lease on their balance sheet. This will undoubtedly have rippling effects on businesses, and the leasing process as a whole. The update has the potential to alter the landscape of the commercial real estate lease.

What’s New?

The FASB updates aim to maintain consistency among accounting practices. The update will make businesses account for the entire value of a lease in year one. While it is purely an effect on paper, bankers, lenders and investors will need to understand the changes that will show up on a company’s ledger. The impact will be felt the most by large businesses, however small- to mid-sized businesses will still be affected. The updates will be implemented as of December, 15 2019 for publicly held companies, and Dec. 15 2020 for privately held companies. While this may seem far down the road, preparations to compensate for the potential change in your business’ ledger should start now.

The Impact

Commercial real estate leases need to be negotiated with the new changes in mind, as the new standard will inflate the debts of a company during the first year of the lease. This could impact compliance with current loans, affect future loan approvals and potentially mislead investors. The mandatory listing of a full lease as a liability will be a challenge for accounting teams of larger corporations who strive to maintain consistent earnings. The new standards may throw a company’s books out of balance, and this will be a major factor to consider when negotiating a lease.

The Advantage of a Professional

A professional broker who is trained in understanding the new FASB regulations will be most effective at negotiating optimal lease terms to minimize the impact on your balance sheet. This will include new ways to structure the base rental rate, timing of rent increases, separating out operating expenses and focusing on expansion rights rather than lease renewals that would leave a larger mark on your financial ledger. The ever-changing policies and guidelines are an important reminder to seek the assistance of a professional broker, such as the ones at Tenant Advisory Group. We work closely with our clients to advise them of the best way to proceed in signing a lease while keeping in mind the various impacts of the new FASB guidelines.

Do you Qualify for Rent Abatement?


Commercial leasing agreements commonly extend up to 10 years – or  longer – making negotiations key to long-term savings for your business. One of the greatest opportunities to reduce your monthly cost is rent abatement, or free rent. As you begin the discussion with a Lessor, it is important to understand what rent abatement is and how it can be used to your advantage.

Do You Qualify for Rent Abatement?

Unless there are extenuating circumstances at play, rent abatement is a provision best considered during new or renewal lease negotiations. This is when the Lessee has the most leverage, especially if a business has already shown itself to be an ideal tenant at the current or a previous property.

Why Would a Landlord Provide Free Rent?

If you are a new business needing time to get up and running, or even an established business faced with moving costs and possibly contributing funds to a buildout of your space, the Landlord should understand that you will need some time to build cash reserves back up before the payment of rent commences. If the Tenant is providing the Landlord a large cash security deposit, this is great leverage to negotiate more months of abatement. Furthermore, the cost of acquiring valuable tenants – tenants that take care of the space and pay rent on time – is not insignificant to the Landlord. Leasing commissions, background checks and potential lost rent due to time the space would sit on the market are just a few factors they need to take into consideration when faced with negotiating leasing terms. Potential or current tenants can position rent abatement as a concession that benefits both parties.

How Can You Have this Added to My Lease?

Many business owners don’t realize rent abatement is an option, so simply knowing about and presenting this as an option during negotiations is half the battle. When entering into a discussion with a landlord, present this incentive as one of several the Lessor can provide to reach a mutually beneficial outcome. All negotiations are a give-and-take, and ultimately the Landlord needs to know they will not be losing money in the process. Rent abatement is one of the key terms that can be negotiated, along with tenant improvement dollars and rental rate, in order for both the Tenant and the Landlord to feel they’ve achieved a mutually beneficial deal.

For more of Tenant Advisory Group’s expert tips for negotiating your commercial lease, click here.

1 2 3 4