By Fadekemi Ajakaiye
A high-profile realtor, Fine and Country, has listed five mistakes corporate tenants make when leasing commercial real estate. The research finding is titled ‘Commercial Properties; The devil is in the detail’.
Fine and Country International (W.A) is a multi-award winning international real estate network reputed locally and worldwide for its’ unique blend of intelligent and creative marketing and branding services, a solid market research and property investment advisory service coupled with a professional approach to corporate sales and leasing of premium commercial and luxurious residential properties.
With operations spanning over 300 offices worldwide; in the UAE, South Africa, Mauritius, Fine and Country International Realty has its head office located on Park Lane, Mayfair in the United Kingdom.
According to Fine and Country, the commercial real estate space is quite dynamic and requires expertise of the processes involved, as it is clearly more complex than leasing a residential apartment. However, too many corporate tenants take it for granted and end up making huge mistakes as a result of not following and understanding due process. To help minimise potential risks and other costly errors associated with this, we have compiled a list of top five mistakes corporate tenants make when leasing commercial real estate.
1. Beginning the negotiation of a renewal or new lease too late.
Delayed negotiation of a renewal or new lease is one of the biggest mistakes we see corporates tenant make. In simplest terms, if you wait until your lease expires before you start speaking to your landlord about renewing your lease or before you start looking for a new space, you may have a hard time finding exactly what you need especially in a competitive market.
2. Competence and Expertise
Many corporate tenants go into lease agreement process without properly having adequate and required knowledge and as such, they have made lots of mistakes that have impacted their business negatively. Lack of knowledge combined with time pressure usually causes corporate tenants to make wrong location decisions without being aware of all the choices. This will sometime result in errors that cut into their profits and/or increase financial exposure. To guide yourself, consider getting the services of a commercial real estate advisor to walk you through the process and confirm that a space will meet your current and future needs.
3. Commercial Lease Clauses- the devil in the detail
There is usually a lot of documentation as well as clauses in a commercial lease contract that are mostly in favour of the landlord. It’s therefore important to understand what those clauses mean and how they can they positively or negatively impact your business. Most times your real estate advisor/legal team can help you understand these and negotiate clauses that will be more in your favour.
4. Focus On Strategy, Not the Transaction
Whenever there’s a need for a company to move to a new development or to renew their lease, in the excitement of ensuring the transaction goes on smoothly, corporate strategy is often neglected. All negotiations tend to focus only on the major financial terms of the lease agreement and as a result, the impact of the transaction on the portfolio strategy is easily forgotten, important terms like rent review, expansion and contraction rights seem to have low priority in the leasing process.
5. Do not underestimate the time the process will require
The inability of corporate tenants to understand the time process required often results in companies having to stay longer in their existing premises and may negotiate a soft lease renewal with the landlord. A successful relocation transaction time process should include time for a site analysis and property selection, negotiation, executive approval, legal documentation, fit-out, relocation, etc. All these processes need to be completed within the remaining period of the lease and if not the landlord will demand compensation as entitled as per the terms of lease.
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