Perhaps you are a project management consultant whose business is expanding. You need to hire more employees and move to a larger office.

You have found the perfect location, and you want to be sure to avoid mistakes in negotiating and signing a commercial lease.

Negotiating the lease

Look over the lease carefully, and prepare to negotiate. For example, the landlord may grant certain concessions, but understand that they are probably already worked into the lease’s value. A legal review of the document can help you avoid pitfalls in this area.

Avoiding the long-term lease

Avoid terms that would tie you to a multi-year lease. You want the landlord to agree to flexible options that will allow you to use the new office space wisely, keeping in mind the need for future business expansion.

Budgeting for improvements

The space you want may require some building out, and the landlord may want you to absorb the costs. The lease should also contain a section about tenant improvements. Make sure the TI budget and the build-out costs are fair and provide what you need for the environment you want to create. Before you sign the lease, you should also do some research to find out if the building owner has any intention to sell or if any redevelopment plans are in the works. Any thoughts along these lines could affect you as a tenant, possibly in the near term.

Identifying hidden costs

Be aware that if at all possible, the landlord will take advantage of your inexperience in understanding and negotiating a commercial lease. For example, hidden costs may exist, so once again, a careful review of the contract is essential.

Looking ahead

As an added benefit, your personal experience with leasing commercial office space will provide insight that you can use to help clients. In fact, your first recommendation to any business seeking to lease commercial space will likely be to accept professional guidance to avoid making costly mistakes.