Commercial Real Estate: Tips for Businesses Looking for Office or Retail Spaces

Dated: February 12 2024

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By Teri Silver

Choosing the best commercial real estate to house your business isn’t just a matter of picking a building based on curb appeal. When looking for office or retail space, do your homework—long-term planning is the best way to start.

How much retail space do you need? If the answer is “none,” then don’t consider a high-traffic location where parking can be a challenge. If the answer is “a lot,” you’ll pay for this high-traffic bonus with a higher rent price. It is, indeed, all about location, location, location!

Business owners or managers looking for office or retail space should ask themselves a few simple questions:

  •  Rent or buy?
  •  Does the area get a lot of foot traffic? Do we need foot traffic?
  •  How much square footage do we need?
  •  How does square footage vary by location?
  •  What does the floor plan look like?
  •  How much storage is there?
  •  Will the space accommodate the number of employees we have?

Retail Space

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Businesses that sell products or services need storefront retail space. Physical retail space (those brick-and-mortar storefronts) is everywhere—shopping centers, malls, pop-up shops, and busy urban areas. Retail spaces on bus lines and other public transit routes or those near department or “anchor stores” (that customers visit specifically) increase foot traffic.

Unlike commercial offices, retail spaces are built to draw in a flow of customers who will browse products for sale. Retail locations have separate areas for merchants to store inventory that’s not on the sales floor.

Retail Space Benefits

Physical locations for your business make sense, even (or especially) if it’s an online enterprise. While eCommerce has created new ways for consumers to purchase products and services, a physical presence reinforces the idea that your business is here to stay. An easily accessible store allows you to build a brand and prove to your customers that they can trust you’ll be there to handle any problems that arise.

Retail Space Tips

Ready to look for retail space?

Determine the physical needs of the business. For example, clothing stores need dressing room space. Knick knacks need a lot of shelving with room for moving safely between the aisles. Between storage, the sales floor, and an employee break area, how much square footage do you need? How much can you realistically afford? Is there enough parking available?

Other things to consider are crime rates in the neighborhood, similar businesses nearby, and whether you’ll have to pay for water and waste disposal services.

Choose a real estate agent who can help you determine the best neighborhood, inspect prospective places, and negotiate a lease.

Office Rentals

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Office space rentals fill different needs than retail spaces—you are not selling anything. But square footage and storage are still important when choosing space for day-to-day office work, whether it’s for just a few employees or a large corporation.

Just like a first-time home buyer, business owners and managers looking for office space must pinpoint absolute must-haves and those extras that are unnecessary.

Depending on the lease, you may have to pay for basic utilities such as electricity, solar power, gas, and water. Many large building owners also pay for lawn maintenance, cleaning services, security, and waste disposal, but a lessee pays for these services with rent.

Location

Finding the right location for your office is important for your employees … they all come from different directions. With so many people working from home these days, it may be difficult to convince people to give up their cozy couch for the drama of rush hour. Find a location central to major thoroughfares and interstates. Consider locations with nearby amenities like physical fitness centers, restaurants, and nightclubs.

Long-Term Plans

There’s a difference between long-term leases and long-term plans. For example, you can get the business tied up in a three-to-five-year lease, but what if you need more space in the meantime?

One option is to choose a building or landlord that could transfer your lease into one of their larger buildings if needed. But in any case, planning for growth will help determine your needs. It’s just no fun to move an entire office, that’s for sure!

Renting retail or office space for your business is the beginning of a successful enterprise. Strategic planning and a long-range budget will help you keep your project on track. To get started on the right foot, reach out to your local real estate agent at Avast Realty

Teri Silver is a journalist and outdoor enthusiast. She and her husband live on 5 acres with a vast lawn, three gardens, a farm, a pond, many trees, and a lot of yard work! The best parts of the year are summer and fall when home-grown veggies are on the dinner table.

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