March 8, 2021

You’re the Boss: Are You Paying Too Much for Space?

Today’s Question

What small-business owners think.

We’ve just published a small-business guide by Eilene Zimmerman that offers several examples of small-business owners who have taken advantage of one bright spot in a dark economy — a favorable market for leasing or buying commercial real estate.

Among the lessons that emerge from their experiences are these:

• Be proactive. Get out in front of your lease so you have to time to create options. Start looking a year ahead if possible.
• Hire a real estate broker. A good broker knows the local market and material facts about specific buildings: environmental issues, whether the owner is in bankruptcy, how long it’s been vacant. Those facts can be used as leverage.
• Make sure your current landlord knows that you have hired a broker and that you are serious about getting a better deal — even if you have to move.
• No matter how great the deal, moving can be expensive and cost more than you planned, especially if you have to modify the space. Figure out how many years it will take for the deal to pay off.

Have you managed to take advantage of the real estate market? Please tell us what you have done.

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