A Guide To Looking For Space (Ch. 2)
A tenant or subtenant needs to keep a number of factors in mind when touring spaces.
If you see more than 3 spaces in one tour, they will tend to blend together in your memory. When we are inspecting space with our clients, they receive a "tour guide" that sets out the basic parameters of each space on a single page, with the floor plan of the space.
We advise tenants to write a brief comment about something that stands out about each space. This will serve as a memory trigger at a later time when you are reviewing and comparing the spaces.
When you enter the space, look carefully at existing conditions. Sometimes the "wow factor" of a new space obscures the little things - and the little things can add up.
- You should start at the entrance of the space. If the front door entry is wood, does it need to be refinished?
- Is the carpeting (or other flooring) in the reception area worn? Does it need to be replaced or refinished?
- Look closely at the carpeting or flooring. Does it need to be replaced?
- Now look up. Are the ceiling tiles in good condition? Is the lighting bright - are the fixtures up to date? Do the bulbs need to be replaced?
- What is the condition of the individual offices Do they need to be touched up?
- Is furniture included? Are workstations included? Is the receptionist station included? Reception seating?
For most direct leases, there will be no furnishings included and the space will be delivered in "broom clean" condition. However when dealing with a sublease, more often than not, the incoming subtenant can take advantage of FF&E or IT or telephone systems left behind by the sublessor. If some of these items are in the space and you don't want to use them, you have to make sure that they are removed at the sublessor's expense, prior to your occupancy of the space.
- Do the windows open in the space?
- Is the air conditioning system controlled by the Landlord or by the Tenant? Is there supplemental air conditioning in the conference rooms? Is there a charge for overtime air conditioning? If so, what is the cost?
- How is electricity measured and billed?
- Does the kitchen have running water?
- Those are some questions that you should ask about your office space at the beginning of the conversation because it will help you compare the spaces on an apples to apples basis. If you are evaluating shared office space, in a law firm for example, there is a completely different set of questions you should be asking. These pertain to what is included in the rental in terms of amenities and services.
- Does the office rental include furnishings?
- Does the office rental include use of the phone system. Will the receptionist answer the phones in your name?
- Does the rental for the office(s) include high speed internet (wired and Wi-Fi)?
- Does the office rental include use of the copier - if so, are there any per page charges?
- Are kitchen supplies included? Is there a monthly contribution for kitchen supplies?
- Is there any additional file storage space, external to the offices that the subtenant can use?
- Will there be any possibility to expand your footprint in the premises if you need to?
- How long is the Tenant's underlying lease? Will you be able to renew your sublease on a year to year basis? Is there a fixed annual increase to the base rent for extension years?
As you can see, the questions concerning private (separately demised) office space vs. individual offices offered with services for a monthly rental per office, are different. In the case of a direct lease or sublease of demised office space (private space) you will generally be dealing with a longer term of lease. Accordingly the initial conditions are very important because you will be dealing with normal wear and tear over time and you've got to account for expenses involved and whether the landlord or tenant is responsible.
In a shared office space your questions deal more with additional services and amenities provided with the offices being rented. Is the rental "all inclusive"? Are amenities and services billed separately?
In either case, you need these questions answered to be able to make a true comparative analysis between spaces. As tenant representative brokers, when you are looking for separately demised office space we provide all of this information in a cohesive format that allows you to easily compare the attributes and deficits associated with each commercial office space we inspect together. For the shared office situations the routine is a little different. Many of the listings on the site are from advertisers who are principals. Dealing on a principal to principal basis you'll have to get the questions answered yourself. (If you're registered as a "renter" on the lookingforspace.com webisite you'll be able to save your favorite listings in your own account dashboard, for easy reference). In the case of a listing where the principal has engaged lookingforspace.com to take the calls (Broker Assisted Listings) we will be able to give you all of the information you need. If the requirement is for 4 or more offices, we'll even accompany you on your inspection tours.
As always, the professional brokerage staff at LookingForSpace.com is available to answer any questions you may have about any listing on our website. Plus, our internal database includes information on every direct space and every sublease offered for rent in New York City, and we are happy to provide you with a free office space survey - no strings attached - so you can see what is out there as potential solutions to your office space search. Just call us to explain what you are looking for and we'll provide a full, detailed survey of spaces available for lease and sublease according to your size, price and geographic parameters. Call us at: 212.986.9100 or CONTACT US by Email