One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make is not allowing enough time to search for new office space or start their office lease renewal process. Renting office space takes longer than you think and you should never underestimate the time needed to find and lease space. While it is possible to find office space that meets your needs within 30 days, it can be a challenging and stressful process. Many steps are often overlooked and you could end up having to settle for subpar office space and/or pay higher rental rates.
Whether you are looking for small or large office space or planning on renewing your existing lease there are no advantages to waiting until the last minute. All you are doing is giving the landlord the upper hand. When the landlord realizes your existing lease is expiring in 20 days and you don't have any other options they have more leverage in negotiations. They will simply present you with a lease renewal proposal and request that you to sign on the dotted line.
Because you have not been proactive and started looking for office space sooner than later to compare alternatives you end up paying more than you should. That's why it's critical to start searching for new space and/or start your lease renewal process at a minimum 3 to 6 months in advance. Below are some suggested time requirements for the process of leasing office space:
Search for and select the right space – 2-3 weeks
Negotiate the lease rate, terms and condition – 2-3 weeks
You, your attorney, and commercial realtor review the lease – 2-4 weeks
Finalize tenant improvement plans – 2-8 weeks
Construct Leasehold improvements – 2-12 weeks
Total Minimum Time Requirements – 10-30 weeks
These minimum time requirements vary based on the size of office space you are renting, time of year, your city’s permitting requirements, current condition of the premises, tenant improvements needed, etc. As an example if you are leasing 15,000 sf with significant improvements needed you may want to allow up to 8-12 months. A small “as is” space may only take 20-30 days total.
If you are new to renting office space or don't have the time or resources needed to find the right space and negotiate the best deal possible you might consider hiring an office leasing specialist to assist you. It's imperative that you allow plenty of time. If you are OK with paying the landlords asking rental rates then go ahead and wait until the last minute. However, if you are looking at your bottom line (as you should) then be proactive.