Whether you are talking to the building owner, landlord, or the landlords listing agent you need to make sure you ask & get answers to all the right questions before renting office space in Austin. Otherwise you could end up in a bad, costly situation, and once a lease is signed it's typically too late. Below is a checklist of questions that you should take with you to every office space property tour.
Commercial Office Ownership & Management
- Who owns the building?
- How long have the owned the property?
- Where is the owner located? – Local owner more likely to be responsive
- Is the building for sale or do they plan on selling or refinancing soon?
- Who is the property manager and how long have they managed it?
- Where is the property manager located? – Local group more likely to be responsive
- Who is responsible for all of the maintenance and repairs to the building and my space?
Economic Aspects of Renting Office Space
- What is the asking base rental rate?
- What is all included in the rate? (e.g. janitorial, electric, taxes, repairs, maintenance, etc.)
- How much will my rent go up (escalate) each year?
- Will there be any free rent?
- Will the landlord give an allowance for tenant improvements (e.g. paint, carpet, build walls, demo)?
- What is the charge for after hours HVAC (if any)?
- How much is required for security deposit?
- What is the charge for regular parking (if any)?
- What is the charge for covered and/or reserved parking?
- What is the minimum lease term that you would consider?
- Are there any other fees are charges that you have not disclosed to me?
- Am I able to sublease to another company or entity?
- Do I get an option to renew my lease?
- What are the insurance requirements?
- Will I have any options to expand in this building or others within the owners portfolio?
Physical Aspects of the Office Space
- What is the usable square footage (usf) and rentable square footage (rsf) of the space?
- What is the common area factor (aka load factor) of the building?
- Can I get a copy of the floor plan with measurements?
- What amenities are there in the building (e.g. fitness center, showers, building conference room, deli, etc)?
- What is the parking ratio or how many parking spaces am I allowed?
- Am I able to control the thermostat in my office?
- What internet and phone services are available in this building?
Questions About Other Tenants in the Building
- What is the tenant mix in this building?
- Which tenants signed leases recently?
- Which tenants recently moved out and why?
- Who is the largest tenant?
These are some of the basic questions you should ask every landlord that you visit with. Depending on your needs and the answers you get this list of questions should help you narrow down your options. Never take a commercial real estate lease for granted. It's one of the largest contracts and expenses your company will have and one oversight can cost you thousands.