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CommerCial real estate

renting
in

today’s market

on what a store can and cannot do. The rules may be even stricter in a mall, which closely monitors its physical appearance. Negotiate the terms of your lease aggressively. Think about consulting a realtor that is familiar with the area. Never accept wording that’s confusing or that leaves you wondering who is liable for what. Ask for the right of first refusal on adjacent space in case you need to expand. Negotiate for free improvements, free rent, and other incentives before signing your lease. Hire a real estate attorney who not only specializes in lease negotiations, but knows your area and, preferably, has dealt with your kind of business before. A lease negotiation can cover tens, if not hundreds, of terms, and you want someone in your corner who has seen it all before. Know who is responsible for maintaining the heating, air-conditioning and other systems, as well as keeping up the parking lot and building exterior. This can be critical in older buildings. Who pays for the utilities and trash pick-up? The time has probably never been better to start a new venture if you have a business that is not being adversely affected by this economy. Just make sure you get the right location……

First make sure that the area you have chosen is right for your intended business. If you plan on expanding, take that into consideration. Do you need to be close to an expressway, or the local airport? Before you decide, think ahead, because you may be getting into a long term commitment. Make sure that any space you’re considering is big enough for both your current needs, and your foreseeable growth. Be realistic and never over-commit. Do your homework beforehand. Investigate traffic patterns; tour the area and building. Find out who the previous tenant was, and why the business left. Learn what kinds of marketing the location does in support of its tenants (if any) and whether co-operative marketing funds are available to you. Weigh the benefits of guaranteed foot traffic at a mall location against premium rent. Some malls require that all tenants stay open during mall hours, and pay for common area usage as well as the store’s own space and upkeep. Stores may also be asked to pay a percentage of sales to the mall. Identify your closest competitors. Also check out neighboring businesses with an eye for complementary products or services. If you are locating in a mall, check the lease agreement for any guaranteed protection against competition. Evaluate whether the physical location and space is a good fit with your product line. Do you need a large, bright space or is an office warehouse sufficient? Investigate any restrictions on signage. Signs are vitally important to retail businesses, yet many landlords decide

www.Greenville.Downtown.sc Online Magazine | 2009 24