January 9, 2020 Marketing Team

A guest blog with Lisa Christianson, Christianson & Company Commercial Real Estate Service

With over two decades of experience as a broker and marketing professional for commercial real estate companies, I am very familiar with the ins and outs of the business. Commercial real estate is typically more complex than residential; there are many nuances. 

If you’re on the hunt for a property in the greater Twin Cities area, you may be faced with a variety of considerations depending on your business category (i.e: retail, office, industrial). Your best first step is to connect with a commercial real estate broker that you get along with. The best broker is someone who understands your brand, company culture, site requirements, is receptive to your needs, and asks a lot of questions in order to connect you with the right properties. 

A good broker understands the motivation of the landlord and can guide you to strike the best possible deal. For example, some landlords are only willing to lease the space as-others may be willing to turn key a build out or provide significant tenant improvement dollars. They may be looking for a longer term lease, others will be a little more flexible with their terms. 

Unfortunately, I see a lot of clients giving in too soon or not asking the right questions on the front end and then getting in trouble on the back end. As a business owner, you should understand all components of the deal, including upfront and future costs involved prior to signing your lease. 

Careful though, time kills deals. If you wait too long to close a deal, you risk another buyer swooping in to secure your property. Additionally, I see brokers and tenants make the mistake of closing the deal on a space then not talking again until a few months before their lease is up. Tenants often don’t take advantage of the opportunity to engage their broker throughout the lease term to help with real estate decisions for things such as renovation, relocation, renewals, acquisitions or expansion. By staying in close contact with your broker you’ll be ready to hit the ground running with everything you need when the time comes to start looking for new spaces or to negotiate a renewal!

There’s the term “location, location, location” but when it comes to commercial real estate it depends on what kind of business you’re in. If your business needs to have visibility and accessibility for clients, you’re going to pay more for it. However, if you don’t have clients coming to your door and you can be more tucked away, you can achieve more savings. 

Ultimately, the one location that will work for you is going to be dependent on your understanding of what makes sense for your business, employee engagement and retention,  product, service, and your customer demographics.

When choosing a commercial property that fits your needs, there are many variables to consider. If you have good representation working in your best interests (lawyer, broker, banker accountant, and contractor) you can avoid common pitfalls and expedite the process in securing your business’s dream space!