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You have reached the conclusion that you do not want to hire a commercial real estate broker to assist with your lease. Here are some questions you should be asking yourself as you go through the project.
1. What do you like about your existing building?
2. What do you dislike about your current building?
3. Is staying at your current location a viable option?
4. What would need to be done at your current location to entice you to stay?
5. Do you have a renewal option?
6. If so, on what terms?
7. When does your current lease expire?
8. If you relocate, would your lease expiration drive the relocation date or would you want to move at a different time? If a different time, what would be the driver for this date? (Avoid busy time of year, avoid the holidays, etc).
9. How much do you currently pay for space (the total cost, including base rent, escalations, electric, water, repairs and any additional costs for which you currently pay)?
10. What type of building are you currently in (type of building and class)?
11. What type and class of building are you seeking? (office, flex, A, B, C, etc)
12. Is image important to your company? Why or why not? (Help attract and retain good employees, clients visit our office on a regular basis, our competitors are in this class of building, show stability, reflect our success, etc).
13. What are your financial objectives? (For example, leverage the market to achieve the most attractive lease arrangement, protect your company against entering into a lease or purchase at the height of the market. Reduce the cost per employee, etc.)
14. What is your budget for new space?
15. Is your budget realistic based on the type of building you are seeking and market conditions?
16. Is there a rental structure that you would prefer or would it depend on the net present value of the terms in comparison to the leveraged market place? (free rent up front, a lower rental rate throughout the lease term or a stepped up rental rate starting lower and ending higher, etc.)?
17. What is the preferred lease term for new space and how has this been determined (For example, the cost of tenant improvements needing to be amortized over ample period to provide a reasonable rental rate, market conditions, flexibility, etc.)
18. What are your operational objectives? (Align real estate with the current business operations to achieve an efficient workflow and the flexibility to accommodate projected changes to operations in the future, etc.)
19. What are your strategic objectives (grow the company and take it public within five years, etc.)?
20. What are your workplace objectives? (For example, create a workplace that will help attract and retain good employees. Create an environment that will help make employees more productive.)
21. Is your company environmentally conscious or practicing any green or sustainability initiatives? If so, what are they?
22. Do you know what LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification means?
23. Do you know that being in a LEED certified building may help decrease employee sick days and turnover while increasing employee satisfaction and production?
24. Do you have a preference for being in a building which is LEED certified or not?
25. What are the location parameters within which you will consider relocating your office (number of miles within current location, certain submarkets or corridors, etc)?
26. What is/are the most important factors in determining your location parameters (proximity to employees, customers, executives, airport, downtown, hotels, turnpike, universities, hotel, etc.)?
27. If there are multiple factors dictating your location parameters, rank them from one to ten, ten being the most important. (Proximity to employees, executives, clients, access to airport, etc).
28. Have you developed a location map of your employees and/or clients?
29. Are there any buildings within these locations parameters that you have seen which you like?
30. Has anyone prepared a program of your office space needs?
31. How many square feet do you currently have?
32. How many square feet do you currently need?
33. Generally, how many square feet do you anticipate needing in the future?
34. What will be the driver for the change in square footage?
35. How many employees do you currently have?
36. How many employees do you currently need?
37. Generally, how many employees will you need in the future?
38. Do you have corporate standards dictating the amount of square feet per person based on job type?
39. Would you prefer to lease or purchase a building?
40. Why would you prefer to lease or purchase a building? (for example, flexibility, greater return by investing my capital in my business, corporate policy, etc.)
41. Do you prefer an existing building, proposed building, or build to suit new building?
42. Why do you prefer an existing building, proposed building, or build to suit new building?
43. Does your company have any internal architectural capabilities?
44. Has your company enlisted an architect or do you have a preferred architect? If so, who is the preferred architect?
45. Do you know the benefits and drawbacks of working with an architect you hire as opposed to working with the landlord’s architect?
46. Do you know what services you need an architect to provide?
47. What is the name of the tenant as it will appear in the lease?
48. Where is the tenant incorporated?
49. What is the name of the person who will sign the lease and what is that person’s position?
50. List the reasons your company will be a desirable tenant (creditworthy, prestigious, established, clean use of space, multi year lease will add value to building, etc.).
51. List the reasons, if any, your company may not be a desirable tenant. (poor credit risk, new company, unusual use of space, high density of employees/parking, etc.).
52. Will you consider locating to a building in which a competitor is currently located?
53. If not, make a list of where your competitors currently are.
54. How important is exterior building signage to your company?
55. If building signage cannot be provided, either exclusively or in addition to another tenant having previous signage rights, will you still consider leasing space at this building?
56. If building signage cannot be provided but a prominent monument sign can be provided, will this satisfy your exterior signage requirement?
57. How many parking spaces do you need for your employees?
58. How are the needs of your employees currently being accommodated and what is the charge, if any?
59. If there is currently a charge for parking, how much does the employee pay and what is the allowance or parking reimbursement paid by your company?
60. Will you consider relocating to a building which charges for nearby parking?
61. How many employees currently take public transportation and from what part of the city do they travel to your office?
62. What type of public transportation do your employees take?
63. What type of public transportation do your guests take?
64. In a typical day, how many visitors and guests will require parking?
65. Are there any occasions where your company will require additional parking for employees and visitors? If so, what are the occasions and how often will they occur?
66. Do any of your employees ride their bike to work? If so, how many? Where do they currently park their bicycle?
67. What are your typical hours of operation (including flex hours, if any)?
68. Do employees ever occupy the space during evening or weekend hours?
69. How much do you pay for after hour air conditioning at your current building?
70. Do you have a computer room that will require 24 hour air conditioning? If yes, what is the heat load (BTUs) for this room? Do you know the size (tons) of the additional air conditioner for this room? If so, what is it?
71. Has this computer room A/C been adequate in the past?
72. Do you anticipate this will be adequate in the future?
73. Do you currently have a back up system to the A/C in your computer room?
74. Will you have any other areas of your space that will require special or additional A/C?
75. In addition to the computer room, do you currently have any or all of your electric separately metered? If so, which space and why was this separately metered?
76. What special electric needs do you have (such as dedicated circuits, circuits with above standard capacity, strips of outlets, more than two duplex outlets per office, etc)?
77. Do you need a back-up generator for power in your space?
78. If you will relocate your current cubicles, are they electrified or will you be purchasing work systems that are electrified?
79. What is the typical size of an employee cubicle?
80. In addition to base building electric, do you know how many watts per square foot of tenant electric your firm will require?
81. Describe and special lighting needs that you have (minimize glare on computers, accent lighting, design lighting, etc.).
82. What are your information technology needs, including the type of data service you require to the building (T-1, Fiber optics, etc)?
83. Will you require a location on or at the building for a satellite dish or antenna?
84. Do you have a television in your space now and will you require one in the future? If so, how is this need accommodated now and how would you like this to be accommodated in the future?
85. What are your life/safety requirements and any corporate policies you have relating to this issue. Is your firm required to be in a building which is fully sprinklered?
86. What handicap accommodations your firm desires for employees, guests and visitors?
87. In addition to identifying the building security provided by the landlord, are there any special security needs your firm has?
88. In addition to the building security, will your company install its own security system in its demised premises? If yes, what type of security system do you wish to install? (One not tied into or tied into the building security system, card access, keyfob access, code number access, etc).
89. What amenities does your company require at or near your building and rank on a scale of one to ten, one being the most important, how important they are (fitness facility, eating facilities, childcare, hotels, universities, hospitals, etc).
90. Do you have any heavy equipment, files concentrated in one area, or have anything else that has caused your company to exceed a typical floor loading capacity in the past and do you expect your company to have anything that will exceed a typical floor load capacity in the future?
91. Does your company have any special cleaning needs?
92. How is regular mail handled in your current building and does this type of service work for you?
93. Other than moving into a building, do you ever have anything delivered that requires the use of a loading facility? If yes, how often?
94. What type of overnight mail service do you use and how frequently do you use it?
95. What is the latest pick up time for overnight mail in or near your current building?
96. If there is a storage area within the building, would this be of interest to you or do you send all storage off-site?
97. If you are interested in on-site storage, how much do you need (square feet or room dimension) and what type of materials will you be storing on site?
98. Do you have any corporate standards for tenant interior construction?
99. If you do have corporate standards for tenant interior construction?
100. Do you have any areas in which you will require upgraded improvements (executive offices, executive conference room, reception area, other)?
101. Have you talked to an architect or interior designer to show you tenant interior finishes at various price points to determine the general cost range of the tenant interior finishes your company will require?
102. If the landlord is unwilling to pay the entire cost of leasehold improvements (which is more typical when significant upgrades are required), are you willing to pay for some of the tenant improvements?
103. Rank your most important decision making factors in order of importance. (Image, cost, being in a LEED certified building, location, expansion/contraction options, landlord’s willingness to provide turnkey tenant improvements, etc.).
104. Who else will be involved in the decision-making process?
105. What is the typical size of an enclosed office?
106. What is the typical size of a work station?
107. What is the approximate percentage of enclosed offices to workstations you will require in the overall space?
108. List the names of the departments you currently have or anticipate having, the number of people in each department, the amount of growth or downsizing (number of people or percentage) anticipated in each department, the number of enclosed offices in each department, and indicate any other changes you anticipate to these departments for the foreseeable future.
109. Indicate the adjacencies needed to be achieved between the departments.
110. Does each department require a meeting room?
111. Approximately how large will the reception area be?
112. Have you had a lease auditor to look at your current lease and recent operating and tax escalation invoices?
113. Have you been in contact with any of the following third party suppliers?