Finding Office Space Works

Inspect the Property
So you've found a good spot -- you think. You like the location. It's passed all of the tests so far. So what else do you have to look at before you sign on the dotted line? Here are some things to make sure are on your list of questions.

  • First of all, how old is the building? With age can come problems and difficulties in incorporating new technologies.
  • Are there structural problems? Talk with other tenants and see if they've had any problems either with the building itself, or even with the landlord.
  • Does the roof leak?
  • How old are the HVAC systems? Will you be dealing with periods of no air in the summer and no heat in the winter?
  • Is it wired for computer networks, Internet access, or other electronic items? If not, will you have difficulty wiring it because of the types of wall materials or ceiling?

Is there adequate security? Security features can include:

  • steel security doors
  • security gates that fold out of the way during office hours
  • alarm systems that can be monitored by a security firm or the local police department
  • video cameras to watch entrances and exits
  • bullet-proof glass
  • fenced parking
  • external lighting all around the building
  • security guards

If you're buying the property you need to dig even deeper. Sometimes literally! For instance, you may need to do a Phase 1, 2, or 3 site assessment to make sure there is no environmental contamination that you will be dealing with. Sometimes the lending institute you are getting your loan from will require it.

So what do these assessments entail? A Phase 1 assessment involves reviewing the past uses of the land, and government environment records concerning the property, and a simple observation of the property. If this first assessment shows up any potential contamination or problems then a Phase 2 assessment is needed. Phase 2 involves air, water, and soil samples. The third type of assessment, sometimes referred to as a Transaction Assessment, only takes into account the use you are proposing for the site. It does not take into account any past uses or problems. This is the assessment you would need if the site has previously passed a Phase 1 assessment and had no problems.

It is also recommended by most in the real estate profession that any property, whether it is being leased or purchased, be inspected by a professional inspection firm.

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