Over my thirty-one year career as a real estate broker specializing in office space, I have seen both good and bad examples of how to conduct the relocation search process. One of the primary differences is the effort invested in the beginning of the process to fully understand the requirement. This is commonly referred to as "needs analysis". It is so important that if it is not done, you will probably be wasting a great deal of your own time.
Its easy to understand why that would be, since each space and each building is unique and your requirements, though they probably have some flexibility, have certain characteristics that are needed to benefit your business. By way of example, some companies have a high volume of incoming and outgoing mail. It would be highly advantageous for such companies to have an exit door directly to the mail room so that the delivery people can pick-up and deliver to one convenient spot and the mail can easily be distributed from that location. Other companies have many visitors and want their space visible from the elevator or lobby as the case may be.
The best approach to begin a relocation search is to first think about your current space in a critical manner. What works and what could work better? Then think about what the most efficient functioning of your business would be like. Now construct a model, (draw a picture in as much detail as you can) of what that would look like. Once you have completed this exercise you will be prepared to work with the professionals in the process of finding the right space for your company.
Next, you need to have an idea of the cost of the space. In order to do that you need to have an understanding of the current market in your geographic area. If you can consider various geographies, you will need to gain knowledge of each. The basic points of information you need are: How many spaces are currently on the market that can accommodate your space requirement? What is the overall vacancy factor in the specific market area? What is the asking rental rate? What concessions are common for the size and type space you require? What were the taking rents on the last few deals done recently in the market? A good office leasing broker will have that information. They should be able to present you with a professionally prepared market report and review with you those statistics that specifically relate to your situation. As we all know, statistics can be misleading, so having your broker interpret the report for you is extremely important. Just imagine how off-base you could be if you thought a market had a 20% vacancy, when 18% of that vacant space was totally antiquated space that most companies would never occupy.
One important tip that may seem obvious... make sure you accurately and completely communicate the information concerning your requirements to your broker and space planner so they can hone-in on opportunities that will best fit your company's needs. Then, if your broker isn't showing you properties that suit your needs, you probably are not working with the right broker.
This article republished with permission from our friends at the Office Space Blog