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What to Look for on a CRE Property Tour

By Callan Sherrod, brokerage relations specialist

Identifying the best CRE property to lease is a complex decision. Tenants must factor in a wide range of considerations, and many of these are realized during a property tour. Knowing this, our firm emphasizes the value of detailed property tours as a foundational piece to identifying the best space available. When setting up property tours, our experienced brokers work closely with you to help you understand the finer details of solidifying an office lease and what to look for when touring spaces.

Some of the basic factors include location, visibility and timing, but there are also many other things to consider as well. Provided below are a few of the main components we emphasize to our clients in order to get the most out of their time on a property tour.

Location, Access & Visibility

Location is an obvious top priority for tenants when looking for new space. When determining where to open an office or relocate an existing one, it is valuable to view a location through the lens of your employees: Is the area close to where many of your employees live? How much traffic or activity takes place around the property? If yours is a service company, is the building close to where most of your client base resides and does business? Identifying certain neighborhoods or submarkets that are ideal for your business is a crucial part of setting up an office tour. We advise our clients on the market conditions (i.e., vacancy rates, rental rates, recent deals, etc.) of submarkets to help when identifying an ideal location.

Closely related to location is visibility and access. If you have clients visiting often, it will be a top priority to identify a space that is highly visible and easily accessible. When you are on your way to a property tour, consider its proximity and access to major roads, business centers or residential areas. How abundant is the parking at the building, and is it ideal for visitors and employees? Is parking free or will that be an added expense? If you are looking at a larger office building, it is also important to consider the space’s position within the building itself. Building signage opportunities are also very important for this reason. If you are a smaller tenant in a large office building, you might not be afforded the same signage rights as a larger tenant.

Layouts & Timing

Clients typically think through their ideal layout and square footage amount well in advance of their property tour. While this is beneficial, you might be surprised to find that certain buildings and spaces offer more efficient plans than others, helping you save on your square footage and bottom line. Timing as it relates to buildout should also be a top consideration. If you need to move into a space quickly, it will be important to target your search to only include properties with minimal to no need for improvements. With this in mind, we advise our clients of the condition of current spaces on the market and how quickly a building owner can act on a lease and buildout prior to office tours.

The Fine Details

If you are signing a longer-term lease, it is important to think through how the space will accommodate your company in the years to come. If your company is on a fast growth path, you might want to be in a larger building that can accommodate your growth. If you are in a smaller building and run out of space, you will be faced with either having to move again or, worse, run into issues trying to get out of your lease. Knowing the type of landlord that you will be leasing from is important for other reasons as well. Whether the building is owner occupied or owned by an out-of-state equity group can have different implications, mainly if the building is going to be sold anytime soon and how the building is managed. On tours, it is important to notice details like the bathrooms, landscaping, and condition of common corridors to see how a building is managed. These are the factors that you will be living with as a tenant in the building for years to come.

Property tours help you assess the building’s ability to help you meet your business objectives and the culture it would help you build internally. Even as digital capabilities advance to offer virtual tours, seeing a building or space in person answers questions and provides insight that can’t be found online. Touring with a knowledgeable broker will help you identify the pros and cons that certain buildings offer. We aim to provide transparent guidance and advice before, during and after a tour to begin the leasing process.

To ensure you account for all the details and nuances that come with signing a lease, we encourage you to contact us to lead you through this process, pointing out important decisions and steps along the way.