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Seek advice before you sign a commercial lease

While many entrepreneurs these days can find success with just a laptop, your business involves personal contact with the customer. For this reason, it is not enough for you to set up an office in your home. You are looking for commercial real estate to lease. This is not as simple as it sounds, and you must consider many factors that are different from those involved in renting a residential space.

When you have found a commercial space to rent, your landlord will present you with a lease to sign. As eager as you may be to get your business off the ground in its new location, you would be wise to take some time to carefully review the terms of the lease. You will want to make sure you understand your obligations, which often go beyond paying your monthly rent.

What are you really signing?

Finding the best space for your business is not an easy task. You have to understand the zoning and environmental laws in your area of California, find the best location for your product or service, and research the reputation of your potential landlord. This may take years. When you finally find the right spot, you must consider more than just the amount of the rent. Other factors to consider include the following:

  • Is the lease short or long-term? Which type is better for you?
  • Does the rent include expenses such as insurance, parking, utilities, repairs and maintenance?
  • May you modify or renovate the space to suit your needs?
  • Can you adjust your lease or sublet if your business closes before the end of the lease?
  • What additional terms of the lease might the landlord hold you to if your business should close?
  • What additional fees will you pay if you remain tenants after the lease expires?
  • Does your lease allow you to remain on the property if the ownership of the property changes hands?

These are only a few of the complex issues you may be facing with a commercial lease. You may know your business well, but not every small business owner has a firm grasp of commercial real estate law. For this reason, many small business owners take their leases and other contracts to a skilled and experienced attorney for a careful review. An attorney can show you the points that you can negotiate in a lease and can even take the lead in this discussion with your potential landlord.

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