Office Leasing: Understanding Rentable vs. Usable Square Footage

photographer-349921_1280When you lease commercial property to be used as office space, your future landlord will mention terms such as rentable square footage and useable square footage when speaking about the rental cost. As opposed to having a single rent figure, these square footage calculations are used to determine just how much you’ll pay for your office space.

In the same discussion, common area costs will come up as well. Commercial tenants not only have to pay for the space that they use alone but also share the cost for maintaining the common areas with other tenants. The calculations may be a bit intimidating at first, however, with the right background information and a good tenant representative by your side, you’ll be able to figure out the details in no time.

What is Useable Square Footage?

When you want to calculate useable square footage, this will be the figure relating to the amount of space which you actively use. For example, your useable square footage is the square footage of your single office within an office building, if you lease an office space of this type.

What is Rentable Square Footage?

Rentable square footage is the amount of space which will include your office but also the restrooms, closets and other areas.

What is the Common Area Factor?Office Lease Renewal

The common area factor is the amount of space which is shared by all office space tenants. This will include bathrooms, cleaning closets, lobbies, copy rooms and other shared sections of the office building. There are two main types of common areas: floor common area and building common area. The floor common area is the amount of tenant common areas which are located on your floor while the building common area is the part which everyone within the building shares. These two figures are added up to equal the total common area factor.

How Do These All Add Up?

Calculating the square footage figures can be difficult for new office space tenants but tenant representatives are well-versed in these types of calculations and will gladly help you to calculate the figures with ease. The basic calculation is rentable square footage = useable square footage x (1 + add-on %). The add-on percentage can be calculated this way: rentable square footage/useable square footage – 1. The add-on percentage is sometimes substituted with a common area factor percentage and you can determine which percentage your prospective landlord uses simply by inquiring with them.

These factors show that there is much more to commercial office space rent than just a flat figure. There are distinct calculations which go into determining commercial office space rent and these figures will dictate how much you pay for an office space you use as well as common areas which you share with other tenants. Understanding these figures is much easier to do when you have a tenant representative along with you for any and all negotiations. Your tenant representative will explain these factors in layperson terms and help you out with any questions which you may have along the way.

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Office Space Tenants Often Pay More Than Just Rent

Office SpaceWhen business owners lease commercial office space, there is often more to consider in the way of expenses than just rent. One would like to think that a rent payment each month or year would cover all of the tenant’s costs, but this is usually not the case. Most office space tenants will have to pay an additional rent, such as operating expenses, under the lease terms. Here are some things which all commercial office space tenants must keep in mind when signing a new office space lease.

Business Owners Are Responsible for Rent Plus Operating Expenses

In addition to paying the set rent for the office space, commercial tenants will also pay operating expenses. These are items which the landlord must pay out in order to keep the building running. Some of these costs may include taxes, insurance, utilities, common area maintenance and more. Since these can be quite costly, it only makes sense to have the tenant share in some of the financial responsibility for operating features which they make use of as well.

The Costs Will Be Stated in the Lease

These operating costs may be few or many in number, depending on the individual commercial office, landlord, location and added features of the building itself. In order to have the right knowledge regarding what the tenant is responsible for and how much these items may cost on a monthly or annual basis, the operating expenses must be listed in the lease. The lease must be very detailed regarding what the tenant is required to pay, what the landlord will pay and how and when these payments are due.

Operating Expenses May Fluctuate Throughout the Lease Term

It would be nice if there were concrete numbers with regard to operating expenses, however, many times these operating expenses will fluctuate. In fact, most operating expenses will vary in amount but there is usually an average number for which the tenant can calculate approximately how much they will be paying in addition to the base rental payment. For most office space tenants, they will have to pay a portion of the operating expenses based on the amount of tenants in the office building, if more than a single tenant setting, and what the landlord requests in the lease. Although the portion of the operating expenses which the tenant needs to pay will be a set percentage, the cost of the operating expenses will still fluctuate.

The Best Way to Understand Operating Expenses Is With a Tenant Representative’s Help

Operating expenses can be a bit difficult to understand, especially if one is new to the commercial office space leasing arrangement. In order to have a good grasp as to what these operating expenses are and how much you will need to pay, having a tenant representative by your side during negotiations, lease signing and beyond will help. The tenant representative will thoroughly examine the operating expense clause and provide you with detailed information on what you will need to pay in addition to your commercial office space rent.

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How Financial Analysis Plays a Part in Office Lease Transactions

chicago office space listingsCommercial office space leasing consideration is a bit more in-depth than renting a residential property, for example. When leasing a home, apartment or condo, you know how much the rent costs and whether or not you will be able to afford it. For commercial office space leasing, the decision-making process is a bit more time consuming. In order to ensure that you are renewing your lease at the right location at the right cost or deciding to move your office space to a new locale to save money, you want to complete a full financial analysis to make sure that the leasing decision you make is the right one.

What a Financial Analysis Accomplishes

A financial analysis is the answer to determining what your overall cost will be to lease a commercial office space. Far from simply considering annual lease amount, there are many other factors to review in order to ascertain that the lease is a financially responsible move for you and your company to make. In addition to looking at the base rental price, you must consider factors such as increases in operating expenses, caps on operating expenses, reduced rent periods, contributions by the landlord, parking fees and more. By looking into all of these added factors, you can make the proper determination as to whether renewing your lease or moving elsewhere is the right decision to make.

How to Perform a Complete Financial Analysis

When starting the financial analysis process, you’re going to want a little help with the calculations. Fortunately, there are programs for just this type of analysis. Some of the popular financial analysis help comes in the form of ProCalc, LeaseMatrix and more. By using these programs, you can get a correct number, as well as get the job done with ease. When performing a financial analysis, you’ll be considering the various features listed above, such as base rental payments, operating expenses and all other costs and considerations which will provide you with a final determination as to whether or not your leasing arrangement will be of benefit to you and your company.

What to Do with the Financial Analysis Results

When the tabulations are complete, the final step is knowing what to do with the results. You want to look at the bottom line and determine if this number will fit within your budget or not. It will be helpful in making the decision whether to stay and renew your commercial office space lease or lease an office at a new location.

If you have a tenant representative, your decision will be made much more easily. This advisor will go through the numbers with you and help you to decide which leasing option will benefit you the best. Making the right decision is a matter of going through the financial analysis, step-by-step, and figuring out whether it pays to stay in your current office space and renew your lease or move on to a new location which will be more cost-effective and better for your company overall.

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Affordable Office Space Lease: Considerations To Follow

chicago office space listingsA lot of consideration goes into leasing commercial office space. This is not a small-term or residential lease, so you want to be sure that the office space you select is one which will fit your needs as well as your budget. Not sure how to accomplish this goal with certainty? The following three factors are important considerations to take note of when leasing affordable office space and ones which will greatly help with the final decision.

Structure and Layout Will Dictate Price

When searching the various office space leases, keep in mind that the structure and layout will dictate how much you spend on the overall lease cost. You want to consider if you are going to embark on any structure changes and how much that will cost you. An office space which is ready to go and needs little revision to the structure or layout will save you money and be the most cost effective lease arrangement.

Location Is a Determining Factor with Lease Cost

Where your prospective office space is located will be a factor in how much you pay. Consider the desired location carefully when you search as this can save money. By moving a short distance away and refocusing your search on a neighboring area, but still one which is beneficial for your business, will oftentimes offer a reduced cost. How much an office space landlord charges for rent will depend on the location and the demands associated with it. If you are considering two different locations, where one will be more cost effective, consider the pros and cons to see if the less expensive location will be just as efficient as the pricier one. This will save money and leave you with an office space location which is reasonable in price and will serve your company just as well.

Lease Terms Can Coincide with a Reasonable Price

Chances are that the landlord will have a set price in mind for the lease. However, this doesn’t mean that terms are non-negotiable. The more beneficial the lease terms are for the tenant, the higher the lease price may be. With that said, the future commercial tenant must always negotiate for the best possible terms and still aim for a reasonable price. No lease terms are concrete and everything is up for negotiation when it comes time to discuss the lease. The tenant should always broach favorable lease terms and seek out an affordable lease cost while obtaining exactly what their company needs in an office lease.

Finding an affordable office lease is not an unattainable goal. It can be achieved by choosing an appropriate structure and layout for your office space, picking the right location which will also be cost effective and making sure that you get all of the lease terms to suit your needs and the needs of your company. Although commercial office space leasing may be competitive in certain areas, there are still plenty of options to choose the best office space lease which will accommodate your company or corporation perfectly without having to pay a fortune.

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Office Space: Tips For Obtaining A Flexible Office Space Lease

chicago office space listingsCommercial office space leases are often long in lease term length and strict with regard to getting out of the lease prior to the lease term expiration. Many business owners who are eager to lease office space feel as if they have no choice but to accept the lease terms as-is and just know that they must accept a lengthy lease if they want to gain office space. This is not always the case. Although landlords may be the ones to structure the lease, the lease terms are not ones which are absolute. There is always the option to negotiate lease terms and make them more flexible for the benefit of the tenant. The following will offer some tips for obtaining a flexible office space lease.

Request a Shorter Lease Term

Just because the initial lease terms are on paper doesn’t mean that you can’t request a shorter lease term. Many landlords will opt for longer lease terms as it ensures that they will have a tenant in place for years in the future and provides them with security. However, there are times when the landlord may agree to a shorter lease term. You may have to pay a bit more for an office space lease which is shorter than a 5-15 year range, however, if you need the flexibility with regard to length of the lease, it may be worth paying a bit more to obtain such flexibility.

Ask for a Renewal Clause

Suppose you feel as if you will want to stay in your office space for many years to come and don’t want to risk being forced out when your lease term expires. The easiest way to gain security in this regard is to request that a renewal clause be added to the leasing contract. This will give you a documented right to renew your lease should you desire to do so in the future. It’s always good to have this type of safeguard in place and absolutely have it in writing.

Assignment and Sublease Options

There may come a time during the commercial tenancy where you have to vacate the lease ahead of the expiration of your current lease. Having assignment and sublease options in the contract will ensure that you will be allowed to assign or sublet the remainder of your lease term without penalty.Oak Brook

Inclusion of a Termination Clause

As with the prior section, should you need to move your business out of the leased office space prior to the conclusion of the lease term, you want to be able to do so without being penalized. Sometimes business owners don’t want to be responsible for subleases or assignments and this is where a termination clause will come in handy. Request that this lease term is also added to the contract and it will provide a flexible option for you as a commercial office space tenant.

Office space leases don’t have to be strictly structured nor do they have to benefit the landlord alone. Request that terms be included within the lease which will safeguard you as a tenant down the road.