Property pitfalls

Your office is the vital hub in which your business operates, so it is imperative that it sets the tone for everything you do. Greg Ball, development surveyor at Muse Developments highlights the common mistakes to avoid when looking for commercial property.

office shelving

As the economy continues to improve, many SMEs are seeking to upgrade and expand their current office facilities in preparation for future growth. With demand increasing for Grade A office space, it’s important that business owners familiarise themselves with how to select a commercial property, and learn what to avoid.


Those upgrading their office space for the first time often don’t fully understand relocation costs or how to manage them. Most leases require tenants to restore accommodation to its original condition and configuration. This, in addition to fitting out a new space, further increases capital expenditure.

However, these large-scale capital costs can usually be off-set by flexible landlords offering rental incentives, which can be structured in a variety of ways to reduce cash flow problems. Thus, when assessing the cost of relocation, it’s important for companies to explore this option.

Give yourself time

Timing is another key consideration for SMEs who have decided to upgrade. Given the shortage of Grade A office accommodation in many markets, occupiers often don’t give themselves enough time to properly review the property options in their preferred area. Modern, bespoke, new-build options are often a great solution for expanding companies. However, with insufficient planning, many businesses find themselves forced to consider less efficient, existing buildings that don’t meet their needs.

Starting the process 18 to 24 months before the expiration of a current lease, allows companies enough time to consider modern, bespoke new-build offices that would be better suited to their business in the future.

Notice periods

Before searching for office space, it is also a good idea to review the existing lease for break notice periods, which allow a tenant to end the lease on a specific date. Serving an incorrect break notice is a common property pitfall, which can prevent businesses from exiting their existing lease liability and force them to remain in unsuitable accommodation. Furthermore, failure to effectively exercise a break can potentially lead to double occupational costs if the business has already committed to a new space.

Local environment

Finally, as most SMEs upgrade their facilities to make room for additional staff, it’s important to consider how the environment and location of the new space will impact the ability to attract or retain high-quality employees. Whether a property has good transportation links, is near a readily available pool of qualified candidates, and provides key amenities such as shopping, fitness, or entertainment facilities, can all affect a company’s recruitment efforts – a key factor when selecting a new office location.

Although there are a variety of factors to consider, business owners who seek the advice of commercial property experts, and familiarise themselves with the process, will find it easier to navigate the market and acquire a space that fits their business needs.

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