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How to best negotiate a commercial property lease

When starting a business, there will come a point when you need to find office or retail space. This should be expected. What is not expected are the many challenges that come up along the way.

If you want to negotiate a commercial property lease that suits your every need, there are a few things you should be doing:

-- Review the terms of the lease. If you are not comfortable with every detail, it is best to negotiate a better deal. You may be surprised to find that the landlord is willing to work with you, especially if the space has been vacant in the past.

-- Focus on expenses. You need to know what you are responsible for in terms of expenses. Who pays the utilities? What about other maintenance fees?

-- Use clauses to protect your businesses. These can include things such as an exclusivity clause, sublease clause and co-tenancy.

Along with the above, make sure you are clear as to what happens if you need to get out of your lease early. Is there a penalty? How much will you pay? You don't expect this to happen, but you never know what the future holds.

These are the types of things that you should consider as you negotiate a commercial property lease. If you take the right approach, if you are thorough in your review and negotiation, it won't be long before you are comfortable with the details and ready to sign on the dotted line. The work you put in upfront can help you avoid trouble down the line.

Source: U.S. Small Business Administration, "6 Tips for Negotiating a Commercial Property Lease without Getting Burned," accessed July 16, 2015

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