How Long Does It Take to Lease a Commercial Space?

April 5, 2016

shutterstock_376416046Even if you’re itching to get out of your existing office space tomorrow, your actual move to a new space will take a shade more time. In fact, the commercial leasing process can last anywhere from several weeks to a full year, depending on the length of each of the multiple steps you’ll need to take.

Figuring out your office space needs: One to three weeks

Here you’ll go through everything from architectural requirements to budgetary limits, with neighborhood preferences in between. Relay the info to your commercial real estate agent, and then let the search begin.

Property search and selection process: One week to three months

Once your agent has picked out several properties that suit your needs, your next step is a grand tour of the spaces. Here you’ll get a detailed rundown of each property, weighing the pros, cons and finally selecting the winner.

Business and lease term negotiations: One to three months

Landlord negotiations involve several phases. The first is a meeting to discuss business terms. The second is an agreement on the specific lease language. Negotiations typically go for several rounds of offers and counter offers before a consensus is reached.

The landlord’s lawyer then issues a draft lease, which your real estate attorney will review and comment upon. The two attorneys work together to create a mutually acceptable document. This can take a few days or a few weeks, depending on the lease’s complexity.

Office build-out: Two weeks to six months

Build-out refers to how the new office space will be constructed to meet your company’s needs, and your lease includes all its details. The lease will outline who’s paying for it, construction specifications and completion date.

New carpet and paint may only take a few weeks, whereas new plumbing, HVAC installation, electrical work and other more extensive remodeling may take several months.

Timing is everything when it comes to your move. You don’t want to get stuck with penalties if your existing lease expires and you have nowhere to go – or paying double rent if your new location is ready sooner than you planned. Pay attention. Be fastidious. And remember your commercial real estate agent is there to help each step of the way.