Related article: After salaries, premises are usually a business’s biggest overhead so it’s important to make the right choice.
Once you have found suitable premises you will need to consider the following. Login to save this checklist to your profile for future use - as you work through the list, any checkboxes that are ticked or unticked will be automatically saved to your profile. (To register to join and enjoy the benefits of membership click on the link at the top right of the page. It will only take a few minutes to create your profile).
If you’re buying a property your costs will include surveyor’s and solicitor’s fees, searches, deposit, up-front mortgage charges, stamp duty land tax, and VAT on new premises. If you’re leasing or licensing, you’ll have costs such as solicitor’s fees (for contract reviews), advance rent payments, deposits, etc. Make sure that you’ve identified and can afford all these costs.
It’s easy to forget some of the costs of moving into new premises. These include, removal charges, purchasing and installing equipment, fitting out offices and shops (including phone and broadband) making alterations, decorating, printing stationery, etc. Make sure that you’ve taken all of these into account.
Ensure that you’ll be able to continue to meet on-going costs such as rent or mortgage payments, repair and maintenance expenses, service charges, business rates, insurances, and utility bills.
Taking on property can be a huge commitment so make that you hire a solicitor who specialises in commercial property transactions. Some purchase contracts and lease agreements have hidden clauses, such as extra charges or restrictions on activities – these can come back to bite you! A good solicitor will be able to spot them, and advise you about negotiating changes or if the clauses are likely to be deal-breakers.
Double-check your requirements are being met. For example, ensure the space and layout are right, or if you plan to make alterations that these will be allowed by the freeholder or landlord. Local councils will tell you whether you need building control or planning permissions. Make sure that there are no restrictions that will affect you, e.g. noise, rubbish disposal, signage.
Make sure you’re happy that you fully understand what you’re signing up to. If you’re concerned about anything consult your professional advisors, such as agents, surveyors and solicitors. For example, if the term of a lease is longer than you’d like, try to negotiate this down or ask for break clause.
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