1. What’s the physical condition of the building?
Again, you can’t just look at the facade and the hallways to determine the condition of the building. Cosmetic upgrades are fine, but more importantly, is the building’s HVAC system adequate for the amount of office space it has, or will your workers need to use space heaters (and does the management even allow it?) Are the elevators in good working order? If they’re constantly on the fritz, time is wasted waiting for unreliable elevators, costing you money in unproductive time. Is there consistent hot water in the bathrooms, or is it intermittent?
Questions to ask other tenants:
2. What’s the culture like in the building? What are the benefits and drawbacks of the neighborhood?
You want to make sure you and your employees will be comfortable and productive in your new environment. Find out from other tenants if the building is has a friendly culture or if it’s a keep-to-yourself kind of place. Depending on your personality and the personality of your company, these factors could make a difference in your decision. Also find out if tenants feel safe and secure in the neighborhood.
3. How good is the quality of building management?
Don’t just eyeball the property – talk to other tenants about the building’s condition. The hallways may look clean and freshly painted, but they may not tell the whole story. Ask other tenants whether you can count of the landlord to fix what’s broken in a timely manner, to honor the terms of a lease and be a good partner during the lease term. Find out if the landlord responds promptly or are many repeated requests required to correct simple problems? These types of frustrating problems with landlords are not just frustrating but time-consuming and ultimately expensive, because your time is your coin.
Question to ask yourself:
4. Does the executive suite fit my business’s “image”?
Most executive suites are located in high-end office buildings, and are furnished and decorated in a traditional, conservative style. This works perfectly for most businesses who want to project a professional, polished appearance. But what if you are a new media company or a CG animation studio? You may want to showcase a funkier, more contemporary image. Look around, however, because some executive suite locations are beginning to offer more offbeat design and locations.
Question to ask city government:
5. How does the building owner deal with finances?
Find out how much debt a building is carrying, and how the operating expenses and management fees at a building you’re interested in compare with those at comparable buildings. Also, ascertain whether critical maintenance has been performed or deferred (which would mean steeper operating expenses in the future when upgrades or maintenance is finally performed). If the building you’re interested in has serious financial problems, not only could working conditions be compromised by drafts, inadequate ventilation, uncomfortable temperature fluctuations and insufficient security, but you could find yourself without an office at all.