Real Estate Selection Process

You’ve developed a business plan and secured the investors— you are now ready for the real estate hunt. This essential component is the final step that will ensure your enterprise dream comes into fruition. Both emerging and existing retail enterprise operators should have a clear idea of requisites to consider before the search begins, and they should know the right questions to ask during the process.

Before viewing spaces with a realtor, or by yourself, it’s important to do as much research as possible. This way, you can come extra prepared with questions and can more easily form accurate judgments. Be sure to line up a qualified real estate agent who understands your needs and preferences. Consider securing an architect and contractor to view the space once you’ve decided you are interested. When one hears the term “research,” a slew of intimidating and exhausting thoughts arise. This research, however, only need be informal; it should involve some online investigation of the following:

  • will this location attract your target market?
  • what is the traffic flow across the street compared to the that of the street where the enterprise is located?
  • what is the size of the retail location?
  • is outdoor seating crucial to your enterprise, and will it be possible to make happen?
  • is the space located on a corner of the street or in-line (meaning there are other enterprises on either side)?

It would also be wise to perambulate the block of the prospective retail location at different points in the day and week to gauge foot traffic and guest demographic of the vicinity.

Once you’ve completed this preliminary, informal research, the next step is to actually view the space in person. You’ll want to bring a camera to capture specific amenities in order to further analyze later, and you should be prepared to take scrupulous notes. Typical specs worth gaining more insight on include:

  • good guy clause
  • asking price
  • lease terms
  • short-term lease options
  • liquor license terms, if a liquor license is required
  • will you need a basement?
  • whether the building is up-to-code (e.g. a ramp to guarantee wheelchair accessibility)
  • demolition clause terms
  • hood ventilation system access
  • why did the space close, or why will it close?
  • what is the background of the previous tenants?
  • what are the neighboring enterprises (especially competitors)?
  • what is the proximity to subways and other common methods of transportation?
Never hesitate to clarify anything that may seem confusing with your agent during the site visit— it can be easy to overlook crucial details during this momentous step. The more photos you take, questions you ask, and amenities you examine will only ease your decision making process later. Keep in mind that once you make an offer and receive the lease, a lawyer must review. As long as you do your part in performing preliminary research and proactively seek spaces that meet your requirements, your ideal enterprise location will become apparent.
Happy Hunting…TaraPaige Group.

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