Property Acquisition – How could it affect your business?

Just open the property pages of any business magazine and you are bombarded by dozens of adverts for commercial property.

With so much on offer, you may think that acquiring property is very straight-forward. After all, for most businesses the catalyst for looking for property is to accommodate growth – so riding on that success and with a seemingly buoyant market, this should be one of the easier business decisions. As many companies have discovered, this is not the case.

According to independent research undertaken by leading economist, property is important to business and neglecting it could cost you dear. UK commercial property is worth over £400 billion and contributes 12% to GDP.

It generally represents over a third of a business’s total assets, and property running costs are the second highest cost after wages.

Property clearly has a major impact on the balance sheet. And according to the research, it is estimated that UK businesses waste £18 billion annually through inefficient use of property.

Of course, it’s not all about costs, there are distinct positives – the correct property can does make a real difference to your business and will bring bottom-line benefits. The right location may enable you to ‘steal a march’ on your competitors; the working and sales environment can result in improved morale amongst personnel, leverage your recruitment and increase sales; and the image and profile it supports can enhance your competitive status through more positive positioning.

Many businesses don’t know what sort of property they are looking for – they have ideas about the location, they know how many people they want to cater for and (in broad terms) they know the type of space required. However, there are so many variables involved that when it comes to matching the brief to the property available, problems can arise in defining what they want.
Here are some points to consider.

Finding the right premises to suit my business needs
• Deciding whether to buy or lease
• Acquiring and negotiating a lease
• Potential pitfalls when taking on premises
• Building surveys – when they’re needed and how to get the best advice
• Challenging dilapidation claims
• Making alterations to a premises – what can and can’t I do?
• Valuations – what’s the most appropriate valuation basis for my needs?
• Getting planning permission
• Renewing a lease
• Negotiating a rent review

Peter Knight, director of Manchester-based commercial property managers and construction consultants Knight Site Solutions Ltd, said: “Property decisions, it seems, are indeed critical to business success. Property is likely to be one of your company’s biggest assets and you can’t afford to waste it. It is crucial that the process is managed effectively and profitably – acquiring property is not just about “getting the best deal”.