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What to Consider When Starting a Search for a New Office

Quick prep for a successful office space search.

June 12, 2019 | by Jo Cipolla
Reviewed by real estate expert Jonathan Wasserstrum

Your hunt for new office space will include moments hopeful and exciting—and still others that are daunting and stressful. But a little advanced preparation will skew the process toward the positive. Having a sense of your wants and needs is especially helpful when you start working with a good broker. To set the stage for success, we recommend coming to consensus around the following matters.  

Do you want to remain in or around your current location or explore a new one?

Several practical considerations should determine the ideal location of your next office: Your employees’ commute, which can greatly impact employee happiness and productivity; proximity to clients and events, especially if you need to be nearby for meetings; whether a particular neighborhood will enhance your company culture; and the average cost per square foot, per year, as this fluctuates by neighborhood.

What sort of workspace is ideal for your organization?

A big question is whether you need a coworking space or private office. If it’s the latter, you’ll need to consider whether you want an open plan office, which remains a top trend and a way to save on build-out expenses. If you want space where people can focus with minimal distractions—or if some or all employees need a lot of privacy—you may want to avoid the open office.

How much space do you need?

Office space is generally calculated by multiplying the number of employees you have or are expecting to grow to, by the amount of space needed per employee—150 sq. ft. is average but you can be more economical or spacious. Consider also the number of private offices and conference rooms necessary, and if a kitchen is a must—expect to add about 250 sq. ft. per office, 500 sq. ft. per conference room and 200 sq. ft. for a kitchen.

What’s your budget?

Office space is one of a business’ largest operating costs, so it is important to determine what you can afford to spend annually. By working with a broker, they will be able to help you ascertain whether or not your expectations are realistic. The cost of office space can vary greatly depending upon neighborhood, building class and amenities (doorman, lobby, etc.). In addition to base rent, you need to think about a security deposit as well as whether you will be required to pay for some or all of a building’s taxes, insurance and maintenance.

What’s your move in timeline?

Do you need to move immediately or do you have months to look for the right space? This is another good reason to work with a tenant broker who can walk you through what to expect during the office space search, and how the process usually plays out. As a rule, it takes about 3-9 months to secure a space, plus more for build out and you can expect your broker to act like a business advisor. The best part— tenant broker fees are paid by the landlord.


Still feel at a loss about how to answer some of these questions? One of our SquareFoot brokers would be happy to help you. Get in touch to start a conversation and learn more about the leasing process.

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