Think you’ve found your next commercial property, to buy or to lease? Before going ahead, here are the top seven things to consider to save money and headaches.
- Zoning: Is the property you’re considering in the correct zoning for your business use? Find out by contacting Central Coast Council. While you can ask your agent or owner to confirm the zoning, it is good practice to verify this independently.
- DA Approval: In most instances, you should obtain DA approval for your use of commercial property. Liaise directly with Central Coast Council, or engage a private town planner or DA consultant to assist with this process. Operating without the relevant approval may expose your business to unnecessary risk.
- Strata By-Laws: If considering property in a strata title development, always obtain a copy of the by-laws. Some by-laws restrict certain types of business operation, operating hours, access or signage etc. Also, as part of your DA approval, you may also need approval from the Owners Corporation of the strata plan.
- Power: Does your business have specific power supply requirements, such as 3-phase power or high capacity or multiple circuits? Generally, the property owner provides the power, while you ensure the provision suits your specific use.
- Location: Almost everyone will have an opinion about a commercial property location. Some advice may be helpful, some may be dead wrong and some will leave you scratching your head. Our advice is simple. Look at your type of business and where you get your customers from. Will you benefit sufficiently from choosing a highly exposed position? What about access for a dock or warehousing or disability access? Is a shopfront important to your business? Don’t pay a premium for exposure you don’t actually need.
- Utilities: In some ways, commercial property is just like any other. Contact the providers for your various utilities (electricity, internet, phones, eftpos) to ensure your account is connected for your new premises, and terminated for your former premises. Make these arrangements well in advance – hopefully you’ll avoid lengthy delays and the resulting cost of lost business days.
- Insurance: Most commercial property leases require insurance cover of no less than $20mil for public liability, plus plate glass insurance to full replacement value. Once you’ve completed the move, make sure you’re not paying to insure your former premises. In addition, look into other forms of insurance, such as theft, business interruption, professional indemnity, directors and officers, etc.
This is not an exhaustive list. There are other things to take into account so it’s important to deal with an experienced commercial property specialist, like Chapman & Frazer. Some agents dabble in various property types and may not provide the necessary expertise in commercial property dealings.