Beginning the process of looking for office space can be daunting. Unlike most things you buy today, finding office space can’t be resolved with a simple google search.
At AQUILA, finding office space is our business. We help businesses big and small find office space every day; in fact, we’ve helped over 500 clients find commercial real estate that meets their needs.
Due to the complexity of the site selection and lease negotiation process, we strongly recommend enlisting a tenant representation broker.
But, we sometimes get asked how to find office space for those looking to DIY their site selection, so we wanted to present some tips on how to find available space on your own during the initial stages of your search.
In this article, we’ll explain:
- How to define your office space needs
- Best ways to search for available space
- Potential issues that may arise when searching on your own
Defining Your Office Space Needs
Before beginning your search for office space, it is important to have a good understanding of exactly what your needs are. Some things you will need to think about are:
- How much square footage your business requires
- Which part of the city you would prefer to be in
- What amenities are desired, and
- Your preferred lease term
Having these things identified will help you to narrow down the spaces you should be considering.
To learn more about how to pinpoint the office space needs of your business, be sure to check out our articles on how to calculate how many square feet you need, different classifications of office space, and the varied office rental rates across each submarket.
Best Ways to Search for Available Office Space
There are a number of different ways to search for office space on your own, but each is important to ensure that you uncover all of the potential options available in the market. This can be a time consuming process, but is a necessary step before you can decide which is right for you.
Looking for Signs
The simplest method is one that you probably do every day – look for leasing signs as you drive around.
Most office buildings with available space will post signs outside of the building that include the leasing agent’s contact information. If you see a building you are interested in, all you have to do is call the number on the sign.
If you drive to and from work every day, you will likely see many signs on your journey, which can make it easy if you’re looking for an office in that same area. However, if you have another location in mind, be sure to explore that specific area as well.
It’s important to know that some leasing agents won’t return phone calls from prospects who are not represented by a tenant rep broker. This is another reason to consider outsourcing this task to a tenant representative.
Also worth noting is that every building, whether space is available or not, will leave a sign up to attract activity and phone calls. The company representing the landlord may also use your call as an opportunity to pitch their tenant representation services.
LoopNet is an online marketplace for commercial spaces. Similar to residential websites like Zillow and Trulia, LoopNet allows you to search for available space with filters based on location, type, size and rental rate. Each listing also includes relevant contact information and photos if you want to learn more about the space.
While LoopNet is likely the easiest way to search, it does not come close to including every available space on the market. Not every company posts their spaces on this site, and there is generally some significant lag time between a space becoming available and it being submitted to the website, or being removed from the website once a space has already been leased.
AQUILA PRO TIP
CoStar, now the owner of LoopNet, is the industry leading resource for finding information on available spaces in the market. This service is what professional brokers use to find an initial survey of what is available in any given market.
Costar gives more detail, is updated more frequently and has a far more comprehensive database of availabilities than it’s free counterpart. Think of Costar as the MLS for commercial real estate.
However, CoStar is a paid service, so will likely not be available to you if you are searching on your own. We recommend utilizing the services of a tenant representation broker to get the most out of what this online platform has to offer.
Almost every commercial real estate company’s website will feature listing pages for all of the properties that they represent. Each page will feature photos of the property and list current availabilities and building location. Some will even show asking rental rates, floorplans of available suites, demographic info and more.
As such, visiting each of these websites is a great way to learn about the spaces each company currently has to offer.
The main issue with this, however, is that it not only requires you to know all of the companies active in your market, but you also have to take the time to visit each website and build your own comparisons between all the spaces.
This can be very time consuming, especially if your main focus is on your business and not on finding real estate.
Issues with Searching for Space on Your Own
Searching for space on your own is definitely possible, and we highly recommend doing so in the beginning phases of your search to help you form an idea of exactly what you are looking for, but there are some aspects of leasing office space that can be more difficult without a tenant representation broker.
A few issues you may encounter are:
- Searching for space is time consuming and takes away from the time you could be spending on your business
- Your negotiating power may be limited without having a tenant representation broker on your side
- Finding the space is only the first step; commercial leases are complicated and the negotiation process requires extensive real estate knowledge in order to ensure that you achieve the best terms possible.
To keep learning about the process of finding office space, visit the AQUILA Learning Center.
These challenges are why we highly recommend hiring a tenant representation broker to assist you throughout the site selection and leasing process. There are numerous benefits to hiring a tenant rep, and it may not cost as much as you think. Tenant reps save time and make the process efficient, allowing you to make the best decision for your company.
If you would like to learn more about leasing commercial space in Austin or wish to speak with one of our experience tenant representation brokers, schedule a consultation today.
If you’re ready to start your search for office space, read our Ultimate Guide to Finding Office Space.
- 5 Crucial Steps for Finding the Perfect Office Space to Lease
- How Much Office Space Do I Need? (Calculator & Per Person Standards)
- How Much Does It Cost to Lease Office Space in Austin, Texas? (Rental Rates, Pricing)