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Do research before buying

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Make sure the property meets all your needs

Investing in commercial property can be an exhilarating venture that provides a steady annuity income stream and a sound portfolio for the long-term benefit.

However, according to Craig Ford, chief executive of the Cape Town-based compliance certification company Bugs and Sparks, the only thing bridging the gap between a good and a bad property sale is information and that demands research, planning and compliance.

“Perhaps the most important phase is doing your homework – thoroughly research the area in which the building is located and the surrounding infrastructure. As the business owners, consider the building structure to ensure your business can fully maximise the space and location,” Ford says.

Key questions include:

  • How much office space will you need?
  • What facilities will you require?
  • Is the building accessible from major motorways?
  • Is there sufficient parking for both staff and clients?
  • What area is the safest and most accessible to public transport routes?
  • Will the premises allow you to scale for growth?
  • Are the premises in good condition, or must you budget for renovations?

The next issue is affordability and that means asking your accountant (preferably one with real estate experience) to access what financial commitments the business can sustain.

Spending money you do not have is a sure-fire way to sink the venture.

Ford says before approaching a bank for finance, ensure you have high quality financial statements, a plan for any tax implications and a good understanding of upfront and ongoing costs that may arise from property ownership.

The next step is engaging the services of a reputable commercial property specialist, someone with a proven track record, several years in the industry and sound recommendations from other well-established businesses.

“There are a host of benefits to working with a commercial property specialist – from saving money and time to easing your stress levels, being privy to useful industry information and the skills to ensure you can make a sound purchasing decision. Essentially, working with a commercial property specialist will ease the pressure of a property search to free you to do what you do best – running your business,” Ford says.

When considering moving day, Ford says planning is critical to ensure a swift, efficient relocation. Planning should cover various elements, including:

  • Obtaining quotes from local moving service providers;
  • Planning the office layout to the smallest detail;
  • Running credit checks on contractors providing services;
  • Choosing the correct builders with experience, timeliness and industry knowledge;
  • Preparing for any down-time in advance and notifying clients, service providers and staff to ensure everyone can plan accordingly.

“In planning your move down to the finest details, you can anticipate the curve balls and provide peace of mind for all parties,” Ford says.

The last element involved in acquiring new business premises is compliance. Without the proper compliance certificates, you compromise your insurance in the case of injury or damage. 

Compliance documentation may include certificates for water and plumbing, electrical, beetles, gas and an electrified fence.

“It is in your best interest to get these sooner rather than later as you don’t want to hold up the sale process,” Ford advises.

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