The 3 factors behind any successful commercial rental property search in Johannesburg.

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No matter how you look at it -whether you’re up-sizing, downsizing or just starting out – finding that new office space can be difficult.

But having a carefully defined set of requirements will help speed up the process, and lead you to better, more appropriate properties much earlier in your search.

Understanding what to look for right from the very start is key – and knowing what’s best for your business lays behind all smart property decisions.

Find out the three most important rental property decisions that all South African businesses need to make.

Location

Remember that location is about much more than communicability or convenience.

Location depends on a number of factors: your industry, your demographics, where your competitors are and, of course, your own preferences.

And it’s important.

Traditionally, Johannesburg CBD has been the region’s business hub, but over the past ten or fifteen years, businesses have migrated north to more affluent areas like Sandton and Rosebank.

But CBD is turning its image around. It’s currently undergoing massive urban regeneration and renewal. Prioritised development of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) is now in place, and encouragement is being given to South Africa’s growing creative industries.

Keep an eye out on up-and-coming locations, be open, and don’t be swayed by the herd.

Price and lease

For commercial properties, the rental price is usually determined by the property’s size.

So if you’re looking for an office to rent in Johannesburg, the quoted cost of rental will usually be per meter squared.

But prices are affected by more than floor space alone. Rent is also affected by the type and length of the lease, and can include various service charges and insurance costs.

Know exactly what it is you’re paying for and be aware of general maintenance and operating costs, which may or may not be included in the rent.

If you do decide to make an agreement, make sure that the stated terms are reflected in the written contract, and don’t be afraid to negotiate on price.

Note that commercial rental in South Africa is very rarely considered on a fixed contract, and annual rent escalations are to be expected, so make your projections as soon as possible.

Space

Good commercial rental property decisions aren’t based solely in the here-and-now.

Obviously, there’s a play-off between space and cost, but don’t just focus on your immediate need for office space.

Think about the future.

Hiring new members of staff also means finding places for them to work, and new pieces of office equipment will need to go somewhere.

Ask yourself: how do I expect my business to develop over the course of the next 6 months?

But be sensible. Only factor in realistic business changes and try not to be overly ambitious – after all, the beauty of office rental is in being free to move after your agreed contract comes to an end.

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