Buying a business is no small task, and many first-time buyers are initially intimidated by the paperwork required to make a sale happen.
The good news is the paperwork, contracts and red tape required for buying a business are totally do-able.
You just need to stay on top of requirements, have patience and have the right help.
As you near your closing date, you will also be nearing the day when you sign your commercial lease. Almost all business transactions are for the business itself – not for the associated real estate, so in almost all cases you will be dealing with a commercial lease when you buy a business. The timing for signing your commercial lease will be one of the clauses mentioned in your purchase contract.
Navigating the negotiation of a commercial lease and acting as a buffer between buyers and typically difficult property managers is yet another example of why a good business broker is instrumental in the success of a sale.
Property managers are difficult by nature because it is their job to protect the owner of the property from anyone who might not be able to pay the rent. Businesses, especially small businesses, are inherently very risky – so many property managers are hesitant to allow new owners to take over the lease at a location. You should expect a thorough vetting process, and should be prepared to disclose your financial statements and your resume. Your new landlord wants to make sure you have the experience necessary to keep the business successful and the capital to pay the rent during the transition to new ownership.
The inherent risk of small business also means you should expect that your lease will be essentially the same price as the lease the current seller is paying. Most property managers are not going to renegotiate for a much lower price. Why not? Keeping the current tenants at their current rate means more money for the property owner, so be ready to pay essentially the same rent (if not more).
Commercial leases are similar to the purchase contract because they are very extensive. You should review them carefully with your business broker and your business transaction attorney. Just like your purchase contract, any attorney unfamiliar with the business transaction process will be hesitant to advise you to sign a commercial lease simply because it is so extensive. Listen to the advice of your business broker and your business transaction attorney as they are best suited to advise you in this situation. Also be aware that most commercial leases are fairly standard, so although you may be able to negotiate some small parts of your lease – it will largely stay as it was for the original tenant.
Do you have more questions about the commercial lease in a business sale? Would you like to know more about what’s included? Ask us! Feel free to leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.
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