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The builders’ guide: finding a great shop to let

You’re moving into the big leagues, from tiny internet business to hulking, bulking brick-and-mortar enterprise. It’s the process that every overnight success story has to go through, elevating to a headquarters that isn’t your childhood bedroom.

But finding a shop for sale isn’t as simple as jumping headfirst into a lease agreement and keeping your fingers crossed. Well, it is, but you’ll be regretting your risky decision-making within six months.

Take it from the builders – renting a retail outlet requires a keen eye for details and an ability to see through any letting agency fibs that are thrown your way.

That’s why we’ve put a few tips and tricks to keep you in good stead. Take a look and keep your eyes peeled.

Who to trust

You’d trust some letting agents as far as you can throw them. They don’t have the best reputation. In terms of professions where the truth is stretched beyond breaking point, they’re up there with lawyers, authors and con artists.

A typical conversation between a customer and a letting agent is a lot like a jealous lover trying to get their love-cheat spouse to admit their wrongs. For example:

Client: These windows, are they double glazed?

Dodgy Letting Agent: As you can see by the light shining through the pane there, these south-facing windows let in enough sunlight to effectively warm any habitable space.

Client: Can you just tell me know if they’re double glazed?!!?

Dodgy Letting Agent: Erm, no, no they’re not.

But they’re not all serial fibbers. In the commercial property sphere, there are a few people you can trust. We’d recommend CoStar, a company dedicated to top notch service and matching clients with the perfect property. Give them a look.

Check your walls

A savvy landlord can hide even the mouldiest patches of a wall beneath a lick of paint. And what’ll happen in a few months’ time? That mould patch will reappear, and your landlord won’t care. After all, they’ve already got your cash.

Before you sign any lease agreement, check damp, rot or mould on all walls. Any weaker part of a plasterboard base can be weeded out by knocking on the wall and checking its integrity. If you’re feeling unsure about the walls, invite a contractor to check them.

Nooks and crannies

There are flaws in every shop space. Whether the staffroom is a little cramped or your front door could be bigger, you’ll find little quirks everywhere. But some flaws are bigger than others – and they could be hidden in less-than-obvious places.

The take-home message is this – be thorough. Every shop has skeletons in its closet. Weed them out THEN make your decision.

 
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