Environmental Concerns to Consider When Looking for a Kansas City Office Space

Before you sign a lease on a space, you will want to make sure that you are not violating any environmental regulations and potentially even get an environmental inspection of the space. Here are some things to consider about environmental laws, the consequences for violating them, and what types of businesses should be concerned, as outlined in the article “Environmental Issues in Commercial Spaces”:

Environmental Laws

There are laws at the federal, state, and local level that combat contamination by hazardous waste and other byproducts created by companies. Here are a few pieces of legislation your business should be familiar with if you handle anything that could qualify as hazardous:

  • The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976
  • Clean Air Act
  • Toxic Substances Control Act
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act
  • Federal Water Pollution Control Act

These laws deal with chemical contamination of various kinds, including from underground tanks and other storage containers, as well as air pollution and the safety of employees when handling dangerous substances. You might want to look into local laws that are instituted only in your area as well.

Consequences of Violating Environmental Laws

Here are a few potential consequences to consider:

  • Safety and Lawsuits – The most obvious reason to be concerned about environmental contamination is because it directly affects your health, your employees’ health, the health of your customers, and the health of your community. An environmental disaster could be both personally and legally devastating to deal with, particularly if employees, customers or community members decide to sue your business.
  • Clean-up Costs – You might have to pay the bill for the clean up of any sort of contamination, even if you were only partially responsible for it. For instance, if you had a leak from storage tanks that other tenants had been using for years, the responsibility will be fully on you. Government agencies are capable of demanding payment solely from you, bypassing your landlord or other tenants who might have been the original source of the problem.
  • “Compliance with all laws” clause – Most leases include this clause, which holds you responsible for any contamination issues that may arise during your lease term, regardless of whether or not you were aware of the problem, or if the leak began before you moved into the space.

Types of Businesses With Potential Contamination Problems

A lot of businesses will never have to worry about these issues, but businesses in the following situations need to be extra aware:

  • Businesses that work with potentially toxic substances – remember that even if you only make a small contribution to a larger problem, you could still be held financially responsible.
  • Spaces near gas stations or former gas stations, where underground tanks could potentially leak into surrounding soil.
  • Businesses considering large remodeling projects that involve digging – i.e. paving a parking lot or building an addition to a building.
  • Spaces where prior neightbors or tenants worked with toxic materials – i.e. mechanics or dry cleaners.
  • Properties on or near a marsh or wetland – these areas are usually carefully watched by the EPA
  • Buildings with already existing problems that could continue to deteriorate, such as asbestos or bad paint.

Even if your business does not work directly with toxic substances, it is still good to be vigilant about other scenarios that could lead to environmental problems, such as former tenants, any storage in the ground around you, or just a poorly maintained property. Environmental issues tend to generate heated responses from the public and government officials, so do your best to prevent anything from happening on your watch.

If your business is interested in office rental space in Kansas City, give Kathy Woodward at DDI Commercial a call at 913-685-4100!



Factors to Consider Before Leasing A Large Office Space in Kansas City

Business of all sizes have to carefully consider the size of a space before moving in, since the growth of your business could be seriously affected by the size of your space. It is important to look at both the pros and cons of leasing a smaller or larger office space. If you are expecting your business to grow in the near future, a larger space might be the best choice because you can simply expand into more of your own office space, rather than restart the exhausting process of finding a new space. Here are some factors to consider if you are looking into a bigger office space for your business, as suggested in the article “How to Think About Your Square Footage Needs”:

  • Equipment – A larger office space also means adding more equipment without crowding the people in your office. You can also add and adjust other amenities that might not be possible in a smaller space, such as waiting rooms or meeting rooms.
  • Lease Length – You can also think big by singing a long term lease. The benefit of a longer lease is stability—you know that you will not have to spend time in the near future finding a new space.
  • Rent – Another benefit of a long term lease is that you might get a better rental rate, since landlords do not want to spend time dealing with frequent tenant turnover.
  • Pitfalls – The obvious negative side of a larger space is the higher cost for more square footage. You will also sacrifice the flexibility associated with short term leases.

Consider each of these factors if you are thinking about moving your business into a space that leaves room to grow!

If you are interested in office rental space in Kansas City, give Kathy Woodward at DDI Commercial a call at 913-685-4100!


What is the Benefit of Working With a Commercial Real Estate Broker in Kansas City?

A lot of businesses, especially small start-ups, find themselves faced with the question of whether or not to hire a commercial real estate broker to help them find and lease an office space. Since the commercial leasing process can be long and requires attention to detail, there are a lot of benefits to working with a broker. Here are some questions you might have if you are thinking about hiring a commercial real estate broker, as well as suggestions for how to navigate this process, as outlined in the article “Commercial Real Estate: What You Need to Know Before Leasing”:

Why Should I Work With a Broker?

Commercial real estate is a different animal than residential real estate. It can be a challenge to even just find out what spaces are available. There are also a lot of zoning restrictions to deal with. Commercial real estate brokers can help give you an insider’s view of these nuances, and given that often it is the landlord who pays the broker’s fee, there is really no major reason not to take advantage of this resource.

How Do I Choose a Commercial Real Estate Broker?

The first criteria for choosing a broker is looking for a tenant broker, as tenant brokers specialize in working with potential lessees, versus agents who represent landlords. Tenant brokers typically want you to sign a representation agreement, which makes them the exclusive person who can show you the property. It is not a bad idea to sign this when looking for a small space, as it gives the broker an incentive to find you a great space. However, if you are looking for a larger space where commission is involved for the broker, you might not want to limit your broker options with a representation agreement. If you find yourself in a small town that does not have any commercial real estate brokers, you can still take the reins on your leasing process by going through public tax records to find building owners and contact them directly.

Where Can I Find Commercial Real Estate Brokers?

Once you have decided to work with a broker and you know what you are looking for in a broker, the next step is actually finding one. If you are already working with a commercial real estate attorney on your lease, they should be able to recommend several brokers for you. If you are not working with an attorney, talk to other people you know who have rented commercial property and are pleased with their leases to get a referral. You can also use the internet to find lists of large commercial real estate firms.

What Are the Potential Downsides of Working With a Commercial Real Estate Broker?

There are a few potential pitfalls to keep in mind when deciding to work with a broker:

  • Brokers do not focus on pointing out terms in your lease that you should negotiate or could be bad for your business.
  • Commission for brokers is based on the percentage of the lease cost, so brokers will most likely try to push the more expensive spaces.
  • In general, be aware that the less expensive your lease, the less attention you will probably get from your broker.

With these issues in mind, you might consider working with a real estate attorney as well who can help you with the nitty gritty lease details.

There are a lot of benefits to working with a broker, especially if it is your first time leasing, but be sure how to educate yourself on how to choose the best broker for your business and be aware of a broker’s biases and blind spots!

If you are interested in learning about office rental space in Kansas City, give us a call at 913-685-4100 to hear more about our available affordable office space in Kansas City!


10 Tips for Tenants Seeking Office Rental Space in Kansas City

Finding an office rental space requires consideration of many factors: finances, location, property rules, and so much more. Here are ten suggestions from the article “Office Space Leasing Tips” to help you consider a property from several different angles:

  1. How close are amenities and services you might need, such as lunch places or dry cleaners?
  2. Check out the building’s directory to find out what kinds of tenants you will be sharing a building with. Know the quirks of these businesses, such as the fact that telemarketers are often in and out for 24 hours a day, and tenants who practice medicine might take up a lot of parking at certain times a day.
  3. Be aware of the parking options in the space. Do you have to pay for spots in a parking structure? Will your customers/clients have to pay for parking? Calculate what the cost of parking would add to your rental rate.
  4. Make sure your lease is thorough and that you understand all of it. Do not go for a short lease in the hopes of making it more readable, which may lead to confusion if certain issues arise.  Instead make sure that you cover every potential problem and understand clearly the expectations and repercussions.
  5. Know the rules for the property and any zoning laws so that you can make sure they do not conflict with the way you operate your business.
  6. Insurance is a tricky but essential part of moving into a new space, as you are most at risk for theft in a new or unfamiliar setting. Make sure that you are fully covered by the time you move in.
  7. Signage is in important thing to factor into the cost of a space, because it can be expensive. Be sure that you also understand what the rules are for signage in a space.
  8. Make sure you visit the property at night to check on safety issues and lighting. Take others with you to get second opinions.
  9. Check to see if your location is easy to find by asking someone to find the property who does not already know where it is. This will simulate what a customer or client might experience when trying to seek you out.
  10. Look into sub-leasing opportunities from current tenants in the building. Landlords typically want to lease their vacant spaces first, but you might get a good deal by investigating all of your options in the building.

Start the process early to leave yourself plenty of time to consider all of these issues!

If your business is interested in Kansas City office space for rent, give Kathy Woodward at DDI Commercial a call at 913-685-4100 to set up a tour of one of our available spaces!


4 Words to Add to Your Kansas City Office Space Leasing Vocabulary

If you are getting ready to negotiate a commercial lease, go in prepared by studying up on your leasing vocabulary.  Here are a few words to be aware of, as listed in the article, “10 Commercial Real Estate Terms You Need to Know“:

Letter of Intent

An informal agreement between you and your landlord indicating that you are interested in beginning lease negotiations.  Strongly consider consulting a lawyer before signing a letter of intent.

Non-Compete Clause

A clause to consider asking for if you are in the service industry and hoping to stay in the space for a long clause.  This prohibits your landlord from leasing a neighboring space to a direct competitor of your business.

Escalation Clause

This clause allows the landlord to increase rent based on increase in the expenses they have to pay (i.e. taxes).  This can take the form of adjustments based on the CPI, increased operating costs, or periodic rent increases.

Full Service Rent

Rent that covers all expenses for the first year, such as operating costs and taxes.  You will still most likely be responsible for increases in operating costs over the base amount.

Before you enter lease negotiations, it is important to have a clear understanding of the language you will come across so you can negotiate the best deal for your business.

If your business is looking into office space for rent in Kansas City, give us a call at 913-685-4100 to set up a tour of an office rental space in Kansas City.


Extra Expenses to Watch Out for in Your Office Space Lease in Overland Park

Do not think that the cost of your office space stops at just the rent.  There are almost always extra expenses, depending on your type of lease, so be aware of the financial commitment you are getting yourself into.  Here are a few things to be aware of, as described in the article, “How to Get a Good Deal on a Lease“:

General Expenses

Landlords will typically try to pass on extra costs to tenants, including the financial burden of taxes, insurance, and general operating expenses.


One type of operating expense that landlords will hold you responsible for is Common Area Maintenance (CAM).  The cost of maintaining these spaces is divided up among tenants usually based on their share of the total space.  These spaces usually include the lobby, parking lot, stairwells, and restrooms.


In addition to general maintenance, landlords usually try to put the cost of repairs (besides ones to the roof, parking lot, or exterior walls) on tenants.  This could include repairing heating and cooling systems, which is a big financial burden, so be sure to investigate what repairs you are responsible for and the state of equipment in your space before signing the lease.

Be aware of how much you will be paying in added expenses before committing to a lease!

If you are interested in office rental space in Kansas City, give Kathy Woodward at DDI Commercial a call at 913-685-4100!


How to Figure Square Footage for an Office Rental Space: Step 1

Determining how much square footage your business will need is an important part of the process of finding an office rental space and requires careful attention to detail.  Do not let yourself be blindsided by unforeseen expenses or unusable space in your new office space.  Here is the first of 5 steps for accurately measuring square footage in a commercial space:

Step 1: Know the Jargon

It is important to understand the terminology that will be thrown at you during lease negotiations.  Here are a few terms you should be prepared for:

  • Usable Square Footage – The space that a tenant actually occupies.  This is the figure that real estate agents will often quote to prospective tenants, but it does not tell the whole story of a space.
  • Rentable Square Footage – This number is the combination of your usable square footage and a percentage of the common space of the building that you will share with other tenants, such as hallways, elevators, lobbies, and stairwells.
  • Gross Square Footage – all of the rentable square footage in a building.
  • Load Factor – Calculation of total monthly rent based on the rentable square footage times the unit price per square foot.  Often the price per square foot will be different for common-area square footage versus usable square footage.

Prepare yourself to navigate the process of calculating square footage!

If you are interested in office rental space in Kansas City, give Kathy Woodward at DDI Commercial a call at 913-685-4100 to find out about our available space!


TI Allowances and Credits for Your Office Rental Space in Kansas City

If you have found the perfect space for your business, but have decided it needs improvements, consider asking your landlord for a Tenant Improvement (TI) Allowance or TI Credit, which is a fixed amount of money a landlord agrees to give a tenant to improve a space.  This can help you do things like repaint a space, put up new signage, or even reconfigure the entire layout.  Here is some information on how to go about the process of obtaining a TI Allowance or Credit:

  1. First, both parties agree that improvements are necessary, and they put this agreement in a lease addendum called the Work Letter.
  2. The landlord maintains the right to oversee and approve each step of the improvement process.  It might be the tenant’s responsibility to coordinate the work or get estimates from contractors, but it is the landlord who ultimately reviews all of the work and invoices before paying the contractors.
  3. If a landlord does not agree to the proposed improvements, they might still allow the tenant to make the changes to the space—but at their own expense.  However, even in this eventuality the tenant might still be able to get the cost spread out, or amortized, over the duration of the lease term.

Talk to your landlord to find out if obtaining a TI Allowance or Credit is possible!

If you would like to learn more about our affordable office space in Kansas City, give a commercial real estate broker in Kansas City a call at 913-685-4100!


Lease Details for Commercial Real Estate in Kansas City

Lease Details for Commercial Real Estate in Kansas CityBy the end of your search for office space, you will be more comfortable with knowing your business’s needs and how different office spaces can meet those needs.  You will be almost ready to sign a lease.  However, there are sometimes a few little clauses to remember to look over before signing.  Although these clauses are small, they are important for insuring that your business is in the perfect space.  Here are a few of these little clauses to consider:

  • Insurance – Some landlords may require insurance coverage, which might be up for negotiation.
  • Parking – Does your business need reserved spaces?  Will you be charged for parking spaces?
  • Relocation – This clause gives landlords the power to move tenants to a new, similar office space.  Often you can make sure landlords will be responsible for the cost of the move.
  • SNDA – This clause states that your lease will still be honored if your landlord defaults.
  • After Hours A/C – There might be additional costs you need to be aware of for running heating or A/C after business hours.

Be sure to keep an eye on details like these as you prepare to sign a lease for an office rental space in Kansas City!

If you want to talk about leasing space in the Kansas City area, give a commercial real estate broker in Kansas City a call at 913-685-4100!


Finding the Best Location for Your Office Rental Space in Kansas City: PART II

You have a lot of research ahead of you if you are thinking of moving your business to a new location—whether you have been growing for years or you are just a small start-up company.  Do not cut corners when making the decision about where to locate your business.  Here are a few more things to consider as you consider various cities.

#2 Understand State Regulations
Market forces aside, there might be state-specific issues in some cases that could have an effect on your small business and its potential in that area.  When looking at a state, do not just consult commercially produced sources that recommend a certain area.  Look specifically into government regulations for that state and make sure they will not significantly hinder your business’s goals.

#3 Taxes
Know the income, sales, and property tax rates for the state.  Ask yourself whether you could potentially pay less in taxes by simply moving your business across a nearby state line.

#6 Government Economic Incentives
Check to see if your business location qualifies you for any state-specific government economic business programs, such as loans for small businesses or other financial benefits.

These are just a few factors to consider when searching for a new location for your business.  Paying attention to state-specific details like these can help you make the best choice for your business’s interests!

If you would like to learn more about business space for rent in Overland Park, give a commercial real estate broker in Overland Park a call today at 913-685-4100!