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Tip For Renting A Medical Office Space

Are you looking into opening a medical office and need a space to rent. There are many things to consider including location, size , amenities, security, after hour access and many others.These all need to be carefully considered before signing a lease. Let's face it some office spaces are not going to be set up for doctors offices.
Below is all the information you will need to select the perfect medical office space that works for your practice.

First decide where you want your practice to be and we can go from there.

1.Determine the average rates in the area you have chosen.
This requires some comparison in the area. Look around in the neighborhood and see what's out there. You will only know the price of the market by checking out the market. Now remember you'll want to make sure you are comparing apples to apples and not apples to oranges. This means you'll want to convert all pricing to the same factor for example price per square foot. A building manager may give the price in a different format like monthly lease, just convert it to price per square foot. If you have a commercial real estate broker they can help you with pricing comparisons.

2.How much square footage do I need
This is very important, not enough space can result in inefficient office operations. Too much space results in wasted overhead. To avoid these issues the following rule should be taken into consideration when looking for a medical office. The rule is 1200-1500 square feet for the first physician and 1000-1200 square feet for each additional doctor up to 4 or 5. Some practices like mental health professionals require much less space but an orthopedist might need much more space for equipment and therapy rooms. The average family practice requires three exam rooms and one procedure room but this can also vary based on size and specialty.

3.Understand the difference between rentable and usable square footage
Once you’ve figured out how much space you need and where you want to be, you will need to learn a few details. The difference between usable and rentable square footage is also referred to as the “building load factor”. The building load factor refers to the soiree footage you rented and what you actually can use. The other space is taken up by common areas like lobbies, atriums, stairwells, storage rooms, electrical rooms etc.
The percentage can range from a low of 5% or a high of 20% depending on the building. So when you rent 2000 square feet your usable space may only actually be 1800. Keep that in mind before you sign the lease. A commercial broker can guide you on the building load factor.

4.Understand what additional fees you'll pay.
There are 3 types of leases to consider when understanding additional fees besides just rent. Triple net lease or NNN-This lease requires you to pay a prorated share of the buildings property tax , insurance ,maintenance, management and repair fees. You will also receive a separate electric bill Modified gross lease- This lease includes most of the things NOT included in the NNN lease but you will still pay your own electrical and janitorial. All modified gross leases are different. Your commercial broker can sort the different leases out for you.
Full Service Gross lease-This lease includes all other expenses including electricity. Again make sure you're comparing apples to apples when comparing commercial real estate leases.

5. Ask about an improvement allowance.
Most commercial buildings offer a tenant improvement allowance for you to modify the space to your needs. This is negotiable based on the term of the lease, the age of the current build out and the credit of the guarantor. Make sure you have your broker negotiate a good improvement allowance otherwise you are on the hook for all modifications

6. Ask if the space is accessible
Like we alluded to earlier some office space is not meant for physicians. However, all buildings are to be ADA and OSHA approved. If they are nor you could be on the hook for major renovations to bring it up to code. As a physician you will see diabled patients from time to time so this is a must. Don’t even consider having a broker show you a building that is not ADA compliant.

7. Find out about biohazard waste
Does your building have storage for biohazard waste? You’ll need to be able to store and dispose of biohazard waste that all physicians offices have. If the building doesn’t have this then you should move on to another building. A broker can get you a list of locations that have biohazard programs available so you don’t waste your time.

8. Check on after hours access and heating and cooling
Something we don't think about much, heating and cooling see things after a building closes for the day. It takes a long time for heating and cooling to adjust in large buildings. If it is set to cold or hot this may cause your patients to be uncomfortable the next day. You will probably at some point see patients after hours for an emergency. Do you have access to the office after hours? Check with your broker for after hours details

9. Check on security
Medical practices have personal and sensitive patient information as well as prescriptions and prescription pads. All this is privileged information that needs to be protected. What is the security like in the building? Do you have 24 hour surveillance? Is there a security guard? Video surveillance? Can you modify the existing security for your space? Before you sign any lease make sure you have proper security in place.

10. Learn about parking
Parking in any big city is a problem. Does your office building provide parking for the patients and staff ? How far is the parking garage? Parking can cause patients to not return because it isn’t convenient for them to park so parking is essential.

11. Consider Medical office sharing
If you are just starting out this might be for you. Medical office sharing is a building set up just for physicians. You can rent one office or several. This office is already set up with all amenities that a doctor will need, staffed front desk, biohazard disposal, parking, some are equipped with needed medical equipment. These can be rented short term or even month to month. See your commercial real estate broker for details.

If you do your homework and work closely with your broker you could find the perfect medical office space.