understanding your needs delivering the best results

Acquisition

As a property acquisition specialist, we know that a workspace is not just a ‘box’ where work takes place.

We know that a workspace fulfils many roles. It’s a place:

  • To work at desks and meet with clients, colleagues, prospects, suppliers, etc
  • Which epitomises an organisation’s brand and culture
  • Which has to meet the organisation’s strategic, financial and occupational goals and ambitions.

To speak to a member of our Acquisition team today, contact us by calling one of our UK offices, or completing our online enquiry form. Contemplating an office move? Click here to explore your options and to find out how we can help.

Why Choose Matthews & Goodman

There are four things we guarantee all clients:

  • A dedicated team, led by an experienced and qualified specialist
  • Our advisors are smart, agile and have robust negotiation skills
  • Impartial advice: our analysis is never influenced by our connections
  • Independent thinking: we have no shareholders to please, only clients.

We advise owners, occupiers, investors and developers – from SME’s and high net worth individuals to public authorities, institutional clients, FTSE 100 companies, and international conglomerates.

We help them with all aspects of property acquisition, whether they are:

  • Searching for their first workspace
  • Relocating due to business growth or because their current workspace is no longer fit for purpose
  • Seeking additional accommodation
  • Searching for potential acquisition opportunities, from an investment or development perspective

From negotiating the best terms possible, to limiting future liability, to advising clients on how to repurpose workspace to suit hybrid working practices, our specialists will deliver a solution which best meets your financial and operational requirements, whilst reducing your property costs.

Our team is experienced in a multitude of sectors, from Office and Industrial to TMT, Financial Services, Public Sector, Leisure, Charities and Not-for-Profit, Healthcare, Self-Storage and Retail.

To speak to a member of our Acquisition team today contact us by calling one of our UK offices, or complete our online enquiry form

How We Work

The first questions we ask when clients start to talk to us about finding a new workspace include:

Why

... are you looking for a new workspace?

How

... do you intend to use that workspace?

What

... did you like and didn't you like about your existing workspace?

Where

... would you like to be and why? (near clients, suppliers, motorways, etc?)

When

... what's your timeframe?

How much

... what's your budget - in terms of occupational costs, as well as fit out cost?

If

... money was not an issue, what would your workspace look like and how would you use it?

Finding a new place to work is easy. Finding the right workspace is what distinguishes brokers from acquisition specialists like us.

The acquisition of commercial property is a complex and taxing. That is why we have developed tailored strategies to help clients ensure:

  • They secure the space they need
  • The workspace environment they want
  • A completion process which is effective, efficient

The cornerstones of our approach include:

Moving premises forces organisations to review what they really require - in terms of financial, strategic, occupational and ‘brand’ goals. Add to this complex mix of ‘needs’ are the organisation’s culture and ambitions.

This is why we start by understanding what all these ‘drivers’ are, as it ensures we only recommend potential premises which meet our clients’ unique matrix of requirements.

Clarity also helps clients focus on what they’re looking for, where they are looking for it and how a ‘space’ can be turned into their workspace.

Anyone can do a portal search, but only experienced property specialists will have a profound understanding of what is on and off the market: what is coming to market and what is available in the ‘grey’ market: and how best to match availability to specific requirements.

Our team’s deep market knowledge and long-established contacts with other agents, gives us access to potential properties which often never come to market.

The ‘where’ question is usually the easiest one to address. The more complex issues include:

  • Reviewing demand/supply data to establish (local) ‘price comparables’
  • Reviewing lease terms to ensure all our client’s goals are met
  • Business Rates liability commentary – allows clients to make an informed decision
  • An assessment of the condition of the property to identify potential (and expensive) issues.

Only after these critical factors have been identified, prioritised and costed will the team make a validated recommendation/s.  

We measure our success not just in terms of price secured, but also by negotiating the best contractal terms, agreeing the optimum schedule of dilapidations, flexibility of occupancy use, occassionally the inclusion a comms package etc.

‘Best terms’ are a potent hedge against future costs and liabiities and the best time to negotiate these is before a contract is signed.

We start thinking about clients’ vision for their workspace and how they intend to use it at the very beginning of the acquistion journey. Knowing this helps define the ’envelope’ in which the workspace will exist – in terms of location, size and functionality.

However, as soon as we start the new workspace negotiations, we start turning the vision into a reality - with a constant eye on future use. Our job is turn that shell into what clients will happily call ‘my space’.  

If you have already made the decision to relocate, take a look at our video, "5 things to consider when relocating your office".

Our Acquisition team is an intrinsic part of a firm of integrated property specialists. Our combined expertise includes:

FAQs

The amount of space you need depends on how you want to use the space, your agile working strategy and the size of your desks - are they 1400mm, 1600mm, 1800mm? The best new buildings are currently designed to be occupied on the basis of one person to every 8 sq.m.

For offices, the old rule of thumb was 1:10 sq m per person to allow for kitchen areas, meeting rooms, circulation space, etc. However, when planning and designing your fit-out, you need to ensure it reflects your culture, what you do, the number of people you want to accommodate in any one day with working from home (WFH) and agile working policies, your social distancing collaboration protocols and a whole host of other factors.

But of course, every building is different and the ‘new normal’ is giving rise to new organisation specific occupancy strategies.

Monthly costs will be determined by location, quality of accommodation and various other factors. You should be absolutely clear from the outset what you can afford in terms of:

  • Rent – payable to landlords
  • Rates – effectively a property tax
  • Service Charge – determined by the cost of running a property
  • Building & Content Insurance
  • Estate Charges – cost of running the estate (if applicable)
  • VAT

The minimum term for a traditional lease is usually three years (in a weak, tenant bias market) and 12 months plus for a Serviced Office lease. In a stronger market, landlords can opt for clear terms for five years and above, but these usually contain a rent review clause. The serviced office market is putting downward pressure on lease lengths.

This really depends on your personal preferences - for example, if you opt for fancy Italian marble everywhere, it won’t be cheap - but most people allow £40-£80 per sq.ft, excluding VAT and professional fees.

Don’t forget to budget for dilapidation and reinstatement liability, come expiry.

This is a critical question. Traditionally, landlords provided a limited capability so do ascertain from the outset if there is fibre connectivity in the building and what the typical connection speeds are. Increasingly landlords are providing a degree of internet connectivity and communal Wi-Fi but check with your current provider.

There is often a frame room comms termination point in the basement. If fibre does not go to the floor, most landlords will require a wayleave agreement and if so, it can take some time to secure one - which can delay occupation . Also this additional document is one of a number of documents required that includes the lease and any licence to alter (to allow for a fit-out) and that can cause additional delays.

For new lines, it can take up to 60 days to order new lines; however, this does not include time for legal work in connection with any wayleave agreements that need agreeing and signing – allow 90 days. This is a critical issue if a (lease) deadline is looming.

The sooner the better to be able to maximise your options. You should allow a minimum of nine months when looking for your new premises. Below is an indicative timeline:

  • Search - four to six weeks
  • Agree the terms - two weeks
  • ‘Legals’ - eight to twelve weeks
  • Fit-out - six to 24 weeks, depending on the size of the unit and how long it takes to obtain permission to carry out works in the building. Don’t forget to allow time to agree a ‘licence to alter’ – an agreement is necessary before your fit-out can commence.

A good place to start is to conduct an internal audit and find out where your colleagues live and how they get to work. Whether it is by public transport, car or bike, ascertain which destinations best meet this criteria. When you have gathered this data, plot it on a map; this will help you choose the best ‘collective’ location.

However, every organisation is unique, so there is no definitive answer. Some business owners/managers like to be close to their clients, partners or suppliers, or alternatively they choose a location which makes a ‘statement’ about their brand and/or organisation.

If you decide not to relocate the business - ie stay put - it is still worth reviewing your space utilisation (ie how do you use your existing business space: is it optimised for collaboration and productivity: does it still reflect your brand and your values: is it fit for purpose in a post Covid-19 world?) Will the space, fabric of the building and the services (mechanical and electrical) be fit for purpose for the length of the new lease being entered into?

If your lease is up, you don’t have to move. You could always try to negotiate better terms for either the space you occupy or a larger or smaller space within the same premises owned by your landlord, depending on your requirements.

Most leases these days are not, so how you approach your landlord requires smart planning.

If your knowledge of the current rental market is limited, or you are unsure what the pros and cons of a location are, or even what the full implications of the lease you have been provided are, then talk to an expert – someone whose job it is to know the market, identify appropriate on and off-market opportunities and negotiate the most favourable deal for you.

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