Renewing Your Lease: 5 Important Things to Know

By Ken Jorgenson, Carr Healthcare Realty

Leases and lease renewals typically are not conducted on a level playing field. After all, the landlord is in the real estate business and most doctors are not. By planning ahead and having professional representation, it is possible to negotiate a lower lease rate and receive a substantial tenant improvement allowance and free rent.

1. How does the lease renewal process work?
An important clause found in a standard lease is the renewal option. This allows you to extend your lease for a predetermined amount of time (often three, five or 10 years) by giving your landlord advance written notice. Renewal options include terms for specific lease rates, concessions such as free rent and tenant improvement allowance, and whether a new base year for operating expenses will be granted. Whether or not a renewal clause exists in the original lease, all of these terms are negotiable and play a large role in the financial structure of a lease renewal.

Renewal negotiations are most effective when conducted in the proper timeframe, by having multiple viable relocation options, and creating a strong posture to maintain the upper hand.

2. When should the process begin?
As a rule of thumb, you should begin to consider the renewal process 12–18 months in advance of your lease’s expiration. This is recommended so that you can compare all relocation options in the market before your current lease options expire. Tenants who miss their lease options incur more risk. Landlords view this as an opportunity to push rents higher as the window of opportunity to relocate closes. If tenants holdover (stay in the space after the lease expires), they often see penalties of 150–200 percent of their last month’s rent and also can incur damages if they holdover without permission. The bottom line is if there is not ample time to relocate if necessary, the landlord has a strong upper hand.

3. What type of cost savings can be achieved through a successful renewal?
If properly negotiated, you can achieve significant rent savings, a build-out allowance, free rent and other concessions. It’s common to start a lease renewal term at a lower lease rate than what you are currently paying. In many markets, landlords are offering aggressive concessions and more attractive lease terms to good tenants to keep their buildings leased and avoid vacancies. The amount of overall savings will depend on the availability of competitive vacancies, the efficiencies of the buildings, and your market knowledge and ability to negotiate business points.

4. What are some common mistakes practices make during the process?
One of the most common mistakes practices make is negotiating without the help of a commercial real estate professional, specifically one who specializes in representing health care providers. Some believe they can save money by not using an agent; but to benefit in real estate, leverage is the key to posture. Landlords are in the real estate business and negotiate with professional guidance. Selecting an expert to represent you provides the leverage needed to receive the best possible lease terms. Further, landlords typically are responsible for paying commissions, so professional representation is available to you at no out-of-pocket cost.

Another mistake practices make when entering a lease renewal negotiation is not being familiar with their current lease terms and risk exposure. Prior to contacting the landlord about a lease renewal, you should be well aware of your current lease terms — including every option and deadline. Most leases contain options that must be exercised within a specific time period, typically six to 12 months prior to the lease’s expiration. If you allow this period to pass, you risk losing all rights outlined in the option, which can cause the negotiations to begin at a disadvantage.

5. How do I calculate what I am currently paying per square foot?
Knowing what you are already paying per square foot is especially important if you are thinking about renewing your lease. What you are paying now versus what buildings are leasing for in your immediate area can be vastly different, especially if your lease has had automatic escalations in the rate over the term of the lease. The way to calculate your price per square foot is to multiply your monthly rent by 12 months and divide it by your square footage. Keep in mind that NNN or CAM charges (operating expenses for the property) also are calculated in the same manner.

Summary
Successfully negotiating a lease renewal is more than bartering, bluffing or asking for a good deal. Landlords and their professional representatives are in the full-time business of maximizing their profits — even if it means taking advantage of uninformed tenants. You can level the playing field by engaging your own professional representation, gaining competitive market knowledge and by having multiple options for your office space. When done properly, a well-negotiated lease renewal can have a dramatic impact on your practice’s profitability.

 

Carr Healthcare Realty is the nation’s leading provider of commercial real estate services for health care tenants and buyers. Every year, hundreds of medical, dental, veterinary and other health care practices trust Carr Healthcare Realty to help them achieve the most favorable terms on their lease and purchase negotiations. By not representing landlords or sellers, Carr Healthcare Realty is able to strongly advocate for health care providers and avoid conflicts of interest while saving their clients hundreds of thousands of dollars. Carr Healthcare Realty’s team of experts can assist with all types of real estate transactions, including lease renewals, expansions, relocations, startup offices, purchases and practice transitions.

How to Maximize Your Marketing ROI

By Sarah Woods, Core Dental Solutions

Recently, I was on a dental forum and a dentist posted that he was looking for some help with his marketing. In the thread, a disgruntled dentist stated, “Marketing consultants are the worst, they will promise the moon, but leave you with crap.” I was taken aback by his comment, and was even a little insulted. However, I wasn’t surprised by his point of view — measuring marketing return on investment (ROI) properly hasn’t been clearly defined to many dentists. I’ve been in practices where their only marketing ROI measurements were monthly production or the number of new patients that come into a practice every month. These are the absolute worst ways to measure whether a dentist’s marketing efforts are working. Many factors outside of marketing affect this data. For instance: Was the prospect’s call answered? Did the team member use proper sales techniques to solidify that the patient would be seen in the office? Was the prospect scheduled within 24 to 48 hours?

Understanding the key performance indicators (KPIs) and the life cycle of marketing are both vital to accurately determine how effectively your practice is achieving its marketing goals.

Data from KPIs should be collected monthly and include:

  • Sales revenue: again, many factors outside of marketing can affect this data
  • Cost-per-lead: cost of marketing campaign and the production from each lead of the campaign
  • Traffic-to-lead ratio: how much traffic is going to your website, social media and other marketing tactics, and how many calls from each
  • Lead-to-customer ratio: how many calls turned into patients
  • Number of calls (leads): the number of calls generated from marketing efforts
  • Patient retention percentage: patients deactivated of total active patients
  • Patient reactivation: how many patients were reactivated
  • New patient source: this is VERY important and must be tracked accurately!

Understanding how to accurately measure whether your marketing is working will help when creating and adhering to your overall marketing strategy. These numbers will determine which marketing tactics are working and which are just a waste of money!

 

Sarah Woods is a marketing consultant and president of Core Dental Solutions, a full-service dental marketing agency that provides digital, traditional and inbound marketing to dental practice owners meeting them where they are in their life cycle. They approach dental practice marketing with a “holistic” mindset. Rather than incorporating “set-and-forget” marketing tactics to generate revenue and address shortfalls, they turn a dental practice into a well-oiled machine. Sarah can be reached at Sarah@CoreDentalSolutions.com.

 

Timing Your Next Real Estate Transaction

By Ken Jorgenson, Carr Healthcare Realty

Every commercial real estate transaction has an ideal time frame to begin the process. Most dental professionals understand that starting a new office or relocating an office doesn’t happen overnight, but many are not aware of the ideal time frames for each type of transaction. Different types of problems arise when starting a transaction too early or too late, and both need to be avoided.

Too Early

If you start the process too early, it creates a scenario where you spend your valuable time looking at properties and evaluating options, working with lenders and other members of your team, only to find out the landlords or sellers won’t negotiate with you yet. Many landlords and sellers won’t take their spaces off the market for extended periods of time while waiting for the tenant or buyer to be ready to transact because there is too much time before the transaction will take place.

Or, if they do negotiate, they won’t be willing to offer you even close to their best terms since they are going to lose income on holding a space vacant for an extended period. On the other hand, if they will put forth reasonable terms, it is predicated upon you moving forward immediately, which can leave you stuck paying for a space you can’t occupy for a period of time or paying unnecessary rent on your former space if you leave early.

Too Late

When starting a transaction too late, an entirely new set of problems arise. To start, most people underestimate how long a commercial lease or purchase transaction takes. They imagine it is similar to buying a home or leasing an apartment, which unfortunately is not the same as a commercial transaction timeline.

Simply identifying the top options and then negotiating a mutually agreeable deal can take several months. The legal process of reviewing contracts and finalizing details with lenders, architects, contractors, and equipment and technology providers comes next; this portion also can take months.

This is followed by the build-out process if renovations are required. While you can build-out a new space in six to 10 weeks depending on the size and scope of the project, you first have to design the space, then get construction documents and engineered plans created, then submit for and receive permits to start the build-out. After construction, you need to leave time for installing furniture, fixtures, equipment and technology, final permitting and approvals, while also leaving room for uncontrollable delays and change orders.

If you are relocating from a previous office and you don’t vacate your former space prior to the lease expiring, you’ll likely pay between 125 to 200 percent of your last month’s rent based on a provision found in most leases called a “holdover.” This allows the landlord to charge you a higher month-to-month lease rate as a penalty for not vacating or signing a new lease.

Just Right

If you only had two choices, starting too early is definitely better than starting too late, but it is by no means your top option. Fortunately, there is an ideal time frame to start each type of transaction and you don’t have to choose between the lesser of two mistakes. You can set yourself up for success by understanding the requirements of each type of transaction and how long each process takes.

Although there are many additional details needed to ensure each type of transaction is handled properly, let’s start with the correct timing for the primary types of transactions that health care professionals will engage in:

  • startup or new office: 10-12 months in advance
  • relocation: 10-12 months in advance
  • purchasing an existing building or condo: 10-12 months in advance
  • buying land to develop a new building: 18-24 months in advance
  • buying a practice and getting a new lease or purchasing the building: 60-90 days in advance

Every type of transaction starts with a specific approach and detailed game plan that is aimed at maximizing the opportunity. Getting the best possible deal and terms is extremely important, but so is making sure you don’t waste valuable time that could have been spent in your practice. If you lose the equivalent of 20-30 hours of your time — which is what an average commercial real estate transaction requires to be handled properly — how much money would that cost you in lost production?

Equally as important as saving time and money is avoiding costly mistakes that people make all too often when they don’t understand the nuances of health care real estate. The old adage, “If I knew then what I know now …” can easily be avoided by hiring licensed professionals who specialize in real estate for health care practices. The reason patients come to see you is because you are trained in a specific skillset that offers skill and expertise that they require and that few people have. The same is true for real estate professionals who can help you identify your top options, negotiate the most favorable terms, save you a substantial amount of time and avoid common pitfalls.

The first step to maximizing any commercial real estate transaction: Start the process at the right time.

 

Carr Healthcare Realty is the nation’s leading provider of commercial real estate services for health care tenants and buyers. Every year, hundreds of medical, dental, veterinary and other health care practices trust Carr Healthcare Realty to help them achieve the most favorable terms on their lease and purchase negotiations. By not representing landlords or sellers, Carr Healthcare Realty can strongly advocate for health care providers and avoid conflicts of interest while saving their clients hundreds of thousands of dollars. Carr Healthcare Realty’s team of experts can assist with all types of real estate transactions, including lease renewals, expansions, relocations, startup offices, purchases and practice transitions.

 

FDC2017 Was a Huge Success!

The 2017 Florida Dental Convention (FDC), “Get Connected: Team to Technology,” was held June 22-24 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando. More than 7,000 dental professionals, including more than 1,500 Florida Dental Association (FDA) members, came together for abundant learning, networking and buying opportunities.

This year featured more than 130 courses on topics such as botulinum toxin and dermal fillers, forensic dentistry, lasers, communicating with patients and much more! The Exhibit Hall thrived each day with attendees learning about the latest technologies and buying products from more than 300 leading dental vendors. Each day was concluded with a vibrant family-friendly social event. On Thursday, attendees had the opportunity to sing karaoke to their favorite songs with a live band. Dr. Reza Ardalan and his team were the hit of the party, singing the 90s classic, “Jump” by Kris Kross. On Friday, live music from Florida’s own Tobacco Rd Band stole the show with a country concert featuring high-energy, sing-along tunes. Then, on Saturday, FDA members honored their fellow colleagues at the FDA Annual Awards Luncheon surrounded by cohorts, family and friends. Click here to view photos from every FDC2017 moment.

Each year, FDC is a memorable event — and 2017 was no exception! Plan to join us for FDC2018, “Elevate your Game,” on June 21-23. These dates do not conflict with Father’s Day weekend! Click here or call 407.586.2000 reserve your hotel room at the Gaylord Palms today!