November 14, 2023 3:26 pm

Insert Lead Generation
Nikka Sulton

In a time of rampant misinformation, it’s valuable to debunk prevalent myths surrounding commercial real estate. Clearing up these myths aims to empower business occupants with accurate insights for more informed real estate choices.

Renting a home is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, with over 8.6 million renters revealed by the recent English Housing Survey. This constitutes 36% of households, surpassing the 35% who own their homes outright and the 30% with mortgages. While renting offers numerous advantages, it can be intricate due to prevalent myths. 


What Are Lease Options?

A lease option, or lease with option to buy, is a real estate contract that offers a property renter the opportunity to purchase the property after the lease period concludes. The contract entails an upfront option fee paid by the renter for the potential to buy the property, along with a monthly fee contributing to the down payment if the renter chooses to exercise the buying option.

During the lease term, the property owner is restricted from selling the property to anyone other than the tenant. If the renter decides not to buy the property at the lease’s end, they forfeit the option fee and any down payment funds already paid.


How Does Lease Options Work? 

A lease option offers potential property buyers the flexibility to rent from an owner without a mandatory purchase at the lease term’s end. Unlike regular lease-purchase agreements, a lease option allows renters to opt out of buying. The property’s price is usually set upfront between renter and owner, aligning with current market value. This can benefit renters by potentially enabling a purchase below market rate. However, exercising the option may involve fees, up to 1% of the property’s sale price, charged by owners.


Requirements for a Lease Option

Leasing options involve a tradeoff for property owners, potentially forgoing the opportunity to sell the property at a higher price. In return, tenants incur higher rental costs compared to standard renting arrangements.

1. Rental Payments

The property owner adds a premium to the regular monthly rent, offering the option to buy at the current price when the lease concludes. This premium, known as rent credit, acts as part of the downpayment if the renter decides to purchase the property. However, if the home is not bought at the lease’s end, the extra money paid above the standard rent is forfeited.

In some cases, owners may opt for a one-time cash payment, referred to as “valuable consideration,” akin to a financial market option premium. Unlike a deposit for property purchase, it’s non-refundable, varying from a token fee to 5% of the anticipated purchase price.


2. Bank Financing With a Lease Option

Renters can benefit as banks usually permit the entire premium amount above rental payments to contribute to the downpayment for buying the home. However, if the rent aligns with the market rate, banks might not allow these funds to be applied to the purchase price. Buyers should verify multiple banks’ policies on mortgage financing for homes with lease options to ensure clarity on the matter.


3. The Term of a Lease Option

The option term’s duration is flexible, typically ranging from one to three years, as agreed upon by the property owner and renter. The lease option contract outlines either the property’s purchase price at the lease commencement or the method for determining it at the option’s end. Further details on the lease option terms are provided in the subsequent section.

Common Myths of Lease Options: 


Myth 1: Renting an apartment is the same as leasing commercial space 

Thinking commercial and residential leases are alike can foster misleading confidence among novices. Commercial leasing involves intricate complexities, differing from the straightforward process of renting a dwelling.

Moreover, commercial real estate agreements invariably involve extensive negotiations between landlords and tenants. In contrast, residential leases tend to be standard, rarely catering to tenant-specific adjustments.

Key point: Renting a residence doesn’t translate to expertise in commercial real estate leasing.


Myth 2: Buying is better than getting a lease option 

While this might hold true in numerous scenarios, assuming that buying your office or warehouse space is universally superior is inaccurate. Every business possesses distinct requisites and growth strategies that should shape a durable real estate plan.

For instance, it might be wiser to channel company capital towards expanding into new markets, as opposed to sinking it into real estate assets in a solitary location. Even though commercial real estate is generally perceived as a stable investment, hasty property disposal or a bearish market could lead to financial losses.

Key point: Opt for property acquisition if your intent is enduring market engagement and the property is poised for potential expansion.


Myth 3: It is Cheaper to Lease than to Buy

Contrary to the previous myth, some organisations believe that leasing is always more economical than purchasing real estate. Leasing, they argue, doesn’t demand a substantial upfront investment akin to a down payment. Nonetheless, leasing office or warehouse space can be rather costly contingent upon your company’s circumstances. For instance, inadequate credit might necessitate a significant deposit. Additionally, self-financing the outfitting of your space can prove expensive. Moreover, should you opt to relocate once the lease ends, the money expended on tenant improvements is irretrievable. Lastly, monthly rent payments frequently surpass mortgage payments.

Key point: Companies must factor in their financial status, future growth strategies, and prevailing market conditions when determining whether to lease or buy.


Myth 4: Only the attorney’s will be able to negotiate a good lease 

Some business proprietors and CEOs mistakenly assume that their legal counsel or internal legal department will not just provide legal protection in real estate dealings, but also secure the most advantageous lease terms. Although solicitors should certainly be part of the leasing process, they should not be the sole representatives in any real estate transaction.

Specifically, legal experts are not well-versed in rental and vacancy rates, spatial arrangement, construction, and various other facets of lease transactions. What’s necessary is forming a team of specialists and allocating each professional to their respective area of expertise.

Key point: Entrust legal matters to your solicitor, lease negotiation to your tenant representative, and spatial planning to your interior designer.


Myth 5: It’s unnecessary to hire a tenant rep broker 

One of our preferred myths to dispel is the idea that enlisting a tenant representative broker to advocate for you in your quest for space is an unnecessary expenditure. Well, here’s the positive news. Employing a tenant representative will not incur any cost to you! Although they work on your behalf as the tenant, tenant rep brokers are remunerated for their services by the landlord. They can aid in comprehending the local market, locating the most promising properties, leading negotiations, finalising the deal, divesting unused space, and much more.

Key point: Discover a tenant representative who comprehends your enterprise and utilise their extensive expertise to optimise and steer your real estate strategy.


Myth 6: Any Real Estate Professional Can Give You Good Advice.

Renowned American poet Carl Sandburg once wisely remarked, “Beware of advice—even this.” Merely because someone presents themselves in a professional manner or displays eagerness to assist in your real estate pursuit does not guarantee their competence or alignment with your best interests. For instance, you might come across several real estate brokers willing to aid you in locating a property for lease. However, they might conveniently omit the fact that they also represent certain landlords and thus prioritize showcasing their properties to prospective tenants.

Bottom line: Redirect all unsolicited advice and inquiries to your tenant representative broker to steer clear of misinformation and unfavourable transactions.




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