Just remember the standard rule of real estate: If the deal looks too good to be true, it might very well be too good to be true.
Grandma owns a building. It is a little run down. It is an hour away from our best customer. But we can save $5 per square foot and keep the dollars in the family. It seems like a natural. But ask yourself, how well do you get along with family?
Would you be happy if a family member inspected your drawers and files after you left and confronted you on your wild spending habits? Are your cultures compatible? If your team loves to work with punk rock blasting on the stereo speakers and your dad’s group pipes in soft jazz, you could find a clash that only gets worse with time.
The rent is cheap. Real cheap you might find hidden hassles. A motorcycle gang might have taken residence up the street and granny didn’t say anything, she wanted family to stay close by. You might find mold growing in the basement from long-deferred maintenance. Inspect the building and neighborhood closely, regardless of who owns it.
Can you get there from here? The building might be lovely but the intersection is impossible. Some locations, even in the best suburbs are frustrating because of location. If you can’t get out of the building at 5 p.m. because it is next to an exit ramp from a highway, employees may complain to high heaven. It might be at the epicenter of a new construction project with the constant drone of machinery and an obstacle course made of orange barrels. This problem will go away. Have patience.
Some people won’t cross bridges or ride through tunnels, like Upper and Lower Wacker Drive in Chicago. If you have elder visitors you might want to choose a location that is easy to bring people in and out. Nothing will ever be perfect. Take time finding the place that suits your best needs at a price you can pay.