Lender and Architect
Assembling the Right Team to Open a New Medical Office
Relocating or opening a new medical office is one of the most significant business decisions you can make. In part 1 of this series, we covered the significance of having a healthcare real estate agent and attorney. A good healthcare real estate agent, at minimum, will provide a few important services: guidance in choosing the best location, negotiating the most competitive rates and terms with the landlord or seller and assist in assembling the rest of your team. An attorney ensures all the legal terms of the lease or purchase contract that your real estate agent negotiated on your behalf are drafted to protect your interests in the short and long term, along with ensuring you have the proper entity structure and more.
The next two roles needed on your team are a lender and architect. Healthcare providers have unique financial and space plan / layout requirements that are different from general commercial real estate.
Let’s begin by looking at the importance of a healthcare focused lender.
Lender: Many office projects will require financing for additional build-out, equipment, technology, furniture and operating capital. When evaluating your options for a new loan or refinance, it is essential to work with a practice lending specialist who understands healthcare and works with healthcare providers on a regular basis. Many banks now have specialized departments who exclusively deal with commercial loans for healthcare providers and are able to provide rates and terms not available to other traditional businesses and customers.
The lender will work closely with the real estate agent to ensure that the requirements of the lender’s underwriters are included in the terms of the lease or sale. The lender will also help determine the size and quality of office you can afford. While many lenders or banks talk about their desire to work with healthcare providers, it’s imperative to verify that the lender can not only talk about doing healthcare loans but can actually perform and see the transaction through to completion. Working with a niche lender who has special programs and rates for healthcare professionals, along with a proven track record of performing, is crucial to a successful new office project.
Architect: Anytime you are building a new office, you ideally want to envision yourself in that location or space for a minimum of ten years or more. Your needs may change over time and you may desire to relocate in the future; but having the ability to remain in your space for at least ten years is an ideal option if the location, size and aesthetics still meet your needs.
With any long-term decision, the more you can plan ahead for future growth, the better you will be served. An experienced, healthcare specific architect can help you plan out your future growth needs and create an office environment you will be happy with for years to come. The architect will meet with you and other key members of your team, including your equipment and technology providers. The goal of those meetings is to determine the best way to achieve your vision for your new office. The architect is responsible for the overall design, submitting for and obtaining permits, complying with the design and standards of building codes and will also play a role in coordinating the work of the engineers, contractors and suppliers.
Through constant oversight and communication with the whole team, the architect holds everyone accountable to meet deadlines and makes sure your space is done on time, on budget and meets your functional and aesthetic requirements.
Your healthcare real estate agent will quarterback the first phase of finding your new office, negotiating the most favorable terms possible and assisting you in assembling the most qualified team. Then, your architect should become your next quarterback to direct the design, construction documents, permitting and coordination with the rest of your team. Architects are an integral part of your team that will allow your vision to become a reality.
To find an agent who can help you start your practice, click ‘Find an Agent’.