Healthcare Real Estate Agent and Attorney
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. With that decision, there are a number of strategic choices to be made to ensure your success: Should I purchase or lease my space? What are the top location options in my area? Should I purchase an existing practice or start a new office from scratch? Who do I need on my team and who can I trust to help me make the right decisions?
In many scenarios, the advantage of relocating or opening a brand new office can be very appealing if the location, aesthetics or quality of your existing space doesn’t reflect the quality of care you strive to provide. From an economic standpoint, the costs of purchasing your space or achieving favorable concessions in a lease negotiation can make the cost of a new office well worth it. The same considerations can be true of starting a new medical office versus purchasing an existing practice. These questions and others make it imperative to know how to build the best team to help you open your new office, along with how to make the process successful, profitable and even fun!
Opening a new office can start based upon your unique requirement of: relocating your current office, starting a new practice, leasing or purchase a building, condo or land, or opening a second or additional office. While each transaction may look different, there are some common factors in building a team of experts to assist you.
To start, healthcare providers have unique needs that are foreign to most real estate brokers, architects and other service providers. Experienced professionals with a healthcare focus provide the expertise needed to address issues such as patient flow, privacy and compliance, medical technology integration, parking and accessibility requirements and the aesthetics of an office. When choosing your team, seek out experienced, healthcare-focused professionals to fill each role. Qualified partners will ensure you achieve an office that will serve you and your patients for years to come.
Here are some guidelines and ideas for putting your team together to help you find the best possible location and terms, keep your costs low, and create an ideal office to meet your patients’ current and future needs.
Healthcare real estate agent: A good real estate agent ensures the entire new office process goes smoothly and is one of the first and most important roles you will need to identify and fill. Your agent should provide guidance in choosing the best location, negotiate the most competitive rates and terms with the landlord or seller, and assist in assembling the rest of your team. He or she will be able to advise you on current market conditions, vacancies, costs to open a new office and help you avoid common pitfalls in choosing a suitable space. Should you choose to lease an office, your agent’s experience in representing healthcare tenants can also help you achieve concessions that landlords only make available to the highest quality tenants. If the agent is well-connected within the healthcare community, he or she can also introduce you to the other key players you will need on your team and help them all to work together on your behalf. Your agent’s services are typically paid for by the landlord or seller, so there should be no out of pocket cost to you for hiring an agent.
An important distinction to look for when selecting a medical real estate agent should be their commitment to representing tenants and buyers only. A severe conflict of interest arises when commercial brokers attempt to work for both the tenant/buyer and the landlord/seller. Clearly, it is not possible to fairly represent competing interests. Many agents that primarily work for landlords and sellers will often use a tenant or buyer as an opportunity to seek out new listings or as an avenue to meet new landlords or sellers. Simply put, your interests as a healthcare tenant or buyer are too important to be compromised by an agent who is not committed to your best outcome. Keeping the lines clear as to who your client is and how to help them maximize each opportunity should be the highest priority of any agent you consider. A single focus of representing healthcare tenants and buyers will help ensure your interests are protected, resulting in more favorable economic and business terms.
Attorney: A real estate attorney plays a critical role in leasing, purchasing or opening a new office. They will ensure that 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. Similar to selecting a real estate agent who specialized in healthcare, you want to choose an attorney who specializes in real estate transactions. A thorough understanding of real estate and corporate law will help the legal negotiations with the landlord or seller move faster and thereby reduce legal fees.
Often times, a healthcare provider will assume you can either hire a real estate agent OR an attorney. The reality is that you need a qualified partner in both categories. Real estate agents should not be providing legal advice any more than attorneys should not be giving you up-to-date market knowledge or negotiating economic terms. Also, if the attorney is spending time on activities that are better handled by a real estate agent, you will end up paying two to three times more than you should for the legal review process.
Hiring an attorney who specializes in representing healthcare providers and who is trained in real estate and corporate law is essential to protecting your interests and increasing the success of your new office project. In addition to reviewing lease and purchase contracts for your office space, there are numerous additional areas and documents your attorney can help you set up and manage, such as your entity, corporate structure and more.
To find an agent who can help you start your practice, click ‘Find an Agent’.