For most businesses, leasing space is a challenge and can be a positive or truly negative experience. Growing a business to the point where either the home or one-person office is too small is a huge step — mentally, emotionally and financially. The Internet has been a game changer in our society on many levels. This is especially true in the world of real estate, where there is an abundance of information at our fingertips.

So what do you do with this information? 

First, make a list of what your needs are versus your wants. How many things such as offices, rooms, storage and IT do you need? Think about where you are today and where you think you will be in the next three to five years. You do not want to move once, finish a space and then outgrow it in the short-term future and have to move again. Figure out what would be the extras you would like but are not a requirement.

Next, identify where your market is and whether your location is critical to your success. For some businesses, location is the only thing that matters. The wrong location can literally make or break a business. For others, the location is not critical, but there may be other factors that are. Figure those out and add them to your list.

Create Your Budget

Determine what your business can afford for rent, utilities, payroll, etc. It is important to be realistic. You should do this at the beginning of your search, not at the end.

The best thing you can do is to locate a commercial real estate agent to help you with your search. Whether it is from a referral or an Internet search, there will be a company that can help you. Interview them just as you would an employee — there will be a right fit and you should be able to find the right person to help you find that new home for your business. One of the greatest secrets most people do not know — you probably do not have to pay for their services, as generally the landlord leasing the space will agree to pay your agent their commission. Clarify this up front!

Carla Casey is a Senior Real Estate Manager with CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm.  The Melbourne office offers a number of services; learn more at