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MFAA Prosper : Mortgage and Finance Brief 05
had similar characteristics," he says. "High foot traffic, a street front, nearby parking and near major transport hubs, such as bus or rail." Goodwin says that their first franchise was located opposite the main traffic lights so that people could look in while they were waiting to cross the road. The second one had access to a carpark and was opposite the local post office -- again ensuring the number of people who walked past was high. "The rent is higher when you choose such a location but we consider it to be part of our marketing budget," Goodwin says. "We also put spotlights in our front window so even at night people could look in and see us. It is important for people to know where you are." Goodwin and Francis prefer to lease their office space and Goodwin says while the first two shops needed a fit-out, their current one was previously a solicitor's office and little work was required before they moved in. In order to find space, Goodwin says he gets to know all the real estate agents in the area where he wants to set up and makes sure his name is on their database. "Often it's word of mouth so if they hear about anything that might be suitable they can call us straight away," Goodwin says. "We researched an appropriate area for our business for 12 months and then collated the names of the real estate agents in the area. Another option is to look through the local paper to see what's available." He says some negotiation was required. "Because we have a franchise agreement with Resi, we matched our Resi lease with the lease agreement term," he says. "Initially our lease was for 11 months which doesn't always make a landlord happy but they could understand why we wanted it this way." Goodwin also made sure the office they chose had extra space if they needed to grow. "We have four staff including Todd and myself and the layout here is flexible. Our last two were open plan but this one has cubicles, which our customers prefer because it provides more privacy. Andrew Veron, founder of property services company Charles+Stuart, agrees proximity to public transport links is one of the most important elements for mortgage brokers seeking office space because of the foot traffic it generates. "Car parking space is also crucial because usually the mortgage broker will go to the client, not the other way around," Veron says. "So the office should not be located in some backwater where it is difficult to get out." He says a mortgage broker's client base may be located anywhere so centrally based car parking is essential for sales staff. "They won't survive on metered parking out the front of the office," he says. Having excellent ADSL and broadband connections are also essential for such a business, he adds. "The rest of the requirements are usually personal ones," Veron says. "It probably doesn't need to be located at a retail site, nor would the space need to be brand new. Good visibility of the site would be “ We put spotlights in our front window so even at night people could look in and see us. It is important for people to know where you are.” Know exactly what you want and don't want before you start looking. Things to consider include your timeframe, growth expectations, location and costs you are prepared to pay. Compare prices for similar spaces in the same location to familiarise yourself with market trends. Do this even if you are renegotiating a lease at the same place. Think about elements outside the actual space and ask if you need a security system, air conditioning, carpet, and if so, whether you will be charged for it. However, the more you need, the less negotiating power you tend to have. Be ready to compromise as it is unlikely you will get everything that you want. Speak to other lessees of the same landlord to gauge their experiences. Leasing TIPS 44 | Mortgage & Finance brief BackOffice
Mortgage and Finance Brief 06