Differences between Apartment & Commercial Leases
I'm not really sure how people learn about renting out apartments, but by the time they hit the market for the first time they generally have a basic idea of the premise. You pay someone money and exchange you get to live in their building. They handle the maintenance (for the most part) and you leave their building in decent condition when you depart. Easy enough. There are some variances from area to area in terms of what utilities are customarily included and how large/small/old/new the buildings are. Even so, a relative newcomer to apartment hunting can figure it out despite language barriers and regional variances.
I've been working on leasing out a retail storefront in Irving Park lately, and have realized that with commercial spaces the learning curve is far more complex - possibly because business owners come in with preconceived notions based on how the rental housing market works. However, once you switch over to renting out commercial property the whole thing goes out the window. America in all of its messed up glory offers an entire menu of options, arrangements, terms and add-ons for business owners. Meanwhile I'd like to take today to explain a bit about the differences between renting an apartment and renting a storefront, office or other commercial property. If you're out to start your own business or purchase a mixed use building (maybe with my help?) you can use this as a bit of a guide. If you're working for a company that leases their space, maybe this will give you an idea of why your boss keeps stressing out about the rent.
Handy Chart For Comparison
(PS: A fellow over on Posterous is starting a Chicago leasing agency focusing on retail spaces. He calls the current process of renting retail space akin to a "giant sucking sound" and wants your comments as to how to make it better.)