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Port Richmond Neighborhood Guide

Port Richmond Neighborhood Guide

Port Richmond is bounded by Frankford Creek and the Delaware River on the northern and eastern. Lehigh Avenue borders it to the south and Frankford Ave to the west. The neighborhood is primarily called home by blue-collar, family-oriented people who have lived there for generations. But, this quiet community is quickly evolving.  Read on to learn everything you need to know about the neighborhood in our Port Richmond neighborhood guide.

Port Richmond Cost of living

Because it is generally cheaper than Fishtown and much less crowded, it is quickly becoming a hub for young professionals that need to commute into Center City for work. The rental market is valuable in Port Richmond as many newly-renovated, one-bedroom apartments go for $800 a month. For example, The Loom Philly is a previously abandoned warehouse that has been restored and turned into contemporary studio apartments and small offices. 

If you’re interested in buying a home, you won’t have to shell out a lot of money. Also, the median sale price for a three-bedroom, one-bath home a mere $165,000, giving young families financial flexibility. 

Cultural Value

Another pull towards this community for young people is the cultural diversity. Maryann Trombetta, President of the Port Richmond’s town watch- describes the neighborhood as, “a diverse mix of immigrant groups (Polish, Irish and Italian) whose rich ethnic traditions and cuisines contribute to the area’s vibrancy.” All walks of life are welcomed and celebrated in this community. The mesh of ethnicities in Port Richmond has attracted many new faces who are looking for a safe haven in our seemingly divided nation. 

Things to do in Port Richmond

A walkable downtown has been created by new small businesses such as Bait & Switch, an award-winning seafood spot and the River Wards Cafe, joining established favorites like Tacconelli’s Pizza and Serpico, a fine-dining hot spot. You certainly don’t need a car to enjoy yourself in this neighborhood. You also won’t need one to get to work. The train and bus route will get you anywhere in the city in 30 minutes or less. With affordable housing, diversity and lots of great bars and restaurants, the easy public transportation system is the cherry on top of Port Richmond. 

Average Rent in Philadelphia

Average Rent Cost in Philly 

Currently, the average cost of rent for an apartment in Philadelphia is $1,591 and the average apartment size is 797 square feet. Compare that to the huge rent prices in a city like Chicago, Philadelphia is seemingly an affordable place to live. With that being an average, there are obviously places far below and far beyond both of those numbers. Studio apartments are going to be below the average price, one-bedroom apartments will be about the average, and two+ bedrooms will be above average. Let’s take a closer look at what rent and living looks like in a few of Philadelphia’s most popular neighborhoods

Fishtown and Northern Liberties 

The average rent in these neighborhoods is $1,858 a month. Fishtown and Northern Liberties are on the rise as some of Philly’s most desired neighborhoods for young hipsters, professionals and students. The community is on the up and up thanks to new residential construction that is moderately priced. If you’re into music or beer, the rent is worth it; both neighborhoods boast breweries and legendary music venues like. 

Fairmount

With an average rent of $1,919 a month, Fairmount is home to the more established family or individual. When you think of a city, you don’t think of plush, green parks. That’s why living in Fairmount so attractive. Not only are residents a Septa stop away from the excitement of Center City, most have an easy walk or ride to the park. Other contributions to the increasing rent in Fairmount include attractions like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Boathouse Row and the Eastern State Penitentiary.

Old City

Old city is arguably the most historic town in Philadelphia. It still has some 18th century cobblestone streets and it sits next to independence hall, where our country’s Founding Fathers declared our freedom. Because its borders are the Liberty Bell and Penn’s Landing, and it has beautiful, brand new construction, the average rent is $2,190 a month. The uppity district is filled with clothing boutiques, art galleries and farm-to-table restaurants. 

Rittenhouse Square and University City

Two of the most sought after communities in Philly are Rittenhouse Square and University City. Both have rents that average about $2,400. Because Rittenhouse is so close to the main drag of Center City and the Reading Terminal Market, it’s no surprise that the rent is expensive. University City, the heart of West Philadelphia, gets its name from harboring Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania. It’s proximity to the schools makes it a coveted location for diverse youth. 

Kensington and Harrowgate

Some of the cheapest rent in the city can be found in Kensington and Harrowgate. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in these neighborhoods is $768 a month. These prices are due to the poor public school system. If you aren’t raising children, it may be a great idea for you to move into either of these communities. You will find that you are saving money and the commute into Center City is effortless.  Although both neighborhoods are being quickly revitalized, eliminating crime and new residential buildings don’t happen overnight. 

A Guide to Renting in Philadelphia

Everything you need to know about renting in Philadelphia

Finding the perfect place to rent isn’t always easy, but there is hardly a neighborhood in Philadelphia that doesn’t have something to offer. Whether money is not an issue or you are living pay-check to pay-check, all renters have to deal with landlords, security deposits and insurance. This renters guide will take you through the ins and outs of renting in Philadelphia.

Neighborhoods in Philadelphia

If you are already familiar with the city and know where you want to live, you can skip this section. If you don’t have a clue, a fun first step is to take this quiz that matches you to a neighborhood in Philly based on your income and favorite activities. The next step is to visit the neighborhood you’re matched with. Ride through it in a trolley, on your bike or walk around it. 

Take note of what you love and what you don’t. Ask yourself questions like: Are the people in the community-friendly? What will my commute to work look like? Is there a grocery store or farmers market nearby? Finally, can I see myself living here? If the cons outway the pros, move on. There are plenty of other neighborhoods to explore in Philadelphia.  

Finding a place you love

Once you know what neighborhood you’re going to rent in, you need to find a home! During this process, you are likely thinking of three main factors; price, quality, and location. If you are trying to save money, you will probably need to sacrifice either quality or location. 

Gentrification has brought many new beautiful residential buildings into the city of Philadelphia. These buildings come with increased rent in and around the building. Luckily, there are still good deals out there! Depending on the quality and location you’re searching for, rent will usually range from under a grand to upwards of 3,000 a month. Your best bet is to browse sites like Rental Beast, Trulia, Zillow and Padmapper. These sites allow you to search by size, price, and amenities. 

It’s all fun and games until you find the house you like and have to start paying your landlord.  

What your landlord is responsible for

If you know someone who has rented in the past, I’m sure you have heard horror stories about greedy and lazy landlords. It’s important to know what you’re entitled to when it comes to renting. Tenants have the right to a safe and habitable environment. Below is a list of basic requirements your landlord is responsible for in Philadelphia. 

  • Heat at 68 ̊ minimum October through April
  • A flushing toilet in a room with a closeable door 
  • Running and hot water
  • A smoke alarm 
  • Taking care of leaks/water damage
  • Exterminating insects and vermin before you move in

Knowing what your landlord is legally accountable for will give you leverage when you need them to fix or replace something within your complex. For a complete list of your rights as a renter visit the City of Philadelphia Partners for Good Housing. If your landlord refuses to adhere to these prerogatives, you should file a claim with Philadelphia’s Department of Licenses and Inspections. Another tip here is to rent through a good property management company that will take care of maintenance for you.

Security deposits

Prior to moving in your landlord can charge you up to two months’ rent, according to Pennsylvania’s landlord-tenant laws. A security deposit is your landlord’s insurance in case you damage the property or skip out on rent. If you don’t meet the lease’s requirements, your landlord is entitled to withhold your deposit or deduct from your return. So, be sure to read your contract before signing it and once more before moving out.

The good news about the deposit is that it’s refundable if you hold up your end of the leasing agreement. The landlord is obligated to return your money in full no more than 30 days after you have surrendered the property. Surrendering the property implies you have removed all of your belongings from the grounds and have returned the keys. 

The benefits of renters insurance

Although another bill to pay may be a tough pill to swallow, imagine the cost of replacing all of the items in your house should disaster hit. While your landlord is responsible for the payment of a repaired leak, they are not obligated to pay for damages to your personal property due to said leak. That’s where renters insurance comes in handy. Renter’s policies can be purchased from several reputable insurance companies such as Geico, Allstate, Progressive and State Farm.   

The policy is pretty straightforward; your renter’s insurance will cover the losses from the contents of your home up to the amount you are insured for. It will also cover your liability for damages you are responsible for. For example, if you overran the bathtub and flooded your bathroom, that’s on you. But, if you have a decent renters insurance policy, you’re covered and ready to start renting in Philadelphia.

Welcome to Philly, make yourself at home! 

Philadelphia Real Estate Tax Guide [2019]

Real estate taxes can be complicated, especially figuring out exactly what you owe, and why. We put together this guide so you can quickly get up to speed on Philadelphia real estate taxes without skimming through a 74-page PDF from the Department of Revenue.

A property tax is a municipal tax levied by counties, cities, or special tax districts on most types of real estate – including homes, businesses, and parcels of land. The local governments impose these taxes fund school districts and make industrial repairs.

So you’re looking to move into Philadelphia, how much is this going to cost you?

Tax Rate and Property Assessment

The market value of the home determines the property tax. The Office of Property Assessment (OPA) will establish the value of the property and from there, you will be responsible for 1.3988% of the assessed value. The OPA assess properties based on their size, age, location and use (home or business).

The tax bill is issued on the first day of the year and payment is due before/on March 31. However, if you pay before the last day of February, you are entitled to a 1% discount. For example, if your property is assessed at a $250,000 value, your annual property tax will be about $3,497. At this value, paying before the last day in February will save you around $35.

If you disagree with the assessed market value of your property, you can file an appeal with the city of Philadelphia.

It would be who of you to pay your taxes on time if not early. Should you fail to pay your property taxes on time, the city will charge you with interest. The additional payments will accumulate at the rate of 1.5% per month, beginning April 1 until January 1 of the following year. If you find yourself withholding payments until January 1st of the following year, the city of Philadelphia is entitled to:

  • A 15% addition to the principal balance
  • Register your taxes as delinquent
  • Liens are filed (A lien is a notice attached to your property telling the world that a creditor claims you owe it some money)
  • Begin the process of selling your home

Tax Reductions

With rates as low as 0.90% within the state of Pennsylvania, Philly is certainly not the cheapest county to own property. Fortunately, if you qualify as low income or are a senior, the city will work with you on the amount and date of payment.

Installment plans can be made for residents who are in the lowest tax bracket based on their monthly income. While you are typically supposed to have the payment in by March 31, those who are eligible can pay their property taxes through installments over 12 months. You do not qualify for the above installment plan if your household income per-person is greater than the amount below.

https://www.phila.gov/services/payments-assistance-taxes/payment-plans/real-estate-tax-installment-plan/

Specifically for seniors, the city of Philadelphia will freeze property taxes. If the rate of property tax increase, seniors can pay the rate they originally purchased the house with. You are entitled to a property tax freeze if you are:

  • A person 65 years or older
  • A person who lives in the same household with their spouse who is 65 years or older
  • A person aged 50 years or older who is a widow of someone who has reached the age of 50 before passing away

Tax Exemptions

Similarly to property tax deductions, some people in Philadelphia are exempt from paying this tax completely. Non-profit organizations with storefronts are not required to pay a property tax. Also, in order to encourage the rehabilitation of neighborhoods, Philadelphia offers abatements during the duration of construction. The city is also sensitive to catastrophic loss. If a fire or natural disaster affected your residence or business, you are not obligated to pay a property tax while it’s being repaired.

Just about anywhere in the world, the newer, bigger and more luxurious your property is, the more you will pay. The same is true in Philadelphia.

How to Stage a House Properly

How to Stage a House Properly in 5 Simple Steps

Moving is one of the most stressful parts of life. By completing these 5 steps before prospective buyers view your home, you can rest assured you are putting the best version of your house on the market.   

Staging a house is a strategic process that involves cleaning and rearranging the inside and outside of your home. Some of you are probably thinking why do I need to stage my home when I will be emptying the place before anyone moves in? The answer is simple: a staged home invites buyers to envision themselves living in the space. If your house is a mess and smells like kitty litter, buyers will be distracted from its genuine value. Even if you keep a tidy household, it’s not ready for buyers to visit.

While it can be a bit time consuming, it is well worth it. The National Association of Realtors reported that staging a home greatly decreases the amount of time the home is on the market. If that fact is not compelling enough, the same report shows that staging increased the number of money buyers offered between one and five percent (compared to similar homes on the market that weren’t staged).   

1. Bye, Bye Clutter

Say goodbye to the refrigerator magnets and picture frames. Decluttering your home is the first and foremost step to a perfectly staged home. This does not mean shoving all of your clothes and knick-knacks into the closets and cabinets – buyers look in there too!

  • You should remove all personal items that are not pristine or necessary (dingy bath towels, greasy cookbooks, etc.)
  • Clear all of your surfaces; this gives the potential buyer space to imagine what they’ll put there next. (You can leave a bowl of fruit in the kitchen or a candle on your bedside table, for example.)
  • Remove any furniture that is not required, or may be out of place. (Take your desk out of your dining room.)

If purging all of your ancillary household items sounds like a nightmare, think of it as a head start on packing!

2. Deep clean

After your house is decluttered, the next step is to do a deep clean. Start by opening up all of the windows to get fresh air circulating throughout the entire house. Nothing will put off a buyer more than an unfamiliar must. Odors from pets, food, and bathrooms should all be eliminated.  Spraying a mild air freshener is always a good idea, too.

With a fresh scent in the air, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. From the grout in your shower to the streaks on your windows, every surface in your property should be sparkling. Bathroom/kitchen appliances and all countertops should be spotless. You’ll need a dust rag and a vacuum for the finishing touches. If you have a large home, it’s worth hiring help!  It’s important for potential buyers to feel they’re moving into a space that has been maintained.

3. Curb appeal

Although it is not always the right thing to do, humans will naturally judge a book by its cover. This means potential buyers make their first impressions of a home before they enter. If a buyer pulls up to a visibly unkept exterior, they won’t be as enticed to see what’s outside. Here are some things to keep in mind when increasing your home’s curb appeal.

  • Mow the lawn!***
  • Power-wash your house and walkways.
  • Clean your windows.
  • Make sure your street address number is visible.
  • Trim overgrown bushes.
  • Plant flowers.
  • Add a welcome mat!

4. Optimize your space

You decluttered in step one, so the room that used to hold all your random unpacked boxes and racks of clothes should already be empty. Now you need to turn that unused room into a functional space. This does not have to mean designing an entire room! Don’t be afraid to keep it simple by adding a chair and desk. But you can make your home stand apart from the others even more. It’s as easy as throwing in some free weights, a jump rope, and a yoga mat to stage a home gym. You could also put down some large pillows, a shag carpet, and hanging string lights to emulate a meditation room. The possibilities are endless for this one.

5. Finishing touches

The hard part is over; the junk and gunk are gone, your exterior is gorgeous and you have repurposed the storage room. The final step to staging your home is critical. When you think you have everything just right, do a final walk through, looking at everything through a visitors lense. Be certain that all closets and cabinets are organized, all bookshelves are dusted and carpets vacuumed. Standing house plants in the entryway, flowers in a vase on the dining room table, and a plate of homemade cookies on the kitchen counter are the perfect finishing touches to your staged home. Oh, and don’t forget to take out the trash!

While it might cost you a few bucks, staging your home for potential buyers will profit you in the long run. With proven decreases in time spent on the market and increases in offers above the listing price, staging your home is a must.

The History of Fishtown, Philadelphia

The Rich History of Fishtown

Fishtown’s Early Days

The history of Fishtown begins on the water. Fishtown sits within the triangle created by the Delaware River, Frankford Ave. and York St., just three miles northeast of Center City. With such an authentic vibe, it’s hard to imagine this neighborhood has worn so many masks. Before Fishtown was a hotbed for beer connoisseurs and yogis, it was indeed a fish town.

In the 1700s the town adopted its deserved name from early settlers who were mostly English and German fishermen. The bounty of shad fish living in the Delaware River prompted these settlers to buy out the Leni-Lenape tribe for their land and grow roots. Over the next century, five families from the original colonists bought or leased plots along the shore. By 1875, these families controlled both sides of the 100-mile stretch of river. These working-class fishermen set the tone for the community for centuries to come.

Post-Industrialization

Industrialization was the leading force of Fishtown’s economy. Industries ranging from textiles to shipbuilding to electrical power plants made Fishtown the quintessential spot to find work and take up residence in the early 1900s. It was not until after the Great Depression and WW2 that the Fishtown and the city of Philadelphia has a whole, found themselves in a deindustrialization crisis. Deindustrialization is the process of social and economic change, which is due to the reduction in industrial capacity.

Without the means for industrial growth, the job opportunities ran out, and the early settlers headed for the suburbs. Those who stayed only did so because they could not afford the transition. Soon, Fishtown became one of Philadelphia’s most undesirable places to live.  For the last 30 years, the once prospering neighborhood has been littered with vacant buildings and infested with crime.

Until now.

Fishtown’s Revitalization

Today, more than half of the residents in Fishtown now work in professional occupations, up almost ⅔ from two decades ago, according to a 2016 report from Pew Charitable Trusts. This means that the previously working-class filled community now has a more educated population. Progress follows education.

Fishtown has made a miraculous comeback physical as well. The streets are clean and the walls are painted. The transformation spurred from higher-income creatives who saw potential and took advantage of the affordable properties. Progressive millennials and baby-boomers alike entered the community and replaced old businesses with new ones.

Today, Fishtown is home to some of the city’s hippest residents, restaurants and recreation.  

Frankford Avenue quickly rose as the new retail and social hub of the community. It is boasting coffee shops and  wine clubs, foodie favorites like taco,http restaurants and even a Lululemon. Not to mention Johnny Brenda’s, the all-encompassing bar that serves locally brewed beer and farm fresh meals until 1 a.m while showcasing live music.

Few neighborhoods have gone through changes as dramatic as Fishtown. The water-front settlement turned crime-ridden community is now a snapshot of Philadelphia’s best.

Predicting Philadelphia’s Future

Far too often, the City Of Brotherly Love is an overlooked gem in the Northeastern Megalopolis. It is the 2nd largest city on the Eastern Seaboard, the 5th largest city in the United States. For Philly, the last 5 years have been huge in terms of development.

Despite ominous predictions of nationwide housing market slowdowns in 2019, it seems that Philadelphia is one of the cities that will continue to thrive for the foreseeable future. Read on to learn why.

Rising Interest Rates

In the past three years, 30-year mortgage interest rates have boomed from three percent to five percent. Through 2019 alone, experts predict that these rates could rise multiple percentage points. This is bad news for any prospective home buyers on a modest budget, but good news for sellers who are looking to squeeze the most out of their home’s value.

This slight boost is a far cry from the early 1980s when mortgage rates hit their peak at 18.1%. Experts predict a bump to 5.8% by the end of the year, which isn’t quite as drastic as past rate hikes, but it’s still a steady climb which anyone interested in the Philly housing market should watch out for.

Cooling Housing Markets

Through both fiscal quarters of mid-2018, home values in Philly appreciated zero percent, meaning that no significant value gains or losses were made in home costs. By comparison, home values experienced a significant 12 percent post-Recession rise from the 4th Quarter of 2016 through the 4th Quarter of 2017, indicating that present real estate values are moving toward a slowdown. However, home values in Philadelphia’s surrounding suburbs experienced a 2.2% uptick. Whether or not this rise is indicative of a continual pattern remains to be seen. Once again, this is a sign that while the local market looks murky and iffy for home buyers, it does appear to be trending toward a bright future for home sellers.

Stabilizing Rent Costs

With all the economic pressures that come with buying, maintaining, and selling a home in the greater Philadelphia, it seems that apartment living spaces or rental homes would experience an unprecedented rise in demand. While that is true to an extent, it seems that more property developments must be made before rent prices rise up with that demand. Since last year, nearly 4,000 apartment properties have been declared “in progress” according to a 2018 report, as more and more ongoing projects concurrent with city revitalization efforts are coming into fruition.

Granted, certain rental prices appear to be on the rise, but these sporadic spikes may just be a side effect of the increase in rental properties and concessions. This leveled out market means that it’s a better time than ever for renters to get in now, and when demanding renters finally meet the supply of these new residential spaces, their subsequent prices will level out, without any unexpected fluctuations.

Slowing Construction

Post-pecession unit growth has escalated higher than it ever has, but like mortgage rates, it still hasn’t ascended anywhere near it’s pre-2000 peak. And, like other real estate market trends, experts foresee this construction slowing down, for better or worse, even whilst the city invests hundreds of millions into multiple revitalization efforts. While these efforts have by and large wrought provable success stories such as Harrowgate, Fishtown, or one of many redeveloped neighborhoods to blow up in the city as of late, the construction industry is still burdened under the weight of increasing material costs and increasingly shortchanged labor to implement those materials into their construction works.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Philadelphia real estate market, though facing many slowdowns like the national real estate market, is not being totally hastened by these slowdowns; remember that slowdowns aren’t necessarily synonymous with stagnation. As a matter of fact, the door is opened wider than ever for more and more renters to meet the demands of the burgeoning rental market, and new luxury developments aside, it doesn’t seem that any massive rent upticks will be a concern anytime soon.

We are proud to work with some of the foremost developments in these rental ventures, including the renowned J-Street Lofts: visit our Residential Properties Page for more information and in-depth listings.

Open House & Property Showcase

At GM Holdings, we manage some of the finest affordable luxury properties in Philadelphia. Whether you’re an investor, an entrepreneur striving to get their business off the ground, or a renter simply looking for a fresh, exciting start, we have spaces available that are perfect for your needs.

You can start on our managed properties pages for our residential and commercial rental listings. On Sunday, June 2nd, you can visit our office and see those properties for yourself! From 12-4 P.M. at 2209 N American St., we will be holding our first ever Open House and Property Showcase! Whether you’re looking for a new office or an affordable, luxury apartment, this is a great opportunity to view some of these incredible spaces firsthand. From Kensington to the luxurious J-Street Lofts in Harrowgate, to Fishtown and other neighborhoods, this is a city brimming with excitement and promise, and we would love to have you be a part of it!

As well as having some of Philadelphia finest commercial and residential properties on display, we will also be serving food and beer. We hope to see you there!

What Is The Next Philly Neighborhood To Blow Up?

Normally, when people speak of booming revitalization in Philly, they typically focus the spotlight on Fishtown as a shining example of its success, and for very good reason. However, the recent success in Fishtown has left some wondering; what is the next big revitalized Philly neighborhood to blow up? There’s more than one answer to that question, but to learn more about all of them, read on below.

Olney

Out of all the examples of how Philadelphia neighborhoods can blend as diverse, beautiful, harmonious, and thriving cultural melting points, Olney is perhaps amongst the best of the best. Residents and tourists alike don’t have to venture far to find eateries with authentic cuisine tastes from Mexico, Jamaica, Korea, Colombia, and elsewhere. The numbers don’t lie either; as of 2015, approximately 35% of Olney residents were born outside the United States.

North 5th Street has built a reputation for itself as an incredible hotspot for immigrant entrepreneurs to shine, strive, and move closer toward realizing their own American dreams. Along with small businesses, the neighborhood has been home to several community centers for people to find common ground, connections, and solidarity. To top it off, for as low as $750 a month for renting a single bedroom residence, it’s a remarkably affordable option for those who want city life without some of the higher city prices.  

Brewerytown

The name harkens back to none other than the 19th and 20th Century breweries that dominated local business in this area, but while there’s still plenty of good, noteworthy craft beer places like Rybrew in the area, they’re far from the only noteworthy thing in the area. For starters, with SEPTA all over the area, Center City a mere 15 minute drive (or 25 minute walk) away, and the Art Museum, Fairmount Park, and Philly all in walking distance, it’s remarkably easy to get around. It wouldn’t be a new Fishtown contender without overwhelming food options, retail options, and dozens of new developments arising in such a short time, most notably, the 31 Brewerytown Luxury Apartments. Yes, there’s plenty of good eats to compliment Brewerytown’s good drinks, and with rents as low as $475 or $635 a month, you don’t need to shell out a lot to get in on the action.

Harrowgate

For over 200 years, Harrowgate has prospered as a lively, diverse, and promising community, and it’s only looking to be on the up and up. Moreover, given that it’s situated only a few blocks from the Tioga El Subway station, residents are privileged with an easy, convenient throughline to the rest of the city. Like the other neighborhoods, Harrowgate has started to become a great epicenter of authentic multicultural foods and Vietnamese coffee, though revitalization efforts have really shined through on the residential front: one of the most prolific complexes to lead this neighborhood real estate resurgence has been George Manosis’ J-Street Lofts, offering luxury city living at affordable rates. If you wish to seek further information about the J Street Lofts, please visit our Residential Properties page for more in-depth listings. If you have any more general inquiries, please visit our Contact Page and fill out the form for a prompt consultation. No matter which neighborhood you decide to call home in the end, happy hunting!

What To Look For When Choosing A New Office

Trying to get a new startup or small business off the ground as an entrepreneur can be a stressful process. You’ll also need to find an adequate location to start or grow your company. A great workspace will make a pivotal first impression on your employees and clients, and given that the typical commercial lease lasts for 3-5 years, you’ll also need to consider a location that meets both your present and future needs before you make any commitments.

At GM Holdings, we aim to make the leasing process easy and to help you find the perfect office space. If you are an entrepreneur in the Greater Philadelphia area, we have an entire page devoted to our commercial properties for rent. For further assistance in searching for an office space, you can fill out our Contact Form or call our offices at 215-987-6477. Regardless of where you’re based, here are some factors to consider when looking for any new office space.  

Location

To offer an effective workspace for your employees, you’ll want it to be based in a location that they feel comfortable going to and from. Consider factors such as the region’s safety and security, transit/transportation accessibility, as well as the things surrounding the office itself. Supplying enough parking spaces is crucial, and having plenty of dining or fitness center options during lunch break, or bars and nightclubs to spice things up after work, go a long way to make the work week feel less like a monotonous cycle for your clients, employees, and yourself.

If you’d rather opt for a cheaper, suburban office space with fewer means of public transit, make sure that the lighter lease is worth the tradeoff of fewer clients and employees who may not be willing to drive. Even with the luxury of remote work facetime, in-person meetings can still be a crucial facet of building a sense of rapport between you and your associates.

Cost

This one’s a tricky tightrope to walk. Set too low of a budget and you risk having an office that is insufficient in size and quality. Spend too far outside your comfortable budget zone, and you risk being unable to keep up the rent and other business expenses. Before you even think about putting your John Hancock on that lease, always account for the FULL cost of what you’re getting, including rent, utilities, construction, moving costs, and some of the less overt, more unwritten costs such as parking or maintenance.

Consider if you can afford at least the initial security deposit and first three months of rent. To ensure that you’re truly getting the best deal for your buck, always consider the prices for similar spaces in the area.

Size

As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended that you allot 70 square feet of workspace per person. Depending on your staff’s other needs, such as the size of meeting spots, break rooms, or any additional storage or desk space, you may want to bolster that square footage.

To maintain inclusivity, you also want to ensure that your landlord’s office space is compliant and up to snuff to the Americans With Disabilities Act. Doors to office suites must be at least 32 inches wide, take fewer than five pounds of force to open, and that all conference tables span 27 inches or higher to accommodate wheelchair accessibility. For a more comprehensive, helpful overview on all of the ADA’s compliance standards, view their official employer checklist here.

Infrastructure

Before you commit, always ask the landlord or property manager for an ISP speed test, and if the space is a shared complex for other businesses, don’t be afraid to ask around about their prior experiences with the infrastructure.

Printed documents and traditional mailed paper materials may hold less priority or importance in the modern age, but nevertheless, any sort of postal services are still an added plus to keep your workflow moving. Always ask if the property has a dedicated postal address, and beyond communication infrastructure, you’ll also want to consider if a space will allow you any freedom over customizing your physical infrastructure. Hung paintings, pictures, or wall decorations may not be a vital necessity quite like the other priorities to look forward to, but nevertheless, it can still be a useful tenant of bolstering company branding and making your business stand out.

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