Cambridge

Search Available Properties

How it's done

Once you have decided you need new premises for your business and you’ve narrowed down the potential locations, you need to lease or buy a property that works for you. Here are the questions this page will help you answer.

What commercial properties are currently available?

This property search tool will help you to identify local commercial listings that are best suited to your specific needs. Whether you are looking to lease, or buy, the listings are mapped and updated daily by commercial real estate firms across the country. Use the filters to narrow your search and find the perfect property that will position your business for success! Please contact CDD staff in the Economic Development Division for additional information about available properties.

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What are the fundamentals of commercial real estate?

In this section we provide five essential commercial real estate fundamentals to keep in mind when searching for the right space for your business.

Always have options

Don’t stop looking until you find at least two or three places that work. The extra effort will pay negotiating dividends later.

Understand the costs

Don’t sign any lease until you know the entire picture, including all expenses and maintenance.

Avoid emotion

Ask for a pro forma copy of the lease or purchase agreement as soon as possible and read it in detail. All commercial property deals are unique, so make sure you and your advisors pay attention to the details in the agreement.

Compare, compare, compare

Create a comparables analysis in an electronic spreadsheet that allows you to compare the relevant details of prospective properties. If you're leasing a property the basics include: leased square footage, unit lease price, incremental expenses (including maintenance), lease term required (how many years), plus pros-and-cons notes about each property. The notes will come in handy later if you need a tie-breaker when you’re making the final decision.

How do I use this information?

There are many things to consider when buying or leasing a commercial property for your business. However, the most important considerations can be divided into three categories. The first is the physical property itself, including its location as well as the building and any improvements. The second consideration is the legal component and the third is costs. Here’s some key questions you should seek to answer when assessing your options.

The property
  1. Is the space ideally located with respect to your customers, competitors, vendors and suppliers?
  2. Does the space meet your business requirements (e.g. size, facilities, growth potential, access, street visibility, signage, parking, security, broadband, utilities etc.)?
  3. Is the physical condition of the building suitable? Is there any visible or structural damage? What internal and external repairs are required, how much will they cost and who is responsible for paying them?
The legal stuff
  1. Do the municipal planning controls allow you to do what you need to do on the property? Are there zoning laws or building codes or covenants, that limit the changes or alterations you can make to the property? Have you checked with the municipal planning department to make sure?
  2. Have you determined if there’s an opportunity for expansion or subletting if your business needs change in the future? What is the penalty for terminating your lease early?
  3. Have you engaged a real estate lawyer to do a title search, review the mortgage agreement and finalize all paperwork?
The costs
  1. What insurance coverage is required for the premises? Do you know what is covered by your landlord’s insurance and what your business is liable for?
  2. What provincial and municipal taxes apply to the property?
  3. Have you identified all the possible operational and capital costs associated with the property over time, even the unlikely ones?
  4. Can you afford to lease or buy the property you are interested in, even if there are tough times?

What else do I need to know?

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to lease or buy a commercial property. Before contracting with a leasing or real estate agent, it is worthwhile to review sample leases and key terms that may be new to some business owners. The below resources have been gathered to introduce and highlight common real estate features in Cambridge.

“Real Estate Basics”
Webinar led by Jesse Baerkhan from Boston-based retail development consultants Graffito SP (June 2018).
Please note: this webinar requires Adobe Connect and you may be prompted to install prior to viewing.

“Commercial Leases 101: A Legal Guide to Understanding Lease Agreements for Commercial Tenants”
Authored by the Harvard Law School Transactional Law Clinic (Fall 2017).

“Manage your Business”
Business Guides with chapters on assets, selling versus leasing, and purchasing government surplus compiled by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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Contact us

Rona Abrahams
City of Cambridge Community Development Department
Economic Development Division
617-349-4637
rabrahams@cambridgema.gov