There are plenty of advantages in owning your own office

There are many pluses if you're in the lucky position of being able to own your business premises.

There are many pluses if you're in the lucky position of being able to own your business premises.

No rent and no landlord are two that readily spring to mind.

Mark Draper,private client adviser with financial advisers GEM Capital, decided to invest in his own premises.

"We were previously renting and happy to do so. We were in the premises for about eight years. But the landlord was always a difficult person to deal with - the typical scenario where they spend nothing on the building but want top dollar for rent," he says.

For instance, Draper found out the landlord had wired one of the lighting circuits not with proper electrical wire, but speaker wire.

"We wondered why the circuit would blow regularly. We had similar problems in an A-grade office in Adelaide. You would put the kettle on and it would take the power out. Landlords typically do things on the cheap."

Lack of investment by landlords was just one reason Draper wanted his own real estate.

The other was that the landlord tried to jack up the rent by 30 to 40 per cent. "I found this quite stressful. We had always paid the rent on time and didn't cause the landlord grief, and yet we were being screwed.

"We then did the sums and determined that for a slightly higher outlay each month, which was manageable, we could end up owning the building rather than paying off someone else's mortgage."

More importantly, buying property gave the business certainty about where it would operate from.

Draper says it also gives the enterprise control over things such as the electricity supply and airconditioning system. "These were failings in the previous two buildings," he says.

The financial advice firm bought the worst place on a good road, 154 Goodwood Road, Goodwood, near central Adelaide.

"We knocked down what was there and built from scratch. Our building is made for us," Draper said.

"But we also considered making it attractive to lease out at a later stage when we are finished with it."

He made sure parking for clients and staff is good. "This is critical for business in my view but often overlooked."

Although it made financial sense to own the premises, Draper says the main driver for the purchase was to ensure the business had certainty over where it operated. "To make sure that we didn't overcapitalise I spoke with commercial property agents to determine the market level of rent payable in the area."

He says before deciding to buy a business property, it's important to know the market rents and, in Gem Capital's case, the construction costs to work out whether it's a good deal commercially.

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